Mad Catz RAT 1 gaming mouse review: Gorgeous, portable and very affordable

Mad Catz is a company best known for creating affordable yet stylish and unique-looking accessories for PCs and consoles. The company makes everything from gamepads and mice to mousepads and audio equipment. It also announced bankruptcy in the past, but to kick 2018 off with a blast, Mad Catz is returning with new products to show off at CES. The company's older products, like the RAT 1 mouse, can be found at deeply discounted prices so we picked one up. Here are our thoughts.

What you'll like about the Mad Catz RAT 1

The design of the RAT 1 (and this series of mice overall) is stunning. It makes you stop for a moment to take in all the various elements that are all unique. Available in a few colors, the flavor we're reviewing is a mashup of blacks and greens, resulting in a pleasant gamer look without any LED lighting. All the patterns and other visual effects are subtle but a nice touch.

Mad Catz opted to keep things simple with the RAT 1, and that covers the buttons too. You have just two clickers for left and right click, as well as a central third switch that can be moved up or down (the default configuration is forward and back functionality). Then there's the scroll wheel. In total, there are five available buttons. There ar none on the side and no software package to easily reprogram them.

The PixArt PMW3320 sensor is a good little component that will work well in a variety of applications, including some gaming. It may struggle with some titles that require lightning movements like a first-person shooter, but that's not a deal breaker.

What you'll dislike about the Mad Catz RAT 1

This mouse is small. Ridiculously small. It's on par with portable laptop mice, and the RAT 1 is designed with small-to-medium size hands in mind. If you have a larger hand, look elsewhere. There's also not a lot in the form of a chassis. This makes for an interesting and unique design, which I love, but it also means there's less structural support.

When applying any sort of pressure to parts of the mouse, it's easy to twist and bend sections. This is a negative effect of the design and modular capabilities — you can easily take the mouse apart, which aids in cleaning and making it a more personalized pointer. And because of the lack of materials used, there's barely any weight to the RAT 1. It's more of a portable mouse.

Bottom line on Mad Catz RAT 1

I've never been the biggest fan of Mad Catz hardware and found it, in general, to be slightly cheap. The RAT line of mice always intrigued me thanks to the stylish design that cannot be found in any other major gaming mouse family. At just $15, the RAT 1 is an affordable mouse and is a fraction of what you'd need to fork out for a capable mouse from another vendor.

That said, while there's clearly not a whole lot to the mouse, it doesn't look cheap. You may encounter issues with the main hand rest not adequately supporting applied weight and pressure, and the small size may be uncomfortable for those with larger palms, but it's a capable unit with a great little sensor. But don't pick one up for your desktop. Go with the RAT 1 if the Razer Orochi isn't quite what you're looking for.

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Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.