Introducing the R.A.T. M and M.O.U.S. 9

When I first received the R.A.T. M and M.O.U.S. 9 review samples, it didn’t immediately strike me that Mad Catz’s newest computer mice looked strange. I became desensitized to the R.A.T.s’ unusual modular appearance and extra scroll wheel long before Mad Catz began to phase out the Cyborg branding. Yet, I am now reminded of this reality after noticing the curious amusement of nearly everyone who saw me use these mice. My friends commonly remarked along the lines of “That looks like a transforming mouse” and “It looks like a car.”

Mad Catz M.O.U.S. 9 Gaming Mouse

Gauging public opinion was not the reason why I took both of these mice wherever I took my laptop. The R.A.T. M and M.O.U.S. 9 are mobility focused designs and it was in the interest of this review to see how well these mice would travel. Mad Catz has made use of Bluetooth Smart, the newest Bluetooth specification that uses a dual-mode low energy radio. This not only makes the new R.A.T. mice wireless, but the low power Bluetooth grants up to 1-year of battery life.

Mad Catz M.O.U.S. 9 Gaming Mouse

The R.A.T. M is an entirely new compact mouse that follows in the flavor of the other and larger R.A.T.s. It’s notable gaming mouse features are its 6400 DPI laser sensor, two programmable modes, and a 5D multidirectional tilting button that brings the number of customizable buttons to 10.

Followers of the R.A.T. mice will immediately notice the M.O.U.S. 9 looks like the older R.A.T.s. Despite what its suffix suggests, the M.O.U.S. 9’s design only resembles the R.A.T. 9 and the new M.O.U.S. designation is directed towards office users. New to the M.O.U.S. 9 is a tilting scroll wheel that brings the effective programmable button count to 10. This mouse tracks at a constant 990 DPI as a result of Mad Catz decision to use a laser sensor that can track on glass surfaces.

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Technical Specifications

 

R.A.T. M

M.O.U.S. 9

R.A.T. 5

R.A.T. 9

Sensor

Laser

Laser (Track on glass)

Laser

Laser

DPI

25-6400

990

100-5600

25-6400

Acceleration

50G

8G

50G

50G

Polling Rate

120Hz

125Hz

1000Hz

1000Hz

Tracking Speed

Up to 6 m/s

Up to 0.8 m/s

Up to 6 m/s

Up to 6 m/s

Programmable Buttons

10 (with 5D buttons)

10

6

6

Profile Switching

2 DPI levels only

None

Yes, 3

Yes, 3

Adjustable Palm Rest

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Interchangeable pieces

No

No

No

Yes

Removable Weights

No

No

Yes

Yes

Connectivity

Bluetooth

Bluetooth

USB Wired

2.4 GHz RF Wireless

Power

2x AAA batteries­­­­­

1x AA battery

USB Wired

Proprietary

rechargeable batteries

Battery Life

1 Year

1 Year

N/A

9 Hours

Street Price

$122.83

$127.02

$63.35

$127.38

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Both the R.A.T. M and the M.O.U.S. 9 are available in four different finishes – gloss red, gloss white, gloss black, and matte black. The review samples we have are the gloss black R.A.T. M and the gloss red M.O.U.S. 9.

Both the R.A.T. M and the M.O.U.S. 9 both come with 2-year warranties and each can be found respectively for $122.83 and $127.02 on Amazon. That’s expensive as far as computer mice are concerned and we’ll have to determine if the new mobility features justify the heavy price premium especially when most of the older R.A.T. mice can be found for less money.

R.A.T. M

The R.A.T. M is Mad Catz new notebook mouse that follows the R.A.T. namesake with a 6400 DPI laser sensor, an adjustable palm rest length, and 10 programmable buttons. Its official features from both the product packaging and product web page are listed below.

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The R.A.T. M comes packaged in a clear plastic box along with a multi-language instruction manual, warranty information, a support notice advising contact with Mad Catz, some game promotion cards, Mad Catz stickers, two AAA batteries, and a mesh carrying pouch.

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As a notebook mouse, the R.A.T. M is tiny at 3.75 x 2.9 x 1.4 inches / 9.2 x 73.7 x 35.6 mm (LxWxH.) Its footprint is barely bigger than the area of a regular playing card. The R.A.T. M is easy to pack away, but a number of gamers will find this mouse too small to use comfortably.

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The palm rest can slide out and lock at three points along the rack, bringing the mouse’s maximum length to 4.2 inches.

