Razer is one of the leading companies when it comes to gaming peripherals. Their first performance optical mouse was the Razer Diamondback. Last week Razer's updated version of the Diamondback finally hit the market after much anticipation. The new version of the Diamonback is dubbed the 3G referring to its third generation infrared sensor. It's the same sensor that Razer used in their DeathAdder which I had the pleasure of reviewing a while back. The Diamondback 3G features some minor modifications to the shell, it now has a black back plate instead of the original transparent shell. Besides that everything is the same as when the original was launched about two years ago.
One of the things that sets the Razer Diamondback 3G apart from the rest of its siblings is the fact that it's completely symmetrical which means that you can use it with both hands without it feeling awkward.
- 1800 DPI Razer Precision 3G infrared sensor
- Seven independently programmable Hyperresponse™ buttons
- On-The-Fly Sensitivity adjustment
- Always-On mode
- Ultra-large non-slip buttons
- 16-bit ultra-wide data path
- 6400 frames per second (5.8 MegaPixels per second)
- 60–120 inches per second and 15g of acceleration
- Scroll wheel with 24 individual click positions
- Zero-acoustic Ultraslick Teflon feet
- Gold-plated USB connector
- Seven-foot, lightweight, non-tangle cord
- Approximate size: 128mm (length) x 70mm (width) x 42.5mm (height)
The new Diamondback arrived in the usual Razer package. One of the smart details about the package is that you can inspect the mouse without breaking a seal which means that you can return it if it was found broken on arrival.
On the back of the package you can read all about the specifications of this mouse. Worth noticing is the fact that Razer apparently has plans to release a green and red version of the Diamondback 3G in the nearest future.
The Razer Diamondback 3G comes with a very basic bundle. You get the mouse along with a driver CD, well actually two because Razer apparently decided to go with a newer driver after packing the first samples of the Diamondback 3G.
When it comes to design the Diamondback 3G has the same basic shell design as its two year older predecessor. The only real change made to the design is that the "palm" plate of the device is now black and features the three headed snake logo instead of being transparent. The new design looks a bit more clean than the old and makes it look more like the other Razer mice available today. The makeover isn't that extensive, but definitely makes it look a bit sleeker than the old one. Since the shape is the same the ergonomics of the mouse haven't changed at all which is OK "if it works don't fix it!".
Since this mouse is ambidextrous it can be used by left-handed users as well as right-handed. The only problem with the mouse is that the buttons are placed too close to your palm making it hard to reach the side buttons if you have large hands.
The cord is attached firmly to the housing of the mouse so it should be able to withstand some abuse. The USB connector is gold plated ensuring optimal transfer.
When it comes to sensor positioning the Diamondback 3G is a bit different than the DeathAdder. The 1800 DPI infrared sensor is placed a bit off center. This makes the mouse "over steer" a bit compared to mice like the Razer DeathAdder or Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 and 1.1. Since the sensor is quite near the center of the mouse the "over steer" is kept to a minimum, but it is still noticeable if you are used to a neutral balanced mouse.
Most high-sensitivity gamers prefer a mouse with the sensor placed in the front of the mouse because it gives you more fingertip control, however, most low to medium-sensitivity players prefer a more balanced mouse with its sensor placed dead center in the mouse.
Here you can see the 1800 DPI high IPS (inches per second) sensor up close. Having 1800 DPI is more than enough for even high sensitivity gamers. The most underestimated performance measurement of mice ever is by far the speed of which the sensor can keep on tracking movement flawlessly. With the 3G infrared sensor from Razer you can rest assured that you will never be able to make the mouse stall due to the fact that it can track up to 120 IPS. This means that the mouse will remain precise even when you move it really, really fast. Of course tracking performance will vary depending on what type of surface you use.
As with all Razer mice the Diamondback 3G features some high quality Teflon feet. This type of Teflon feet is a nice addition because it means that you won't have to invest in high quality aftermarket Teflon tape for your mouse to begin with. Of course when the feet are worn down you have to get some new, this isn't that easy because the Diamondback uses some really odd shaped feet.
The driver for the Diamondback 3G was a bit of a letdown to be honest. I was expecting roughly the same extended driver suite as the one Razer supplies with the DeathAdder. Above you can see the main driver screen where you can control the essential properties of the mouse.
One of the things that I found odd was this driver doesn't feature the usual "Advanced" section that all the other Razer drivers do. The fact that you can only choose between 800 and 1800 DPI sensor resolution is a bit annoying for those using really low sensitivity or coming from a low DPI mouse. The rather limited "Advanced" section of the Razer Diamondback 3G makes it harder to configure the mouse to suit your exact needs which is a real shame.
The "Scroll Wheel" section of the driver is pretty standard. You can play around with the speed and function of the wheel.
When it comes to button assignment the Diamondback 3G driver is just as good as any of Razer's drivers. It lets you assign any type of function to all of the buttons, i.e. you can have universal scrolling on one of the side button or on-the-fly sensitivity control on the scroll wheel button.
Overall the driver for the Diamondback 3G was less featured than expected. I was hoping for a fully customized driver with all of the main performance aspects covered. Instead of a gaming grade driver all you get is an upgraded standard driver which is far from good, considering both price and quality of the mouse.
