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[nextpage title=”Introduction”]If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Well, Razer decided the saying was wrong – and it also thought about giving an answer to those who claimed the company just releases the same mouse all over again with some minor modifications. The new Imperator breaks the mold of the previous line of snake-inspired peripherals. Let’s take a step by step look at what’s changed and if the new stuff makes for a better product.

mouse ImperatorFigure 1: Razer Imperator mouse.

For starters, the mouse still keeps that Razer look of a predatory beast, but you can see a major change right away: the thumb buttons slide back and forth in three different positions, so there’s no way to complain about them being to far away or behind the reach of your thumb. There’s a slider underneath the Imperator to adjust the thumb buttons.

mouse ImperatorFigure 2: sliding thumb buttons.
mouse ImperatorFigure 3: Slider control underneath.

Among other things, Razer finally presents a cloth-wrapped cable and also decided to take away the weighting system. That can alienate the users who like being able to adjust the weight of their mice. The Imperator’s right-handed ergonomic form speaks to both the “palm grip” players and also the “claw grip” bunch.There’s a very deep thumb rest made of glossy plastic and a very subtle one for the pinkie. The rest of the body is rubber-coated and it features the illuminated Razer logo. The scroll-wheel is also illuminated but it doesn’t do horizontal scrolling.[nextpage title=” Configuring the Imperator”]The Imperator reaches up to 5,600 dpi of resolution and it has a response time of 1 ms. The configuration software finally got a little more streamlined. There’s nine reprogrammable functions: the regular and side buttons, the ones to quick adjust the dpi levels (bellow the scroll-wheel) and the scroll-wheel itself, up and down. The user can set five different sensitivity levels (the other mice usually allow only three) and create macros. With that much range of costumization, finding your preferences is only a matter of trial-and-error and some intense gaming. Everything can be saved in  different profiles stored into the internal memory of the Imperator, accessible through a small button near the laser cannon underneath the mouse body. The last screen gives the user the option to keep the scroll-wheel and Razer logo illuminated or not.

mouse ImperatorFigure 4: Configuration software.

[nextpage title=”Playing with the Imperator”]Playing with the Imperator was the best experience we had with a Razer mouse so far because of the right-handed ergonomic form. We were able to control the peripheral with minute thumb movements from inside the deep rest. It’s a matter of gaming style: it serves the palm grip crowd because of its desing, but it can also appeal to the claw grippers like ourselves. The sliding side buttons should become the norm of the market: it’s such an obvious solution we can’t help but wonder why it has not been always so. However, some other gaming-grade mice feature surface analysis tools to improve the peripheral’s performance that are severely lacking in the Imperator’s software. It’s time for Razer to incorporate that. We didn’t regret the lack of a weighting system, but for some players that is really important. The scroll-wheel was just as precise as in any other Razer model and we used it to cycle through our arsenal in Modern Warfare 2 just as fast as Clint Eastwood can draw a gun. The changes the Imperator has brought were most welcome.

mouse ImperatorFigure 5: The illuminated Imperator.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]The Razer Imperator mouse main specifications are:

  • Gaming-grade right-handed laser mouse
  • Assignable functions: 9
  • Tracking Resolution: up to 5,600 dpi (user selectable in 5 stages)
  • Maximum velocity: 5.1 m/s 200 IPS
  • Acceleration: 50 G
  • Response rate 1ms
  • Approximate size: 4 7/8" x 2 3/4" x 1 5/8" (12.3 x 7.1 x 4.2 cm)
  • Weight: 6.35 oz (180 g)
  • Gold-plated USB connection
  • Cloth-wrapped cord
  • More information: https://www.razerzone.com
  • Average price in the US*: USD 80

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

[nextpage title=”Conclusion”]Strong Points:

  • Sliding side buttons are very innovative
  • Perfect grip for right-handed users
  • Cloth-wrapped cord is a nice finishing touch
  • Less clunkier software
  • Innovations worked out: this is the best Razer mouse we tested so far

Weak points:

  • No horizontal scrolling
  • Lack of a weighting system could alienate some users
  • Restricted to right-handed users
  • No surface analysis tool bundled with the configuration software