The King of the hill in the Mad Catz R.A.T. series has made its way onto my testing table; and with a vast arsenal of attachments the R.A.T. 9 is one of the most interesting products Mad Catz has ever sent. This wireless mouse came along with a G.L.I.D.E. 7 Gaming Surface which I will go into further detail below. Both items are directed towards the hardcore/competitive gaming community and with good reason; the moment I opened the box it was like nothing I've ever seen before. I had two "Oh wow!" moments in a matter of a few seconds - the first time I saw it and then again when I picked it up. I immediately recognized the quality of craftsmanship and detail, which reminded me of the first time I held the Amex black card. The R.A.T. 9 is designed to be completely adjustable from inside and out. And with all this versatility I felt a little overwhelmed just by the sight of it. But once I figure out the "what and where", it became quite simple.
After a few minutes of being in awe, I decided it was time to get to work and locate the Hex key that is discreetly placed on the tail of the R.A.T. 9. Finding my Goldilocks zone was a breeze and it only took two quick length and width adjustments. The Hex key also allows you to change attachments to compliment your gaming needs: You're a lefty they have a lefty Kit. Need better grip? They have a two piece rubberized kit. Have a crazy pinkie? There's an extended base attachment to keep all your fingers on the mouse. If the feel of it isn't right, then there is a weight kit with seven 6g disk to finely tune to your gaming style. I tried many adjustments and weights; and for my personal use I decided on the following: for Long play I use about three disks as its perfect for the constant clicking of Diablo 3. In FPS I have a tendency to be a Sniper, so going heavy with six disks plus the precision button gave me exactly what I needed in Call of Duty (C.O.D.). When I play games that aren't too mouse based like W.O.W. or just general PC use I tend to stay on the heavy side with all seven disk.
Including the R/L click and scroll button The R.A.T. 9 has a total of 7 buttons and two wheels which can all be assigned macros. The Precision and forward/back button are the only buttons that have a limited swing adjustment since they are attached to the thumb rest.
X - Y scrolling wheels – To handle your vertical and Horizontal movement the main(Y) is on top and the secondary(X) is just under the shell by the thumb hidden enough so not to be in the way but easily accessible.
Precision button – a common feature in the modern gaming mouse holding this button lowers sensitivity and DPI movement, providing a steadier shot when needed.
Forward & back buttons – found right above the thumb these accessory buttons are my favorite to macro.
DPI switch - This switch sits right behind the main Wheel and allows you to toggle between DPI ranges of 800/1600/3200/6400 the LED indicator on the left fin indicates what DPI range you're in.
Mode - This is also located on the fin and changes color with each press indicating what assigned profile you are using.
One more important component in the R.A.T. 9 package is the accompanying Docking station, which handles three functions: first it holds the 6g disks that aren't in use. Second, it's a 2.4Ghz Wireless RF receiver with a Zero Latency response time. To ensure the flawless response, the dock has a Braided USB cable and a Gold plated connector. Finally, it's a charging station for one of the two lithium-ion batteries allowing for consecutive game play. Each lithium battery has an active game time of about 9 hours and it can last up to 4 days of normal use. I was very impressed with the charge time of zero to full in about 2.5 hours.
R.A.T. 9 Smart Technology Software:
Mad Catz has always made a very simple UI no matter what product you're using. Once you open the UI, I recommend going to the support page first and quickly grab all the drivers and the premade profiles; even if you don't use them it will give you some great ideas. If premade isn't your thing, adding custom macros takes only a few clicks to set up. I highly recommend downloading the battery widget. It's a simple status indicator taking all the guess work and hassle of finding out your battery status.
Support – The mouse is plug & play but please download all Drivers, Software & game profiles. It will give you access to Online manuals, help and tips.
Product - is your home screen and post latest commercials & new feeds from Mad Catz
Settings – Here you have control on DPI range of 25-6400 X & Y Axis. You can modify the X & Y to your own preference as both axis have different slides. The range of DPI is split into four brackets; each bracket is complimented by a glowing light on the mouse itself. Another function to control is the precision aim button right about where your thumb would be. Here you slide the bar up or down in order to increase or decrease sensitivity.
Programming - this is where all the buttons get there keys or macro assignments also the ability to load a premade profile or make a custom one is available at the bottom. You can assign up to 3 modes each with an individual profile.
