Razer Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) Gaming Mouse, The Force is Strong With This One
We can’t help but notice the lack of diversity in the wireless gaming mice scene. Sure most manufacturers especially the big names have at least one or two in their catalog but rarely do we see them constantly take on varying forms. Razer’s Mamba and Naga Epic are amongst the flagship in Razer’s mice catalog [...]
We can’t help but notice the lack of diversity in the wireless gaming mice scene. Sure most manufacturers especially the big names have at least one or two in their catalog but rarely do we see them constantly take on varying forms. Razer’s Mamba and Naga Epic are amongst the flagship in Razer’s mice catalog with the Mamba getting a refresh last year with souped-up features. This time around Razer takes their signature Naga Epic form and gives it a Star Wars redesign.
Today we check out Razer’s Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) Gaming Mice, a new wireless gaming mice designed for the SWTOR game and features the Naga line’s signature number pad and distinct styling. Will this mouse be as great as its untethered brothers? Let’s get started and allow me to say: Showy, we shall make this!
As noted in the intro paragraphs, Razer’s wireless products are a flagship of sorts brandishing the Elite distinction and are the pinnacle of their gaming mice technology. Such is the Mamba and Naga Epic, both of which are highly successful products. For their Star Wars: The Old Republic line of equipment, Razer has taken the Naga design but totally reimagined it in SWTOR fashion. Featuring Razer’s new Synapse 2.0, this is one of their newest offerings featuring their new technologies. Let’s see how it feels and performs in a bit but first some specs and photos.
- 17 fully programmable MMO-optimized buttons (including 12 button thumb grid)
- Wired/Wireless dual mode capability
- Interchangeable gold-backlit faction emblems
- Charging dock (also functions as a wireless receiver unit)
- Multi-color lighting
- 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor
- 1000Hz Ultrapolling/1ms response time
- Battery life: 12 hrs (continuous use); 72 hrs (normal gaming usage)
- Approximate Size : 116 mm / 4.6” (Length) x 77 mm / 3.0” (Width) x 41 mm / 1.6” (Height)
- Approximate Weight: 142 g / 0.31 lbs
[tabs tab1="Packaging" tab2="Closer Look" tab3="Synapse 2.0"]
PERFORMANCE, COMFORT AND FUNCTIONALITY
First things first, we charge the unit using the dock with the mouse turned off. Let’s just get initial charge time out and Razer states the average charge time is around 3 hours. Our test unit charged in around 2 hours and thirty minutes to max capacity. Using wired mode, charging was apparently faster. Both very impressive. The Synapse2.0 configuration screen indicates the drain status of the SWTOR mouse for your reference as shown above.
EDIT (2/20/2012): Battery life is quite impressive as we’ve seen the mouse last up to 3 days of office usage. Its hard to confirm the maximum charge during intense use as the SWTOR game is not really that intense (mouse movement), but we did however managed to last well over 10 hours of continuous FPS gaming. Like the new Mamba 4G, the SWTOR Gaming Mouse has more juice and power management therefore giving this mouse a good drain length. One thing we didn’t really appreciate is the low-battery warning. Razer could’ve opted for a more noticeable sign like rapid flashing than the default pulse the scroll wheel exhibits during such an event.
On to performance, we test out the mouse on the SWTOR Gaming Mouse Mat (review here) to simulate the optimal mousing surface as intended by Razer. The default settings of the mouse puts it in 1800dpi with 500hz polling which is a bit a low for me. Still playing around with the default setting, we found the SWTOR Gaming mouse to very responsive for a wireless mouse (and we didn’t expect any less.) Ramping up the polling to 1000hz we get a better feel of the precision of this mice. We found the wireless signal to have a decent range to it with excellent performance even at 3 meters away from the dock (I doubt any of you even has a desk that far away from the monitor). Switching from wired to wireless (vice versa) was easy and makes swapping out during a low-bat situation fast. The lock-free cable lets the user swap out modes quickly unlike the Mamba which has a bottom-lock for the USB cable that hinders fast changes during intense games (which sucks when that happens in game.) Plus points for that.
