Have an itchy trigger finger? This may be the mouse for your next fragging session! The BFG Sniper Boomslang adds another level to your gaming prowess, that is if you can handle the sensitivity. Are you ready for the Boomslang?
Sniperus Boomslangicus: Latin for “really sensitive gaming mouse!” That is exactly what the BFG Sniper Boomslang 2100 mouse is. With a radical shape and some pretty radical technology to boot, this mouse will bring you new life in your gaming sessions, or put you to an early death.
I, like many of you, saw this Boomslang type of mouse a while back prior to it being marketed and sold by BFG Technologies. A curious mind always made we wonder about how well this mouse would work and how well it could improve my gaming. Why don’t we take a look at the specifications of the mouse from BFG before we take this mouse for a gaming session or two.
- 2100dpi Resolution
- 6 MIPS (million instructions per second)
- 36 PPR scroll wheel (clicks per revolution of scroll wheel)
- 5 programmable buttons
- Designed for both left and right handed
- USB and PS/2 compatible
- 8ft cord
My first thought when pulling this mouse out of the box was “Whoa, this thing is big!” That would be most individuals thoughts upon seeing this mouse for the first time also. It’s bulky, no ifs, ands or buts about it. I personally have fairly large hands (I can palm a basketball), and the Boomslang still felt big when I held it for the first time. The mouse has a very low and flat profile that you can easily rest your entire palm upon. It has a smooth plastic surface on the palm portion of the mouse, but the oversized buttons and outer edges of the mouse are covered with a nicely textured rubber for improved grip.
The mouse features five programmable buttons that upon initial feel are very sensitive to the touch. The top buttons actually stretch from the tip of my finger all the way to my second knuckle. They are big and basically cover 60-70% of the total mouse surface. The mouse also features two side buttons that are nearly on the underside of the upper and middle portion of the mouse. These have a great ergonomic feel to them and are easy to feel and press. The scroll wheel is also a button in itself and features 36 clicks per rotation of the wheel. That is a lot of clicks to play with considering my other mouse only has about 20. Right off the bat this scroll wheel is loud. When I use the word click, I mean it. The scroll definitely ‘clicks’ when you use it. I would compare it to running your finger over a stiff hair comb.
Low, wide, flat, and sleek!
Plenty of cord to work with
Quite the shapely mouse.
Side buttons tucked neatly under the mouse.
Now to the most important part of the review, the testing. I gave the mouse a run through in the regular Windows environment, then kicked it up a notch and did some hardcore gaming.
I didn’t have too much trouble installing the mouse, but it didn’t go as smoothly as possible. After initially installing the drivers from the CD, I noticed that the on-the-fly sensitivity was not working. One of the cooler features of the mouse is the ability to change the sensitivity by pressing the thumb button and scrolling through a sensitivity scale. This can be done in basically any game or Windows application. It was apparant that the drivers were not installing correctly. I tried finding the latest drivers and was able to find a 3.03 version at Razer’s website. For those of you that don’t know, Razer was the intial developer of the Boomslang mice several years ago. So with these updated drivers I once again installed the mouse. Still not working, and I was starting to get frustrated. A quick email to BFG and the problem was solved. In some cases the drivers have to be installed manually through your systems hardware manager. I installed the drivers to a directory, updated the mouse driver, pointed to the .inf file in the directory, and voila the mouse installed completely. A little extra work on the user’s part is never a good thing. Hopefully, this issue can be resolved in the future.
Overall, the drivers included with the Boomslang were pretty good. When you have the on-the-fly sensitivity option enabled, you are not supposed to have any other function for the thumb button. You can however assign a key to the “release” of the thumb button. I was able to make the release the “backspace” button by assigning a macro to it. This let me use the button as a way to go back a page while browsing. The on-the-fly works really well when in games or in Windows. The sensitivity can be switched in an instant from really fast to a more subdued pace.
Well, with the software issues solved and everything going smoothly at this point, I was ready to see just how fast and sensitive this mouse really is.
WHOA!!! Slow down there Boomslang! Sensitive is the key word to describe this mouse. It took me a couple minutes just to get over the initial feeling of the mouse letting me control the cursor without it flying all over the place. It was like going from a Kia to a Ferrari. The cursor was flying all over the place. A motion that would usually take me only to the middle of the screen now moved the cursor to Tokyo and back. I am afraid to say my initial thoughts consisted of “YUCK!!!”
The Boomslang uses a combination of old and new technology to turn up the juice. Yes, don’t start throwing eggs at me because there is a ball underneath this mouse. It may seem like old technology now, but it is the only way to get that 2100dpi resolution to crank up the sensitivity of this mouse. My initial feelings about the ball mouse are completely null. The movement is smooth as silk, and with how little you actually have to move this mouse, one side of the ball probably never gets to meet the mousepad.
