Razer Imperator Gaming Mouse Review

Posted Apr 13, 2011
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Gaming mice is one of those rare PC peripherals that hardcore gamers do not like to upgrade often. Once your hand has settled in you usually want to take that mouse to the grave. Razer doesn’t think so, hence every now and then they come up with new mice that offer something new in the name of innovation. So far anyone can safely say they have succeeded. With the Boomslang to the Copperhead, with the Deathadder to the Mamba, Razer has constantly churned out quality mice for a gamer who takes his gaming seriously. Today we have another new addition to the family.

The Razer Imperator, an ergonomic mouse aimed for a right handed gamer which also comes with Razer’s latest 3.5G laser sensor with support up to 5600dpi. Razer usually names its products after deadly and venomous snakes but to break the mold here they named this one after Roman Emperors. Let’s have a look at the specifications:

  • Ergonomic right-handed design
  • Adjustable side buttons
  • 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G Laser sensor
  • Razer Synapse On-board Memory
  • Up to 200 inches per second/ 50g acceleration
  • Seven independently programmable Hyperesponse buttons
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling / 1ms response rate
  • On-The-Fly Sensitivity adjustment
  • Zero-acoustic Ultraslick mouse feet
  • Approximate size: 123mm(L) x 71mm(W) x 42mm(H)

Packaging

If there is one thing Razer will forever be remembered for is the way they package their products and the Imperator is no different.

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The mouse comes securely packed in a cardboard box. The front is dominated by a picture of the mouse. The whole theme is, fittingly, very medieval looking.

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You can open the front of the box thats held together by velcro. I have always admired this design by Razer. It allows you to have a look at the product without having to tear apart anything. Although the mouse is covered with plastic, it still gives a good idea of the size you can expect. Very thoughtful of Razer and I hope more manufacturers follow suit.

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The sides and rear and full of different features and specs in a host of different languages. Whatever you want to know about the mouse, chances are it will be written here.

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Comes bundled with the mouse are the regular Razer goodies which include stickers, quick start guides, manual, a certificate of authenticity and a coaster of all things. Clearly Razer went an extra mile packaging and designing this. That being said I did not find any drivers CD included.

Physical Features

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The Imperator comes painted in signature Razer black color with a matte finish. The palm rest is slightly bulgier than usual Razer mice like the Lachesis or Diamondback. This gives the mouse a chubbier look than the slender looking Lachesis or Diamondback. The palm rest has a Razer logo which slowly pulsates blue when plugged in. Unlike other mice the effect is quite nice and does not distract you from your work. You have the option to turn it off completely through the software.

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The blue lighting also lights up the edges of the scroll wheel. The wheel has a nice distinct feel to it. Underneath the scroll wheel are two buttons that can be programmed to perform any macro function or any other usual function.

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The right side of the mouse is where the business end lies. Ergonomics is one end where Razer has put in extra effort and it shows. The groove below the thumb buttons is perfectly sized and lined to make positioning of the thumb a breeze. Above it are the thumb buttons. What differentiates these buttons from other mice is that they can change position; back, middle or front. The control for this is located beneath the mouse. I found the middle position the most comfortable, but if you prefer further ahead or back, Razer has you covered.

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If I was nitpicking I would have preferred the thumb groove to be made of a slightly grippier material like rubber instead of glossy plastic which tends to become slippery.

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Underneath the mouse is the slider control for the thumb buttons and a button to switch profiles. Because the Imperator comes with on-board memory you can switch profiles on the fly without having to install any software. Perfect for LAN partying. The 5600DPI 3.5G sensor is located right in the centre.

I am also happy to report that the cable is very tightly braided and it’s of pretty high quality. Non braided cables are easy to snap. The disadvantage of a tight braid however  is that once tangled up it’s difficult to straighten it up.

Software

The software control for the Imperator is clear and neatly laid out. It allows for a high degree of customisability. It’s divided into different tabs.

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The first one allows you to change the function for any button on the mouse including the scroll wheel.

