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Razer Viper V3 Pro review: a super-light, super-customizable gaming mouse
6:55 pm | June 10, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Mice Peripherals & Accessories | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Razer Viper V3 Pro review

The Razer Viper V3 Pro, as the name implies, is touted as a gaming mouse fit for professionals, with endorsements and development feedback from various esports stars. A follow-up to the Viper V2 Pro, the V3 is even lighter and has a new optical sensor for purportedly greater precision and control.

For a gaming peripheral, the Razer Viper V3 Pro's styling isn’t as brash as you might expect. It seems that Razer has toned down its adolescent designs for the most part, and the Viper V3 Pro continues in this newly established tradition. It's very minimal and sleek, with just a single instance of the Razer logo, positioned toward the back. It's barely visible on the black variant, as the outline is almost the same shade as the finish. On the white model, the logo remains black, but it’s still pleasantly restrained.

At just 54g (55g for the white variant), it’s very easy to maneuver, helped by the wide PTFE feet that make for frictionless gliding across multiple surfaces, including glass at least 4mm thick.

Close up of Razer Viper V3 Pro mouse buttons and scroll wheel

(Image credit: Future)

The low overall weight means acceleration is very fast – ideal for rapid swipes with low DPI settings – so it can hold its own against many of the best gaming mice when playing tactical shooters and the like. I did find the sharp cursor movement quite jarring at first, though. 

To help with this issue, you can adjust the tracking cut-off height in the free Razer Synapse software, which offers to install itself as soon as you connect the Viper V3 Pro. Synapse is a historically wonky piece of software, but it does the job well here. Higher settings reduce the snappiness of cursor movements, and you can even toggle asymmetric cut-off values, letting you set different height values for lift-off and landing. The V3 has 26 height adjustment values, whereas the V2 only had three, courtesy of the second-generation Razer Focus Pro Optical Sensor.

The Viper V3 Pro feels slender in the hand and the overall shape seems to accommodate various grip styles. It also comes with optional grip tape you can adhere to the sides and mouse buttons, should you prefer that extra level of tactility. However, the hump in the middle is quite pronounced, which made me curl my hand more than I’m accustomed to, and forced me away from a fuller grip in the palm, so those who prefer this may want to take note.

The mouse buttons feel snappy and only require a light press, yet they are well-dampened and lubed, with a satisfying click that provides good feedback for your actions. There are indentations on both buttons to keep your fingers in position, which I found improved comfort during long sessions.

Underneath of Razer Viper V3 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

A pair of side buttons and a scroll wheel are the only extra topside features, but they perform excellently. The buttons are easy to use in the heat of the moment, being large and responsive enough to be found and pressed easily with the thumb. The scroll wheel is tightly notched while still being smooth, making for quick and accurate selections every time. The lack of a fast-scrolling mode, however, was a minor gripe of mine away from gaming, as navigating web pages and documents can feel too slow at times. 

Pressing down on the scroll wheel button is incisive and tactile, and like the main mouse buttons, it's pre-lubed for smoother actuation. It gave me the confidence to use it without fear of accidentally scrolling the wheel. There's no side tilt input function, but for most gamers, this would've been an unnecessary inclusion.

The Viper V3 Pro is capable of DPI resolutions all the way up to 35,000, an increase over the V2, which peaked at 30,000. Settings this high, though, will frankly be unusable in most cases. If you’re using an 8K monitor, it may prove useful, but these remain rare, especially in the competitive gaming world, where 1080p and 1440p resolutions still reign supreme. The lowest possible DPI setting is 100, and the adjustments are available in single increments using Synapse software – another improvement over the V2 – meaning any gamer will be able to dial in the perfect amount of precision. The X and Y axes can also be adjusted independently. 

Right side of Razer Viper V3 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The DPI/power switch is on the underside of the mouse, which some may find inconvenient. But if you're a pro-level player, you want your mouse to be as utilitarian as possible, without any unnecessary accouterments that might interfere with gameplay. I was also able to wrap my middle finger underneath if I needed to adjust it since it's positioned to the right-hand side, making for easier access.

The Viper V3 Pro can be connected wirelessly or with the included USB-C cable. However, due to the thickness of the cable, I found it caused a noticeable amount of drag, which is particularly bothersome given the extremely light weight of the mouse itself. 