There are two LED indicators that flash when a certain setting is changed. The blue LED will blink if the Bluetooth connection is connected or disconnected. The red LED will shine at a certain brightness to indicate which of the two DPI profiles are being used. Both LEDs will eventually turn off to conserve battery life.

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Before using the R.A.T. M., an informative sticker must be peeled off. Also seen is the Bluetooth nano dongle being held in its compartment.

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The battery holder is released by pushing a button and then pulling. Two AAA batteries are included and can power the mouse for up to a year.

Also visible is the R.A.T. M’s 6400 DPI laser sensor.

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The toothed metal scroll wheel has a soft roll and gives flair to the mouse. However, the wheel can be cold to the touch and the teeth can be annoying after long use. A small programmable button is located next to the scroll wheel and between the mouse buttons.

A programmable “wing” button is located next to the left mouse button. In practice, I find it’s too stiff to quickly press.

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The 5D button is a tiny joystick that can be pressed down and pushed in four directions. This adds five programmable buttons to use, though it’s too stiff and too small to effectively use and the R.A.T. M’s small size makes it difficult to leverage the 5D button.

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There are another two programmable buttons on the left side of the mouse. Their placement leads me to believe these buttons are more accessible to small hands as it’s difficult otherwise to use them.

M.O.U.S. 9

The M.O.U.S. 9 takes the traditional R.A.T. design and adapts it to the workplace. The laser sensor is locked at 990 DPI, but can track on most surfaces including glass. The M.O.U.S. 9 lacks profile switching, but this frees the button between the two main buttons for a custom command and the tilting scroll wheel gives the M.O.U.S. 9 even more programmable buttons over the original R.A.T. mice. Its official features from both the product packaging and product web page are listed below.

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The M.O.U.S. 9’s packaging is nearly identical to that of the R.A.T. M. The M.O.U.S. 9 comes packaged in a clear plastic box along with a multi-language instruction manual, warranty information, a support notice advising contact with Mad Catz, some game promotion cards, Mad Catz stickers, one AA battery, and a mesh carrying pouch.

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The M.O.U.S. 9 weighs 4.9 ounces (138 g) and has dimensions of 4.1 x 2.6 x 1.5 inches / 105 x 65 x 38 mm (LxWxH.) Unlike the original R.A.T. lineup, the M.O.U.S. 9 does not have adjustable weights.

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The palm rest can slide out and lock at three points along the rack, bringing the mouse’s maximum length to 4.9 inches (125 mm.)

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Before using the M.O.U.S. 9, a sticker must be peeled off. Also seen is the Bluetooth nano dongle being held in its compartment.

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Removing the cap at the rear of the mouse exposes the battery compartment. One AA battery is included and can power the mouse for up to a year.

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New to the M.O.U.S. 9 and not found on any R.A.T. mouse is a programmable tilting scroll wheel. The scroll wheel button and the button next to the wheel are also programmable giving the M.O.U.S. 9 four more programmable buttons over the original R.A.T. mice. Unfortunately, I find M.O.U.S. 9’s scroll wheel button stiff and the wheel too recessed into the mouse to effectively tilt. Rolling the wheel is fine though and I appreciate its rubberized surface.

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Three programmable buttons can be found on the left side of the mouse. The large circular Precision Aim button by default drops the mouse pointer speed when held. No other button can be programmed with this function. The sensitivity of the lowered DPI can be changed in the software.

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A horizontal scroll wheel is located near the side buttons. Like the vertical scroll wheel, this wheel rolls. The horizontal scroll wheel is also programmable.

Also seen is the blue LED which will blink for a short time when the Bluetooth connection is connected or disconnected.

A.P.P. – Mad Catz’s Software

A driver CD is not included with either the R.A.T. M or the M.O.U.S. 9. Currently, Mad Catz is still operating and maintaining its Cyborg gaming website which contains the R.A.T. M and M.O.U.S. 9 product webpages as well as outdated driver downloads. It’s a matter of time before the Cyborg brand is completely defunct, but the download link for the latest drivers and mouse profiles are located on Mad Catz’s website.

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Top: R.A.T. M; Bottom: M.O.U.S. 9

The R.A.T. M and the M.O.U.S. 9 use their own separate drivers and control program, though the graphic interface of the latter is mostly the same. The main PROGRAMMING page has boxes pointing to the programmable buttons on an image of the mouse and a menu with shortcuts, keyboard keys, and custom commands. Drag and drop the macros in the menu onto the boxes for each programmable button to configure it. Changes must be applied to take effect.

