Evolved from the DeathAdder Chroma, the DeathAdder Elite has an improved sensor as well as improved buttons which are sure to seduce professional and demanding gamers. To this end, Razer has introduced a new sensor called “5G” and has equipped its product with even more durable buttons. But, is this enough to distinguish this new model from its predecessors?
At first glance it is difficult to see the innovations introduced by the DeathAdder Elite. This new model reuses the exact same design as the Chroma, meaning that this mouse is also of average size and weight (127 x 70 x 44 mm and 105 g), as well as being exclusively reserved for right-handed users.
It is difficult to fault Razer for not making any changes to the shape of its new mouse since the DeathAdder has become a reference for gamers over the last few years. Furthermore, this American manufacturer offers various designs to allow everyone to find the mouse that best suits his or her hand. This mouse is comfortable and you will find that your hand naturally conforms to its shape. However, the DeathAdder is not particularly well suited to palm gripping and is best used in a claw grip, or with a finger tip grip – for users with larger hands. Indeed, the mouse’s outer casing is highly slanted towards the right and somewhat short, forcing users to bend their middle and ring finger or to move their entire hand backwards to allow these two fingers to rest on the mouse. Only users with small hands will actually be able to place their entire palm on the mouse. As a result, this mouse’s comfort level is unquestionably inferior to that of the Mamba – which is from the same manufacturer and which has similar proportions, but which is slanted differently. This mouse can be considered a compromise between the aggressive shape of the Diamondback – designed for a finger tip grip – and the more rounded shape of the Mamba or even the Naga.
At any rate, the build-quality of this mouse is quite satisfactory – the black plastic used has a slightly rough texture and is dirt-resistant. Elastomer inserts improve the adhesion of the user’s thumb and little finger. Unfortunately, these are much smaller than the ones found on the Mamba; we would have preferred that they cover a larger surface in order to offer more support to the little finger which is forced to rest on a slippery surface, making it difficult to lift the mouse in order to reposition it when playing with low sensitivity settings.
Apart from these small inconveniences, there is nothing else about the DeathAdder Elite that can be criticized. The user’s index and middle finger easily fall into place on the two main buttons – which have a slightly convex shape – and the user’s thumb will have no trouble accessing the two well-positioned side buttons. The two main buttons now employ mechanical switches which were developed in conjunction with Omron and which are guaranteed to last for at lest 50 million clicks; those used by the DeathAdder Chroma are only guaranteed for 20 million. This added resilience should allow the mouse to survive many years of intense use. The responsiveness of these two buttons is also excellent and their high level of sensitivity is a real advantage for gaming. They are also relatively silent, at least more so than those used on the Mamba.
Top-side, the scroll-wheel has not evolved in any way and still does not have lateral buttons to allow for horizontal scrolling – although the latest Mamba is equipped with this capability. It is however remarkably smooth, providing soft and silent scrolling.
The only visible novelty which has been incorporated into the Elite is to be found behind the scroll-wheel: two switches have indeed been added for changing the sensor’s sensitivity on the fly (default function, modifiable). Their manipulation requires performing some finger gymnastics because they are positioned rather high up on the mouse. It is therefore hard to imagine them being used within a game during the heat of the action, but they are however useful for easily switching between sensitivities when going from one game to another or to switch to a sensitivity setting suitable for other computer tasks.
There have also been some improvements made in terms of how easily this mouse slides since the PTFE pads which have been incorporated into this Elite model are larger than ever before – ensuring perfect sliding. The two pads which figure on the DeathAdder Chroma have been replaced by a single pad covering the entire width of the Elite; a separate pad surrounds the sensor orifice.
In terms of backlighting, no changes have been made either. The Elite’s RGB backlighting – which has been used ever since the Chroma – is capable of producing beautiful color variation effects which can be modified via the mouse’s software (see the box below). The mouse’s scroll-wheel and Razer logo light up for your viewing pleasure.
Given its name, it would have been difficult for this Elite version not to introduce a new type of sensor at the cutting-edge of technology. With this mouse, Razer has introduced a new 5G optical sensor, capable of handling accelerations of up to 50Gs and with a sensor speed approaching 450 inches/second – some 11.43 meters/second. According to the manufacturer the resolution precision is 99.4%, which allows it to capture the slightest displacement of the mouse without any failure to properly interpret the mouse’s movements. Indeed, it is difficult to find any fault whatsoever with this sensor, and the DeathAdder Elite should be able to excel in even the most demanding of situations. Moreover, the sensor is able to function on a wide variety of surface types – with the exception of glass surfaces or any surface which is too reflective.
It is also possible to vary the mouse’s sensitivity – even by a single DPI value – up to a whopping 16 000 DPI. Remember that such a high sensitivity value is not at all useful for the vast majority of users since it corresponds to being able to make the mouse pointer travel across 3 Ultra HD displays by moving the mouse a mere 2 cm. That having been said, users will undoubtedly enjoy being able to set 5 levels of sensitivity which can be toggled through by means of the mouse’s buttons.
It is also possible to set the height at which the sensor stops responding as the mouse is lifted off the surface and to calibrate this height to the specific surface that the mouse is being used on. Of course Razer recommends its own mouse pads, but it is entirely possible to use this mouse with the pad of your choice. The brand new Gigantus that we used during our tests is not even listed yet, but it worked impeccably well in conjunction with the DeathAdder Elite. This giant mouse pad – 455 x 455 mm – works very well for playing games with low sensitivity settings since it is possible to make very large mouse movements without leaving the boundaries of the pad. It is however hard to use a full-size keyboard with this mouse pad, since its 5 mm height makes it difficult to place a keyboard on top of it; it would be better to use a keyboard without a number pad (compact or TKL) or a dedicated gaming keypad.
- Accurate and fast sensor.
- Reactive and discrete switches.
- Pleased in hand, buttons well placed.
- Good manufacturing quality.
- Elastomer areas too small.
- No horizontal scrolling on the wheel.
With its DeathAdder Elite, Razer has managed to innovate within a context of continuity, as it has been doing for the last several generations of its most popular computer mice. This strategy seems to be working since DeathAdder products have been adopted by a wide public. Without any evolution to its shape, which is very comfortable to hold – but, not necessarily well suited to all users – this Elite version is truly at the cutting-edge thanks to its powerful sensor and responsive buttons. There is not a huge difference between this mouse and the DeathAdder Chroma, although the two extra buttons on the top of the mouse are a welcome addition.