Patriot, best known for memory and storage, showed up at Computex 2015 in Taipei with a new line of gaming products, including an RGB keyboard, a headset, and two gaming mice. One of those mice, the Viper V530, is the strangest gaming mouse I’ve seen in a long time. It looks like any other familiar gaming mouse until you get to the place where the scroll wheel should be. And there is a scroll wheel there... with another scroll wheel right beneath it.
Huh? Um. Okay. Hrm.
Two scroll wheels. If I were comparing gaming mice to fine works of literature—and I see no reason why I shouldn't—then the outlandish design of the Mad Catz R.A.T. makes it Frankenstein's Monster, the Deathadder's impeccable design makes it a suave Philip Marlowe, and the Patriot Viper V530's dual wheels must be Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear from the Farrelly Brothers' classic Stuck On You. Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear in Stuck On You may or may not be the only conjoined twin characters I can presently remember in the entire realm of fiction.
So, how well does a gaming mice with two scroll wheels actually work? Surprisingly okay, actually. Both scroll wheels feel good (and identical), with a decent notched scrolling action that should be good for cycling weapons while gaming. The wheels don’t have the weight or precision of the best gaming mice, but they’re not bad. But what the hell do you do with two of them?
By default, Patriot has the Viper V530’s front wheel mapped to the usual scrolling action, while the back wheel controls Windows volume. The only problem is that putting your finger far enough forward to touch the front scroll wheel means resting it on the rear wheel, or arching it over; either way, it’s pretty easy to apply enough pressure to the rear wheel to start fiddling with the volume. Accidental scrolls could be much worse depending on how you had that rear wheel mapped, too—imagine unintentionally activating the back or forward command in your browser every 30 seconds.
I’m not sure what command I’d ever want to map to that second scroll wheel, but Patriot will offer driver software with the mouse to assign keyboard shortcuts or other commands (like changing DPI) to the wheels and the other programmable buttons. Maybe someone smarter than me will find a great productivity use for two scroll wheels.
Aside from its unexpected wheel twinsies, the V530 is a pretty standard mid-tier gaming mouse, with a 5000 DPI optical sensor and a some customizable lighting colors. Patriot is also releasing another gaming mouse, the V560, with an 8200 DPI laser sensor, ceramic feet for better sliding, removable weights and interchangeable pinky finger rests. The two mice are going to cost $60 and $70 when they release in Q3 of this year.
The gaming headset, also priced at $70, will be a 7.1 surround joint with one unique feature I’ve never encountered before: they vibrate. Patriot’s added a small motor to the earcups that vibrates when the bass really kicks in. It seems like it could be an interesting gimmick for gaming, adding vibrations when big explosions kick off. It also seems like a decent way to give your head a massage (just put on some rock) or a headache (with some dubstep, which may have given you a headache even without the vibrations).