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Review: Razer Imperator Mouse 2012 Edition


The Razer Imperator 2012 Edition Gaming mouse is, at first glance, a fairly unassuming mouse. All the things you’d expect on a mouse for gamers seem to be here. Adjustable button associations, adjustable DPI settings. Lights. What makes the Imperator different? Little things – all the little things added to this package makes the Razer Imperator stand out from the crowd.


Profile view of the Razer Imperator 2012 Edition Gaming Mouse

Razer has been making gaming accessories for the gamer section of the market for more than a decade, starting out with original Boomslang mouse back in 1999. Since then, iconic mice from Razer have included models such as the Diamondback, Death Adder and Naga series of mice, to name but a few. The Razer Imperator is one of the latest editions to the nest.


Before going into the innards of this little beast, I had a look around the mouse to get a first impression. Off the bat, the mouse has 7 buttons – your normal left, right and middle buttons, as well as browser forward and back buttons on the left side, as well as DPI adjustment buttons along the center dorsal side, just behind the wheel; fairly straight-forward for most Razer mice, most gaming mice as well. What caught my eye (or rather my right thumb) was the area around and below the side buttons – rubber! Sweet, sweet rubber! I love it when the thumb area has a bit of resistance for grip!

While admiring the rubbery rubberyness of the thumb area, I noticed an odd gaping hole next to the side buttons. A quick bit of searching revealed that the side buttons’ position can be adjusted forward or back depending on where your thumb would be at a most comfortable resting position. The positioning of the buttons is handled by a slider located on the bottom of the mouse. I had a bit of a hurrdurr moment when I discovered the correlation – I had found the slider, but thought that it was related to shifting weight within the mouse making it forward-or back-heavy depending on preference, as I noted a significant change in weight distribution when initially fiddling with all the things. Of one my pet peeves with most of the gaming mice available was the lack of options regarding positioning of these buttons, to the point where I rather stuck to using a Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse for years as my personal mouse of choice because of the fact that these buttons were orientated vertically rather than horizontally with most other mice. This was important to me with my sausage fingers never seeming to sit just right - with Razer mice in particular, with the exception of the Naga series. This feature for me, regardless of all the other features of the mouse, made this a win!

bottom of imperator 2012 sml.gif

Underside view, showing off the 4G dual sensor as well as the side-button slider

Lastly, at bottom of the mouse, I noticed two apertures seemingly for sensors. According to the package, that is exactly what they are, as part of the mouse’s touted 4G dual sensor system, allowing a maximum sensitivity of 6400 DPI, using a combination of optical and laser systems.

Drivers and Control

Driver installation under Windows 8 was fairly straightforward – no special drivers are necessary to get basic operation out of the Imperator, and with the drivers installed, the full scope of the mouse’s capability comes to life. The Imperator comes with its own dedicated drivers, rather than being supported by the Razer Synapse ecosystem of drivers.

The driver functionality is divided into button assignments, performance tweaking, profile management, macro recording and lighting control. Button assignment is pretty much as found on the standard Windows interface for setting button assignments. Performance tweaking allows you to set up to five distinct sensitivity stages, as well as the option of unhinging X and Y sensitivity, meaning you can set X and Y sensitivity  independently of one another, per sensitivity stage. Polling rate, mouse acceleration and surface calibration can be adjusted here. Polling can be set at presets of 125hz, 500hz and 1000hz.

imperator tweaking page.JPG

Software to adjust your mouse's mojo!

Surface calibration is an interesting feature found here as well, which allows the mouse to adjust the sensor for the best possible performance on the surface it is on to prevent swiping, as well as adjusting  lift-off – at what point the sensor stops trying to track movement – useful if playing on a glass surface with something below it.

Profile management is a useful method of storing specific button assignments and sensitivity settings to a profile. Playing Team Fortress 2 will require different button functionality from something like EVE Online, and again something different from Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. On-the-fly profile adjustment can be associated with a button-push on the mouse via the button assignment dialogue.

The macros management section allows you create macros with time delays and keypresses as well as associate basic Windows operations (eg, cut, copy, paste, close window, etc.). Usage of these macros can be assigned via the button assignment dialogue. If you’re familiar with setting up macros on a keyboard that supports the functionality such as the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Elite, this will be instantly familiar to you.

Lastly, the lighting dialogue allows you what parts of the mouse are lit up, specifically the wheel light and the Razer logo.


It’s been a while since I got excited over a mouse. I was excited over the Microsoft Sidewinder mainly because of its side-button configuration, and that was years ago. There have been many mice since, most of them better, but it was always about those side-buttons. The Razer Naga came close but even that didn’t quite feel right in my hand. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to use this mouse for a while now, and I’m happy to say it fits my hand beautifully, the side-button configuration and thumb-grip were a sale for me.

The pads at the bottom slide well over my mouse pad, giving it an almost effortless glide, which did give my games of Black Ops 2 bit of a boost – 180 turns combined with ironsight aiming were distinctly easier for me to execute; voicecomms control in EVE Online across two packages are a lot easier thanks to the adjusted buttons to a forward position allowing easier push-to-talk without having to look down at the mouse or feel my way around.

For all the other features of this mouse, it’s all about the little things here. The attention to detail has produced a mouse which has gone from being an initially good mouse to an eventually superb mouse, putting it well ahead of the pack to mice in a similar price-bracket.

razer-imperator-gallery-1 boxshots.jpg

Shiny box, pretty mouse!


1.       Good solid feel
2.       Adjustable side buttons for different hands
3.       Great response on the 4G sensor system
3.       Rubbery goodness for super thumb relaxation and control
4.       Superb mouse feet for effortless gliding across a proper mouse pad


1.       Mouse feet wear and scratch quickly if not on a proper mouse-friendly surface, like a mousepad
2.       Braided cable has a memory (but then again they all do)


Looks    ****

Value ****

Durability ***

Usability *****

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

Recommended Retail Pricing - R649.00

Availability: at Musica Stores

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