Another month, another shiny Razer product - can this one win our hearts?
To the untrained eye, this new mouse from Razer almost doesn't look like a Razer mouse at all. For one thing, it's not symmetrical - good news for dedicated righties, possibly not so for those cursed with cack-handedness. For another, Razer's also ditched the usual rubberised coating of many of its products in favour of a simpler matte and gloss plastic finish. This move is altogether more hard to judge.
The Imperator's design is completed by a dimpled rubber mousewheel, and a pair of thumb buttons. This pair is pretty neat, and can be moved backwards and forwards along the mouse's housing by using a slider hidden under the mouse. In practice, this is a cool touch, allowing you to customise these buttons so they are either right under your thumb, or safely out of the way. All this is capped off with a long, and cloth-enclosed USB cable.
There's a mess of further customisation via the included Imperator software - though, this is not included in the purchase package. Instead, you'll need to download it post-purchase, which is a touch lazy in our eyes, especially given the amount of card and paper bumpf in the packaging; do we really need a drinks coaster instead of required software?! Still, the software is well put together, and will let you put together a host of game specific macros and save them onto the mouse - perfect for LANing on strange machines.
We put the mouse through our usual Modern Warfare killhouse training level, and it's performance was... well, average. Our stock mouse is a Razer Lachesis (the same as the one on our gaming LAN, if you've attended one recently), and the Imperator was more or less on par. In action, the ergonomic improvements of the asymmetrical design bring very little to the table, and the little and second finger positioning is particularly odd. Perhaps worst of all, the shiny plastic thumb rest is the enemy of sweat, leading to some poor control in warm climes.
If you really must have a new Razer mouse, this is likely the pick of the mix, but at $120 it's a touch too expensive to justify an upgrade, and lacking in outright performance or comfort.