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Mad Catz R.A.T.TE review: Tournament ready

Mad Catz is renowned for its excellent gaming peripherals, ranging from precision accessories for flight simulation buffs to racing wheels to keyboards, but what its known best for is its unique R.A.T. gaming mice. Now the R.A.T. goes professional with the Tournament Edition. Does it live up to be worthy of the R.A.T. cape and cowl, or does it become the black S.H.E.E.P of the family?

Before we continue, a few things explained that will shed light on some of the terms used here:

A casual gamer is one who likes games and plays for the casual fun, maybe he/she delves a bit deeper into games, but never goes beyond just enjoying a few thrills and spills and a good story.

Serious gamers are those who invest a lot of time and skill into high performance, high impact games like online first-person shooters (FPSs) or massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. They take games seriously.

Professional gamers are men and women, who play in real tournaments for money and fame.

Now, back to the review.


R.A.T. products have a unique industrial DNA. Mad Catz has essentially done for the computer mouse, what Christopher Nolan did for the Batmobile. The regular R.A.T. products are hard-moulded plastic built around a fantastic industrial aluminum frame in an odd disjointed design. Just like Nolan's Batmobile, where everything is made for a purpose, the same way parts of the R.A.T. can be moved in, pulled out and plugged in to fit the shape of your hand perfectly.

The R.A.T. Tournament Edition is the latest addition to the family, and is built for the rigours of professional gaming. Mad Catz has put this R.A.T. on a treadmill, cut the fat, which includes the pretty parts like the aluminum. The result may not be as striking as the rest of the R.A.T. pack, but it definitely gains the lightweight advantage, weighing in at an astounding 90 grams. That makes it easy on the wrist in long heavy sessions.

That weight is mostly due to a strict diet of plastic. Not the light, flimsy, bendy stuff that Samsung is so fond of, no, the R.A.T.TE is clad in a hard plastic, which looks like it'll stay in one piece when the going gets tough. The frame on which the plastic is built on is quite a thick chunk, which is nicely ribbed at the rear bottom.

Design wise, the TE sticks somewhere in between the R.A.T. 3 and the R.A.T. 5, with all the familiar panels and parts that make this mouse one of the most comfortable in the world. The whole piece is matte black, with accents of an electric blue, which look good, but somehow the TE would have looked better in just the simple black with a blue base.

The underside of the mouse is a cloudy opaque tough frame, which houses the powerful laser, and on the sides are the PTFE feet. Running from the back fin to the top left is a cool looking blue wire. The back panel over this is adjustable by pushing down a little lever. This takes a bit of time to get used to.

In the buttons department, the TE is loaded. With 9 buttons to play around with, it offers 3 modes you can switch between. This means you can have 27 functions at your disposal. Useful not only for games like Battlefield 4, where you need to have separate controls mapped out for vehicles and jets, but also for professional software like Adobe Photoshop or video editing software, where you need the high dpi and the shortcuts for separate function clusters mapped to each mode.

You have the right and left click buttons, scrollwheel and click, back and forward shortcut buttons, a nifty dpi shift rocker, mode switch and a very useful precision mode button. Good for snipers.

It's simple to setup the R.A.T., just plug it in, download the software and the drivers from the Mad Catz site and you're up and running. At least for all the regular tasks. The real power of the R.A.T.TE is through Mad Catz's tweaking software called A.P.P.

A.P.P. is an extremely powerful, simple to use software that does not require you to know the basics of dpi, sensitivity ectectra in order to tweak the mouse to your tastes. For advanced gamers or professional, there's a plethora of options. From tweaking the 8200 dpi sensor with different values on x and y axis to tweaking the lift off distance to suit performance on various surfaces. You can also control the power consumption or sensor damping, as well as set your precision aim button.

Mapping the mouse buttons are as simple as drag and dropping the functions you want from the panel on the right to parts of the mouse. You can create different profiles, and set them to autorun when you open certain games or programmes, so you have your configurations loading up automatically.

The sheer simplicity of the software makes the R.A.T.TE a joy to use, where you can easily ALT-TAB out of a game to do fine tweaks quickly before the next round starts.


Let's talk sensor. Most mice out there usually have overtweaked sensors, throwing out stability out the window for that label on the box that says 8200 dpi. The moment you set these to max, they become erratic and twitch across the screen. The Avago sensors are a lot better, but the R.A.T.TE comes equipped with a highly precise 8200 dpi Phillips Doppler sensor that operates its best at the max dpi. It delivers a smooth-as-butter experience, with no hint of acceleration or any other modifiers — true, unadulterated tracking.

Most games are playable at 8200 dpi, a setting best left for the professionals. Most of the serious gamers will find 3500 dpi with a low sensitivity quite adequate for first person shooters. Strategy gamers or Massively Online Battle Arena players will need to pump up the dpi to 4500-6000 to be able to move around the screen fast and select the tiny battle units and move them about with speed.

The precision aim button is nice big juicy button on the side, which, when pressed, lowers the sensitivity in that area itself. Think of it as bullet time — for your mouse cursor. Fantastic if you need that extra boost of stability to line up an enemy in your sniper's sight. Something you can master so that you can use higher dpis to be able to move around quicker with better aim, and when you need to line that shot, just hold down the precision aim long enough to let loose a burst, before you snap back to your original dpi and run to a new position.

Battlefield 4 and Titanfall were the battlegrounds of choice for testing the R.A.T.TE, and not only were the headshots much easier, but also the mouse was responsive, comfortable. The weight was a big factor, as there was virtually no fatigue on long play stretches. The R.A.T.TE was perfect for both claw and palm grips, but you will need to tweak the lift-off distance setting if you are a palm user, as the back panel pulled back may cause the front to lift up a bit.

Overall the Phillips Doppler sensor did not disappoint, but it had to be tweaked constantly to get it right. Which may put off casual gamers, as both professional and serious gamers have played enough of their games to know what settings are optimal for which games. Essentially if you love tinkering, then the Mad Catz R.A.T.TE makes tinkering fun, and the results are a roaring standing ovation of the points being racked up.

Price and conclusion
The R.A.T.TE can be bought off the distributors Origin's website as well as other online retailers and retails for Rs 6,990, which is a tad expensive. However, the R.A.T.TE is meant to be that weapon of choice for gamers who need the perfect device to enhance their skills. This mouse is also perfect for gamers who take their games seriously and want a good mouse to give them an edge over the competition in their online FPS of choice.

Bottom line, the R.A.T.TE is a fantastic mouse that brings the performance, at a price.

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