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Razer DeathAdder Elite Review: The jack-of-all-trades gaming mouse

The Razer DeathAdder is a popular mouse thanks to its highly accurate sensor, available software suite and stunning looks. The Elite aims to take everything to the next level with eSports in mind.

DeathAdder
(Image: © Windows Central)

The DeathAdder is the trusty gaming mouse from Razer that has been around for some time, a decade in fact. The company refreshed the snake this year with the launch of the DeathAdder Elite. It's ergonomic, solid-looking, and remains the jack-of-all-trades choice for many gamers.

So what's new with the DeathAdder Elite? There's the similar design and usual RGB Chroma lighting, but Razer has managed to improve the scroll wheel for enhanced performance and thrown in two buttons just underneath for good measure. Should you already own and be happy with a DeathAdder, this might not be enough to justify an upgrade, and that's okay. But if you haven't given a DeathAdder a spin… now may be the time.

Razer DeathAdder

DeathAdder Elite (Image credit: Windows Central)

With the addition of two more buttons, there are now a total of seven that can be customized using Razer's Synapse suite. This list includes a left and right-click, scroll wheel, two buttons for the thumb, and finally the two new clickers just below the scroll wheel itself. This provides more means of immediate input for gamers who like to dab into a little MOBA and MMO gaming here and there.

By default the new buttons are configured to increase or lower the DPI sensitivity without having to dive into Synapse, which is handy if you require different handling depending on game or situation. You can program them to do pretty much anything else, though. For League of Legends, I had the top-most button set to "4" (placing a trinket in-game) and the lower button set with a shortcut to make my champion dance. You absolutely have to drop that disrespect every now and then, right?

Razer DeathAdder

Interestingly, the DeathAdder Elite can go all the way up to 16,000 DPI, which is an insane setting on any mouse. Unlike cheaper options that have massive amounts of noise and interference when you attempt to move the on-screen pointer, it's not that bad here. The DeathAdder lets you crank the setting all the way up and enjoy vast screen coverage with very little in terms of physical strain. Of course, it's not going to be as accurate as lower settings, but it's not awful.

As is always the case when it comes to DPI and mouse sensitivity, it's all down to personal preference and your mileage may vary.

Hello, Jack

Razer DeathAdder

The best part about the DeathAdder (and the Elite in particular) is how well the mouse performs in a variety of tasks. Whether you need to be productive for a good hour, have a team set up for a MOBA or need to hop into a fast-paced shooter, you'll be able to change a few settings to get the experience perfected and the DeathAdder will handle like a dream. This is thanks to the sensor that can track up to 450 inches per second.

It was comfortable switching between Cities: Skylines, The Witcher 3, League of Legends, Skyrim Special Edition, and Overwatch. Take a peek at the specifications:

CategorySpecification
Sensor16,000 DPI optical sensor
450 IPS / 50 g acceleration
1000 Hz ultrapolling
SwitchesRazer Mechanical Mouse switches
Scroll WheelGaming-grade tactile scroll wheel
Buttons7 Programmable buttons
LightingRazer Chroma (16.8 million customizable colors)
Dimensions127mm (L) / 70mm (W) / 44mm (H)
Weight105g
ExtraGold-plated USB connector
Braided fiber cable

Razer DeathAdder

Chroma lighting really is gorgeous on Razer peripherals and it's a similar story with the DeathAdder. The scroll wheel and main Razer logo are customizable with Synapse and every shade of color looks stunning. Utilizing the company's own mechanical mouse switches, every click of a button feels solid with ample amounts of feedback.

I feel cheated as well, because I've spent hours actively hunting down things to dislike about the DeathAdder Elite and the best I've come up with are the pads underneath. I have a suspicion they will not last long enough when it comes to ferocious gaming sessions. But that's literally it. It's hard to test the wear and tear in but a few weeks, and since that's the only thing I could think of that's actually quite the praise.

Synapse is still fantastic

Razer DeathAdder

I've got to hand it to Razer: their Synapse suite is an absolute joy to use. It always has been. I've never really had a bad thing to say about the scope of customization one can enjoy when installing and playing with the software. The DeathAdder feels right at home with controls for not only the lighting and performance of the pointer, but also the array of buttons located on the unit.

