Usually when I'm offered a product for review I'm cautiously enthusiastic. When Patriot offered up its Viper V570 Blackout Edition mouse (and accompanying RGB LED-festooned mousepad) to review, I was considerably more interested than usual. I hadn't seen the Blackout Edition before, but I was already familiar with the Viper V570 from scouring the depths of Amazon listings.
The taxonomy of gaming mice was more or less established by Razer and Corsair. Razer decided that gamers playing massively-multiplayer online games want lots and lots of buttons, and advertised its Naga mouse as an MMO gaming mouse. Otherwise, gaming mice were generally targeted at FPS players. It wasn't until Corsair came along with its M65 sporting a "sniper button" that we had our first mouse targeted specifically at FPS gamers. Holding down said button temporarily reduces the mouse's DPI and thus sensitivity, improving accuracy in fine motions.
So as an "FPS-MMO hybrid," Patriot's V570 mouse has both qualities: a sniper button for your thumb, and loads and loads of buttons. Admittedly, it doesn't quite have as many buttons as Steelseries' Rival 500 or Corsair's Vengeance M95, but those are both dedicated MMO-gaming mice. It also doesn't have the high-end IR LED sensor that you'll find in most popular mice these days. Instead, Patriot went with the tried-and-true Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor. I was cautiously optimistic about the V570 regardless.
I see a red switch and I want it painted black
As I mentioned, this is the Blackout Edition of the V570. The original Viper V570 had red accents on the buttons that I thought looked really garish. The Blackout Edition is, unsurprisingly, completely black all over. As I unboxed it, one of the first things that struck me about this mouse was the variety of textures on it. From the soft rubber of the primary buttons to the hard, glossy plastic of the top of the mouse, there are no less than seven unique surfaces on this rat.
Up front you have a clickable scroll wheel flanked by the two primary buttons. The scroll wheel spins smoothly with detents that have just the right amount of resistance, but it lacks a tilt function. That doesn't bother me, but it might put some folks off. Way up at the front of the mouse and to the left of the primary mouse button, you have two smaller buttons that by default are assigned to mouse buttons 4 and 5, or "back" and "forward." You would have to have very long fingers to use these buttons that way.
Behind the wheel, you get two buttons styled like a rocker switch. By default, one of those buttons cycles through five available profiles, while the other one cycles through DPI settings. In one of the more practical uses for RGB LEDs that I've seen, the set of four lights next to the rocker buttons changes color to indicate which profile you're on. More segments of it light up as you cycle through DPI settings. Unfortunately, only the DPI button can be re-bound. The inability to disable or re-bind the profile switch button is a little frustrating, as I've hit it on accident a couple of times.
There's nothing notable going on over on the right side of the mouse, so let's talk about the left side. The Viper V570 has a particularly sculpted shape that, along with the grippy textured rubber thumb-pad, makes it feel very secure in the hand. Toward the front of said grip-pad is the sniper button. Like the back and forward buttons, I think it's just a hair too far forward to reach comfortably. A row of five tiny buttons protrudes from the ridge above the thumb-pad, like horns on a dragon's brow. There are no distinguishing dots or anything on these buttons, so it takes a bit to get a feel for where your thumb is along the five-button row, but after just a week I've already got it down.
The back of the mouse has a door to reveal the spot where you can install six weights that run about 5.6 g each. This increases the weight of the mouse from a middling 112g to a meatier 146g. 112 grams is already slightly heavy for an FPS mouse, and 146g is a bit light for an MMO mouse, but I don't think the weight of the mouse is all that important anyway. There are RGB LED accents along the bottom of the left of the mouse, on the mousewheel, and on the Viper logo on the back of the mouse. They're nice to look at when you're away from your desk, but you're fairly unlikely to notice them otherwise.
I wouldn't normally spare a moment to talk about the bottom of a mouse, but the V570's is too interesting to skip. Patriot elected to equip the Viper V570 with five ceramic sliders instead of the usual PTFE pads. These are polished to a mirror finish. I wasn't sure how well they would work in practice, but on the hard mousing surfaces I prefer the V570 glides so freely that it can be a problem. It can be difficult to click buttons without moving the mouse, and the V570 likes to slide around when you let go, too. However, that lack of resistance also makes for an extremely effortless mousing experience. I like it, but definitely it takes some getting used to.
Overall, I like the V570's shape with one big "but": my fingers are just slightly too short for it. Because the microswitches for the primary buttons are all the way down at the front end of the mouse, you have to reach pretty far to click them and get any kind of tactile response. The right mouse button in particular has very little feedback and almost no throw to the action unless you reach down to the end of the button. I was concerned this was the result of a bum sample, but Patriot helpfully sent out a replacement which has the same problem. This is probably the biggest flaw with the mouse.