For as long as I can recall, I’ve been into PC gaming. Starting nearly two decades ago with Counterstrike, competitive first-person-shooter (FPS) gaming has been one of my favorites. When Blizzard Entertainment released Overwatch in 2016, my wife and I quickly fell in love with the fast paced gameplay, quirky heroes and emphasis on teamwork. To date, I’ve logged nearly 100 hours of playtime since Overwatch came out, and I see no signs of stopping.
When playing a competitive FPS like Overwatch, the tools you use to do so become more important as you progress to higher levels in the game. This means that eventually you will need a gaming mouse and mousepad, as your accuracy in FPS games is dependent on having a reliable input device. As my friends and I improved at Overwatch, I began to wonder just how much of a difference a better mouse would make, so I asked Razer if I could try their top of the line Deathadder Elite ($70) and Invicta mousepad ($60). Together, I was sure these two would show me just how much a difference a good gaming mouse and mousepad could make.
Packaging & Installation
Razer clearly takes great pride in their packaging. The Invicta in particular shipped in a beautiful box that almost convinced me I had accidentally received a laptop, while the Deathadder Elite came in a slightly more normal but still well designed box. Upon removing both from the packaging, it was clear immediately that these are high quality products built for durability.
The Invicta has a metal base that just bleeds quality and provides a nice amount of weight to anchor the mousepad to the underlying surface, while the actual mouse surface is very lightly textured and patterned to improve the ability of the mouse’s optical sensor to track motion.
The Deathadder Elite is surprisingly light, something I have since learned is often a requirement of competitive gamers due to the wrist strain they can encounter after long sessions of gaming. The Deathadder Elite has a simple but lightweight USB cable that plugged into my keyboard in moments.
Since I was already running Razer’s Chroma software for the ManO’War headset I recently reviewed, the mouse was immediately detected and started working.
While the Deathadder Elite doesn’t have the appearance of an ergonomic mouse, lacking any swooping lines, cutouts to rest your fingers on or a raised palm support, it none the less feels incredibly natural in the hand. I was surprised to find it slightly more comfortable than my ergonomic Logitech mouse for long term use, which I suspect has a lot to do with its lower weight and longer form factor which better supports the back of the hand, making moving the mouse an extremely effortless task.
In Use – Gaming With The Deathadder Elite & Invicta Mousepad
Gaming mice are not the simple plug and play gadgets of the past. They have complex sensors inside that can read north of 10,000 dots per inch of movement, so it’s important to set them up in their bundled software before gaming.
Having done a little research, I planned to set the sensitivity of the Deathadder Elite to 800 or 1600 DPI for gaming. Luckily, Razer’s software allows up to four steps of sensitivity to be set up in advance and toggled by a pair of physical buttons on the mouse. This allows easy and instantaneous on the fly switching of sensitivity while gaming.
I set my steps to 800,1600,2400 and 4000 DPI, clickly apply and began to play Overwatch.
Overwatch has a handy built-in practice range where players can test out their skills against slow moving robots that don’t fight back. This seemed like the perfect venue to get used to the Deathadder Elite, so I selected my favorite hero, Soldier 76 and began to play around. I immediately noticed that my mouse was moving around way too fast, and realized I’d forgotten to adjust the in-game sensitivity of my mouse down to 3.0, which was supposedly ideal at a DPI of 1600. Once I did this, I tapped the DPI adjustment buttons on my mouse, popping up a nice OSD (On Screen Display) showing my current DPI setting, and pressed the selector until it showed 1600 DPI.
Now that I was set up properly, I began to practice, shooting a series of these robots, slowly getting a feel for the movement of my whole arm, rather than my wrist. While this felt very strange at first, friends who play at a high level informed me that this was the way everyone does it at the higher levels. With nothing better to do, I decided to stick with it and practiced for a solid hour before finally logging out. By the end, my competency felt greatly improved, but I still wasn’t sure how it would go in a real game.
Later that evening, my wife and I decided to play some Overwatch with our friend Devin, and I got my first taste of a real match using the Deathadder Elite and Invicta. The first few rounds were medicore at best, as I was always just behind or ahead of my intended target, my old muscle memory doing me more harm than good. By the fourth game however, something suddenly clicked and my play suddenly began improving. We played several more games that evening before logging off, and by the end I had achieved multiple personal best scores, plays of the game and impressively more headshots.
Over the following two weeks, we would play Overwatch a few more times, and in each case I could tell that I was playing better than I had in the past. Can I chalk my improvement up entirely to the combination of the Deathadder Elite and Invicta mousepad? Surely not, as I also adjusted my sensitivity and did some practicing. That said, there’s no question in my mind that playing well became significantly easier when equipped with the right tools. Razer’s Deathadder Elite is ergonically designed, lightweight, and a real pleasure to use. Their Synapse software is extremely polished, and does a wonderful job of managing any Razer peripherals you have plugged into your PC, seamlessly allowing you to see OSD menus when adjusting your keyboard, mouse or headset.
The Invicta mousepad is a beautiful piece of engineering that would look just as good in the office as on a gamer’s desk. Between it’s clean aesthetics and slick surface, moving my mouse around became a more enjoyable experience than I had ever had before, and I soon found myself missing it when I was working upstairs in my office.
Both of these products are well engineered, a pleasure to use and have vastly improved my gaming experience. Kudos to Razer for another well designed pair of products. Recommended.