The Worst Razer Mouse I've Tested In The Past 17 Years

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 5 March 2022 at 07:37 AM EST. 50 Comments
Going back to the original Razer Copperhead mouse in 2005, I've tested many different Razer mice over the years and have exclusively used Razer mice on my main production system for basically as long. This week the scrollwheel physically broke on a Razer DeathAdder mouse I've used the past few years so quickly ordered a replacement, which sadly turned out to be the worst Razer mouse I've personally ever used, and replaced it a day later.

While I haven't been a gamer in many years, I generally love Razer mice. Their build quality has traditionally been excellent in their many peripherals I've used over the years, I prefer extra sensitive mice even for conventional desktop tasks, and all-around they have worked out well for me.

The great Copperhead back in 2005.

For the past decade or so I've been using various versions of the Razer DeathAdder on my main production system. They have worked out well for my purposes and very happy with them for my non-gaming usage. Most recently I was using the Razer DeathAdder Elite from 2019 on my main system up until this week when the scroll wheel suddenly broke -- no scroll wheel events were being reported and when it happened there was a sudden difference in the feel with the scroll wheel having no resistance at all.

The Razer DeathAdder Essential RZ01-0385.

I quickly jumped on Amazon to see what Razer mouse I could order with same-day delivery... Aside from wireless mice, the only one was a Razer DeathAdder Essential (Amazon affiliate link). It looked to be the same form factor, had 500+ reviews for a 4.5 star average, and cost only $20 USD. I quickly ordered it and waited the few hours and eagerly awaited it in how frustrating it is to use a mouse these days without a working scrollwheel.

This cheaper DeathAdder mouse was not the Razer experience I've been used to over the past nearly two decades.

The Razer DeathAdder Essential mouse arrived and immediately noticed the build quality to be subpar compared to the many Razer mice I've used over the years. And with it not having any physical buttons for controlling the DPI sensor/sensitivity, I installed Polychromatic and OpenRazer in order to max it out to enjoy the super-sensitive experience I am accustomed to. But this mouse was not supported by Polychromatic/OpenRazer. Ugh. So then fortunately I had a Windows 11 installation around on a laptop so installed Razer Synapse. But it turns out Razer's own Windows software isn't currently supporting the mouse -- it wasn't clear if due to being a new revision or they just aren't supporting the budget "Essential" mouse with its popular Windows software for gamers.

While OpenRazer+Polychromatic work for many Razer devices, it did not currently work so for this one. Not even the Razer Windows software was working.

As of writing I have been unable to adjust the DPI sensor on this mouse under Windows or Linux. And the build quality was notably lower than what I was happily used to with Razer products since 2005. When going back and looking at the Amazon product reviews for the ordered DeathAdder Essential, while it does maintain a 4.5 star average many of the newer reviews are indeed critical of the mouse. It appears the same product page was used for both an older and newer version of this mouse. It looks like the newer revision of the Razer DeathAdder Essential is notably worse off than prior iterations.

The Razer DeathAdder V2 restored my faith in the company and was of the quality usually enjoyed by their hardware.

Long story short, the Razer DeathAdder Essential was a big disappointment as a longtime Razer mouse user. Purchasing this budget ($20) version of the DeathAdder for its same-day Amazon delivery proved to be a big mistake. This Razer DeathAdder Essential has a model number of RZ01-0385 to which there aren't too many hits online and some indications it was initially launched for the Chinese market. Even when searching for the RZ01-0385 on Google it ends up pointing to the Razer website for the former RZ01-02540 DeathAdder Essential version and not the 0385.

In any event, this DA Essential mouse was an immediate disappointment. I learned my lesson and ended up ordering the Razer DeathAdder V2 (Amazon affiliate link) mouse and waited for the next day. The Razer DeathAdder V2 for $35 USD has a 20K DPI sensor (compared to 6.4K on the Essential version), physical buttons for controlling the sensor, and all-around better build quality. It arrived the next day and I've been happily using it since and matches the quality and experience I've come to expect out of Razer over the past seventeen years. Would certainly recommend the DeathAdder V2 or any of their other more premium Razer mice over that RZ01-0385 "essential" budget mouse.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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