It’s pretty fair to say that the R.A.T. probably holds an award somewhere for the peripheral most people have looked at and said “Oh, that looks cool,” before promptly buying something else. They’ve always looked a bit… different, much like how people in the ’40s and 50’s imagined cars would look in 2020. So do these rats – uh, mice – deliver anything beyond their quirky appearance? I was quite keen to find out.
Build Quality & Design
The R.A.T. 8+ doesn’t look nearly as garishly neo-futuristic as some of its earlier counterparts. We received a red unit, which certainly stands out on your desk, but does give the plastic components an almost toy-like glossy sheen. The construction quality is especially important with this mouse, as it has different grips and moving parts you can configure to suit your hand and grip style. It’s solid, though – you certainly have to apply a fair bit more pressure than expected to remove the palm rest. It attaches to a small rail and can be slid back and forth to accommodate even the meatiest hands.
Personally, the design is a bit too obvious. It wants to look like cutting edge gaming tech – I imagine the earlier black variant looks much sleeker, but the red one looks like a kid’s idea of cool. The customisable nature of the mouse is great, but I imagine these peripherals would do even better if they just downplayed the sharp edges and brought some of the moving pieces flush against the body. The focus on all these pointy edges did actually impact my comfort, as the two thumb buttons protrude from the side and dig into your soft thumb meat like a dog looking for peanut butter.
The R.A.T.’s main gimmick, if you will, is its customisation. Included with the mouse are a total of three different palms and pinkie finger rests, all of which are totally straightforward and convenient to remove with a small tool that slots neatly into the body when not in use. The thumb rest doesn’t detach from the body, as it has three buttons attached, but you can configure its positioning with the use of a few easy screws turns. It’s quick and easy, which is exactly how it should be, and I’m sure there’s a R.A.T. configuration for almost every hand.
Obviously, having all this customisation on the mouse body itself is great, but where it’s really going to count is the software, and it does give you a wide range of options to tweak. The interface itself isn’t as sleek as some of its competitors, but it does the job. I was impressed in particular with the lighting settings, which allow you to modify individual zones or turn them off entirely if you so desire. Overall, the mouse performs really well and being able to tweak the degree of DPI sensitivity the built-in toggle changes is a nice touch.
It comes equipped with the Pixart PMW 3389 sensor, which can keep pace with a staggering 20,000 DPI. With all these customisable parts, the R.A.T. will really feel like your mouse, and the fact that it delivers excellent performance alongside this makes it a really appealing prospect. You can store multiple profiles and swap between them on the fly, which is fairly bog-standard with gaming mice these days but a welcome addition nonetheless, especially alongside its customisation features.
Amongst the 11 configurable buttons there is a precision button which slows DPI down to a crawl for those moments you need extra control. A particularly unique feature is the barrel scroll – a small dial neatly tucked away that lets you fine tune your leaning direction when you’re aiming down sights. This can be remapped to usual controls too, with each direction counting as a different button. In my opinion, this ensures that no matter the game you’re playing, this mouse is going to keep up with it. You might have to mess around with some settings first, but hey – isn’t that half the fun of PC gaming?
Value for Money
The R.A.T. 8+ ADV is currently available through Amazon for £109.99. This leaves it at under half the price of Mad Catz’s R.A.T. Pro X3 Supreme Edition, but over twice the price of Razer’s Basilisk V2, which is probably a direct competitor in the FPS mouse market. That’s a tough sell, but this one has quite a few features that the Basilisk doesn’t, including the weight configuration, barrel scroll and precision aim button. It’s also much more mechanically customisable, so it probably remains the better option if you need to accommodate unusual grips. It’s rare for mice to offer this degree of flexibility, so the slightly higher price tag is at least somewhat justified.
Mad Catz R.A.T. 8 ADV+ overall thoughts
For the most part, this mouse is an absolute pleasure to use. It’s not as slick and sexy as the competition, but it’s well-built and durable. It’s a real surprise – for a peripheral line that has always outwardly seemed quite gimmicky I really enjoyed being able to tweak the body until my hand rested on it as comfortably as possible, and it did make all the difference in those longer gaming sessions. It backs up that comfort with excellent performance and decent software too, so if you’re prepared to drop the cash, it’ll be worth your while.