Razer Updates Synapse Software With Better 'Offline Mode,' Other Problematic 'Features' Remain Unchanged
from the i've-got-some-'ok'-news-and-some-'still-bad'-news dept
A couple of months ago, we brought you the unlikely story of a mouse that required an internet connection to fully function. Razer, for whatever reason, had sold itself on the idea that cloud-based storage was preferable for configuration setups and user profiles, rather than simply storing these settings locally in the mouse itself, as it had done in the past.
It cited a variety of reasons for this move, including the laughable suggestion that physical memory was too expensive, but when all the rationalizing was done, the mouse still required an internet connection to utilize all the extra functions customers had paid a premium price for. The “offline mode” still required an internet connection, as users would be left with running $80 mice on standard drivers if they attempted to forgo the registration process and the downloading of additional Razer Synapse software.
Nathan F sends in the (somewhat) good news that Razer has issued an update to its Synapse 2.0 software, adding an improved Offline Mode that can be used to avoid depending on its still rather iffy cloud service. This would be great news, except for the fact that Razer still requires online activation and installation of its Synapse software, whether you plan to use it or not. Rather than allow users to opt out of the cloud before registration, Razer is still requiring all of its proprietary hoops be jumped through before cutting its customers loose.
In other bad news, those using the cloud service are still reporting issues with Razer’s software, including the failure to recognize installed devices and lag when switching settings on the fly, the latter of which wasn’t an issue with local storage. The release notes (which are far from thorough) also point out that purchasers of certain peripherals will no longer be able to use legacy drivers if they’ve installed and used the Synapse 2.0 software. In other words, if you purchased certain mice and followed the setup instructions, you’re cut off from rolling back your drivers — something that’s a bit underhanded when delivered via mandatory installation.
Then there’s the ongoing issues arising from Razer’s decision to ditch physical memory in favor of the cloud. This installation process will need to be repeated for each computer the peripheral is attached to. Offline mode improvements are useless if all your settings and profiles are stored on your “home” computer. There’s nothing people love more than installing software, especially repeatedly. (This repeated process seems to be an issue even if you never change computers, as connection glitches can cause profile information to become corrupted — or vanish completely.)
So, while improving the Offline Mode and giving users the option to ditch the cloud altogether is a step in the right direction, Razer seriously needs to consider making the entire process optional. It also should reconsider its cloud-based storage push, seeing as the potential for problems is nearly unlimited. Update or no, Razer is still pushing hardware that won’t function without connecting to the internet at least once. It also should reconsider physical storage. If this storage is really as expensive as Razer’s talking points insist it is, it could always charge a bit more for a truly portable mouse/keyboard that isn’t reliant on an internet connection to unlock its functions.