LAS VEGAS — It’s been a rough few years for Mad Catz. Back in the ‘90s and early 2000s, Mad Catz had a somewhat dubious reputation for making console controllers that were almost as good as the real thing. Then, it tried its hand at premium gear, including gaming mice and an ill-fated $300 Android controller. After almost going out of business, then returning back from the brink of bankruptcy, Mad Catz is back with a lineup of products very similar to the ones that got it in trouble in the first place.
At CES 2020, I got to go hands-on with Mad Catz’s latest peripherals, which include no fewer than four gaming mice, in addition to a headset, a mechanical keyboard, a fight stick and a console controller. Without going into exhaustive detail about any of them, I will say that they all look fairly similar to previous Mad Catz models — which is to say that they’re angular, industrial and fairly comfortable. They’re also, generally, not as expensive as gaming peripherals from top-tier brands.
While Mad Catz is not going to redefine the PC gaming world, some fans will find it comforting to know that they’re still around. Just bear in mind that we don’t have exact release dates or pricing for a lot of these peripherals just yet. Here’s what you’ll be able to buy in the coming year:
Mad Catz gaming mice
Mad Catz revealed four new gaming mice at CES 2020: the R.A.T. Pro X3 Supreme, the R.A.T. 8+ Adv, the R.A.T. DWS and the R.A.T. Air S.
The first is simply a re-release of the Rat Pro X3, which is a high-end mouse with a variety of swappable parts. However, since the Chinese Year of the Rat is almost upon us, Mad Catz thought it would be appropriate to re-release the mouse with some extra bells and whistles, as well as fancier packaging.
The R.A.T. 8+ Adv is one of the prettier mice in Mad Catz’s lineup, with a glossy red design and the R.A.T.’s signature angles. This mouse sports an impressive 20,000 DPI thanks to its powerful PWM3389 Pro optical sensor. Beyond that, it’s pretty similar to the R.A.T.s that have come before it.
The best mouse that Mad Catz showed off, without question, was the R.A.T. DWS. This mouse doesn’t have the customizability as the X3 Supreme, or the pretty colors of the 8+ Adv, but it does have two key features that the other mice lack: 2.4 Ghz and Bluetooth connectivity. This wireless mouse can last up to 80 hours on a single charge, as it eschews the RGB lighting that tends to drain the batteries in competing mice. Its sleek black chassis makes it an ideal addition to almost any gaming setup, and its $100 price means you’ll save some money over similar models from Logitech, Razer et al.
Finally, there’s the R.A.T. AIR S, which pairs with a charging mouse pad to keep the Air S powered at all times. The Air S is a fairly plain black mouse, with up to 12,000 DPI, but not having to charge it via USB is potentially a big selling point. The mouse pad itself is also soft, meaning you can roll it up and take it with you, unlike most rigid charging pads.
Mad Catz fight sticks and more
Otherwise, the most exciting peripheral that Mad Catz brought to CES 2020 was the E.G.O. Arcade Fight Stick. Mad Catz’s fight sticks have always been a cut above the rest of its peripherals, combining sensible designs with durable buttons and joysticks. The E.G.O. features an eight-directional joystick, eight buttons and a swappable face plate. When I got a little hands-on time with it, the E.G.O. felt solid, while the buttons had pleasant, responsive clicks.
I also got brief looks at the F.R.E.Q. 4 gaming headset, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 13 mechanical keyboard (with real Cherry MX Red switches), and the C.A.T. 7 and C.A.T. 3 controllers, which work with just about any recent console, from PS3 to Xbox One. They all work as advertised; the big draw is that they’ll cost a little less than truly high-end gaming gear.
Mad Catz outlook
I don’t think that any of the Mad Catz gadgets I saw will redefine the gaming world, but that’s never really what the brand has been about. Mad Catz is a reliable brand when you want good-enough gear at a good-enough price, and the company’s new gear looks to continue that trend. All of the mice and other accessories described in this piece will be out later in 2020, and Tom’s Guide will have full reviews of anything that looks like it can hold its own against the Razers, Logitechs, SteelSeries and Roccats of the world.
Be sure to check out our CES 2020 hub for the latest news and hands-on impressions out of Las Vegas.