Razer Deathadder troubles

Last month, Razer released its new mouse, called the Deathadder. Unlike the previous mouse, the Copperhead, the Deathadder uses a optical sensor (IR) and not a (UV) laser.

According to Razer the Deathadder’s sensor is an upgraded version of older optical sensors, offering higher speeds and slightly better resolution.

Also, this is the first Razer mouse (the Habu being a Microsoft mouse) which doesn’t use an ambidextrous shape. Sorry lefties.

On Razer Blueprints it quickly turned out there were quite a few problems with this latest Razer mouse. Razer presented the product that would suit players with a low in-game mouse sensitivity.
The first problem is positive acceleration.

This means that the mouse precision is unreliable because when you move the mouse some distance in a direction, and then move it back quickly, the cursor will not end up in the same place as you started. Unacceptable for a ‘gaming’ mouse.

The second problem is the ‘lift-off’ distance.

Old ballmice immediately stopped moving when you lifted the mouse up. Gamers regularly reposition their mice for optimum precision. When the first opticals appeared on the market, those mice kept moving even if you were slightly above the mousepad. The Deathadder was launched with the promise of a minimal liftoff distance. The first firmwares (<1.05) actually have a higher liftoff distance than any other mouse, sometimes as much as 10mm above the mousing surface. Almost unusable for people with low sensitivities. The mouse also kept moving if you pointed it at the screen, or at the ceiling. The sensor apparently trying to find some pattern to recognise in the incoming distant light.

The third problem is related to the scrollwheel.

As with any mouse you can press the scrollwheel down to make it work as a third mousebutton. The Deathadder seems to have a problem with this in games, where you’ll suddenly move around when you press the 3rd mousebutton.

Razer really has a problem with quality control, product testing and living up to specifications. Their trackrecord so far:

Razer Boomslang

A ballmice that regularly got stuck, both the buttons and the movement.

Razer Viper

an optical mice that wasn’t capable of tracking fast movements because it used an old sensor with a magnifying lens.

Razer Diamondback

using a very thin USB cable to minimize drag sounds like a good idea, but the cables on this mouse break easily internally. The first versions of the mouse also suffer from a pixel skipping problem when you change direction.

Razer Copperhead

Razer’s first laser mouze. Suffered from polling rate instabilities and low maximum tracking speeds. Also the original driver CD included a firmware update that would kill the mouse.

Razer IAS

Wasted enough words and time on this poor and very expensive set. The soundcard works fine, but is just 5 times too expensive. The headphones are a joke.

Razer will really have a problem on their hands when people start realising that their (expensive) products are almost never living up to their promises and break easily. This trend was already noticable after the Copperhead problems and the recent Deathadder problems haven’t exactly made things better.

I truly hope Razer get their quality control fixed.


The new Deathadder firmware (installed by default on new Deathadders) fixes all problems. This makes the Deathadder a nearly flawless mouse which I’ll recommend to my friends.

3 thoughts on “Razer Deathadder troubles

  1. Pingback: Arie’s blog » Blog Archive » Razer Lachesis review

  2. Hi, any experience with the more recent Razer mice? I’m still working with the MX518 (first batch ever, release day), and I’m wondering how Razer stack up now. I did buy a diamondback around the same time as the mx518 and the mouse click broke, there wasn’t a way to fix it up myself as far as I could see.

  3. The current (3500 DPI) Deathadder is great, no issues as far as I know. The laser mice (imperator, mamba, naga) all suffer from acceleration (dynamic dpi scaling), and should be avoided.