For as long as I’ve been using a desktop PC as my workstation and gaming machine, I’ve always used a wired mouse. My daily driver just happens to be another of the company's mouse offerings, the Razer DeathAdder, which I love for its smooth tracking and comfort. I haven’t been a huge fan of wireless mice, primarily due to battery life concerns, but also due to sketchy wireless implementations until very recently.
For these reasons I was interested to check out the Razer Lancehead, the latest ambidextrous mouse offering from Razer that comes in both wireless and wired iterations. The wireless version will set you back a whopping $140 for what is essentially a top-of-the-line product in this category, while the wired Tournament Edition comes in at a more reasonable $80. We’ve had hands-on time with both versions for this review.
First, let’s talk specifications. The sensor is a 16,000 DPI unit: laser-based on the wireless Lancehead, and optical on the Tournament Edition. The laser sensor is good for 210 inches per second, compared to 450 on the optical version, so there’s a performance advantage in favor of the wired mouse. Both, however, support 1000 Hz polling and both come with full Razer Chroma RGB lighting in several customizable zones.
The wired version is USB, while the wireless edition connects via a small 2.4 GHz proprietary USB dongle. Razer uses what they are calling Adaptive Frequency Technology (AFT) to manage the wireless communication, allowing the mouse to seamlessly switch frequency channels in the event of interference. The technology worked flawlessly in my testing: the Lancehead feels identical to use whether it’s wired or wireless, with no lag or perceptible latency of any kind.
The wireless variant can also be used as a wired mouse, mostly so you can charge and use the unit at the same time. Razer includes a 2.1m braided USB cable with a unique micro-USB mount, which slides neatly into a slot underneath the scroll wheel. When you’re not charging the mouse, the charging cable can be slotted into a small mount for the wireless dongle, which allows the dongle to sit neatly above your mousepad if you desire. It’s not necessary to use the dongle mount, though, as its wireless range is approximately 3m line of sight.
Tracking performance is decent, although 16,000 DPI is far too sensitive for any typical mouse user. I tend to find 2,000 DPI is about right for me, and at that sensitivity level, the Lancehead is smooth and accurate. Two buttons just below the scroll wheel allow you to adjust the DPI level between five presets on the fly, with Razer Synapse supporting as low as 100 DPI and any level above that in 50 or 100 DPI increments.
Razer has designed the Lancehead to be an ambidextrous mouse, so it has forward and back buttons on both sides, as well as completely symmetrical design. This might be great for some people, particularly left-handed users who don’t often find left-hand specific mice, however at least in my opinion, making mice ambidextrous tends to make them less comfortable than their hand-specific counterparts.
The right side of the Lancehead curves in quite significantly to provide a comfortable thumb grip for left handers, however this impacts the support provided to the right side of my hand as a right-handed palm grim user. In comparison, the fatter right side and asymmetrical curve to the DeathAdder provides more support as a right hander, although obviously it’s not suitable for left handers. To me, at least, the DeathAdder is a lot more comfortable to use for extended periods.
With that said, the grippy rubber sides make the Lancehead a great option for those that claw or finger grip their mice. If you don’t directly rest your hand on the sides of the mouse like I do, the Lancehead is a nice mouse to hold and operate.
The rest of the Lancehead is largely made of plastic, split into several areas and designs of different colors and finishes. Most of the mouse is a grey matte finish without a soft-touch coating, which is fine for this mouse, though I’m a bit of a sucker for soft-touch rubberized finishes. The front of the mouse has an aggressive black vent design, though these vents serve no functional purpose.
The left and right clicks use Razer Omron switches, which exhibit a solid and dependable click. Compared to the Deathadder, the Lancehead's click is firmer and more tactical. For regular desktop work the click may be a tad too rigid, however as primarily a gaming mouse I think most will feel right at home here.
The scroll wheel is heavily notched and easily clickable; I prefer a slightly smoother scroll, though this is nitpicking. And each of the six other face buttons are also very solid, though only the left buttons (as a right-handed palm gripper) are easily accessible. Every button except left click can be remapped in Razer Synapse, so you can separately assign the buttons on either side, though by default both sets are mapped to forward/back.
Another comparison to the Deathadder worth making is that the Lancehead is less bulky, yet heavier. It's not entirely ergonomic, being an ambidextrous mouse, but it gets close to full comfort, and those with smaller hands will likely prefer it since it's a more compact device.
The Lancehead is an RGB mouse with support for Razer’s Chroma ecosystem. There are four individually-programmable lighting zones on the mouse: the logo, scroll wheel, left strip, and right strip. The logo and scroll wheel are a single LED, while the strips are a collection of seven LEDs per side (and yes, you can individually customize each LED in the strip). As the strips are multiple lights, you can achieve some fantastic gradients and waves along each edge.
I don’t think LED lighting on a mouse is as useful as on a keyboard, but it’s a neat inclusion that gives a bit of flare to the otherwise grey and black design. Razer’s Chroma RGB customizing utility is very powerful, too, so with a lot of work you can create an entirely unique RGB layout for your mouse.
One contentious aspect to any wireless mouse is its battery life. Razer claims the Lancehead is good for approximately 24 hours with Chroma lighting enabled, presumably set to its default ‘dim’ level of brightness. This claim is pretty much spot on, as I achieved just under 25 hours of life on a single charge.
Using this mouse all day for several days in a row on my main workstation, 25 hours of use or thereabouts means I would need to charge the mouse once every three days in a best case scenario. This is on the shorter end of the battery life spectrum, though not unsurprising considering the high-performance sensor and RGB lighting. Naturally, if you disable the lighting, this mouse will last longer.
Ideally I’d like to see the mouse lasting around a full week without needing to be charged. Although more of a battery tech limitation, some competing wireless mice do last around 10 hours longer, which is a significant difference.
There are also some tracking differences between the wired and wireless versions of the Lancehead, which stem from Razer's choice to use a lesser-performing laser sensor in the wireless version rather than the excellent optical sensor used in the wired edition. Both sensors do offer 16,000 DPI, but the laser sensor is less accurate, less responsive to fine movement, and more prone to spin out. Gamers sensitive to these issues should stick with the optical sensor provided in the wired version.
- Razer Lancehead on Amazon
- Razer Lancehead on Newegg
- Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition on Amazon
- Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition on Newegg
The Lancehead is a solid, dependable gaming mouse. It’s not the best I’ve used, mostly due to some comfort issues as a palm grip user. The Lancehead is an expensive proposition and for that reason I'd recommend the wired Tournament Edition first, but if you want wireless, grab it knowing it still delivers a respectable experience.
Pros: Wireless connectivity works perfectly. Good build quality with excellent RGB lighting capabilities. Ambidextrous design is great for left-handers as well as claw and finger grip users.
Cons: Wireless edition is very expensive. Battery life isn’t fantastic. Not comfortable for palm grip users.