Using the Viper V3 Pro wirelessly is certainly a better experience. The included dongle (there’s no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity) can elevate the poll rate all the way up to 8,000Hz (which Razer dubs “HyperPolling”), whereas a wired connection maxes out at 1,000Hz. This isn't a case where the dongle is a tiny USB attachment; here, it's a full-length cable with a transmitter on one end that needs to be placed near the mouse. Thankfully, due to the length of the USB cable, the dongle can be positioned comfortably within a desktop setup for minimal interference. During my time in this mode, I had nothing but flawless connectivity, with no dropouts or noticeable lag whatsoever.

Razer claims that the Viper V3 Pro battery life can last up to 95 hours, and I have to say that during my tests, this figure seemed to hold true. After just over an hour of continuous gaming from a full charge, the Viper V3 Pro only dropped a single percentage. Charging is also fast, and I managed to go from 28% to 72% in around 50 minutes. It's worth noting that the higher poll rates will drain the battery faster, however.

Close up of Razer Viper V3 Pro HyperPolling Wireless Dongle

(Image credit: Future)

Despite the relative dearth of physical buttons on the Viper V3 Pro, the number of customization options via the Synapse software is mind-boggling. All buttons can be remapped to perform other functions besides their usual defaults – even the left click can be modified to have a secondary function when activating Hypershift mode. Multiple profiles can also be created to easily switch between your desired set of customizations. 

Customizable functions range from simple Windows system-level actions – macOS isn’t supported – such as opening an app or putting your PC to sleep to creating a sniper button or cycling DPI resolutions (which rectifies the inaccessibility of the DPI button). You can also record keyboard shortcuts, activate individual keys, and write blocks of text with the press of a single button. The text option even features a full character list with virtually every possible symbol, including those in other languages, and emojis. It’s hard to imagine who would make use of all these functions with their mouse alone, but the fact that Synapse offers this much scope is impressive nonetheless. 

There's also the ability to record your own macros and assign them to a mouse button of your choice. (Adding the Macros menu to your instance of Synapse may mean installing the add-on in the Modules menu). It lets you record any input from your mouse and keyboard (even non-Razer ones), adjust their delay times, and set up loops. You can also run commands, and even run macros within other macros. 

All of this, in addition to the calibration and setup tools, make Synapse an extremely involved piece of peripheral software with an incredible amount of tweakability. It is the ideal companion for the Viper V3 Pro, which similarly aims for top-level performance – and for the most part, it hits the target. 

Razer Viper V3 Pro: Price and availability

  • $159 / £159 / AU$279
  • Black and White options
  • Available now

The Razer Viper V3 Pro is priced at $159 / £159 / AU$279 and comes in two color schemes: black or white. Thanks to the symmetrical design, both right- and left-handers are catered for. It was released on April 23, 2024. 

This is Razer’s lightest full-size gaming mouse. The next lightest full-size mouse in its esports line, the DeathAdder V3 Pro, is almost 10g heavier. There is, however, a smaller version – the Viper Mini Signature Edition – which tips the scales at a mere 1.72oz / 49g. This is priced much higher, though, at $279 / £279 / AU$449.

Other lightweight contenders include the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air, which comes in at 1.76oz / 50g and is much lower in price ($49 / £39 / AU$69), but it has no wireless option.  

Razer Viper V3 Pro gaming mouse and grip tape

(Image credit: Future)

Razer Viper V3 Pro: Specs

Should you buy the Razer Viper V3 Pro?

Buy it if...

You want an ultra-lightweight, high-quality gaming mouse
At 1.9oz / 54g, this is one of the lightest full-size gaming mice on the market, so those who want rapid movements with no resistance should get along fine with the Viper V3 Pro. All the buttons have a high-quality feel as well, instilling confidence there’ll be no slip-ups.  

You want to be among the esports pros
The Viper V3 Pro has plenty of ringing endorsements from esports stars, and some even provided development feedback to make this a gaming mouse worthy of tournament use. The lack of fuss is also highly prized in such circles.

You want in-depth customization
Razer’s free Synapse software still has a dodgy reputation, but after many, many updates, it's now about as involved as customization software gets, letting you create almost any shortcut and macro you could wish for, as well as the ability to tweak the Viper V3 Pro to your heart’s content.

Don't buy it if...

You want plenty of buttons
The Viper V3 Pro is fairly spartan, with a scroll wheel and side buttons being the only extras. A top-facing DPI button would help appease those who’ll use the mouse for both gaming and general PC use in equal measure. 

You want something to fit your palm
Of course, everyone’s hand size and grip style are different, but I found the Viper V3 Pro didn’t fit well within the palm of my hand, so if this is a style you prefer, it might not be for you. 

