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REVIEW: Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Albino gaming mouse

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albino-rat-top.jpgName: Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Albino

Type: Customisable gaming mouse

Specs: Click here for full specs

Price: £89.99 from Game Shark


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Part PC peripheral, part customisable Autobot Transformer lookalike, Cyborg's R.A.T. 7 Albino gaming mouse is one of the most unique pointers on the market. But is it comfortable, and most importantly, will it up your frag count come the end of the online deathmatch? Read on to find out.

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An updated version of last year's excellent R.A.T 7 gaming mouse, the new Albino version draws gasps of "oooo" and "aaaah" from anyone that lays eyes on it. In some respects it's barely recognisable as a mouse, with its chunky, space age matte-white finish alongside cogs and gears sticking out at all angles. It looks like a long-lost Transformer character that's been making a living by masquerading as a PC peripheral.

The Albino's unique looks are more about function than fashion however. Cyborg have made a highly customisable mouse here; nearly every part of the Albino can be tweaked to your own preferences.

We're not just talking about custom DPI settings and the 5 programmable buttons (which we'll get onto in a minute). The actual mouse hardware itself can be physically altered to better fit your grip. Slotted in the underside of the Albino is a small screw-in key that can be used to adjust the width of the mouse and angle and positioning of the left hand side buttons, as well as opening up a spring-loaded compartment that houses five 6-gram removable weights, allowing you to make the Albino as heavy or light as you find comfortable.

The adjustments continue further with a sliding palm rest that lets you tinker with the length of the Albino. This piece itself can be swapped out with one that better fits lefties, as well as an alternate palm piece with a rubberised grip finish. Likewise, the right hand side pinky area can have a rubber piece attached, or swapped out for a sloping finger rest, giving the Cyborg a wide wing shape.

Now, all this tinkering wont be for everyone. Though the Albino remains a plug-and-play device, to really get the most out of it you're going to have to spend a few hours play messing about with different physical configurations to suit your hand. It's very easy to make an RSI-inducing monstrosity if you get too addicted to clipping bits on all over the show. However, once you've found your own personal sweet spot, you'll likely never find a more comfortable gaming mouse, even if it's not the most practical of pointers for everyday OS tasks.
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As mentioned previously, the customisable elements of the R.A.T 7 extend to the device's buttons too. On the left hand side are two regular "back/forward" mini buttons and another round red button called the "Precision Aim button", which we'll detail in a second. Just below the left mouse button is an unusual chrome roller, which when turned left or right can represent a key or macro in either direction. Linking keys and macros to the buttons and roller is easy thanks to the ST software that can be downloaded form the Cyborg website, also allowing you to tweak DPI settings. Making use of a mode-switching button adjacent to the left mouse clicker which scrolls through 3 sets of programmable key settings, you've in theory got access to a whopping 15 separate programmable input commands packed into the Albino alone. It's worth noting that both the mouse and the software are Mac compatible this time around too.

In terms of movement precision, the Albino makes a sizeable jump from the original R.A.T 7. The first iteration had a max DPI of 5600; the Albino jumps up to 6400DPI with its twin-eye laser sensor. This effectively lets your mouse cover a 6 metre range in just one second. In other words, you'll be able to make lightning-fast adjustments to your aim on the battlefield. These settings don't necessarily have to remain fixed either; a rocker switch immediately below the mouse wheel lets you scroll between 4 custom DPI settings which can be set using the software described above, letting you quickly jump between slower and more responsive settings on the fly. Opting for a wired USB connection over wireless to cut down on even the smallest amounts of lag time, you'll be pleased to see Cyborg have put in a braided white cable, rather than a tangle-prone plastic one.

There's also a dedicated, programmable DPI toggle button on the left hand side which Cyborg call the "Precision Aim button", mentioned earlier. We prefer to call it "The Terminator button" thanks to the robot-like efficiency it adds to your aim. The button lets you switch to a super-low DPI setting when held down, letting you fine tune your aim minutely and make every bullet fired potentially a headshot. It's so effective it's practically cheating.

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Verdict:

It takes some tweaking, but once you've got the R.A.T 7 Albino to fit your playing style, you'll find this flexible, responsive pointer gives you a real edge over the competition. The new white finish is stunning in our books, and that fact that this improved model ships for the same price as last year's original R.A.T 7 just sweetens the deal.

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5/5
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