I know it takes time to get used to things, so simply continuing to use the mouse was my only goal. I scrolled, I clicked, I dragged, I selected, and did everything else you would do in a normal day. Well, it’s getting easier to use now. I barely have to move my hand to move the cursor around the screen. All four corners can easily be reached with little motion whatsoever. The scroll wheel sound is not as noticeable as I worried about when I first played with it. This is where the little things become noticeable. I have not had to pick up my mouse since I started using the Boomslang. No reaching the end of the mousepad for this guy any more. The Boomslang basically parks itself in the center of the mousepad without moving to one end or the other with normal use.
I also worked to get comfortable with the Sniper Boomslang. The different shape of the mouse somewhat fools your hand into not knowing where it should go. It feels right to have all five fingers on the mouse with your middle finger doing the scrolling, but a shift to the right with the middle finger moving to the second button and the ring finger on the side button is also a good position for the mouse. I have settled with the more common position with the middle finger on the second button and the pinky doing its own thing. Someone with a smaller hand, or bigger hand, may find it valuable to be able to hold this mouse in several different positions.
If the speed starts getting to you, a quick adjustment using the on-the-fly sensitivity is simple and fast. This will bring the mouse down to a more normal level.
So Windows use is getting a little better, but do you really care about that? This mouse was made for gaming not spreadsheet creation. Let’s put this thing through the wringer and test it out with a little shoot-em-up, blow-em-up, conquer it all kind of gaming.
Since most of the “twitchy” fast paced gaming comes in the way of FPS (first person shooters), I wanted to see what the Sniper Boomslang could do. UT2003 was my first choice to see how well the sensitivity can help out my game. Well….it didn’t…at least not at first. The Boomslang is so sensitive I was throwing rockets and shells at more air than enemy. I felt like a kid with ADHD that had just gotten done drinking a 12 pack of Jolt Cola. As play continued and my spastic movements began to subside, this mouse began to prove itself to me. Being able to pull a 360 degree turn and fire a rocket up an enemies tail end with a quick flick of the wrist is quite the beneficial advantage.
Next I moved over to a little Soldier of Fortune II, a staple in my gaming diet. I jumped online and played a little CTF match to see if my game was hindered, or pushed up to a new level. Well, I’m not sure quite yet what it has done to my game. It is definitely more responsive, and it also is definitely easier and more comfortable to sit down for a long fragging session. The reduced need to actually move my hand all over the place is great. I find myself enjoying this mouse more and more as I continue to play the FPS style of games. The large surface and sensitive buttons let me pop off shots and smoke the competition with a new speed I hadn’t experienced before.
Most gamers don’t play only an FPS style of game. I wanted to see what other advantages I may see with the Boomslang on other types of games. Bring out Command and Conquer Generals, a sweet RTS (real time strategy) game that I have been addicted to lately. So, you may be wondering what would help me out so much with this game. Try selecting a whole group of tanks and soldiers from one end of the screen to the other with a simple flick of the wrist. Very nice, very nice indeed. The Boomslang can get me around the screen selecting groups of soldiers left and right without even picking up the mouse. Lots of little advantages add up to be one big advantage in the end.
I have only had the opportunity to use the Sniper Boomslang for about five days now, but I am starting to like it a lot. I plugged in my old mouse to see if I could feel the difference, and it felt like I had aged 30 years. The cursor moved at a tranquilized pace and having to pick up my mouse and move it all over the mouse pad becaming unbearably irritating and almost frustrating. I found myself scrambling for the Windows mouse sensitivity settings and cranking it up, only to be disappointed that it just didn’t keep up with the Boomslang. Going back to games with the old mouse was yet again another unbearable experience. Having to move my whole arm to do a quick 360 in FPS and picking up the mouse to select and scroll around in an RTS game made me nauseous.
- Fast movement
- Highly sensitive
- Helps in gaming situations
- Software needs improved installation
- Price of $80 is steep, very steep
- Takes time to get used to
- Some may find it too large or bulky
- Not purely optical
If you are a die-hard gamer who likes to play games and enjoy some great sensitivity and twitchy movements, put this mouse on your Christmas list. If you use it as your primary mouse, you will have to get used to it in the normal Windows environment. The learning curve is not extravagantly steep and within a couple of days you should have the feel of the mouse.
If the above statements do not describe you, you may want to just stick with what you have. It’s a very expensive mouse. $80 for a mouse could put a dent in anybody’s pocketbook. The sensitive feel may be just too much to handle if you are deadset on the feel of a standard mouse. It does use a ball in the bottom, but it really makes no show of itself in use.
There you have it folks. This mouse is really a sweet piece of hardware, for the right person that is. My love for the mouse has only built upon itself as I get more and more used to its feel. Take a look at it if you get a chance and some extra cash. I’ll see you online, but get a good look, you’ll be dead before you see me.