Razer Viper V3 Pro: Also consider

How I tested the Razer Viper V3 Pro

  • Tested for gaming and general use
  • Played competitive FPS and strategy games
  • Over a decade of PC gaming experience

I used the Viper V3 Pro for over a week in various scenarios, from gaming to productivity and general use.

I played FPS games such as Counter-Strike 2 and Black Mesa, as well as strategy games like XCOM 2, to cover each end of the gaming spectrum.

I have been PC gaming for over a decade and for the most part, I measured the Viper V3 Pro against my erstwhile companion, the Logitech G502 Lightspeed.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

BenQ Zowie XL2566K review: For pro gamers only
4:50 am | August 14, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

BenQ Zowie XL2566K: One-minute review

  • 360Hz refresh rate
  • Incredible pixel response time
  • DyAc+ turns off backlight between frames
  • Sharpest image for pro FPS players
  • Good stand ergonomics
  • Not cheap
  • Poor for fun and immersive gaming

Sometimes, the old ways are the best and that might be said of BenQ’s Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor. Well, we call it a gaming monitor but it’s really been designed to play one, specific, genre of game: FPS. What’s the big deal? It uses the hideous TN LCD panel technology which blighted the fledgling, consumer LCD monitor industry some 20-years ago. It offers poor colour reproduction, poor contrast, a relatively low Full-HD resolution, horrendous viewing angles and no casual gamer should want to go near it. However, there’s just one more thing... it’s really, really, REALLY fast.

Many potential buyers will be star-struck by the headline ‘360Hz’ refresh rate but there are serious caveats to having a fast display. The ability to operate at a consistent 360 frames per second is only really feasible for casual and competitive games. Cinematic, UHD games, with HDR lighting, require too much processor power to get near that. However, while a fast refresh rate can truly make fast-and-frantic motion in games look buttery smooth, it counts for nothing if the screen’s pixel response time is poor – rapidly displayed objects would still look blurry and horrible.

Indeed, there are several 360Hz screens on the market but most use modern IPS technology. Some even claim to have super-speedy, grey-to-grey (GTG) pixel response times but, in this realm, it’s a claim that’s rendered to meaningless marketing speak. BenQ doesn’t even bother providing a GTG pixel response time.

The quick explanation is that grey-to-grey is almost an entirely arbitrary measure of pixels’ ability to turn from partially on, to fully on, back to partially on again. The industry’s varying definitions of ‘partially on’ (i.e. ‘grey’) are so broad as to be meaningless – especially when measuring a cutting-edge display like this. In this regard, old TN panel technology has more raw speed than IPS.

This preamble is necessary because it’s what the Zowie XL2546K is all about and, even then, we’re not finished. In order for the pixel response time to keep up with super-fast refresh rates, they need to be pre-charged. A cold-start pixel that’s moving from fully off, to fully on and back to fully off, just can’t keep up – it needs to be pre-charged and poised to quickly change and change back again. 

This is what settings like Overdrive adjust – BenQ calls it Advanced Motion Acceleration (AMA). But, if you apply too-little or too-much charge you can get ghosting (smeary ghost images trailing on-screen objects) or inverse ghosting and overshoot (blur that leads on-screen objects and edges that continue to move after an object has stopped), or both. 

Although you need a high frame rate camera to really see it in detail, the Zowie XL2566K’s motion performance in competitive-level FPS games is noticeably sharper than 360Hz IPS screens. For human beings in real-time, the result is having a smidge smoother and sharper imagery where even small-moving objects are rendered that bit clearer. The difference is miniscule, but major world championships have been decided by less. 

Another performance enhancing feature is BenQ’s DyAc+ strobing backlight technology. This turns off the backlight to insert a black frame between each displayed frame. The result is enhanced clarity and motion smoothness. 

The Zowie also features some pro-gamer-friendly ergonomics. There are adjustable site screens on either side of the display to protect your peripheral vision from distractions. The solid, small-footprint stand (which allows an angled keyboard to be placed right up close – just how pro players like it – is highly adjustable and has measured notches for rapid set-up when moving from LAN to LAN. The latter is further facilitated by a carry handle at the top and a PVC carry case (unpadded) to help protect it on its travels.

The bells and whistles are nice to have, but this monitor is defined by its panel speed and almost everything else is irrelevant. If you like your games looking fast, smooth cinematic and immersive, don’t buy this. However, if the BenQ Zowie XL2566K represents a professional tool that will improve your top-level competitiveness, its compromises (and very high price) will be irrelevant.

BenQ Zowie XL2566K: Price and release date

The BenQ Zowie XL2566K is available worldwide for $650 / £599 / AU$1,099. However, in some markets, like the UK, it’s much harder to find than its predecessor, the (£439) BenQ Zowie XL2546K – which is the same but for a 240Hz refresh rate.

