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.
That’s not a weird pattern, that’s the tree in my front yard.
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.
Getting with the program
My absolute favorite thing about the Viper V570 Blackout is its software. This is exactly what input device configuration software should be. It has every option it needs and nothing that it doesn’t. The first page of the app allows you to configure each button’s function. Like most mice, you can set up multiple input profiles—five, in this case. Every button and feature of the mouse is configurable and saved per-profile, aside from the left mouse button and the profile switch button that can’t be re-bound. That’s not unusual, but the variety of options for each input certainly is.
When you go to configure a button, you can assign any of the usual mouse functions—even things that the mouse doesn’t physically support, like wheel tilt. You also can configure a turbo button like an old game controller, or make a button enable that functionality in other buttons while held. Any keyboard function is fair game, including media controls. There’s a unique “key cycle” feature that lets you press one button repeatedly to send a series of keystrokes. Naturally, you can also assign macros, which I’ll talk about in a second.
However, possibly my favorite feature of the Viper V570’s software is the “Advanced Functions” set of inputs. This is where you’d rebind the sniper button, if you’d like. You also can assign buttons to lock the mouse’s movement on the X or Y axes, or toggle angle snapping on and off. I’ve never seen these features on a mouse before and they are unbelievably useful for graphic design work. Furthermore, the Viper V570 supports assigning a button to send Windows 10-style touch inputs. I’m not sold on the utility of this, but it’s pretty fun to swipe your way through webpages in touch-aware apps like Google Chrome.
The next page of the app has sensor settings. You can create four separate presets for the sensor’s resolution, and configure the DPI independently for the X and Y axes. I’m not sure why anyone would do that, but I love that the option is there. The DPI on this mouse tops out at 8,200—the standard for the ADNS-9800 sensor it uses. The nomenclature in the software for setting up mouse acceleration is a little strange; Patriot calls it “Auto Speed.” In Auto Speed mode you set the minimum and maximum DPI settings you want the mouse to use based on the rapidity of mouse movement. Again, not something I’d use, but cool for those who want it.
Skipping over the macro editor, there’s a bare-bones settings page. The most important feature on this page is the USB polling rate slider. There are also toggles here for angle snapping, the software’s on-screen display, and to force-disable Windows’ built in mouse acceleration. The OSD was enabled by default, but I quickly disabled it. All it does is inform you when you’ve changed profiles or DPI settings. I didn’t find it intrusive, just simply unnecessary. You can also backup your settings on this page, which is handy.
Finally, just to the right of the settings page there’s a colorful icon that, when clicked, opens up another dialog so that you can configure the mouse’s lighting effects. There are two “Wave” color-cycling settings, one setting that cycles each LED through random colors with no pattern (producing a mishmash), and one setting that cycles the whole mouse through single random colors. You also can customize each light on the mouse individually if you like. Overall, these settings are functional and competent, but pretty bare-bones compared to other mice. I’d just leave it on “Wave,” which looks pretty nice.
Patriot’s Viper V570 has the best macro editor I’ve ever used. With that said, I can easily see how it would be unintuitive for someone who isn’t familiar with the workings of these sorts of apps. You click on “Macro Editor” in the main window to open a second window with the editor itself, which you can have open while working in the main window. This is really convenient when you’re testing out macros, because you can create, assign, and edit them without flipping through multiple windows.
As usual, you can set up macros to play once or to loop, and you can set them to be held or toggled loops. In a nice bit of convenience, you can export and import individual macros. While creating a macro, the app tells you how big it is in terms of bytes, and it also lists the free RAM on the mouse’s controller. Patriot’s macro editor is function-dense without being cryptic, and it looks pretty nice to boot—as long as you don’t mind the red-and-grey color scheme.
For the sake of brevity I’ll not give a full tutorial on how to use the VH570’s macro function. I won’t call it easy to use, but once you scale the minimalistic, icon-based interface’s learning curve, it’s shockingly practical. What impresses me most about the V570’s macro editor is that it supports a couple of features that I have never seen in a mouse’s macro software, like the ability to mimic not only mouse buttons but even mouse movements.
So with all that said, how does the Viper V570 actually perform? Quite nicely, actually. I’m well-familiar with the characteristics of the ADNS-9800, as it is the same sensor used in the Corsair Vengeance M95 that I used for a couple of years, and it’s also one of the two sensors included with the EpicGear Morpha X. It tracks consistently and is totally free of prediction. I’ve been using the V570 for the majority of the last week and change, and I could absolutely use it as my primary pointing device.
My biggest complaint about the V570 is with the placement of the microswitches for the primary buttons. If you don’t reach all the way down to press above the switches, the lack of feedback and the absurdly short distance of the action make it hard to tell when you’ve actually pressed the button. People who use a full-on palm grip or who have longer fingers than me won’t have this issue, at least not to the same degree. It’s also worth noting that this issue has subsided somewhat in the two weeks I’ve had the V570.
Besides that, my complaints with the V570 are all much more subjective. For my hands and their admittedly short fingers, it’s a bit too long. I can reach every button, but not in complete comfort. Also—and this is sort of a ridiculous complaint, but—the incredible lack of friction from this mouse’s feet can be a liability when trying to do fine work. However, it does make sliding the V570 across a mousepad completely effortless.
Patriot’s decision to go with the ADNS-9800 might cost it some sales among snooty mouse nerds who typically prefer optical sensors, but it is incredibly unlikely to matter for even the most hardcore gamers. The general gaming populace certainly shouldn’t care. The laser sensor boasts superior tracking on sketchy surfaces compared to optical sensors, and its top-end of 8200 DPI is more than sufficient for any realistic use case.
Ultimately I’m going to hand the Patriot Viper V570 Blackout Edition a TR Recommended award. The issue with the right mouse button isn’t a dealbreaker—it won’t even be an issue for some people—and the V570 legitimately does things that other gaming mice simply don’t do. While the mouse itself is competent, my affection for it is largely down to the great software that Patriot has created for it.
The software succeeds because it’s simple. If Patriot can refine its design a bit and keep making slimmed-down software like this, then I think the Viper brand will become a favorite of PC gamers. At the very least, I’ll keep singing their praises. If you’re convinced, you can pick up the Patriot Viper V570 Blackout Edition on Newegg for $53. If you prefer or don’t mind the red accents on the buttons, the original version is $8 cheaper.