Software and Performance
The use of an optical sensor means you need a decent, non-reflective surface to play on, but that's unlikely to be a problem for most gamers. Thankfully, the sensor really delivers when it comes to tracking – movements feel very accurate and there's no built-in acceleration, though it can be added in the Synapse software if you wish. DPI levels are changeable in 50 DPI increments, and the polling rate can be set to 125Hz, 500Hz or 1,000Hz. Using a variety of settings, we didn't experience any unwanted or laggy movements. That said, at the highest DPI settings, it does become very jittery and hard to control – we really can't see many people ever needing to go that high, however.
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Synapse is fairly unique for a peripherals software package in that it requires you to have an internet connection to create a profile and log in before you can access settings. Offline use is supported after this, but it's still not something we fully agree with. The online use allows for storing your settings in the cloud. Profiles and macros are effectively unlimited and both can be imported and exported easily. However, you do lose the ability to store settings on-board the DeathAdder Chroma as a result, which means you're reliant on having the Synapse software on every PC you want to use custom settings on – the most recently used lighting settings and DPI level do carry over, but everything else will be lost. Whether or not this suits you will depend on your lifestyle and playstyle, but we can certainly see it putting some people off.
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Thankfully, elsewhere Synapse excels. It's clearly laid out, responsive and a breeze to use. On the DeathAdder Chroma, all five buttons plus the scroll commands can be customised with a long list of functions. Despite the lack of dedicated DPI control buttons, you can easily set one or more buttons to change your DPI level on the fly, with five DPI stages available per profile, and each profile can be tied to a program or game of your choosing for automatic switching. There are no DPI indicators on the mouse, but an on-screen display lets you know the new sensitivity level should you ever change it, which is handy. The macro editor is also great, with really clear options for recording and editing, and all functions are executed by the mouse without pause.
While DPI, acceleration and polling rate settings are adjusted on a per-profile basis, surface calibration settings, which include presets for Razer's own mousemates and an analysis tool for other surfaces and lift-off distance control, are applied universally. The RGB lighting control is very basic. You control the scroll wheel and logo separately, and either one can be set to a static colour, cycling through the spectrum or off altogether, and the logo also has a single colour breathing effect available.
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Finally, Synapse also offers stat tracking on a per-game basis, offering information on clicks, distance moved and more in each session, as well as heatmaps of your clicking and movements, and even the ability to share said data via Facebook or Twitter. This is not something we would ever use, but hey, the option's there.
The latest DeathAdder is still a lovely mouse. The price tag certainly make it high-end, and there are plenty of more basic options available if you just want a decent optical gaming mouse. However, we have few complaints. The sensor offers excellent tracking across all but its craziest of DPI levels, there's plenty of options to tailor the mouse to your needs and it's also comfortable in a variety of grips. We're still not convinced by the over-reliance on software and the internet to use all of your settings, but we also acknowledge that this just won't be an issue for many players. FPS fanatics may want to look towards the Asus ROG Gladius
for this price, as it has a more premium construction and a more focussed design. However, for those who want a little more flexibility in functionality, the DeathAdder Chroma is a fine choice.