Sometimes in gaming, you have to accept that the stats will not turn in your favor. More than many, Mad Catz knows a thing or two about coming back from a bruising. With the launch of a new line of peripherals, we find out if the Hong Kong manufacturer is coming out swinging.
Back in late 2018 Mad Catz returned to the gaming foray, after nine months in administration and with a brand new line of gaming mice. The new R.A.T. range of gaming mice still endures as one of the peripheral brand’s most iconic devices and so it seems fitting that the first line from this brand reborn, are the R.A.T.s. The R.A.T. 4+, 6+, 8+, and S3 are all part of this new wave, and we wrapped our hand around the R.A.T. 8+ to find out what the return of Mad Catz means for pc gaming.
The R.A.T. 8+ is pitched as the professional gamer’s tool in every respect. The mouse comes in and around the top end of the current Mad Catz range with just the S3 and X3 packing in more features. For this outlay, gamers get the same level of precision engineering as the mid-range R.A.T 6+ with some significant upgrades. The same luxury Omron switches sit inside the R.A.T. 8+ and 6+ yet the 8+ chassis houses an improved sensor, a wider DPI range, faster USB report rates, and an increased frame rate, for starters.
Packaging and In the Box
While the price range brings it in near the top en of the new R.A.Ts range, Mad Catz does n’t spend any time grandstanding with the R.A.T 8+ packaging. Instead, Mad Catz let the mouse do all the talking, and encase the R.A.T. 8+ in a transparent plastic front. The additional cardboard backing makes the R.A.T 8+ particularly easy to get into and it has to be noted that there is very little unnecessary plastic wrap or polythene in place, meaning you can skip the normal precursor quest and ditch unwinding ten cable ties to get at your prize.
Hidden beneath the R.A.T. 8+ are two packets containing spare components that we will discuss later. Also included are a quick start guide, the warranty leaflet, and a bunch of stickers ready to plaster over an unsuspecting acquaintance.
Out of the Box
Irrespective of any internal differences between the line-up of R.A.T.s, one thing remains utterly consistent, the iconic design. Whatever you think about the lineage, almost every PC gamer I know is aware of the R.A.Ts unique approach to aesthetics. The same distinctive shape, open shell, and customizable components continue to feature in the R.A.T. 8+. The exposed internals and RGB effect, with 16.8 million colors, make the new R.A.T. mice stand apart from more elegant opposition like the Razer Deathadder Elite. This is certainly going to breed a polarizing response from anybody who does not want a peripheral that could be mistaken for an autonomous attack drone, but it also makes the R.A.T. 8+ stand out from the crowd.
- Omoron Switches up to 50 million clicks
- 11 programmable buttons
- 145 grams
- Pixart PMW3389 Sensor
- Maximum DPI 16000
- Maximum USB Report Rate 2000hz
- Tracking Speed 400 CPI
- Frame rate: 16000
- Acceleration: 50G
- Three Zone RGB Lighting
- 16.8 Million Colors
In among the R.A.T.s bold fashion statement is a functional aesthetic. Hidden beneath the flashy exterior lies the key to the R.A.T.s extra accessories. Flip the R.A.T. 8+ over and it is easy to identify a concealed screw tool. Using this tool, the right side finger rest of this design can be quickly disconnected and replaced for one of the two packaged alternatives, either a rubberized grip or a thumb rest that provides some limited amount of support for left-handed keyboard warriors. This is not the only use for the aforementioned tool. Two more screws remain, one located near the back of the mouse and the other squirreled away inside the R.A.T. 8+. These two adjustable screw heads allow the left thumb rest to move both backward and forwards along the Y-axis or rotate through an angle. As the video demonstration below shows, this is a simple process and takes just a few seconds to change your mind. However, do be warned that with such a small the tool, I had to acquire an extra pair of pliers just to exert enough torque to release the pre-tightened parts for the very first time. Thankfully, swapping the palm rest does not require additional hardware. Sliding the installed palm cover from the R.A.T. 8+ is a simple operation. A single button press on the right side allows the palm rest to slide backward, increasing the overall length of the mouse, and eventually releasing it from the back of the mouse. This is easily quickest adjustment that owners can make, providing good compatibility for a range of hand sizes and grips.