We tested the SWTOR Gaming Mouse in nothing else but Star Wars: The Old Republic. We really didn’t expect much in-game interaction aside from lighting effects, the main meat of this product is the thumb number pad. First time users really need to get a feel of the mouse first before diving into using the number pad. The nubs on the number pad helps in guiding the finger on the right key without looking so nice touch by Razer there. Pointing out the tendency of the mouse to be a bit hard to lift during wide panning might bring those who have surround-monitor setup some woes so it is highly suggested that you set the On-the-Fly DPI buttons. Overall, we already expected the mouse to perform well and it satisfies out of the box.
Now for comfort and ergonomics, right off the bat the SWTOR Gaming Mouse just feels so unique from any gaming mice I’ve held. Razer’s Naga line has a unique curve to them resting the palm on the bulbous body of the mice. The SWTOR Gaming Mouse gives this curved design a bit of a blocky feel with edges flowing from the main body to the corners on the left and right side of the mouse. At first grip the number pad feels rough and unnatural but their adequate sensitivity proves they won’t be pressed easily. The right side/battery cover though lacks any rubber coating which is present on the other Naga mice. This makes the SWTOR mouse not very friendly to people who like to lift their mice during quick panning. Razer tried to counter this by adding a shallow beveled groove to the right side but people with slippery hands might need to exert a bit of effort to lift this mouse. Overall though, the SWTOR Gaming Mouse has an excellent feel to it and the large body rests the palm easily but a word of warning to claw-grippers: this mouse demands your thumb on the numpad for optimal performance. Some clawers who hold the mice by the base might want to practice a bit to familiarize them with the Naga style.
The SWTOR Gaming Mouse’s number pad is its main feature alongside the wireless functionality. The number pad puts in-game commands tied to number keys at the tip of your thumbs making spell-casting and skill-use fast and easy. This requires a bit of getting used to but once mastered this functionality will make most adept gamers highly efficient. No need to drop the mouse to jump over the number keys or over-extend the left hand to reach far-out numbers. The bottom switch easily lets the user change from number pad to number keys whichever the game uses. With solid features like that, we have no problem saying that the SWTOR mouse is one excellent and feature-packed device. Add to that the Star Wars styling which gives this mouse a certain attitude that will appeal to Star Wars fans. The light-up keys and faction logo are also appreciated. They don’t add to the performance, but gives this mice a well-defined identity.
We’ll be straight to the point and ask: what are we getting from this US$140 mouse? For starters, you’re getting top-of-the-line gaming grade precision and handling. You’re also getting a number pad on your mouse to improve gaming efficiency with MMOs thus increasing your gaming swagger (master it, better mice don’t make you better.) You’re getting a wireless mice that won’t get tangled around. So are all these points enough to warrant the price tag?
The answer is a straight NO. The Naga Epic is US$10 cheaper and performs the same as the SWTOR gaming mouse, but the similarities end there. What it (Epic) doesn’t bring you is the Star Wars swag, a color crystal code for in-game e-peen flaunting, full Synapse2.0 support for on-the-move gaming, swappable faction logo that glows and bragging rights that you own a US$140 mice. How is that reasonable you ask? A replica Star Wars lightsaber costs upwards of US$150 dollars and more and the only thing it does is make you look like a Star Wars geek. I think its a nice proposition to show off my fandom with a more functional device. As a hobbyist myself, this reviewer feels that the US$10 premium over the regular Naga Epic is a reasonable tax. And don’t get me started on what Star Wars fans buy for more money than that, seriously. That said, this mouse is also a part of the prestigious Razer SWTOR line of gaming devices, one that showcases their pinnacle technologies as evidenced in the keyboard alone. This mouse is an integral part of that set and will give any desktop that complete Star Wars appeal given the right investment.
We cannot recommend this mouse straight-up to anyone seeking an MMORPG gaming mouse or basically anyone looking for a gaming mouse, we can however easily recommend it to anyone interested with it already but are having second thoughts on how the mouse will perform. We can honestly say this mouse ranks on the top of the gaming mice food chain and reigns alongside the Naga Epic over MMO-oriented mice.
EDIT (2/21/12): Corrected info about Naga Epic and Synapse2.0.