Short Version: While the Silencer is a welcome change from the eternal round of Razer, Logitech, and Microsoft mice, it doesn’t show the level of refinement those companies now include in their mice. I hope for more from Cyber Snipa in the future, but the Silencer just can’t stand up to the competition.
- Aggressively molded right-handed shape
- Robust macro editor
- Four customizable DPI settings
- Removable weight and grips
- MSRP: $54.99
- Side grips are nice (it could have more)
- Mode and DPI switching is instantaneous
- Tracking is unreliable
- Button placement could be better
- Configuration is limited, unintuitive
It’s hard out there for a mouse. The competition is so good and so numerous that unless you bring something really new to the table, you’re going to be either outclassed or buried. For the Cyber Snipa Silencer, it’s a little bit of both. That’s not to say it’s a bad mouse &mdsah; those are increasingly rare these days — but even at its relatively low price of $55 you can find many mice that school it in various ways.
Perhaps the standout feature of the Silencer is its form factor. It’s large and molded in an aggressive right-handed shape, much more swoopy than the Imperator or G500. It is of course impossible to know whether a mouse will fit your hand until you try it out, but in this case you can be sure of two things: it’s not ambidextrous, and it’s meant to take up your whole hand. The trouble is that, due to its extreme shape, it really only provides one way to hold it. The Xai design, at the very opposite end of ergonomic theory, attempts to place as few restrictions on you as possible. They’re both legitimate approaches to designing a device like this, but the downside of a specific-grip design is that if your hand doesn’t fit it exactly, you’re SOL.
In my case, it wasn’t a particularly good fit but if my hands were slightly smaller it’d be just fine. I can’t ding them for not making their mouse the exact size I require. The removable grip is great, although there are only two to choose from, and neither offers a drastically changed mousing experience.
The button placement is a little more problematic, though. The main buttons and scroll wheel are just fine, clicky and hard to miss. But the thumb buttons are trouble. They look like any other buttons on a gaming mouse, but there is in fact a little ridge right below them that interferes with my pressing the buttons — not least because it’s the same shape and a quarter inch away. I suppose it’s meant to be a little physical cue for where the buttons are, but it really does nothing to help and usually gets in the way. The buttons themselves are squishy and the shape is counter-intuitive; you never feel like you’re pushing them in the right way.
Tracking was a bit of a mystery. The Silencer has a “lift” button, which essentially focuses the laser sensor, a “feature” notably absent in every other mouse on the market. When you put the mouse on a surface, be it mousepad or table or what have you, you need to jiggle the mouse around with the lift button down, and it calibrates itself. If you forget to do this or somehow mess it up, the mouse will track extremely badly. Not that we’re all switching mousing surfaces every few minutes, but it does raise questions as to the reliability of the sensor. Once calibrated, I found it was reliable, but not on my cloth mousepad. Click the thumbnail at right to see how it performed on three different surfaces.
Configuration is straightforward but limited. Razer and others offer a pre-made set of actions to assign to buttons as well as the means to create your own. I had to create my own double-click macro, which is easy enough, but what if I want media functions or Windows functions like minimize active window? Also, while you can change the color of the profile LED, you can’t turn off the extremely bright red light on the base of the mouse. It pulses constantly and brightly, which is distracting if you’re trying to watch a movie or have a romantic evening.
I look forward to more from Cyber Snipa, but the Silencer has too many problems that are easily correctable, and which aren’t present on competing mice. Pass on this one, but don’t count them out.