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A small arrow on the left edge of the program opens a list of profiles. Profiles can be created by the user and linked to a program. Profiles can also be downloaded from the driver download page and each contains custom macros. To “install” the downloaded profiles, add them to the Mad Catz folder in My Documents.

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Top: R.A.T. M; Bottom: M.O.U.S. 9

The SETTINGS tab opens several mouse parameters to be modified and also displays the mouse’s estimated remaining battery life. A button also acts as a shortcut to the Windows mouse settings.

The R.A.T. M’s setting page permits changes to the DPI and Precision Aim. The M.O.U.S. 9 is limited to changes to Precision Control and button assignments for horizontal page scrolling.

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The SUPPORT tab has buttons that trigger web links in your choice of internet browser.

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The UPDATE tab will only appear either if the mouse is disconnected or a driver component requires updating. If the mouse is disconnected, then disregard this page if it requests to download the mouse driver.

Using the R.A.T. M & M.O.U.S. 9 and Conclusion

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Mad Catz goal with both these mice was mobility and I’ll have to respect that. The R.A.T. M’s small form should make it clear that it is laptop gaming mouse. The M.O.U.S. 9 was given non-gamer specifications to be used in the workplace though it won’t make your coffee. With no wires thanks to Bluetooth, ridiculously long battery life, and a nice carry pouch, both these mice travel well both on paper and in practice. Take note that the Bluetooth used on both these mice are currently natively compatible with Windows 8 computers with Bluetooth Smart (a.k.a. Bluetooth 4.0) with future compatibility expected on Mac OS X and Android. All other devices must use the included nano dongle.

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I have mixed feelings towards the R.A.T. M. As a laptop mouse, it’s very portable and capable of fitting in all sorts of bags and luggage.  While the 6400 DPI sensor is excessive on such a mouse, it does grant precision to a fast moving mouse pointer especially if used in a tight space. The small footprint lets the user fit the mouse onto small tables and I’ve taken the R.A.T. M onto tables the size of bar stools, in tea bars, and onto my knee without issue.

However, the R.A.T. M is too small to be a good gaming mouse. Casual gamers playing at a relaxed pace might not be troubled by the mouse’s faults, but it’s bothersome to grip something so small under the pressure of intense action. Even for a claw mouse, I find it uncomfortable to game longer than five minutes. Palming the small mouse is nearly as bad. The adjustable palm rest is alright for filling support for the hand, but with my fingers clicking away at 300 actions-per-minute, that little piece of plastic was wobbling slightly and I was concerned it going to snap under the crush of my tense palm. Additionally, the accessory buttons were close to the level of useless. The wing button was stiff to press and located a bit too far from the left mouse button for one finger to do the work. The 5D button is too small and stiff and completely failed my expectations.

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By contrast, I have little to complain about using the M.O.U.S. 9. It ergonomically fills and supports the palm and the sliding palm rest significantly adds flexibility to the mouse’s shape. Claw grip users won’t be left out either thanks to the ergonomically flexible R.A.T. shape the M.O.U.S. 9 is built on. No matter how the mouse is held, it’s difficult to access all the side buttons and sometimes the horizontal scroll wheel, but the M.O.U.S. 9 was just too comfortable for me to care. The two side button locations were perfectly placed for each type of mouse grip and the buttons were not too stiff, but not too soft to accidentally press.

The software was a real breeze to handle. It didn’t take long to figure out and in no time I was dragging-and-dropping commands, assigning profiles, and creating custom macros. The tabs are clearly labeled and the menus are cleanly organized. The only UI improvement I can suggest to Mad Catz is to make the profile management menu more visible.

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I do have reservations that prevent me from freely recommending both the R.A.T. M and the M.O.U.S. 9. Both mice perform well even if they look like toys. While the metal base and batteries give some weight to both mice, the plastic pieces look and feel cheap. The 2-year warranty is very generous, but it’s their bad value that really spoils the attraction. The R.A.T. M and M.O.U.S. 9 cost $122.83 and $127.02 respectively on Amazon. There are laptop mice without all the gimmicks that cost much less than the R.A.T. M. The M.O.U.S. 9 has tough competition from the likes of the Logitech Performance Mouse MX which also tracks on glass as well as Mad Catz older R.A.T. gaming mice for gamers who care more about the ergonomics.

 

Legit Bottom Line: The original R.A.T.s are still the more serious gaming mice, but the R.A.T. M and the M.O.U.S. 9 bring interesting mobility features to diversify Mad Catz offerings.