Razer made waves last year with the launch of its brand-new Razer Viper line of gaming mice. Featuring optical switches, high-end sensors, and lightweight bodies, the Viper and Viper Ultimate, promised to be Razer’s fastest and most responsive mice yet. With the popularity of ultralight mice, like the Glorious PC Gaming Race Model O, it was only a matter of time before Razer released its own ultralight mouse onto the market. It’s been six months but the wait is finally over.The Razer Viper Mini has arrived and trimmed the already slight Viper down to 61 grams, making it Razer’s lightest ever. That’s not all that’s been trimmed down, though: the Viper Mini comes to market at only $39.99, a full half the price of the original. It’s a compelling offer, but has anything been left on the cutting room floor? I’ve gone hands-on to find out exactly that.Design and FeaturesThe Razer Viper Mini blends the best of the original Viper and improved Viper Ultimate into one compact package. It features the same ambidextrous design with a matte plastic shell and gloss trim. The sides are slightly cut-in, making for an easy, natural grip. Where the original Viper only had RGB on the palm, the Mini adopts the Ultimate’s underglow just under the heel. This underglow is invisible from above, but in a normal sitting position looks nice without being distracting.Name aside, the Viper Mini is small but still bigger than your average laptop mouse, so you shouldn’t be too worried about the overall size. It’s a close match to the Logitech G305, for example, but sat next to the original Razer Viper, it’s clear at a glance that Razer has slimmed the mouse down across every dimension. It’s a full half-inch narrower in the center of its hourglass shape, a third of an inch shorter, and just a touch lower at the palm. Razer recommends the mouse for palm and claw grips and it’s easy to see why. It may not look like much on paper, but it definitely feels much smaller in the hand.There are a handful of physical changes, too. The DPI button has been moved between the mouse buttons instead of being placed on the bottom of the mouse, making it much more convenient to press. Razer has also axed the thumb buttons on the right side, which the company calls “false ambidextrous” and cuts the total button count down to six. The Speedflex cable is also a foot shorter at only six feet. The biggest change, apart from size, is that Razer has removed the rubber side grips and made the mouse feel more slippery in the hand. On the plus side, the company brought the excellent pure PTFE glide feet from the Viper Ultimate, which allows it to be extra fast regardless of mouse surface.All in all, the changes to the mouse’s body are small, and it still looks and feels like the original Viper. The changes to the sensor are bigger but still feel like smart scale-backs to keep the price affordable.Under the hood, the Viper Mini uses a Razer Optical Sensor. Compared to the original Razer Viper or the flagship Viper Ultimate, it features all-around lower specs. The maximum DPI is 8.5K instead of the 16K or 20K and the tracking speed is only 300 inches per second, down from 450 and 650 respectively. It also has a max acceleration of 35G instead of the 50G found on the higher tier models. The switches, while purportedly improved for a “close to mechanical” feel, are extremely similar but have a reduced lifespan of 50 million clicks instead of 70 million. As a standard optical sensor, the Mini also lacks all of the improvements the Ultimate’s Focus+ sensor brought with it, like MotionSync.Razer has also changed the scroll wheel, and it’s not for the better. Compared to the original Viper, it’s less tactile and slightly mushy. The bumps as you’re scrolling feel slightly plastic-y and rather cheap. Criticizing the scroll wheel feels like a nit-pick, though, because I’m not able to tell much of a difference to my performance, which is remarkable for a mouse that costs half as much as even the normal Viper, let alone my daily driver, the Ultimate.SoftwareWhen it comes to software, things haven’t changed much in Razer Synapse. You can still customize your DPI from 100 to 8500 and cycle between five stages using the DPI button on the top of the mouse. It’s a bit annoying to have to cycle through all of the stages with only a single button, but you can easily remap the thumb buttons to cycle up and down, trigger macros, or activate Windows shortcuts. The Viper Mini also offers a single profile of onboard storage, which isn’t much, but will still let you take your settings with you on the go without having to keep Synapse running in the background.Synapse will also let you customize your RGB illumination, but the options are expectedly limited. Razer has several different presets as well as the full 16.8 million color spectrum to easily match the theme of your rig, but since the lighting is hidden when you’re actually using the mouse, it’s not a huge consideration.Performance and GamingGaming with a Mini mouse takes some getting used to – at least if you’re a palm-gripper like I tend to be. Thankfully, my grip is a hybrid between palm and claw, so I was able to adapt after a day of gaming. If you do use a palm grip, you’ll find your ring and pinky fingers dragging along the right side. In general, though, you get performance that feels near-identical to the full-sized Vipers.The upgraded switches don’t feel all that different from the original Razer Optical switches, and that’s a good thing. They’re just as tactile but have a slightly higher pitched click to let you know when you’ve fired. Optical switches use a beam of light to activate, which makes them more durable and responsive than traditional mechanical switches. Since there’s no physical contact, the mouse is able to recognize button presses instantaneously without the need for a debounce delay – an electrical pause used by manufacturers to prevent miss-clicks. Likewise, the lack of physical contact should make the dreaded “double click” issue that plagues dying mice a thing of the past. Like the original Vipers, these switches promise a response time of only 0.2 milliseconds that Razer claims is three times faster than traditional switches.I can’t say that the Viper Mini made me three times as fast, but the switches are still fantastic. I’m a big Battlefield fan, and the M1 Garand is my guilty pleasure weapon. The Mini let me fire off single-shots as fast as I could press. My main mouse, the Viper Ultimate, costs nearly four times as much and has all of the cutting edge features you would expect in a flagship mouse. The Mini made me feel like I was sacrificing nothing in responsiveness.I also love the Speedflex cable. It’s lightweight and very flexible, which eliminated the need for a mouse bungee. It’s right up there with Cooler Master’s Ultraweave and Glorious PC Gaming Race’s proprietary cables, and is as close to wireless as a wired mouse can offer at this point.What really sets the Mini apart is its size and weight. I was never able to get completely comfortable using a claw grip all the time without side grips to keep me stable, but since grip is subjective, your mileage may vary. I loved the weight. Between the ultra lightweight frame, flexible cable, and 100% PTFE glide feet, the mouse began to feel like an extension of my arm in no time. The lack of honeycomb cutouts in the body also made me feel more confident squeezing its side buttons. There’s a tiny bit of flex, but the rigidity is still an improvement over either previous Viper.The reduced specs on the sensor may look big on paper, but I wasn’t able to tell much difference in games. I never push my DPI above 3200 in normal use, but even testing high DPI, low sensitivity settings in games, it still tracked me perfectly no matter what I was playing.Purchasing GuideThe Razer Viper Mini is available at Best Buy, Amazon, and direct from Razer with an MSRP of $39.99.VerdictThere’s nothing “mini” about the Razer Viper Mini’s performance. Even though it’s physically smaller and has reduced specs on paper, what you can actually feel in games is almost identical to the more expensive Viper models. So long as you don’t mind a claw or fingertip grip, the Razer Viper Mini is a well-priced onramp to ultralight gaming.