The Razer brand of computer hardware is well-known in the gaming community. Theres no need for introductions there, but can we use themВ for work? I bought the Razer Naga Epic Chroma, (Thats a mouthful) specifically to help me with macros. Just how well does it perform?
As a mouse, the Naga performs admirable. The last real mouse I had was the Logitech Perform MX. While it was a nice mouse, it just wasnt durable enough. The thumb button died on me and the infinite scroll wheel slowed down over time. There doesnt seem to be a way to maintain it either. For the past few years, Ive been using the Logitech Trackball M570 and its been a loyal companion to my mechanical keyboards. It was easy to maintain but the left click button stopped working. I used that trackball for years. I got another trackball, the Logitech Trackman Marble and after about a month, I just couldnt get use to the finger-style way of using it. (It may be better suited for 3D work) I prefer the thumb-style way. I still loved the M570 but there was no new developement in terms of improvements. I was looking for one with more buttons and maybe bluetooth 4 but there was none available. I was at Best Buy with Len and we were looking the gaming mice.
The Naga appealed to me. I said to him, I wonder if you can remap those buttons to different things like macros. That would make typing long obsure things easier. My only reservation was that it was wired. I wanted a wireless version. Just under the display, I saw a box. The Razer Naga Epic Chroma caught my eye! Its wireless! I purchased the mouse out of impulse and I have to say, it was well worth it.
First, lets talk about the design. It has a modern gaming design which I didnt like nor dislike. I liked the black look and it is very ergonomic. It has a nice indentation where you rest your ring finger and the buttons are responsive and clicky. The mouse has a good weight to it. It is heavier than my M570 which was nice since that trackball tends to move around my desk a lot. The included wire makes it so you can use it like a regular USB mouse. The wire is braided and seems very durable. the part where it connects to the mouse is also designed so that it doesnt look out-of-place. It molds to the mouse perfectly. The front of the mouse has some car-like grills on it. Overall, it looks very aggressive and sleek.
The scroll wheel is comfortable and grippy. I have come to prefer the stepped scroll wheel of the Naga and similar mice over the infinite style of the Logitechs. Main reason being is: reliability. The infinite scrolling of Logitechs is nice but it slows down over time. Crap, dust, crumb, whatever gets in there and it will not spin as fast. The scroll click has a short throw but the scroll wheels tends to easily move when you press it. Maybe a tad tighter scrolling would be prefered but its not a huge knock.
Lets talk connectivity. This is somewhat of a let-down. You can only connect this mouse wirelessly through the bluetooth receiver which doubles as a charging dock. I hoped it wasВ a low-powered Bluetooth mouse and pair it to my MacBook Pro but thats not the case. This means you must have a USB port occupied whether its connected directly, or with the receiving dock. On the plus side, the dock is very stylish. The mouse falls easily into place and is locked in by magnets. Id rather have a real Bluetooth 4.0 mouse and its unfortunate considering this is a $120+ mouse.
When you unbox the mouse and look through the manual, they will tell you to go to their website where you can download Razers Synapse software. This will allow you to customize the mouse and unlock its full functionality. I registered my mouse by creating a Razer account and quickly explored what I could do. Razer Synapse is fortunately available for Mac and Windows. The software allows you to customize all the buttons. Its very comprehensive. You can have multiple profiles for different tasks. Say you have a button profile for gaming. You can have it set to map the buttons for many games. Of course thats not why I bought it for so lets skip that. The software is not perfect. I use the Dvorak keyboard layout and it doesnt recognize it the way my Mac does. It was a little tricky but let me explain. The key F is U in Dvorak. If I set a macro to type Fire. It will show me, Ucp. but when I press the button the macro is assigned to, it will sho Fire. Kind of confusing at first but its just a minor issue. Id imagine most people wont have any problems.
