The Razer Naga is finally tightening its belt. The new Razer Naga X officially brings the MMO mouse into lightweight territory, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following gaming mice over the last year. It’s been a rat race to trim every spare gram, making gaming mice lighter than ever. The Naga X comes in at only 85 grams, more than 30 less than the Naga Pro. The changes don’t stop there, but at $79.99 does it do enough to warrant an upgrade if you already own a Naga?
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Razer Naga X – Design and Features
The Razer Naga is an iconic mouse for MMO players. It’s been a popular choice across MMORPG and MOBA communities since its original release more than a decade ago. In all that time, the core design hasn’t changed much. Today’s Naga X has more in common with the 2009 Naga than it has different, at least externally, and that’s been the case for the majority of Naga refreshes over the last decade. If it’s not broke, why fix it?
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That isn’t to say there haven’t been changes and upgrades throughout that time. The trendsetting 12-button thumb grid was pared down to a circle with 2012’s Naga Hex. In 2017, Naga Trinity introduced swappable side-panels, a design which was continued with the Naga Pro last year. We’ve seen wireless and wired versions, upgraded internals, and tweaked ergonomics. Razer even released a left-handed version last August, finally addressing an audience that’s gone unserved for far too long. But fundamentally, the Naga has been the “MMO mouse,” the online gamer’s right hand, with enough inputs to move entire skill bars off the keyboard and under his thumb.
With the Naga X, Razer is scaling the Naga back and trimming it down, bringing it up with the times while also simplifying it for a more accessible price point. It features the same design as the standard Naga (or Naga side-plate on the Pro and Trinity) with its 12-button side grid and large, easy-to-palm ergonomics. It features the same dimensions as the Pro and, from what I can see and feel, the exact same contouring. By appearances, they’re very similar mice, though the Pro features a second DPI button under the mouse wheel.
The biggest change is that the Naga X dramatically reduces the weight of the Pro, dropping from 117 grams to a mere 85 grams. It’s not quite an ultralight, but still feels surprisingly meager given its large size. At the same time, it’s solid shell is structurally solid, with no creaking even when I’m trying to make it happen. This slimming down is a welcome upgrade from the Pro which felt downright heavy in comparison to Razer’s other recent mice.
My daily driver is the Razer Viper Ultimate, which weighs in only 74 grams and made the Naga Pro feel like a brick in comparison. The Naga X finally provides an option for MMO players that want something in-line with the trends in gaming mice today and it’s good to see Razer offer something for this space.
The changes aren’t limited to weight, however, and the few I noticed first were downgrades. There are no swappable panels, for one, so shifting to a traditional 6-button setup is out of the question. Razer has also changed the finish to a more gritty matte plastic that feels more grainy under the fingers. The rubber grip on the right side of the Pro is now textured plastic and really doesn’t work well to support a mouse of this size, constantly causing my pinky to slip anytime I need to lift it up. That said, this is also a much cheaper mouse and concessions have to be made. Leaving the interchangeable side panels for the higher tier mouse is an acceptable trade-off, but making the Naga X more slippery is not.
Other changes are much better. The X now represents a middle-ground between 2017’s Naga Trinity and last year’s Naga Pro, featuring a new 18K DPI 5G Optical Sensor. It’s fast and accurate with a maximum speed of 450 IPS and 40G of total acceleration. Each of these is slightly less than the Pro, but other than the acceleration, all are a hefty improvement over the Trinity. Functionally, I can’t tell a difference between the two, so the scale-back doesn’t feel like a big loss. The switches are also downright excellent with a solid tactile click and 70 million click lifespan. They’re also Razer’s own in-house optical design, which means they’re theoretically faster (no debounce delay) but meaningfully less prone to failure over time since there are no mechanical contacts to degrade and cause the dreaded “double click of death.”
The Naga X is wired-only but honestly doesn’t feel like it. It comes with Razer’s Speedflex cable, which offers next to no resistance and is ultra-flexible. Pair this with the same brand of PTFE mouse feet found on Razer’s highest-end mice and you have the recipe for an MMO mouse that glides like a dream, even on a bare desk.
Razer Naga X – Software
With a mouse like this, programming is more important than ever. Assigning skills, abilities, and macros is done through Razer Synapse, exactly as I described in my review of the Pro, as is lighting (minus the palm lighting zone which was removed). Razer makes setting up the Naga easy, including choosing popular shortcuts from a preset list. In my use, though, I found it best to stick to the standard number pad keymap with only small changes thrown in.
Razer Naga X – Performance
I have long been a proponent of MMO mice, even if you don’t play MMOs. That sounds counter-intuitive, but as someone who used only MMO mice before the last few years, believe me when I say that it’s hard to come back from the versatility they provide, especially for first-person shooters.
In the previous section, I mentioned that I found it best to stick to the standard numpad keymap. That’s because most PC games keep important commands on the number row, which allows them to automatically be mapped to the Naga X’s thumb grid. In many games, it also allows you to combine them with keyboard modifiers to double, triple, or even quadruple your keymaps. In World of Warcraft, for example, I was able to map my skill bar to 1-12 (-, =) and then three other ones all to the thumb grid by combining shift, ctrl, and alt with each of those numbers. That’s 48 keymaps, directly accessible under my thumb, all without giving up a key to HyperShift.
Playing World of Warcraft with the Naga X felt great. The light weight really does make a difference in how airy it feels to use. More importantly for MMOs, it allowed me to keep my hands on WASD and keep all of my attacks right under my thumb. As a mage, being able to run, drop an AOE on a crowd, Blink out of harm’s way and straight into a new rotation was freeing in a way that a normal mouse just can’t be.
The Naga X also gave me a profound advantage in competitive first-person shooters. The Naga X, like the Naga Pro before it, is the Scuf controller of gaming mice. Smartly mapping weapons and positions to the number pad makes them faster to access than even a normal keyboard because your thumb is already touching those buttons. In Call of Duty: Cold War, mapping prone to 5 allowed me to score more drop shots than I’ve ever been able to with a normal keyboard. In shooters, milliseconds matter and being able to quickly pop out a pistol or leap behind cover can literally make the difference between a win and a loss.
Shooters are also where the other upgrades come into play. The improved sensor felt pixel perfect. I wasn’t able to get it to spin out or lose tracking no matter what I tried. Just as importantly, the improved weight and glide let the mouse fade away and become an extension of my arm. The only drawback was the slipperiness of the right side which forced me to give it an extra grip anytime I needed to lift the mouse.
Like all Nagas, there is a learning curve but Razer has done a good job of mitigating the time it takes to learn the position of each of its thumb buttons. Each row is uniquely angled to make it easy to identify without having to take your eyes off the game. The bottom row remains quite a stretch, however.
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This article was originally published by IGN.COM