Razer’s new Viper mouse actuates mouse clicks ‘at the speed of light’

(Image credit: Razer)

Razer has built a lot of mice over the past two decades, but its newest rodent, Viper, is unique to all the rest in that it ditches mechanical mouse switches for optical ones. The result, according to Razer, is an "industry-leading" response time of 0.2 milliseconds.

"In any competitive battle, the tiniest fractions of a second matter. That’s why we’ve designed a mouse switch that actuates at the speed of light. The Razer Optical Mouse Switch is a stark upgrade from the traditional mechanical mouse switches used in gaming, with instant actuation and unparalleled durability to deliver a competitive edge," Razer explains.

I'm not sure how much it really matters in terms of real-world gameplay, but the technology is at least interesting. Here's how it works: clicking a mouse button opens a shutter that allows an infrared light beam to pass through. There are two main advantages to this approach versus tradition mechanical switches.

The first is that mouse clicks register three times faster. And secondly, optical mouse switches are not prone to a debounce delay, which is the result of software accounting for residual bouncing that is caused by mechanical switches, and can otherwise result in accidental multiple click signals.

This video Razer put together does a good job of outlining the tech on a high level:

Can a person really tell the difference in response time between a mechanical switch and an optical one? I'd be surprised, but hey, with esports tournaments turning teenagers into millionaires, I won't begrudge any added advantage a peripheral maker wants to throw at gamers. In addition, Razer says its optical switches last longer, up to 70 million clicks versus 50 million for mechanical switches.

The Viper is also lightweight at just 69 grams and ambidextrous in design for both left-handed and right-handed players. Razer even touts the "SpeedFlex" cable as being built to enable smoother swipes, courtesy of a special low-drag covering.

There are eight programmable buttons in all, along with a 5G optical sensor capable of up to 16,000 dpi. And of course RGB lighting is part of the package.

The Razer Viper is available now for $79.99. If you're still interested, we have a review of it here.