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Mad Catz R.A.T. Pro S3 Review: Awkward & Uncomfortable Design

Mad Catz RAT Pro S3

The end of 2018 saw the mighty return of Mad Catz' iconic line of R.A.T. gaming mice, bringing a new line of modern R.A.T. options including the PRO S3 which we've been using frequently in recent weeks for testing across various shooters, RPGs, and strategy games.

The mission statement behind the PRO S3 and the entire Mad Catz R.A.T. line is to offer gamers a range of gaming mice that are durable, built for long-term use, but we found this mouse hard to use for even short periods of time due to its non-ergonomic design and awkward feel. For all of its flashy options, Mad Catz' R.A.T. Pro S3 is simply uncomfortable.

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Times have changed for Mad Catz since the company went under and resurfaced, now bringing back its familiar branded mice. The simple, small packaging that's a bit of a hassle to open without shredding since behind the tape-heavy plastic display front are layers of paperboard awkwardly folded and glued is a telling sign that the mouse is of the budget variety, especially compared to the R.A.T.8+ or the old school R.A.T. 9 which we fell in love with years ago. This is not that.

Mad Catz RAT Pro S3 Front Buttons
Notice the spacing of the front buttons and wheel.

The R.A.T. PRO S3 is super lightweight, surprisingly so given its physical appearance at a glance which of course honors the future-tech aesthetic the Mad Catz R.A.T. range has always proudly embraced. Ultra-reliable OMRON switches with an industry leading life of 50 million clicks ensure that even the highest Actions Per Minute (APM) gamers will never miss an attack, accurately describes the left and right main mouse buttons, but what it doesn't explain is why the buttons are spaced out so much and why it's difficult to reach the mouse wheel effectively and efficiently.

The Mad Catz R.A.T. Pro S3 Doesn't Feel Right

The poor positioning of the main front buttons also applies to the thumb buttons which include the standard pair of forward and back buttons which are awkwardedly placed too far back to the point where users need to bend their thumb too much to reach. Here on the side however also rests an extra button - a feature we love - for the precision aim feature that sits below what's usually considered the Mouse 4 & 5 buttons. It's a heftier button, intentionally so, and when held it slows down DPI to crawl to better assist precision aiming for that extra advantage when playing the marksman. It's very smooth. This button is placed exactly where the user's thumb naturally lays so by default becomes the third primary button alongside the left and right clicks.

Half the buttons on the R.A.T. Pro S3 are great and planned with thought, half are bad and ruin the basic fundamental gaming experience.

The R.A.T. Pro S3 comes with an appropriately lengthy cord but due to the mouse's lightweight, it can actually get in the way and drags. The more notable feature are the physical adjustment options the mouse features. The device's palm rest can be pulled out to fit the user's hand up to 12mm and can be re-inserted at a different angle, up to 15 degrees each way. It works but feels budget and cheap. The plastic-y bits and width of the unit in the mid-section results in edges lying against the user's hand and the palm rest isn't comfortable, no matter where you put it, and it rests too high in the rear of the unit.

Mad Catz RAT Pro S3 Palm Rest Adjustable
There's no right place for this palm rest.

Up close, the Pro S3 looks and feels like a Hasbro Transformers toy, more than a recommendable gaming peripheral, and it feels that way too in the hand and when playing with its buttons or palm rest. The R.A.T. Pro S3 doesn't seemed designed to comfortably rest a hand on it, or to quickly be able to operate all of its buttons during a competitive game.

Like most modern gaming mice, the Mad Catz R.A.T. Pro S3 also features profile options for users to save settings, including color presents (four profiles can be saved) and a DPI cycle (middle-click) to quickly choose between sensitivity options. The downloadable software from the official Mad Catz website lets users fully take advantage of the Pro S3's lighting options, namely three independent RGB Illumination Zones that can also feature unique effects from breathing to color cycling.

The Mad Catz R.A.T. Pro S3 comes in white or black variants, and retails for approximately $65 but as a product it fails to justify its price point versus other options in the price range and doesn't fulfill the needs of gamers looking for high-end equipment and comfort.

More: The First Official Wireless Keyboard & Mouse For Xbox One

Review unit provided by Mat Catz.

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