The number buttons are laid out in numpad style. It goes from 1-12. All these buttons can be customized. They are slightly fretted so you can press them easier. Think BlackBerry keyboard. It may take some time to get use to but it very nice and leave you with plenty of room for customization. I customize 1 to paste, 2 to copy, 3 to my Amazon Mturk number, and 4 to my age (29). I still havent found a need to map the other buttons. I mapped the middle click to open in new tab and the scroll left-right clicks to browser-back and browser-forward respectively. The two buttons under the mouse are very awkward to press. Therefore, I mapped them to volume-up and volume-down. Very easy and convenient while watching YouTube videos.Overall, Im very satisfied with the buttons. I plan on modifying them, possibly with different program specific profiles. Final Cut Pro comes to mind. Just think of all the possibilities you can use them for. Got a long e-mail you type often? Macro it and assign it to one of the buttons! Easy peasy.
The Razer Naga Chroma has a non-removable battery. It is claimed to work for 20 hours and during my testings, this seems to be true. I was definitely spoiled bymy M570 with its 6-month battery life. A 20 hour battery life seems too short. In order to try to preserve it, Ive turned off the scroll wheel lights. This onlyВ had a marginal impact, if any. If my Naga is at 80% when I shut it off, it will be around 40% when I use it the next day. To me, this seemed weird. I have the power settings set to enter sleep mode when idle for 7 minutes. Why is it draining so fast? Perhaps the power savings option is only available when the software is running which defeats the purpose if you ask me. USB isnt powered when the Mac is off or in sleep mode so you have to charge it when the computer is on. But then you cant use your mouse unless it is in hardwire mode which defeats the purpose of being wireless! I know what you might think. Just do that then! I prefer wireless mode because I find that the wire adds some drag or weight to the top-side of the mouse. This limits my movement. I dont want that. But I also dont want to use the trackpad while my mouse is charging. For now, I tend to trickle charge the mouse when I watch a long video or if Im AFK.
I have to say, the Chroma color feature has to be one of the coolest things about this mouse! Razer officially boosts 16.8 million colors. Obviously thats marketing and you will never be able to distinguish them all. I had my reservations. In fact, I thought it was going to be tacky. Think neon lights in any of the Fast and Furious movies. That was not the case. The chroma colors switch smoothly and seamlessly. Its actually very soothing. I mostly notice the complex hues that it morphs to and it adds character to any computer environment. The buttons and scroll wheelВ where the lights are emitted are not clear. They are opaque so the light that comes off it is soft and very pleasing. I didnt get a chance to see it powered in store but my feelings towards it did a complete 180. One thing to note, while charging, the scroll wheel with cycle on and off. I wouldnt call it blinking because it is very slow and deliberate. It will then show the solid colors once it is fully charged. There seems to be a lot of design and great attention to detail with this feature. Oh, and if you dont like the Chroma setting, you can also customize it to your liking. Turn off lights on the scroll wheel, solid colors on the numpad, and any combination in between. Its only aesthetic, but its fantastic.
Besides the charging quirks I mentioned above, I sometimes notice the pointer jumping. This has only happen once it a while but I feel that its worth mentioning. The mouse cannot be tracked on glass like Logitechs Darkfield laser so I bought a large Corsair mousepad. I know, blasphemy. Whatever. Its just a mousepad рџ?› Ive maxed out the polling rate to 1,000 and I still get it sometimes. It only happens once in a while and I cant seem to isolate the reason. Maybe its the polling rate, maybe its the bluetooth receiver. Maybe its a combination of both. Im pretty sure its not the mousepad. Its brand new and clean. Whatever it may be, its very minor and it doesnt happen enough to call for any real complaints.
Ive been flying through Amazon Mturks with this mouse! The even though the macros are set to no delay, it will still output the characters one by one. It happens so fast, its nothing to complain about. Maybe around 120 WPM if Id had to guess. Think about it, imagine typing A32POCRM3KRW11 at 120 WPM? Thats practically impossible! (BTW, thats not my real Mturk ID) While this mouse was designed for MMO games specifically, I have adopted it as a work horse. A hammer can drive nails to wood but it can also break plates very well. Okay, bad analogy. You get the point. This mouse is truly a hidden gem for the productive person.
Thanks for reading!