Mad Catz are a company with a tumultuous history. Their early days saw them as purveyors of the kind of control pads you always made your friends use, before eventually finding their way to becoming a well respected crafter of arcade sticks and other high quality peripherals. Then came the fall. They lost everything going all-in on Rock Band 4, but like the phoenix from a pile of plastic flames, they’ve returned and are once again building their name with well-built, top-end gaming gear.
The RAT 4+ is a mouse that only Mrs RAT could love. That is to say it’s not a particularly attractive piece of kit, especially when you first pull it out the box. On closer inspection, it seems like they got so far in designing and building it, and then just decided to call it a day. The distinctly visible bottom plate is plain translucent plastic, which allows the single-colour LED lighting to shine through – if you don’t liked red, then you’re flat out of luck here – and the rest of the mouse is constructed from an amalgam of glossy and matt black plastic pieces. While most of its components are largely in the place you’d expect them to be, you’ll immediately notice a few interesting differences from your average mouse.
First up, the palm rest is extendable. There’s a distance slider on it in case you’re not too sure, but with a press of a small spring-loaded latch you can simply move it up and down its track. If you’re a little too adventurous it will even come all the way off, but it will happily go back into place without any fuss. It’s such a small thing, but being able to customise where your palm sits makes it a lot more comfortable. The mouse adapts to you, rather than the other way around.
Beyond the movable palm rest, there’s a bevy of input options. Alongside expansive left and right click buttons, there’s a chunky scroll wheel that is one of the best-feeling I’ve come across recently, and then an array of additional buttons. Under your thumb there’s a Precision Aim button; holding it down adjusts the mouse sensitivity to slow your cursor speed to a crawl, letting you nail that headshot you were lining up. There’s then two more in-line programmable buttons slightly further up as well, easily in reach.
Rounding things out there’s a Mode button that switches you between four different profiles, and a DPI button that lets you move up and down between your DPI presets, topping out at 7200 DPI. Out of the box that’s a fantastic array of inputs and options, bumping the RAT 4+’s usability way ahead of your average mouse.
It doesn’t stop there though. The RAT 4+ is satisfyingly customisable, giving you total control over every input. Using the bespoke software you can easily change what each button does, with a simple drag and drop interface that lets you pull the command you want onto the input you want. If you need to put together a combination you can create custom inputs as well, and then assign what you’re doing to each profile.
The only mild confusion I found was that the profiles aren’t active in the software, you have to cycle through them using the Mode button on the mouse. It’s a small thing, but it would have been much simpler if it could be software-driven. That said, it still remains one of the most efficient and flexible set-ups out there. Beyond what the buttons do, you can customise the DPI range, the USB report rate – the amount of times the mouse ‘speaks’ to your computer – the accuracy of the Precision Aim button, and set a lift-off height to reduce unwanted movement if you need to pick up your mouse.
In use, you’ll soon forget about the RAT 4+’s odd looks. It’s light, but reassuringly sturdy thanks to its solid construction and adjustability. It boasts a Pixart PMW 3330 optical sensor that’s unbelievably accurate, and claims to be capable of withstanding speeds of up to 150 inches per second and 30G of acceleration. We couldn’t really test that claim, though. It translates to a mouse that feels comfortable and capable, with accuracy and performance that’s competition-worthy.
The price is also competitive. With a recommended retail price of £59.99, the RAT 4+ and its level of customisation and ease of use stand out. However, its primary rivals include the highly rated (if reportedly unreliable) Corsair M65 Elite which has an 18000 DPI sensor, multi-colour RGB, allows you to customise the left-click button and other inputs, and to tune its weight to your liking. The RAT 4+ is in a pretty busy price range for gaming peripherals.