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Cyborg R.A.T. review: Cyborg R.A.T.

Cyborg R.A.T.

Rich Brown
Rich Brown Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness

Rich is the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, KY. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D-printing to Z-Wave smart locks.

Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
5 min read

Easily one of the most distinctive-looking mice we've reviewed, the Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 9 is aimed at dedicated PC gamers. This wireless device boasts the highest degree of customizability we've seen in a gaming mouse, along with the highest price tag, coming in at $149. The price will drive off all but the most committed gamers, but for those willing to pay, the R.A.T. 9 will provide an unparalleled level of input control.

Cyborg R.A.T. 9 Gaming Mouse for PC

Cyborg R.A.T.

The Good

The <b>Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 9</b> is the most customizable gaming mouse available. Its two battery packs and included recharging station mean no downtime. Its unique looks make a statement, it boasts strong build quality, and it features useful button functions.

The Bad

This mouse is expensive at $149. The lateral scroll wheel is positioned awkwardly.

The Bottom Line

The Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 9 is the most expensive gaming mouse we know of, but its vast customizability, unique features, and strong performance make it a worthwhile expense for demanding PC gamers.

Even in an office full of seasoned tech journalists, the R.A.T. 9 spurred more than one person to exclaim, "Whoa, what is that thing?" Despite its mechanical appearance, this "thing" includes many of the familiar trappings of high-end gaming mice. It comes with a customizable 5,600-dots-per-inch laser sensor, a weight kit, a button dedicated to on-the-fly dpi adjustments, and a pair of thumb-side buttons to give you a few extra in-hand control options.

Mad Catz actually has a whole family of Cyborg R.A.T. gaming mice. The wireless R.A.T. 9 is the most expensive, but if you prefer wired mice, the R.A.T. 7 is otherwise identical and costs $25 to $40 less.

The R.A.T. 9 connects to your computer via a USB-powered RF receiver, which also acts as a battery-charging station, as well as a home for the tubular weight kit caddy. While some gamers, particularly competitive first-person-shooter players, have reservations about the response time of wireless mice, you can at least rule out the possibility that you'll miss out on a gaming session because of a low battery. Mad Catz includes two rechargeable battery packs with the R.A.T. 9, so you can always keep one charging while the other one's at work. The charging station comes with a convenient LED that changes from red to green when the battery is fully powered, and the lights on the mouse itself blink when the battery is running low.

The R.A.T. 9's customization software gives you minute control over the laser sensor's dpi settings, and the dedicated dpi-switching button underneath the scroll wheel lets you move between three different preprogrammed sensitivities. The software also lets you establish profiles for the mouse so you can swap between control mappings and dpi levels as you change game modes or applications. Mad Catz also takes that convenience further by including a dedicated button on the mouse itself for swapping between three of those profiles. That's a feature we hadn't seen before, and we can easily imagine using it in a game with multiple play modes, for example Just Cause 2 or the upcoming Battlefield 3, in which your character can go from running around on foot to driving a vehicle.

Beyond the sensor settings and the software customization, Mad Catz has also given the R.A.T. 9 a wider range of hardware customization options than we've ever seen. It includes a weight kit, a relatively pedestrian feature in high-end gaming mice. And with the exception of the two primary mouse buttons, if there's a place on the R.A.T. 9 that comes in contact with your hand, you can adjust it.

The Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 9 boasts a wide selection of hardware customization options.

A post running underneath the wrist rest holds up to seven round 6-gram weights. To release the weights you unscrew a metal knob from the top of the post, but the knob itself is actually an Allen wrench that you use to make various adjustments to the mouse's grip. You can store unused weights in a small canister that plugs into the receiver/battery charger, and unless you use all of the weights, a small spring-loaded cap slides down on top of the post to keep the active weights in place.

A post under the wrist rest holds the R.A.T. 9's weight kit.

With the post/Allen wrench, you can adjust both the longitudinal depth and the left-to-right cant of the thumb grip. Adjusting this piece is important, as it will determine your comfort with the three thumb buttons. Two of them sit in the familiar forward-back position for convenient Web navigation. These are the only two you can reprogram, however. A third button sits a bit farther forward on the thumb grip, and provides the unique service of temporarily adjusting your sensor dpi setting.

The red thumb-side button lets you temporarily slow down the sensitivity of the R.A.T. 9's laser sensor.

The idea behind this button is to let you briefly slow down the cursor, thus providing better control when you're temporarily zoomed in on a target in a first-person shooter. Hold the button down to snipe, let it go when you're back to more fast-paced shooting or running around. This is a sound idea, but we'll admit that in a few rounds of Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, we found we had to force ourselves to remember to use it, at which point our target had moved. We expect it would become more comfortable with practice.

On the opposite, pinkie-finger-side of the mouse, Mad Catz lets you choose from among three different side grips. The largest one provides a silicone-coated platform for your pinkie. The other two grip options are smaller but provide different textures.

Lastly, Mad Catz gives you three different wrist rests for the R.A.T. 9. One sits low and is almost flush with the main mouse body. The other two sit higher, but again offer different textures. In addition, you can slide the wrist piece along a well-designed track to make the mouse longer, giving those with larger hands a better grip.

The R.A.T. 9 has a few other features we haven't seen before. Lateral scroll wheels aren't new, but the one on this mouse sits in the lower left corner. We'd rather have it there than not, but we prefer Logitech's design, which integrates lateral scrolling with the primary scroll wheel via a tilting mechanism. The secondary scroll wheel placement is really the only hardware misstep for the R.A.T. 9. Otherwise, we found its performance and overall feel in keeping with a $150 mouse, and its customizability sets a new standard for its market segment.

Cyborg R.A.T. 9 Gaming Mouse for PC

Cyborg R.A.T.

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 10Performance 8
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