As you can see, the DeathAdder fits comfortably under my hand. I had hoped to be able to use the DeathAdder on the bare surface of my desk, but this did not work. I suppose the surface is either too reflective or too grainy for the 3G sensor to track on properly. I had to resort to using an older mouse pad with the DeathAdder, which isn't really a problem except I have a much smaller "work area" than I would on the bare desk. The only optical mouse I have used that works on the bare desk is my Logitech G7. I have been using the G7 for over a year now and will be comparing the DeathAdder against it in all categories.
Usage, Comparisons and Findings
First we, we have pure comfort. Both mice feel really nice under my hand, but the DeathAdder's smooth rubber surface wins it for this category. The G7 surface material is plastic and feels like any other mouse. As mentioned earlier, the DeathAdder surface is very smooth, almost silky-like. Next we have to address the mouse cord on the DeathAdder. All of Razer's mice are corded. I could understand the need for this but now that Bluetooth technology has had time to mature, I still question why Razer hasn't released a cordless mouse yet. Granted, the DeathAdder has a long 7 foot cord complete with gold-plated USB connector, the Bluetooth-enabled G7 takes this category hands down.
Next up, mouse weight and ease of sliding. The G7 is a little bit heavier than the DeathAdder, most likely due to the rechargeable battery. Either way, both mice have Teflon feet and slide across the desk (and mouse pad) with ease. The DeathAdder does, however, edge out the G7 here, as movement feels more fluid and there is a little less resistance. This could be overall design or the fact that the G7's Teflon feet have taken a year's worth of abuse. DeathAdder wins here, but not by much.
Mouse buttons are next on the list. Each mouse has it strong and weak points. The G7 has a single thumb button as opposed to the dual button setup on the Razer offering. Both mice have clickable scroll wheels, although the effort it takes to depress the G7 scroll button is ridiculous. But, the G7 does have one feature which I would love to see on the DeathAdder: side-to-side scroll wheel movement. You can tilt the scroll wheel right or left to have it perform a task. This function works great and effectively adds two more buttons to the mouse. As far as the scroll wheel texture, I like the ribbed DeathAdder over the smooth G7 wheel. When it comes to scrolling, both mice scroll very easily. The DeathAdder does so quietly, whereas the G7 has an audible "click" to it. This could go either way, depending on your preference (much like a "clicky" keyboard vs. a silent one). Both mice click equally on the left and right main buttons. The G7 goes one step further with two more buttons directly "behind" the scroll wheel that are used to adjust dpi settings on the fly. The G7 even has a series of LEDs used to report battery information and the current dpi setting. The DeathAdder does not have any buttons solely dedicated to dpi selection, but you can program this to any of the five buttons and access it On-The-Fly by using that specific button and the scroll wheel. So what's the verdict here? The DeathAdder has five programmable buttons (including the two main buttons); the G7 has six programmable buttons, although the clickable scroll wheel is virtually useless because it is so hard to depress. I would love to see the DeathAdder use the best of both worlds: two thumb buttons and side-to-side scroll wheel buttons (dedicated DPI buttons wouldn't hurt either).
As for general use, I have been using the DeathAdder for several days now. I wanted to use it as long as possible (but not prolong / delay the review too much) in order to "get used to" the new mouse. Any time you switch mice, there will be a learning-curve simply because you are so used to the old mouse and how it performed and functioned. Other than the fact I couldn't use the DeathAdder on the bare table surface, I had absolutely no problem with it at all. I was able to fully adjust every setting on the mouse, tuning it exactly how I wanted in terms of sensitivity and button configuration. The DeathAdder software is very well laid out and easy to navigate. The mouse was just as responsive in Windows and during gaming as the G7 and was overall a bit more comfortable due to the smooth surface.
Razer opted to go the corded route rather than having a Bluetooth wireless mouse. This has its benefits and downfalls. The G7 is a cordless Bluetooth mouse that uses rechargeable batteries which must be changed on a bi-daily basis (depending on how much you use the mouse). Two batteries are included with the G7 so you can have one charging while the other is in use. This is great except for the minor hassle of having to physically change the battery several times a week. Also, should you happen to lose one of your batteries (like I did at the last OCIA.net LAN party), you will find that acquiring a replacement is no easy task. The corded DeathAdder has none of these problems... except, it's corded.
Razer is headed in the right direction with the DeathAdder, that's for sure. I would, however, suggest they keep the two side thumb buttons and add a tilt-wheel function to their next mouse. This would bring the total usable buttons to seven. While you are at it, take a page from the G7's book and add two extra dedicated dpi selector buttons. Nine total buttons may sound like a lot, but when you work in front of a computer screen for the majority of the day like I do, you really begin to appreciate the added functionality that these buttons bring to the table (not to mention a few less Windows hot keys that you need to memorize!). Also, remember that if you move the mouse to a different USB port, you will need to reinstall the driver software, so if possible, keep the DeathAdder in the original port. As of writing, the price difference between the two mice was only $5.00 USD with the G7 being the more expensive of the two.