How much thought do you put into your mouse? That little piece of plastic next to your keyboard that acts as a key component to interacting with what’s on your PC screen?
If you’re like most, probably not much. Hell, even many hardcore PC gamers I’ve met don’t seem to think much about their choice of mouse. I’ve seen countless setups with high end hardware, crazy 4K monitors, the clickiest of mechanical keyboards, and then a simple Microsoft wireless mouse.
I think the reason is that for most people, when a mouse works, that’s all they really need. When you already have a full keyboard-worth of keys at your disposal, the two buttons and a scroll wheel are all that’s necessary on your other input.
However, for those that do make the jump to a more involved mouse, whether “gaming” or not, they often tell me how they could never go back to the standard. Hell, I’m the same way; I upgraded to a “gaming” mouse a few months ago and don’t know how I lived without it. Having a multitude of programmable extra keys at my fingertips just makes gaming feel easier.
The products we are looking at today are entries from Patriot’s relatively recent Viper sub-brand. Originally established as a RAM brand, Viper expanded to offering gaming peripherals in 2015.
While the Viper V570 Blackout mouse and Gaming Mouse Pad are two separate retail products, they feel as if they are intended to work together, so we will cover both at once.
At a quick glance, the V570 Blackout mouse looks like a fairly standard mouse. There aren’t any weird build quirks about it that give it the stereotypical “gaming” look, something that I much appreciate as I prefer a more subdued PC setup.
The molding of the mouse is well-contoured to my hand, with a deep thumb-rest area and a subtle curve for my pinky finger. It is a bit larger in size; those with smaller hands may struggle a bit here. Also of note is that due to the molding, this isn’t a mouse for left-handed users.
The V570, as expected of a gaming mouse, also includes a variety of extra buttons that are software-programmable. Two are in the upper-left corner for tapping by the pointer finger, five are lined up above where the thumb sits, with the last one sitting right under where your thumb pad should naturally rest. The button lineup creates a clean look, but we’ll dive into their functionality a bit later.
The aspect of the V570 that intrigued me the most was its adjustable weight system. The package comes with a set of seven weights, which can be inserted into snug slots hidden underneath a magnetic panel on the mouse’s body. Only six can be inserted at a time, the seventh being a spare in case you lose one. The package also includes a slick little case for the weights branded with the Viper logo, a small but thoughtful touch.
The other interesting part of the V570 are the ceramic footpads. So long as the mouse is used on a hard flat surface, these footpads allow the mouse to glide around incredibly smoothly. Seriously, just a slight tap on the mouse and it glides halfway across the mousepad.
Enough about form, how about function? The V570 is marketed toward FPS and MMO players, so I’ve been putting it to the test the past few weeks with a focus on two games, Borderlands 3 and Final Fantasy XIV, as well as regular daily work and internet use.
Right after plugging it in and installing Viper’s software, the very first thing I ended up having to do was turn down the default DPI and disable mouse acceleration. I wasn’t kidding when I said this mouse glides on its pad like butter. The most subtle movements would send my pointer flying, so I had to bring it under control.
Speaking of which, the software for this mouse does offer a wide range of options for customization. Every input save for the left click button can be customized, and there are five separate profiles available that you can switch between. You can assign basic mouse functions (clicks, double clicks, wheel scrolls), any keyboard button, specialty functions like adjusting DPI and locking axes, as well as customizable macros, to each button. There are also four DPI settings that can be programmed and switched between at the press of a button.
I created two profiles, one for each of my test games, as well as a couple of custom DPI settings (1900 DPI for standard use, and 0 DPI specifically for playing Osu, where I use a tablet and don’t want any accidental mouse input). Customizing profiles was as simple as a few clicks, and I set the couple of rocker buttons below the scroll wheel to switch between profiles and DPI respectively.
Also, like any good gaming peripheral, the V570 includes customizable RGB. The software offers up a couple of automatic lighting effects, as well as the ability to set the color for seven different zones on the mouse. Two of the zones near the base default to switching color as you switch your mouse profile, something that I found surprisingly useful.
