From the entry-level RAT1 to the $200 RAT ProX+ there’s a weirdly shaped - but oddly comfortable - gaming rodent for every budget and sensor fetish.
Will the new RATs be able to make a dent on our list of the best gaming mice around today?
I’ve always been a big fan of the RAT gaming mice from MadCatz, so it’s with not a little intrigue I greet the announcement of a whole new range of RAT products going on sale this very day. They’ve gone big and created a complete refresh for the entire line-up, from the skeletal $30 (£25) RAT1 to the weighty $100 (£90) RAT8, with their modular RAT Pro S+ and Pro X+ mice coming towards the end of the year.
The original raison d’etre for the MadCatz RAT mouse range (aside from conflating three disparate varieties of mammal) is to provide hugely configurable gaming mice to suits all grips, needs and wants. That’s reflected in the latest update too, with each model using a different sensor, whether optical or laser optical.
Of course the now near ubiquitous Pixart PMW 3360 optical sensor takes centre stage with the high-end RAT 8 - it’s arguably the best mouse sensor around right now and would make it a worthy upgrade for the change of sensor alone. Since the exclusivity deal with Logitech expired every man and his mouse are picking up the excellent Pixart sensor.
It gives the RAT 8 a maximum DPI of 12,000 but because it’s an optical sensor there’s no artificial hardware acceleration used to help you reach such reaction speeds in-game. The 3360 can cope with 50G of acceleration and speeds across the desktop of up to 250 inches per second.
With that comes the usual customisation for grip, catering for palm, claw and fingertip styles, with interchangeable and adjustable parts to allow you to get the perfect fit for your digits. Like the original RATs the new RAT 8 is a weighty rodent, starting at 145g with three optional 6g weights you can add in should you feel the need for more heft. And, of course, you get 16.8 million colours thanks to the Kameleon (what, we’re switching from mammals to reptiles now?) RGB lighting.
Further down the stack though the options change markedly. The RAT 6 comes with an old school Avago ADNS 9800 laser sensor and less customisation, but retains the adjustable weights and RGB stylings. The RAT 4 switches back to optical with the Pixart 3310 sensor, but only has a single colour LED and no extra physical customisation.
The lightweight, RAT 1 is barely even a mouse. It’s just a sensor module with a couple of buttons on top and a flimsy palmrest floating out behind it. MadCatz don’t even say what sort of sensor their cheapo mouse comes with…
But the main RAT range is out now, so stay tuned for a review very soon.