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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting to grips with a Naga

3 comments
In preparation for the launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic I recently decided to go ahead and get myself a new mouse. Based on the recommendations of some friends I plumped for the Razer Naga Epic, the wireless version of Razer's MMO gaming mouse. It's quite a big step change for me, as I've been using a simple Microsoft Intellimouse for years now, so I've gone from 5 buttons to 17!


I plumped for the Epic version for a couple of reasons. First of all I like the idea of a wireless mouse with a high sampling rate. My old mouse was wireless and I'm not sure I could go back to the drag of a wired mouse (though the Naga Epic can be used wired as well in case of battery emergencies!). Secondly, the Naga Epic comes with three magnetic interchangeable side panels of different sizes. I have big hands and find some mice a little small to fit comfortably.

So, how have I found the move to a dedicated gaming mouse?

The first thing I noticed when unpacking the mouse was the appearance. It looks great, like the devilish offspring of Darth Vader and a Jonathan Ive wet dream. On a complete tangent, Jonathan Ive went to the same school as me, just three years above, and Dave Gorman was in the year below me. I like to think I'm part of some weird golden generation, but I know it's just wishful thinking! Anyway, back to sexy-looking computer peripherals...

Sexy mouse action!

The mouse was easy to install and the battery came ready-charged (the manual stated it should be charged for a minimum of five hours before first use, but it was at 100% when first installed). The only slightly odd thing was that there was no installation CD in the box - I had to go to the Razer website and download the drivers. Not a major issue, but it might be if someone is without an internet connection when installing.

With the largest side panel fitted the mouse fit my hand well, and I was really impressed with the sensitivity and accuracy compared to my last wireless mouse. I also liked the fact that it charged up on a dock (a very hefty one at that), rather than having to replace the batteries regularly.

Then came the tricky part. Getting used to the twelve thumb buttons that gives the mouse it's versatility and functionality. These are mapped to the number keys by default, so I hopped into the SWTOR beta, remapped my abilities to the appropriate number keys and headed off to do battle with some rebel scum.

It's not the most intuitive thing to use... at first.
There is no way you can simply pick this thing up and use it properly out of the box. I had to train myself (or my thumb's muscle memory at least), and at first it felt uncomfortable and unnatural. Razer supplied some "training dots" that you can stick on the keys, but I decided to forgo this option and throw myself in at the deep end - PvP warzones.

And, after a couple of days play it actually clicked, and I cannot describe the freedom and speed with which I can now move and fight in the game. It has transformed the controls for me. I know the Naga design has been around for a few years now, but until actually trying it I could not understand the difference it makes.

I'm not sure this kind of mouse is for everyone. I'd suggest finding a store and trying it out before buying. If you're prepared to stick with it though (and you will have to dedicate time to training yourself to use the thumb buttons) using the Naga is unique, exhilarating and liberating.

3 comments:

  1. Cool looking gadget, and sounds useful too. I had one of their N52 pad thingies..was very good until I broke it. One thing though..the buttons remind me of those timy buttons on phones nowadays that you see 12 year olds hammering at with their fingers being able to type at 75 wpm whilst texting their mates, and when I get hold of it it takes me 10 minutes to send an "I'll be home in 30 mins" message.. So my question is this, and it's quite an honest one actually..Do fat fingers hold you back with this? What are the chances of mis-clicking the numbered buttons?
    I ask out of interest. I wonder how this would have faired when I raided..or if I would just wipe the raid time and time again because my fingers were too fat, lol.

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  2. Are Razer based on the Isle of Man or something? I have just noticed the three legged crest on the mouse.

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  3. I think Razer are an American company. Just a coincidence about the logo.

    I haven't found an issue with button size (and I have "fat" thumb syndrome too!), it just takes a while to get used to the placements. Best suggestion is to go to a PC World (or whatever the equivalent is in Spain) and try it out first. :)

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