Should you be one who frequently travels with their mouse — let's say to a LAN event — you'll definitely want to consider hooking yourself up with a Razer account, which can be used to store saved configurations. These, unfortunately, are not stored on the device itself. I highly recommend installing Synapse in general, though.

Should you buy it?

Razer DeathAdder

Pros:

  • Sturdy, quality build
  • Chroma lighting is gorgeous
  • Sleeved cable & gold-plated USB

Cons:

  • Not really an upgrade for DeathAdder owners
  • Only for right-handed folk

So what do I make of the Razer DeathAdder Elite? I really like it. I think Razer has done a superb job of improving the already capable pointer and ensuring the DeathAdder remains the Jack of all trades option that can handle various titles, regardless as to what genre they belong to. With the pairing of Synapse and Chroma lighting, the mouse itself also looks incredible both in and without light.

If you need a replacement to your mouse and don't mind forking out $70, the DeathAdder Elite is a great investment. If you only play one time of game there are other niche mice available from Razer and competitors, and if you already own a DeathAdder I wouldn't hit that buy button without some serious thought.

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Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

19 Comments
  • Razer makes a solid mouse and other peripherals. I feel they work well, but for my dollar I prefer Thermaltake and Corsair. I feel the build quality when compared to Razer in the same respective range is same or better and usually cheaper. Razer is so good and popular you pay a premium now just to have the trisnake. But still waaaaay cheaper and better than anything beats or monster cable spit out. Razer is a solid choice for any gamer!
  • Plus at this time of year it's worth waiting if you want something from razer, they usually issue 50% off codes on the last day of CES.
  • Razer has very good mouses, but people first should try them. I tried to use mamba but unfortunately sharp edges is no go for me at all. And I tried other Razer mouses, I do not understand how people can use them :(
  • Funny, I woulld've guessed one of the pro's would have to be that it does it's job well. Apparently not so well its a pro. On the other hand aesthetics are pro's for a functional device? What about lift off distance or anything remotely interesting for eSports? I get a site needs money to keep running. But I see these advertisements all over the Mobile Nations pages. Though they are reffered to as articles. For example: "So what's new with the DeathAdder Elite? There's the similar design and usual RGB Chroma lighting, but Razer has managed to improve the scroll wheel for enhanced performance and thrown in two buttons just underneath for good measure." I see, 'enhanced perfomance.' What does that mean? Nothing mentioned it in the article that explains it. Meaning there was a deliberate choice to ommit information in favor of statements. That's not writing an article, that's wrinting an advertisement (or politics).   I wrote this comment because I get the feeling there is less and less actual information on the sites. This will eventually kill the site. As there will be less and less informed people about to anwser questions of report news. Informed people generally like to stay informed. If they can't be here, they will move on. I get few people can explain the difference between ARM and x86/x86-64 or RISC and CISC. So tech news needs to be simplified. But don't go from something like "the mouse wheel performance has improved due to a new axel configuration that allows smoother and faster scrolling" to "its better."
  • Don't forget the many 100% advert articles poping up lately that you can't even comment on, just in case you disagree with the "recomended/best" products they are advertising. Some articles here are really good, but the sellout ones keep damaging the site.  
  • What you just said is a major problem I have. When they run a "review" or "best of" that you can't comment on, I'm immediately turned off to the article and product. If there is no room for reasonable discussion or criticism of a review/product, I'm not going to waste my time taking the opinion of someone who either can't take dissention or is paid to quell it. I'm not saying these companies are paying to get good reviews, but it feels pretty wrong to have some praise-filled article that doesn't allow you to point out problems or inaccuracies.
  • Those posts aren't for the community to "discuss." It's a common practice on many sites. We're making a solid recommendation based on our experience with a wide range of products and we come to the decisions as a site. Forums are the place to debate those kinds of things. And we have forums. Believe it or not, not every post on Windows Central is written for the hardcore readers who go to the homepage every single day. If they were, we'd be out of business pretty fast.