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The second tab allows adjusting the performance. You can alter the DPI, the independent sensitivity for the x and y axis and the gap between different sensitivity steps. The last one is of particular importance because in my old Diamondback 3G I could only chose between 800 and 1800DPI which was far too big a step between two sensitivities. An interesting feature is the polling rate adjustment which you wont find in a lot of mice software by default.

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The third tab allows for different profiles. The Imperator comes with on-board memory and a hardware switch to change the profiles so you are no longer dependent on your software to save the settings, the on board memory takes care of that. You can set it to automatically change the profile according to whatever program you have running or you can use the hardware button to change the profile manually. An on screen display will notify you of which profile is active.

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The fourth tab allows creating new macros. You can then assign the macros to any button you want. This is extremely useful because too many times buttons such as the ones found beneath the scroll wheel on the Imperator go to waste because there is no way to alter their function.

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The fifth tab allows you to turn on or off the light effects on the palm rest and the scroll wheel individually.

Performance

To check how good the mouse is I tried it for a few days playing Team Fortress 2 and Crysis 2.

I’ve been playing Team Fortress 2 for almost 4 years with a Razer Diamondback 3G so this would have been a good test to see how competitive the Imperator is. For this test I was using the Razer Goliathus Control Edition Mousepad. Just like it would with anyone else, I had to adapt to the mouse which took a few hours. But after that I found it ridiculously comfortable to use. I found my sniping to be very accurate and quite responsive. The mouse had a wonderful feeling to it thanks to a bulgier palm rest. The right and left button have just the right amount of groove to it and they fit perfectly in your fingers. The matte texture and the thumb groove really add to the comfort level. The ability to change DPI on the fly is also extremely handy during game. With just one click you can quickly switch between high and low DPI. So if you’re a sniper and a rocketeer, you will find this option very handy.

The 3.5G 5600dpi laser sensor does an excellent job of picking up even the slightest of movements. With a firmware upgrade, it is one of the best sensors currently in any gaming mouse. The lift off distance was almost unnoticeable. High sensitivity gamers will definitely love what Razer has done with their latest sensor.

Nothing changes in desktop mode. The mouse is equally comfortable to use when browsing or when working through long hours on an excel sheet.

Z-Axis issues and Firmware

If you look around the forums many users are complaining about a faulty Z-Axis sensor in the Imperator. Basically what the problem is that if you lift the mouse up vertically, and place it at exactly the same position, the cursor on the screen will move slightly on the z-axis. Theoretically since you only moved the mouse vertically, the cursor should not change position. The delta of the positions was quite large and I would imagine it would bother hardcore gamers.

Luckily after a firmware upgrade, which only took 20 seconds, I was able to minimize the issue to a point where it wouldn’t bother anyone. So a word of advice for potential buyers, do update to the latest firm to avoid any hardware or software issues.

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Conclusion

The Imperator certainly is one of the best mouse in Razer’s lineup, and perhaps one of the best currently available. The work Razer has done in making this as ergonomic as possible certainly shows. It is extremely comfortable to use during extended hours of gaming sessions. The extra bulge on the palm rest makes this an ideal choice for palm grip users. Even claw grip users such as myself would find it very comfortable to use. The movable thumb buttons further add to the level of customization aimed at making it ergonomic. The only downfall I suppose would be the left handed users. Currently the Deathadder is the best Razer has to offer for them. I hope they offer a left-handed version of the Imperator in the near future.

High sensitivity users will find it a joy to use. The 3.5G laser sensor easily tracks over any surface, though personally I always treat good mice with a good mouse pad. The software customizations are more than what an average user will ever need.

So if you’re ever on the look out for a high quality gaming mouse, and are a right handed user, the Imperator will certainly get the job done, and then some! It’s sleek, it’s comfortable and the 3.5G sensor will get you around in any game.

Pros

  • Sleek looking
  • Brilliant sensor
  • Great software
  • Very comfortable
  • On board memory

Cons

  • For right handed users only

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