While it might not be the most expensive or flashy mouse on the market, Mad Catz’s R.A.T. Tournament Edition is definitely not something you’ll want to skip over in the hardware store.
The mouse itself is actually less sophisticated than some of the others in the R.A.T. range, but Mad Catz removed the interchangeable parts and some of the customisation options to focus their efforts on making the basics as polished as they could be.
Design and Aesthetics
I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this one, but I actually quite like the outlandish design of the R.A.T. TE. While it’s true that it looks a little on the flimsy side, it’s actually built as if it’s been modelled on Optimus Prime.
The mouse is actually very comfortable to hold for long periods of time, and the blue and black plastic ensure that it’s not going to fall apart any time soon. One of the greatest design features from a comfort point of view is the adjustable length of the body. There’s a small, almost unnoticeable lever on the back of the mouse, just below the scratch mark emblem that allows you to slide the back portion of the mouse forward and backward to accommodate any hand size. My only qualm is that this makes the mouse feel slightly unbalanced when fully extended, as all the weight is at the front of the mouse. Other than that, the build quality is something to be desired. Did I also mention that the USB 3.0 connector is gold-plated?
The mouse has two programmable macro buttons on the side, as well as a circular button that drops the DPI when held, reducing sensitivity and allowing greater accuracy during gameplay. All of these buttons are easy to reach but aren’t so close to your hand that you’re always knocking them.
If you take a look at the top of the mouse you’ll notice a few things. One of these things is a little button labelled “Mode”. What this does is allow you to have multiple “modes” for the mouse, each with its own macro and DPI settings, but more on that later. You’ll also notice the usual left and right-click buttons as well as the scroll wheel (which, of course, is clickable). However, just behind the scroll wheel is a little button that changes the sensitivity of the mouse. It’s very simple to use. Just click either the front or back of the button to raise or lower the sensitivity respectively. There are 4 red LEDs above the circular DPI drop button that show what stage of sensitivity you are at. A great little feature that isn’t obvious at first glance.
I can’t say that the R.A.T TE software is the best macro engine I’ve ever used, because, quite frankly, it’s horrific. This is the one place where Mad Catz has really fallen down, relying on the looks and features to sell their product.
While it’s great that you can have different profiles for each different game, and then three separate modes within that, the way you have to go about it is not fun. You have to physically drag and drop different actions onto each button of the mouse, and there aren’t that many inbuilt macros that could be useful in a game situation. Sure, you can program your own, but it’s not what I’d call “user-friendly”. Also, be careful, macros will not overwrite the normal button functions. What I mean by this, is that if you set the “precision aim” button to the F11 key or something, it will still reduce DPI when held down.
As mentioned before there are three different “modes” that you can use. The current mode is displayed on a coloured LED on the mode button, but two of the colours (blue and purple, I believe) are practically impossible to tell apart. This might just be my colour-blindness, but I sincerely doubt it.
In my opinion, there are only two useful features of the R.A.T. TE software:
- The “Settings” tab. This allows you to edit the DPI for each of the 4 DPI levels, toggle the DPI switch, edit the “precision” of the “precision aim” button (that circular one I mentioned earlier) and a couple of other things.
- The “Download Drivers and Software” button under the “Support” tab for when Windows likes to keep you outdated.
Despite the shortcoming of the software, the mouse still performs incredibly well. I know, I know, it’s a mouse, there’s not much that differentiates it from other mice with regards to performance, right? Well, you’re wrong. The macro buttons, though difficult to set up, are incredibly responsive, and the mouse itself isn’t exactly a tortoise either, but what really keeps this mouse above others is the “precision aim” button. It might sound like a silly idea, but it is so useful to be able to lower sensitivity to get that kill in Overwatch, or to ensure you don’t miss that important shot in CS:GO. It’s a feature obviously intended for FPS games, but it’s still a must-have.
If you’re interested, I use a SteelSeries QcK+ mouse mat, and it’s great.
What can I say? It ain’t perfect, but when has anything ever been perfect? It’s easy to overlook the bumbling software once you’ve experienced the power of the Mad Catz R.A.T. TE, especially for the price.
I’ve been using a computer for many years and I still think that this is one of the best mice I have ever used.