  • I don't agree with that practice anywhere, though. Usually, if a site does that, it is on something labeled "Sponsored." That is either not the case here, or the app doesn't have that designation (the app also doesn't tell you comments are disabled, so you type a long l, thought-out statement, only for the button to post to be non-functional, a great waste of 5-10 minutes). Regardless, it is lame when a flawed product gets a glowing review on the main site, and no one can disagree. I get you have to run a business, and that can mean paid reviews, but that doesn't mean I'm going to just like it. I'll go have a look this evening (if my brain reminds me) and try to check if it is just the app for real or not, but having people fed the positives, but without negatives, can hurt the credibility of the review, in my mind. It's different when the "author" is the WindowsCentralShop, but that isn't always the case.
  • Advertising posts are labelled as such. We have a disclosure policy you can read which appears at the bottom of any post that even has an affiliate link in it. http://www.windowscentral.com/external-links
  • @John20212 and @Keith Wallace You're both very wrong about your assumptions - and this what they are, assumptions as you are not privy to the facts of our site, our business, or our editorial decision making. Our 'best of' articles are not up for discussion, which is why we turn off comments. We also do that because we update them and refresh them periodically like wiki-pages meaning there would be comments on them from a year ago talking about products we no longer recommend. Please think before commenting here and do not assume you know how we operate. As Richard noted any advertisements or sponsored content is clearly labeled as such per our disclosure policy. None of our product reviews are sponsored or paid for. We get loaner devices for a review like every other tech site; sometimes we buy them when like them a lot (e.g. Surface Studio is bought; those SSDs were bought). It's that simple. No conspiracy. There is no Illuminati.
  • "There is no Illuminati."   That's exactly what the Illuminati would say!
  • Thanks for the clarification Daniel. Regarding: "Our 'best of' articles are not up for discussion" In my opinion if you stand by your recommendations you should have no issue with people discussing such recommendations, as for the fact that you update those pages and change the recommended products on there you could just wipe the comments each time the page has a major update and new recommendations replace the old. Ultimately its your website and Mobile Nations can run it however they see fit, but IMO if you want your 'best of' pages to have credibility you should have no issue with leaving them open to comments. ----- As for the fact that you mention that both I and Keith Wallace were very wrong in our initial assumptions, you may be perfectly right, but what we assumed should show you the impression disabling comments can have on your readers, even if those impressions are wrong; and I am sure we are not the only two people who made such assumptions.  
  • One thing that has always turned me away from Razer is that they insist on creating an account and having online connection to store and manage profiles; thats just a no go in certain scenarios and a hassle if you are somewhere you can't connect online or have their software installed.
  • Doesn't look like a mouse I would appreciate. The design, I simply don't find attratcivbe, with the flared-out buttons near the top. Really, that's not a meaningful complaint, though. The problem is that no one other than Logitech uses a wheel lock. It is a must-have for me, such a nice quality-of-life addition to a mouse, that smooth scrool to the bottom of a list in a single flick. Still very happy with my G700s from Logitech, having the wired and wireless option and a wheel lock. I don't get how this mouse never got an upgrade to the Spectrum class. The so-so 502 gets it, but the 700 doesn't? IMO, the 900 Chaos Spectrum is a downgrade, thanks to a complete lack of ergonomics to make the lefties happy (I'd much prefer they just product a 900R and 900L or something).
  • I to am with you on the Logitech scroll wheel. The past 6 I've owned has been Logitech for this very reason.
  • Yeah, it's nice. The one complaint I've had with them is their cable quality. I had a heck of a time with the G500s, which had two cables go bad on me. The G502 did something similar. The thing is, I only paid for ONE of those, as Logitech's warranty support is fantastic. 3 years, no questions asked, and they don't even make you return the defective product. Throw them a receipt, tell them what's wrong, and a new one gets sent. Sad that Logitech gives better support for a $50 mouse than Microsoft does for a $150 controller or $200 fitness device.
  • As I started reading your comment was just about to mention the ridiculous warranty on Microsoft hardware, which is the main reason why I still stayed away from the Elite controller, even when tempted by decent discounts.
  • I got my Elite Controller for $85, and I still feel ripped off. Gonna have to sink another $30+ into it to try to make it work again, if I want to, by buying a parts kit. That I can't pay for a repair on it is laughable.
  • Sorry to hear that your Elite broke as well, been hearing similar stories from several sources lately; hopefully with a refresh of the Elite Controller to add BT, etc. Microsoft will increase the warranty to at least 2 years, as without it its just a gamble and not very reassuring that its a quality product when the company can't even stand behind it with a decent warranty.