Review: Razer Taipan mouse

Low profile, symmetrical design gives users balance, comfort and button choices (July 25th, 2014)

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Product Manufacturer: Razer

Price: $80

The Good

  • Button options
  • Mouse wheel
  • Synapse software

The Bad

  • LED options
  • Rubber on sides
  • Thumb buttons require hand shift

The list of gaming devices is growing larger with each passing day. A large number of companies have entered the gaming input arena, already containing some well-known names in the industry. Many PC gamers know one such name, Razer, as the go-to company for mice and other controls. The Taipan is a mouse that Razer has offered since 2012, but gave it new flair with a white finish this May. Does the new finish give gamers a good reason to revisit the Taipan, or is it a dated approach to gaming?

The white Taipan is symmetrically designed, offering an ambidextrous input solution in a world of ergonomic right-handed mice. The plastic shell offers a blemish-free, smooth finish that, when positioned in a certain angle, is reflective. Hard, low-friction plastic feet that a number of Razer mice utilize adorn the bottom. A tightly-braided cord sticks out of the front to connect to the computer of choice, be it a Mac or a PC.

On the side, there are black rubber sections to aid grip in gaming sessions, while the front of the mouse has two black grills with a similar pattern to the rubber. The rubber feels too tacky, causing small hand adjustments to become entire hand removals. Some may not consider it a bad feature, but it gets in the way of the experience. Over time, the rubber should wear down for a slicker feel.

The size of the Taipan is on the smaller end of the scale, keeping a low profile with slightly tucked-in sides. The mouse measures only 4.88 x 2.48 x 1.22 inches, and weighs just under four ounces. That doesn't mean that it's without weight, as the mouse feels balanced in use. Consumers looking for a back-heavy mouse may not approve of the Taipan because of its even balance and lack of additional weights. However, its light weight doesn't mean it is lacks meaningful internals.

Powered by a 32-bit ARM processor, the Taipan is quick to respond to user actions. It uses Omron switches, which offer perhaps the best feedback and sensitivity available for mice switches. Other high-end gaming mice like the Roccat Kone XTD use the same type of switch. It also uses an 8,200 DPI 4G dual laser sensor for precise tracking. Polling is offered at rates of 150, 500 and 1,000 Hz, while DPI drops as low as 100.

Button customization is an area where the Taipan shines. Eight buttons can be configured, even though Razer states it as nine. Giving players the control to configure almost all of them allows for custom play styles to emerge without the need for fancy controllers. The left mouse button cannot be remapped, but mouse wheel can be programmed for a button press or scroll up and down actions. The mouse wheel is a standout feature for the Taipan, as its operation is extremely smooth. Some mice take a clunky approach to tactile feedback in a mouse wheel, but the Taipan offers only a slight catch before allowing the wheel to spin.

Of the nine buttons, the thumb buttons can be sort of a nuisance. The two on the outer edge of the Taipan rub on the ring finger because of the way they jut out of the slope on the side. For players that like to let their finger drag on the side in a two-finger palm grip, it can become uncomfortable. To correct this, it becomes necessary to use a three-finger approach, with the index finger on the first mouse button, the middle finger on the wheel and the ringer finger on the second mouse button.

In games, the Taipan gives an exemplary performance. Putting the mouse through a fast-paced shooter like Far Cry 3 proved to be a pleasurable experience. The tracking of the mouse made for tight control of finite aiming through scopes. Looking around while driving recklessly through the jungle felt smooth, and easy to control. Other games that need to manage large sections of a screen, like Divinity: Original Sin, were handled without issue. Pushing the mouse around to select the right commands per turn or navigate the landscape resulted in fast and accurate clicks.

Drivers for the Taipan are routed through the same platform as all other Razer devices. Synapse, the software hub, offers users a great tool to customize controls, sensitivity and manage drivers. While Razer started in an era where device-specific drivers were required to even allow a first use, Synapse makes the entire process easier.

When the software boots for the first time, drivers for the connected device are downloaded and installed without much guidance from the user. Razer's solution offers a polished approach, without suffering from lag times or tossing in pointless things like an achievement system. Gamers with a Razer keyboard can also take advantage of communication between it and a mouse like the Taipan.

Some consumers may be put off by the lack of LED options in the Taipan, but many peripherals from Razer aim for a polished and functional platform instead of focusing on lighting options. The Taipan is no exception. The white version we tested featured white LEDs behind the logo on the palm and in the mouse wheel. The software allows the light only to be on in a pulsing configuration, or turned off.

Gamers looking for a low-profile mouse without an overwhelming number of buttons will find a good fit with the $80 Taipan. Like many of the other mice from Razer, the Taipan features a solid construction that performs well over hours of extended play. While finger placement might be an issue for some used to a tilted or high-arched model, fingertip and palm grips appear favored based on the placement of the thumb buttons on each side. It doesn't hurt that the white version of the Taipan is possibly one of the best-looking mice Razer has created.

by Jordan Anderson


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