Gaming mice are nearly ubiquitous these days, but Razer has been around since the early days, providing gamers with mice of ever increasing features, faster and more accurate sensors and of course, more buttons and fancy lighting.
In Razer's past, most of their mice were ambidextrous - the classic Boomslang and Diamondback models were solid choices for left-handed gamers. Recently, the trend for a lot of gaming peripheral makers has been to design most most of their flagship products for right-handed gamers. While finding an ambidextrous mouse isn’t very hard, finding one with all of the bells and whistles you expect from a high end mouse is a little more difficult.
Enter the Razer Taipan. Roughly based on the design of the classic Diamondback, the Taipan carries over all of its features and more. Whether holding it with your left or right hand, you have two thumb buttons available. The surface of the Taipan is matte plastic, but the area around the thumb grip has a pleasing rubber pad. The scroll wheel is rubberized as well and has a good, accurate feel. A pair of center buttons below the scroll wheel can be used to adjust sensitivity on the fly.
Though I've focused on the ambidextrous nature of the Taipan, the real star of the device is its pair of tracking sensors, one laser and one optical. Combined, they register an impressive 8200 DPI. The sensors act in tandem to ensure the pointer is as accurate as Razer claims, and as an added bonus, help keep everything in order should you need to lift the mouse off of your surface.
I've put the Taipan through its paces in a variety of PC games, from Civilization V and Diablo 3 to shooters like Tribes: Ascend and Max Payne 3. Gaming mice tend to shine in shooters, and the Taipan is no different. Pulling off well-placed shots in Max Payne 3 was a breeze, as was taking down fools with a spinfusor in Tribes. Diablo 3 was my clicking stress test and I never ran into any issues. It performed admirably in Civ V as well, though I had to dial the DPI down to a more comfortable 4000 to make clicking on the UI elements less twitchy.
The Taipan's ergonomics are extremely comfortable, provided you don't have Nick Puleo-sized hands.
The mouse is definitely comfortable, though I think if you have large hands, it might be a little on the slim side. I didn’t notice any fatigue after long play sessions, either. The side button placement is a definite issue, however. Several times during my early play sessions, especially before I got used to the form factor, my grip was causing my ring finger to press the side buttons opposite to my thumb. It’s not a dealbreaker, but I had to pop out to the Synapse software and disable those two buttons.
Alongside the Taipan, Razer has also rebuilt their Synapse Configurator software to become a unified driver for all Razer devices, though support for some older products is still incoming. The new Synapse 2.0 offers many of the expected tweaks for your device, including button reassignment, customization of the DPI adjustment stages, polling rate, lighting options and of course, the ability to record macros.
You can also calibrate your mouse to whatever surface you choose to use, with preset options for Razer branded mousing surfaces. The calibration didn’t feel like it added too much to the accuracy of the mouse, but if I swapped surfaces without changing calibration options, you could tell that the tracking was slightly different.
The biggest feature of Synapse 2.0 is its ability to store your profile to the cloud - allowing you to pull down your presets should you find yourself at another computer with a Razer mouse, or if you change computers with the same device. Personally, it was nice to not have to reset everything after I reformatted and reinstalled my OS shortly after E3. I have noticed that the pointer does go slightly wonky for about a second while Synapse loads up, so hopefully Razer has a fix in the pipeline.
All in all, the Taipan is a solid, accurate gaming mouse that won’t break your bank account too hard. It will be available this July for an MSRP of $79.99.
The Not-so Good: