It is funny but the fact of the matter is even though the peripheral market is massive and manufactures pour a ton of money into RnD, not much has changed in the past couple decades. Sure, the sensor technology has gotten better. Sure, software has gotten better and can do more than ever. Even the number of buttons has increased right along with increased button switch durability… but at the end of the day you could transport someone from 1980s and they would have no trouble understanding that the uber mouse you have on your uber PC gaming system… is a mouse. The creators of the RBT – QuadraClicks – set out to change that, and change that they did.
The new QuadraClicks Gaming RBT (Right ‘Bove Touch) Rebel Real – or ‘RBT’ for short, but usually called loving the “Rabbit” by friend and foes alike – is really not your typical PC gaming orientated mouse. Nor is it your typical Ergonomic mouse meant to reduce repetitive stress injuries. Instead, they started with a blank slate and took a long hard look at what a mouse is supposed to do, and what could be done to improve its basic function. That is to say how to allow a different take on an ergonomic mouse that could not only do its job of being a cutting edge input device but do so while reducing injuries. The end results are rather impressive.
Before we get to the mouse itself, we must underscore the fact that this is a new mouse design by a new company. Heck this is a crowd-funded mouse that actually made it to market! So this is not some 12th generation design that has had countless man years of refinement poured into it. Instead it just has the designers’ heart and soul poured into it. This is a double-edged sword as they did make a few mistakes. Mistakes that may matter or may not to you. It really does come down to your priorities so take anyone else’s opinion on this mouse with a grain of salt – as it is just too personal a decision to trust anyone else with making for you.
When the RBT first landed on our desk we instantly knew what QuadraClicks was trying to do with this model. Obviously, they want to be a premium line that instills incredible brand loyalty with near cult like devotion in their consumers via the use of form over function. Basically, they want to be Apple back in the late Wizard of Woz days… back when Steve Jobs actually listened to the engineers and not just the marketing department. That is to say minimalist but highly useful designs that people fall in love with.
Even the shipping container itself underscores this focus. As you can see it is very, very minimalistic. A simple stylized wire drawing of the RBT on top, a one sentence blurb on the side… and very little details given on the back. The upside to this is that it is elegant and gorgeous. The downside is this box screams “you either know what this product is… or you don’t”. Its lack of details will lead to consumer confusion on retail shelves… and the sentence “Your new Ergonomic Gaming unit is brought to you by: QuadraClicks” is sure to confuse a ton of people.
Right now there is (or at least was) two distinct camps: ergonomics is everything, and performance is everything buyers… and never the twain shall meet. IE Those interested in reducing Repetitive Stress Injuries rarely opt for a ‘gaming’ mouse… and PC Gaming Enthusiasts rarely are seen rocking an ‘ergonomic’ mouse. These were seemingly diametrically opposed opinions on what makes a mouse design a good mouse design. This is why the RBT is so groundbreaking… but without explaining the how’s and why’s… people are going to skip right over the RBT after picking up this sexy looking box. QuadraClicks needs to tell and not just show if they want to earn converts.
This minimalistic approach to mouse design continues when dealing with the accessories -as QuadraClicks is certainly consistent – in that… well… you don’t get any. In the box you will find the mouse nestled in low-density foam and a small slip of paper that explains the features of the RBT… and that is it. No software, no replacement PTFE ‘mouse feet’ / gliders, no goo gaws… nothing. Even Apple does not take this minimalist approach this far and this will annoy some people who are accustomed to getting some extras with their eighty dollar purchase.
On the positive side these two potential negatives will at least get you used to the idea of the RBT… as if you are expecting a slick mouse that comes with a ton of LEDS, buttons everywhere, or phsycial customizability (ala MatCatz)… well you are going to be disappointed. This is a function over form design where the designers put all their money into two key areas: the custom layout of the buttons, and the hardware housed inside their mouse. Let’s start with the layout.
The unique layout is the main claim to fame for this mouse and explains why it is lovingly called the ‘rabbit’. Luckily this new take on ergonomics is pretty much self-explanatory… as on just a quick glance you can see that the two main buttons are not setup in the usual manner. Instead of a rocker/pivot point towards the center (that goes forward) and the switch itself at the front of the mouse… QuadraClicks has reversed this. The switches themselves are located near the center of the mouse and the buttons pivot at the front (towards the back of the mouse). The end result of a lot of time and experimentation in designing these new buttons results in a typical mouse with ‘rabbit ears’ sprouting from the top.
Why was this done and why is it important? By relocating these heavily used buttons you the user will not be using the usual set of muscles and tendons nearly as much to activate these key input switches. With a typical mouse the tendons that run underneath your hand (and through the carpal tunnel… hint hint) and the muscles in your two main fingers fully contract to activate the mouse button. This is a repetitive stressor that overtime causes carpal tunnel and what sometimes what is colloquially called ‘trigger finger’… since the typical PC gaming enthusiast mashes the mouse button approximately a bajillion times a day RSI is a very serious and very likely side-effect of this repetitive motion.
