Update 2013: The Cyborg R.A.T. 7 is now known as the Mad Catz R.A.T. 7. This article reviews the older Cyborg model, but the newer Mad Catz model is apparently the same product.
“Daddy, buy me this one!”
The Mad Catz R.A.T.7 Gaming Mouse for PC and Macis the best mouse I have ever used, and I wondered, “Can it get any better?” Yes! And it’s called the Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Albino (now marketed as the Mad Catz R.A.T. 7 White version), whose styling appears to be a combination of 1970′s blocky design and technology from a sterile clean, futuristic society.
After running this rat through the maze of everyday computer use, here are my thoughts about this fine product along with the answer to the question, “Does the Albino work with Ubuntu?”
What is the difference between the Albino and the black RAT 7?
The Albino is just a white version of the black RAT 7.
The Albino has red lettering and a 6400 dpi laser for extremely precise tracking. (The black RAT 7 may either have 5600 dpi or 6400 dpi depending upon your model.)
Other than that, they are identical. Same RAT 7. Different colors. Even the parts can be swapped between the rats.
The biggest difference is the price – the Albino is more expensive than the black RAT 7, but it looks much…cleaner.
Note that there is another white RAT 7 called the Contagion, but this is not the same as the Albino. The Albino and the Contagion are both white, but the Albino has a matte finish with red lettering while the Contagion has a glossy, slick finish with blue lettering. The matte finish on the Albino is exactly the same as the black RAT 7, and it feels pleasant to the touch without any shiny reflections.
Does it work with Ubuntu?
Ubuntu users will no doubt ask this question next. I certainly did because the box boldly proclaims PC and Mac compatibility. Linux is not mentioned.
Rest assured, the Albino is 100% compatible with Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit. However, you will need to add a new section for it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf so X will recognize the mouse. Yes, the Albino has the same button lockup problem as the black RAT 7.
Here are instructions for making the Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Albino work with Ubuntu.
Update: The R.A.T. series of mice are now sold under the Mad Catz label, not Cyborg. Because of this, the Mad Catz product string might need modification to make the RAT work in Ubuntu. This means changing the Cyborg portion of the identification string (used to identify the USB device) to the string the Mad Catz RAT sends to the computer in order for X to recognize the RAT without freezing the buttons.
Does it work with Windows XP?
Yes, but drivers were problematic. You can plug the Albino into Windows XP, and it works fine as a regular mouse. The red side button slows down the mouse cursor slightly, but it feels inconveniently placed, making it rarely used.
However, I never got a chance to see the programmable buttons in action because the Cyborg configuration program refused to open and caused Windows XP to lock up. In the end, using the Albino with Windows XP was the same as using it with Ubuntu.
Tell Me More About the RAT 7 Albino
My first impression is the box. Ohhhh, I like the box! It features a velvety feel with angled corners. Solid. Quality.
The front cover flap is held in place by magnets that, when opened, reveal the RAT 7 inside. The packaging exudes quality, which it should considering the cost.
The Albino contains instructions and product advertisement. Drivers are not included. They must be downloaded from the Cyborg web site.
Below the mouse wheel is a button that adjust the tracking sensitivity in four levels from slow to fast. Clicking this button up or down causes the red bar lights on the left side of the mouse to show which sensitivity mode the Albino is operating in.
Is the 6400 dpi Albino sensitive? Oh, yes. In fact, this mouse is so precise that clicking the buttons will move the cursor. You will want to use a quality mouse pad.
The pads under the Albino are slick and smooth, causing the Albino to glide silently across a clean surface.
Every now and then I encounter a product so clean and sleek-looking that everything I currently own immediately appears antiquated by comparison. The Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Albino is one such product.
Now, I need to obtain a new desk, replace the carpet, repaint the walls, change the light bulbs, and prune the trees outside so everything will match the R.A.T. 7 Albino. A worthy investment.