Based on the instructions in the Quick Start guide, I connected the Boomslang 2100 to a free USB port on my Windows XP based PC. I inserted the driver CD into the CD player at which point the auto-run feature executed Razer's driver and software installation program. However, choosing the option to install the drivers resulted in an install of the Razer Customizer software. I installed the drivers manually by forcing a driver update in device manager. Upon completion, Windows XP recognized the device as a Razer USB mouse.
Shown below is the Razer Customizer sensitivity applet, which allows sensitivity and double click speed adjustments along with the option to enable or disable On-The-Fly-Sensitivity adjustment. The sensitivity levels range from 1 to 10 and can be adjusted in increments of 0.5
Razer Customizer - Sensitivity Applet
Below is the applet to modify the scroll wheel speed and to enable or disable universal scroll.
Razer Customizer - Scroll Wheel Applet
Next up is a button assignment applet, which allows each button on the Boomslang 2100 to be configured. I recommend leaving buttons 1, 2, and 3 as they are and configuring buttons 4 and 5 as required. The following functions can be assigned to a button - disable, click, menu, universal scroll, macro, double click, and game control.
On-The-Fly-Sensitivity can only be assigned to the thumb button, which is button 4 in a right-handed configuration or button 5 in a left handed configuration. Buttons can also be mapped to a specific key on the keyboard or a combination of keys via a macro.
Razer Customizer - Button Applet
On-The Fly-Sensitivity is used to adjust the mouse sensitivity on the fly. There is one requirement in that you have to assign the thumb button with the On-The-Fly-Sensitivity function. On-The-Fly-Sensitivity adjustment is activated by pressing the thumb button and then scrolling up or down with the scroll wheel. The sensitivity of the mouse is decreased when scrolling down and increased when scrolling up. When On-The-Fly-Sensitivity is activated in a game, a useful pop-up window appears that displays the adjustment levels as they occur.
The advanced settings allow mouse acceleration to be enabled or disabled and the sensitivity level of the X and Y-axes to be adjusted.
Razer Customizer - Advanced Applet
The Razer Customizer can be configured to reside in the system tray by selecting the "Enable Tray Icon" from the Razer program group in the start menu. This provides a quick way to access the Razer Customizer.
Holy Cow! The slightest movement of the Sniper Boomslang 2100 caused the mouse pointer to move across the screen at what seemed like the speed of light. I was shocked and seriously doubted that I would ever be able to use this mouse. The literature recommends that you adjust the sensitivity to the lowest level and as you become proficient at one setting to begin working your way up to the next setting. However, I was determined to become proficient using the Sniper Boomslang 2100, which took me around two weeks to accomplish.
Prior to using the Sniper Boomslang 2100, my aim in Halo was average at best and I usually ended up in the middle or bottom half of the rankings during a game of slayer, where sniper rifles are used exclusively. However, the consistency and accuracy of the Sniper Boomslang 2100 was superior to my Logitech Optical Mouse and with practice, I am able to shoot with accuracy even while moving.
The ability to change the sensitivity of the Sniper Boomslang 2100 is a feature that requires experimentation, but is one that I've come to appreciate. For example, in confined area, where you tend to be closer to opponents, I experimented with increasing the sensitivity in order to pull off a 180-degree turn and shoot maneuver. This is an effective technique when being chased by an opponent, although it takes a significant amount of practice to consistently pull off..
In Call of Duty, I could afford to camp behind a wall or other obstacle and pick off the enemy effortlessly. Using the Sniper Boomslang 2100 didn’t make me invincible, but it did make the progression into the later levels of the game challenging rather than frustrating.
Unreal 2 is great game to have fun with and I really love blowing away those aliens! Again, the Sniper Boomslang 2100 was responsive to the nuances of my movements, which enabled me to progress through the levels easier than before.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 might seem like an odd choice to test the Sniper Boomslang 2100, however the True Swing method of striking a golf ball leaves little room for error. Specifically, during the swing, the mouse is moved from one point to another along the same plane. The greater the deviation from the plane results in a less accurate shot. I also found ways to make use of On-The-Fly-Sensitivity. For example, on drives, I would set the sensitivity level to its fullest, which required less mouse movement during a swing and resulted in fewer misplaced shots. On the other hand, while chipping and putting, I lowered the sensitivity, which allowed me to develop a better "feel" for the shot.
Although the BFG Sniper Boomslang 2100 caters towards a niche market, consumers will ultimately compare it to Logitech's MX 700, which is cheaper, cordless, and optical. There is no doubt that the Sniper Boomslang 2100 provided superior performance over my Logitech Optical Mouse, but I was unable to compare it to Logitech's MX series or Microsoft's Intellimouse, which also provide state of the art optical technology and CPI rates up to 800.
The additional button that lies opposite the thumb button, which gives the Sniper Boomslang 2100 its ambidextrous appeal, causes a problem. With this setup, you are left with the "pinky" to click the button, which is awkward. There were many occasions where I couldn't get the button to click and have given up on using it. The scroll wheel on the Sniper Boomslang 2100 is relatively loud when moved and the sound may be irritating to some, although it performs as it should. And finally, even though the Sniper Boomslang 2100 has a dirt-proof ball holder, I had to clean the ball rollers every week or so to maintain optimum performance.
However, the technology behind the Sniper Boomslang 2100 has turned a mundane peripheral into an effective gaming weapon that has undeniably increased my competitiveness. The downside is that a steep learning curve is necessary to become proficient when using the Sniper Boomslang 2100 and those without patience need not apply.
BFG Sniper Boomslang 2100
I would like to thank John Malley and BFG Technologies for the review sample and for the information he was able to pass along. A word of thanks goes out to Sven Wittig from Razer Blueprints, who allow us to use his images of kärna's optomechanical encoders. If you happen to own a Boomslang, I would recommend that you give them a visit.
Entries for the BFG Sniper Boomslang 2100 giveaway are no longer being accepted. Stay tuned to nV News as three winning entries will be selected and announced on Sunday December 14.