These prices are all very high compared to regular 24-inch gaming monitors. However, the premium reflects the Zowie’s skunkworks nature with its high development costs and super-niche market size. Other 360Hz gaming monitors use IPS technology and still cost more, but they tend to be much larger and have more luxury features that suit gaming and multimedia immersion.

  • Value score: 4/5

BenQ Zowie XL2566K: Design & features

  • Solid, small-footprint, adjustable stand
  • Remote control
  • Limited connectivity
  • Carry handle

The BenQ Zowie XL2566K’s stand has a small-footprint that enables pro gamers to get ridiculously close to the screen. It also has a high degree of adjustability that includes -5o/+23o Tilt, -45o/+45o Swivel and 15.5cm vertical travel – all of which are marked out with notches for rapid set-up. At the top, there’s a headset hook, carry handle, and an unpadded PVC carry cover is included. There are also, removable ‘Shielding Hood’ blinkers at the sides to prevent background distractions.

Connectivity ports are minimal: there are two, 60Hz-limited HDMI 2.0 ports (so console players needn’t apply), DisplayPort 1.4 and a 3.5mm audio jack.

All settings are quickly and intuitively adjusted via a rear-mounted joystick-button and BenQ’s wired S-Remote. They can also be easily saved and activated as pre-sets via BenQ’s 'XL Setting-to-Share' Desktop app which enables teammates (and fans) to import them. 

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BenQ Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor connections

(Image credit: Future)
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BenQ Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor without blinkers attached

(Image credit: Future)
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BenQ Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor with blinkers attached

(Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 4

BenQ Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor viewed from the rear, showing carry handle

(Image credit: Future)
  • Design and features score: 4/5

BenQ Zowie XL2566K: Performance

  • Unrivalled speed
  • Unrivalled clarity
  • Strobing backlight for additional smoothness
  • Poor multimedia performance

The superlative image quality afforded by the marriage of the 360Hz refresh rate, the TN-panel’s super-fast pixel-response time and the strobing DyAc+ backlight (which turns off in between frames to insert a black screen to enhance motion smoothness and clarity) is best appreciated when viewed with a very high frame rate camera. Even then, you’ll need a rival, mega-fast gaming monitor for a side-by-side comparison to notice much difference. But, a difference there is!

At real world speeds, the image is faster, sharper and more clear than anything else on the market. It might not be by much, but, and we’ll labour the point, major championships can be decided by less. If you play FPS games, you need the fastest, clearest screen to perform to your potential and this is it. 

While it’s not great for multimedia immersion, the Windows Desktop remains sharp and clear for work and colors retain acceptable vibrancy. Brightness and contrast are mediocre while viewing angles are poor. But, the target market doesn’t want to be blinded by a backlight and they don’t want dark or bright areas hiding enemies. Most users will embrace the ‘Black Equalizer’ setting to destroy contrast, water-down dark areas and ensure there’s nothing hiding in the shadows.

Image 1 of 4

BenQ XL2566K gaming monitor displaying CS GO gaming

(Image credit: Future)
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BenQ Zowie XL2566K picture settings

(Image credit: Future)
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BenQ Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor picture settings

(Image credit: Future)
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BenQ Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor picture settings

(Image credit: Future)

Some settings can be adjusted to suit individual preferences and this includes the AMA (pixel overdrive) setting. Indeed, the XL2566K comes with presets labelled Premium, High and Off, along with a 30-step customizable slider. Premium achieves a fast response time but inverse ghosting is noticeable. High offers a better blend and will be used by many players. However, it’s so easy to adjust the overdrive settings and see instant results (there’s no change-related lag) that tweaking everything is recommended. We found settings between 11-18 represented a sweet spot where response time and inverse ghosting coexisted well, before causing issues.

BenQ’s DyAc+ strobing backlight is also adjustable. Previously, turning the backlight off like this significantly impacted brightness, but here the difference between Off, High and Premium settings is barely perceptible. You can even adjust the brightness while it’s activated, which is unusual. The effect on clarity is extraordinary and it brings even a perfectly overdriven 360Hz TestUfo alien into sharp relief.

It all amounts to the XL2566K being the best monitor for seeing even the smallest, most-rapidly moving objects in relief that’s sharper than on any rival’s screen. The difference may be tiny... but tournaments have been decided by less.

  • Performance score: 5/5

Should I buy the BenQ Zowie XL2566K gaming monitor?

Buy it if...

Don't buy if...

Also consider...

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