Since there isn't a benchmark program for mice the following is just my opinion of what type of performance this mouse can offer. I have tried to put the mouse through three likely scenarios in my game test. To test the capabilities of this mouse I started off by using a low sensitivity and then moved on up through medium to high sensitivity settings, carefully noting how the mouse performed and how it changes through the sensitivity scale. All of the tests were done with the CPL mousefix installed to remove mouse acceleration completely. In game mouse acceleration and smoothing was of course turned off through the entire test.
To begin with I started CounterStrike:Source which is a fast paced FPS game. I started off by using my normal sensitivity and the mouse did a great job at keeping track of my movement. It proved to be just as accurate as the DeathAdder and performed equally well at coping with fast hand movement. The only problem I had with the mouse is that it isn't wide enough for me to grip it properly.
A little problem that affects low sensitivity gamers the most is the lift-off distance. With just the standard mouse feet attached you have to lift the mouse relatively high up before it stops moving the cursor around. I tested this on the mats I had laying around and it seems that the problem is worst on black surfaces. I remember Razer trying to sort this problem out with firmware updates for the DeathAdder and they were somewhat successful at reducing the lift off distance. Maybe it's just a question of time before Razer apply the same fix to the Diamondback 3G's firmware.
After trying the mouse at low sensitivity I moved on to medium sensitivity and here the mouse was even better in my opinion due to the shape and size of the mouse. The fact that you have the sensor placed a little further to the front compared to the DeathAdder makes it feel a bit more responsive. At high sensitivity this mouse still feels quite balanced and responsive.
One of the things that I really liked about the Diamondback 3G are the Teflon feet. Because they are so soft they absorb a lot of the vibrations caused by movement over the surface. This makes the glide close to perfect on all the gaming surfaces I tested it on. The only problem with the mouse feet is that they are almost flush with the mouse and this means that the mouse sinks into the surface if you use it on a really soft mat.
I tried the mouse on all three sensitivity settings on the following mats: SteelSeries S&S, Razer Mantis Speed, NOIDpad Eclipse, Ratzpad, Func F10.S. And performance didn't change at all. Usually mice have a tendency to perform better on one specific mat due to its sensor, but the 3G infrared from Razer seems to perform well on almost any surface out there.
I also tested this mouse in Photoshop by doing some manual cropping and other operations that require accurate movement. I found that the Diamondback 3G is a nice mouse to work with because tracking was consistent and smooth. The cursor didn’t make any erratic movement at all and remained precise even when I turned up the sensitivity.
The Diamondback 3G seems like an even sturdier construction than the old Diamondback. The shell of the mouse is now black and painted with what seems to be a really tough paint. When it comes to buttons the ones on the Diamondback 3G seem to be a bit more firm than the ones on the old version. This is a pleasant surprise and means that the buttons don't pop out as easily as before. The firmer design also helps to prevent that the buttons slide in towards the center and block the scroll wheel’s action. This was a real problem with the old Diamondback, but seems to be fixed in the new version.
The mouse feet are really soft and not that tall which means that you will have to replace them not long after you bought the mouse if you use a mat with a rough hard surface. Normally this isn't all that big of a problem because most Teflon companies provide you with precut thick quality Teflon, but this isn't the case with the Diamondback 3G. This leaves you with two options either apply some thick precut Teflon originally shaped for either Logitech or Microsoft mice and then deal with the buildup of dirt under them or buy some Teflon tape and then shape that up. The problem with using Teflon tape (besides getting it to stick) is that it's hard getting hold of the quality kind.
Razer's Diamondback 3G is quite comfortable to use even over an extended period of time. The design of the shell has bents and curves at the right spot enabling almost everybody to grip it in a comfortable manner. Its only real problem besides being so thin is the fact that the side buttons are placed too far to the back of the mouse making it hard for people with large hands to use them.
Overall the ergonomics of this mouse is better than average, but far from being the most comfortable fit out there.
Value & Conclusion
- The Razer Diamondback 3G is available at Razer's site for $49.99.
- Looks good
- Lots of buttons
- Price / performance ratio
- Light weight
- Ergonomics (for people with large hands)
- Drivers aren't all that good (yet)
- Light weight (some like their mouse heavy)
The new Diamondback 3G is a true performer offering the best sensor for low and medium sensitivity gamers out there for a mere $49.99. The infrared sensor that the Diamondback 3G features is the same as Razer used in the DeathAdder and it provides far superior performance compared to both conventional laser and optical mice, in terms of tracking performance at speed, and stability. Another major improvement over the old Diamondback is that the new one features a lot of minor tweaks that makes it a better mouse in all circumstances. The new design makes the Diamondback look like the rest of the Razer mice available today which is both a pro and a con depending on what type of design you like.
The Diamondback is back, looking and performing better than ever before, so what's not to like?
Well for starters the quality of the driver is really bad compared to recent Razer offerings. The fact that the "Advanced" driver controls aren't included in the driver is a major letdown. The driver for the Diamondback 3G isn't as good as the one that comes with a DeathAdder since it only lets you choose between 800 and 1800 DPI sensor resolution. This is far from good enough and I hope that Razer will fix this problem with the next driver / firmware update.
Overall the Diamondback 3G is a really good mouse especially considering its price. Since it's available for only $49.99 from Razer's site this mouse is a real bargain. Compared to other mice in this price range it beats them by a fairly big margin due to the fact that it features a well trimmed infrared sensor.