Experimenting with the weight system was mostly trial and error; I played for a few hours with multiple different weights and positions to find something ideal. Without any weights in the mouse, the V570 is honestly much too light, to the point that it almost felt hollow. Fully loaded was the opposite problem, it felt like the mouse dragged a bit too much. I eventually settled on using four weights, mostly concentrated near the center of the body with one at the bottom, giving me a good feel without too unbalanced of a glide.
Jumping in to games, in FFXIV, I set the side buttons to hotbar commands that I couldn’t reach easily on my keyboard without moving my hand (go easy on me, I’m still new at the game). Essentially, everything past ‘5’ on the hotbar wound up on my mouse. I also set the mouse’s wheel click to ‘Ctrl’ so I could access my second hotbar easier.
There were two immediate issues I faced once I started using these side buttons more. One, my hand on this mouse naturally rests fairly low. In a comfortable grip, the upper-most thumb button (and the thumb-pad button) is out of reach. For ideal use, I would’ve had to train myself to grip further up the mouse, which feels somewhat uncomfortable.
Secondly, no matter where I’m holding on the mouse, the lower thumb buttons require bending my thumb quite far down to hit, causing me to lose my grip. With how easily the mouse glides, going for these lower buttons would often cause me to push the mouse to the right at the same time. That may have been combated by lowering DPI a bit more, but it doesn’t change the awkward thumb movement required to hit some of these buttons.
Over in Borderlands 3, I didn’t use as many of the programmable buttons, just setting the upper-left pointer buttons to grenades and special skills. The ease-of-movement of this mouse was extremely useful here, allowing me to jump between targets with ease. Of note is the thumb-pad button here, which is preset to “sniper mode,” which essentially drops your DPI temporarily for more precision. Due to the aforementioned grip issues making this button hard to reach comfortably, though, I rarely ended up using this function.
All the Wrong Angles
I’ll be honest, I’ve never much seen a reason to own a “gaming mouse pad.” Mouse pads are just that, a flat surface of fabric or plastic to set your mouse on. Do they really need to be gamified?
Viper’s offering is a solid polymer slab with rubber on the bottom to keep it from slipping. You get a funky “gaming” shape with multiple angles, as well as RGB offerings both around the perimeter and in the Viper logo on the pad’s surface.
On the plus side, as I mentioned earlier, the V570 is definitely made for a hard-surface mouse pad like this. I’d imagine that the ceramic feet wouldn’t make much of a noticeable difference on a fabric pad. Viper’s pad is also relatively large, although I only use a small portion of it (I can move my pointer from end-to-end of my dual monitor setup without even moving the mouse across a quarter of the pad). Of course, there are those that prefer less sensitive movement, so the larger surface area will been a boon for them.
As far as RGB, everything in the mousepad is pre-programmed. There are six colors (as well as a rainbow choice), as well as six display modes ranging from breathing to solid. All of these are controlled by a couple buttons on the mouse pad’s power cord. You know how I mentioned earlier that I’m not much into flashy stuff in my PC setup? That definitely goes for the Viper pad’s RGB; after messing around with it for a while, I just left it turned off.
My main issue with the pad is in its design. The weird angles on it make it very difficult to place on my small desk. I also wish there was some kind of wrist padding on the bottom. On my fabric mat, I typically left a little of the bottom hanging over the corner of my desk for comfort, something that I can’t do with this polymer mat.
Glide Into My Heart
Overall, the Viper V570 is a mouse that I can see continuing to use as my daily driver for quite a long time. Even if you take away all the extra buttons and gaming functions, the form and feel of the mouse (especially once you get the weight set just the way you want it) is extremely comfortable.
The thumb button placement is a bit awkward, but not impossible. The fact that my hand naturally rests a bit too low for some of the thumb buttons is more a fault of my own than the Viper mouse itself.
The mouse pad, though, is a different story. While it’s definitely a usable mouse pad (and the V570 pretty much demands a solid surface), its physical design is a bit frustrating. I also find the RGB needlessly flashy, and I’m likely going to just unplug the power cord and use the mat as a basic mat.
The V570 is definitely a mouse worth a look, with its feel and customization being highlights. The mouse pad, I would take a pass on, unless you can find a bundle deal for both. Scored as a pair, I can definitely recommend them.
~ Final Score: 8/10 ~
Review units courtesy of Viper Gaming. Product images taken by reviewer.