Consider this a PSA of sorts. In our experience with the Razer Mamba TE gaming mouse -- that is, three of us at Tom’s Hardware using three different Mamba TE samples -- we found serious issues, including jitter, freezing and more.
Problems And Solutions
After testing, and some conversations with Razer, we learned that we had early units that were produced in August 2015. Some of the units manufactured at that time had flaws, but Razer found the problem early and resolved it with a firmware update.
Razer assured us that very few units were ever affected, and of those, its customer support sent the firmware update to customers that reported issues.
Even with the firmware update installed, we noticed some lingering jitter on occasion, but all three of us found that we could fix it by running the surface calibration tool in the Razer Synapse software. We had no issues with two other Razer mice -- the Mamba (non-TE) and Diamondback -- but we did find that we got the best performance once we ran the calibration tool on those, too.
Razer reinforced that by stating, “We’d stress that users make sure they are using the latest version of Synapse and have tried surface calibration before suspecting that they have a very early production unit.”
The Calibration Tool
Razer put a calibration tool in the Synapse software, and it’s easy and quick to use. Under the Mouse area of Synapse, click the Calibration tab. Tick the Enable Surface Calibration box and select which mat you’re using. Note that you can choose specific Razer mats or “Others.”
If you check the Others radio button and click the area just to the right of it, you’ll get a pop-up window. Click the prompts to calibrate; you’ll be asked to move your mouse in a zig-zag motion across the whole surface, and when you’re done, just left-click to complete the process. And now, your mouse sensor is calibrated.
To be quite honest, when I first encountered the calibration tool in Synapse, I rolled my eyes. It seemed like the quintessential marketing gimmick. However, after having seen it resolve issues with three mice, I’m a believer that it actually works.
But why? Razer told us that out of the box, a mouse sensor is in a default state, set for the worst possible surface conditions, but that if you pick up and put down the mouse a few times, the sensor will adjust by itself. (A representative noted that this is especially true of Philips sensors, which is what is inside the Mamba TE.)
He further stated that every mouse has slight mechanical differences (fractions of a micrometer), and as the Teflon feet under the device wear down over time -- often unevenly because of how we hold mice -- that further contributes to those minute differences. Therefore, periodic recalibration is useful to ensure a device’s optimal performance.
Razer’s calibration tool is designed to make the process fast and easy.
A High-Maintenance Mouse
About that calibration tool and Synapse, though: There’s an argument to be made about whether it’s desirable to have a mouse that barely works without special software and special calibration.
There are two schools of thought here. One is that many people just want to plug in a mouse and go. Any amount of software installation (and updating, which Synapse does often, with subsequent PC restarts) is too much of a pain in the neck. On the other hand, surely there are many users who love the ability to fine-tune and optimize every aspect of a mouse’s performance and constantly adjust granular settings for their particular preferences.
Further, in order to take advantage of all the capabilities Synapse offers, you need an Internet connection. Synapse stores all of your profiles and settings in the cloud; there’s no on-device storage for those things.
In summary: If you have a Mamba TE with problems, contact Razer support to see if your mouse is one of the early units that needs the new firmware. For any Razer mouse users, we’d advise using that calibration tool and ensuring that Synapse is up to date. If you aren’t keen on fiddling with software and calibration and just want a plug-and-play, no fuss/no muss mouse, Razer’s lineup isn’t for you.