With the RBT you are using some of the same muscles but the tendon running through the carpal tunnel does not have to contract as much. This is because you are using the base of your finger to click the mouse not the tip. Put another way clicking these two buttons is a movement similar to typing than clicking a mouse. Basically fewer (and larger) muscles used, with less stress on the tendon means trigger finger and typical mouse related RSI’s are potentially greatly reduced. Of course, for the first few extended PC gaming marathons… expect your clicking performance to be degraded but after a few days of use it will actually go up… and up as your body and brain adapts to the change in demands.
The downside to this innovative take on mouse button activation is that not every hand grip will be optimal with the RBT. Due to the unique location of the switches claw users will love this mouse, finger grip users will also love it as this is one bloody fast mouse. Your average clicks per second will noticeably increase and you will be able to click the buttons a lot longer without hand fatigue. Mix in a light weight – but rather ‘flat’ and rather dated designed – body and this mouse is not only fast at clicking but at repositioning. Sadly, palm grip users will find it frustrating as their fingers will naturally fall over the two newly designed buttons causing accidental activations. There is not much you can do about this if you are a palm grip style holder… beyond learning to hold the RBT differently with your fingers up and off the buttons. This too is why the RBT is called a rabbit as you naturally want to create rabbit ears with your hand and wag the rabbit ears… and make ‘kiss kiss’ motion with your two fingers.
As for the hardware… yeah QuadraClicks really did make a lot of right decisions. For the switches themselves they opted for long lived mechanical switches that provide plenty of positive feedback in the form of a click that can be felt and heard. We honestly doubt the average user will wear out these switches. Of course, as they do provide both tactile and audible feedback… this is not a silent mouse. The noise it makes is no-where near as bad as what a Cherry MX-Blue based keyboard makes but it is on the upper end of the spectrum for a mouse.
The other downside to QuadraClicks opting for pouring so much of their budget into the buttons is… the RBT does not come with many of them. You get the main left/right buttons, two nicely sized and shaped fwd/bck buttons on the side, and the wheel (which is the typical middle button option… but lacks horizontal scrolling abilities). Also included is a button dedicated to switching between the 6 DPI presets. That is it. In a $80 (USD) mouse that is sparse. Also less than optimal is not only is there six DPI presets (500/1000/2000/4000/6000/10700 DPI) but you have to click through all the others to get to a lower DPI preset. This is slow, tedious, and rather outdated method of selecting a DPI preset.
On the positive side each DPI preset comes with its own color, and each preset can easily be changed via the included software. From lowest DPI to highest the RBT logo on the rabbit changes from Red (500), Blue (1000), Green (2000), Yellow (4000), Light Blue (6000) and Purple (10700). If you so choose there is also a small slider that turns the LEDs off.
This may or may not be a good thing as it is bright and can be annoying in darkened room when not covered by your hand. Also, the software itself will tell you – via a corner screen popup – what DPI setting the mouse is set to… so the LEDs are not necessarily needed. Furthermore, considering ‘blue’ is used twice for two different presets the LED color can cause confusion. Enough confusion that the ‘double blue’ defaults is something you will want to correct via the software ASAP – which is a snap and can be changed to darn near any color you want.
Speaking of the software it is fairly basic but does get the job done. The major downside is that while you can modify each buttons ‘job’ when activated the list of pre-sets is rather short and the macro creation abilities of the software are a bit clunky compared to more firmly established brands.
On the positive side QuadraClicks has opted for the Pixart PWM 3336 optical sensor. This may not be the absolute best of the best, or newest version available, but the 250IPS capable 3336 sensor works and works well on a wide range of surfaces. This really is not a mouse that you need to pair with a mouse pad to get it to ‘work’ on most surfaces. Of course, as RBT has only opted for two moderately sized gliders on the underside a good mouse pad may be warranted to keep from needless wear and tear on these critical but often overlooked components. We really would have liked to have seen a third (and maybe even fourth) PTFE glider included on the underside to further reduce the stress on each of the feet and make the RBT even ‘slicker’ when moved quickly side to side. Once again, this oversight is due to QuadraClicks being a newcomer to the marketplace.
Overall this is a unique mouse that in testing did impress us. We used it exclusively for nearly two weeks on our primary system and after the first few days of figuring out its quirks – aka the dreaded learning curve – we walked away impressed enough to keep on our primary gaming rig. For gaming scenarios, it is fast, it is accurate, and it probably will reduce the risk of RSI. For non-gaming scenarios it is a bit more hit or miss. If you are the type who leaves their hand on their mouse when reading/editing/surfing the internet/etc for extended periods of time it just is not as comfortable a setup as a good trackball like the Logitech MX Ergo. This however is rather impressive given the fact that this one of the few mice we could even compare to that ergonomic powerhouse that is the MX Ergo. Put another way this mouse will please the PC gaming enthusiast who takes the time to get used to it / trains with it, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We just hope this first gen model sells enough units that QuadraClicks gets the necessary funds to further improve on their amazing new design.