The configurable mechanics of the R.A.T. 8+ do not stop there. Hidden just behind the R.A.T.s unique screw tool is a series of weights. Rather than arranging these weights on a more traditional horizontal plane and inserting them into the base of the R.A.T. 8+, Mad Catz has opted to flip them on their side and secure them in a vice configuration. It is, once again, an unusual design decision, but seems to work well enough, allowing an already solid mouse to gain some extra mass around it.
While the interchangeable body parts of the R.A.T. 8+ are a mix of rubber and plastic, the core of the R.A.T. 8+ has definite heft to it. The configurable plastic sections of the R.A.T are clustered around a metal base, making this peripheral feel solid without being overly weighty. The entire construct manages to flow across modern gaming surfaces and less pristine desk surfaces with ease, never feeling like a particular problem when navigating the screen. The Pixart PMW3389 sensor that drives all this is situated in the center of the R.A.Ts metal foundation and is capable of reaching an impressive 16,000 DPI.
The optical sensor range is easily comparable to designs like the Razer DeathAdder and the performance and easily competes with other pro devices in this category. The option to tweak the sensor DPI setting is a common one for most modern mice, and the R.A.T. 8+ is no exception. Squeezed in at the apex of the left and right mouse triggers are the DPI triggers that allow players to cycle through 4 defined DPI configurations. The inclusion of a user-customized lift-off height and rotax angle alone makes for a mouse that really will stay with you as you put the enemy through their paces.
While much of the DPI options are common among the market, it only represents a tiny fraction of the configurable content left on the Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+. The 11 programmable buttons attached to this mouse are dotted around the R.A.T. 8+ and include the mentioned DPI triggers, a multi-use scroll wheel, two front mouse buttons, a pair of side triggers, a profile switch, and a precision fire button.
Hanging in just above the base of the left thumb rest, the precision trigger is a handy little addition that speaks to the pedigree of the R.A.T. 8+. While my own Logitech G600 is a dazzling cluster of switches all configured for the best rotation possible, the R.A.T. 8+ is sparse by comparison. The precision trigger is one of three buttons that are seated around the left thumb rest and allows players to momentarily change the DPI of the R.A.T 8+. It is partnered by a rather unique secondary scroll wheel that fits snugly under my index finger. Together, this combination is clearly tuned to go first person against enemy soldiers, taking zombie head-shots, or reveling in your own Doom.
Software and Setup
Every single one of these 11 buttons is programmed using the Mad Catz flux interface. Available on the official website, the R.A.T 8+ compatible software does an adequate job of mapping a maze of options. Programming button actions, recording custom commands, setting DPI, changing the three RGB zones, and modifying the precision trigger are all actions that seem clear and concise. I found that that the split between mouse wide and profile specific starts to complicate the interface a little, losing itself in drop-down menus as you delve deeper into the first time config. For the most part, however, each of the settings is easy to understand, and the onboard memory makes for some assurance you won’t have to spend too long resetting any of these as you travel between systems.
The more minor pitfalls of the Flux interface are a clear reflection of the central design philosophy behind the R.A.T. 8+. For the player that wants unparalleled control over their own experience, the R.A.T. 8+ is a league apart from rivals. My own time with the R.A.T. 8+ found a mouse that handled every gaming surfaces and desk I propped it on. The Omron switches are, of course responsive, giving good tactile feedback rotating, clicking, or blasting a hole in something. The choice of optical sensor is excellent and, for most gamers, indistinguishable from comparable rivals. Like the Razer Deathadder, the Mad Catz R.A.T 8+ is up there with the best that I’ve tried, but there are not the same animal.
While the Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+ is as dazzling as the Deathadder is utilitarian, it can work so well. Like the Swiftpoint Z, take some time with this and it will work in most situations. Claw, palm, or tip grip users should be able to use the R.A.T. 8+ all the same. You most certainly do not want to write the R.A.T. 8+ off as a novelty. This mouse will take on almost any fight and invariably win.
- All the RGB, just all of it
- More customization options than you can count
- The iconic design
- Some unusual button choices
- Can seem overly complex at times
- The iconic design