The G.L.I.D.E. 7:
What makes a mouse pad so important? Why should I spend all this money? The pro-gamer knows that an Ultra smooth, low friction surface comes in handy when winning counts. A low friction surface might not sound like an interesting selling point. But when you invest a substantial amount of money in a mouse, anything that slows down the wear and tear on the bottom slides, while at the same time increasing sensor performance and tracking by up to 1000%, is definitely worth looking into. Another feature is the X-large dimensions (15.74" x 11.81" x .03"), the lack of padding and the thin rubber bottom, which allows for the flattest surface possible that will stay in one place. Consider this, most of us have "run of the mill" mouse pads that for the average gamer turn in to junk in less than a year. The G.L.I.D.E. 7 has no padding to fall apart or collapse with time, so it will stay as smooth as the table it's put on. Another reason why it's so thin is for easy transport and comes with a nice container for that purpose. Since I have no way to prove the G.L.I.D.E. 7 increases performance I have my own testing methods and along with using the R.A.T. 9, I have an old laser mouse that I call crazy mouse (I have no idea why I still own it) this mouse will work only 40% of the time due to the sensor being aged, which makes it the perfect test subject. The end result: crazy mouse did well and I had little issues keeping the mouse moving exactly where I needed it to go. Granted it's not the best of testing methods but I am genuinely satisfied.
So after about 36 hours of gameplay, with three different games how did it all feel? I think it felt pretty sweet; I'm pretty sure I'm going to sound like a broken record but the ergonomic design is phenomenal on this mouse. I literally laid my hand on it and adjusted to my personal dimensions. And as far as actual gaming, I'm going to list them by usage. One important observation is the DPI switch came in very handy in the early stages of helping me fine tune my custom profiles for each game. And I appreciate the simplicity of a quick up or down to move from different ranges.
World of Warcraft – I handled my normal routine of dailies and instances; I didn't notice that much improvement since this is a keyboard based game. I was able to loot faster and switch attacks on non-binded keys easier. I kept the mouse heavy and used all 7 disks, setting the DPI to about 1600 and sensitivity to about 75%.
Call of Duty – This FPS requires a lot of mouse action but not as rapid; I did do a lot of close quarter combat but I tend to enjoy picking people off and for that I go middle of the road with weight 3/4 disk just enough to keep me steady but not swinging like a mad man. Honestly to find my sweet spot took a while; I first set it to 3200 and set sensitivity to a variety of settings and I'm still tweaking it. I rely heavily on the precision button as it's very convenient and easy to access.
Diablo 3 – this definitely requires speed especially in the later stages. I set my forward/back accessory keys for secondary spells and used the X-axis wheel for potions, which saved me a lot of time. I kept the mouse light with 2 disks since I can afford to over shoot a little. I set the DPI to 3200 then 6400. I still switch back and forth depending on my needs.
Mad Catz's R.A.T. 9 is the Lamborghini of the gaming mouse world. I can't get over the design how flashy it looks. I thought it would pop up out of vehicle mode since it looked like an elaborate "Transformer". Anyone who I've shown it to - even non-gamers, have had their wow moments. I can't stress the great ergonomic and aesthetic design. And after putting 36 hours on the R.A.T. 9, I'm still amazed on how comfortable feels. I found with little adjustments, all the buttons had a great alignment with no conflict. In other words, I didn't have to look twice at what I was pressing. The User interface for the R.A.T. Series is very simple and will get you playing in minutes including the download profile packs and the Battery indicator widget!
First the hot swap of the batteries didn't work for me; I had to reconnect the USB to start working again, but if I turned off the mouse, swap the battery and turn it back on then everything worked fine. Second with the software, why isn't the Mad Catz software universally picking up every Mad Catz product in the keyboard and mouse line? I hate having extra icons on my task bar. I would prefer to open a dedicated Mad Catz software and then choose what device to work on. In reality it doesn't hinder the performance in my PC, but more of a personal pet peeve. In my regular use I missed out on some gaming time because I consistently forget to turn off the mouse, which is at no fault of the device. It says clearly that it will always stay on, right on the box. Lastly, the weight caddie makes for an easy projectile I just can't help the evil thought keeps creeping into my head.
I will admit at first sight the R.A.T. 9 did look a bit overwhelming. But after 20 minutes of use, it works as promised. At the time of this review, the price tag on Amazon is 133 USD; I say it is definitely worth the money, but if the price is what scares you, then I would keep an eye out for this on black Friday. Another option might be the wired version, the R.A.T. 7; it's a few dollars less and also worth looking into. Oh, one more thing, the box the R.A.T. 9 comes in is heavy duty and great for transport. I give this a T.O.V. 5 out of 5