Asus has thrown the kitchen sink - and a joystick - at the competition with its latest gaming mouse, the ROG Chakram.
I am not kidding.
There is literally a built-in joystick on the left side of this wireless mouse. Presumably, one would use the right thumb to move the joystick, which rules out this asymmetrical-shaped mouse for lefties.
The joystick offers analogue and digital modes.
In analogue mode, it works like the joystick on controllers and offers 360 degrees of movement. When switched to digital mode, the joystick becomes a four-way controller (up, down, left and right), each of which can be programmed to a specific action in a game.
Asus suggests using analogue mode for racing or flight games and digital mode for first-person shooter games.
The Chakram supports both the 2.4GHz radio frequency and Bluetooth. To use the former, plug the included USB dongle to a computer's USB Type-A port. Toggle between the two wireless modes via a switch at the bottom of the mouse.
A detachable USB-C cable is included for wired connectivity and charging. The Chakram can be topped up wirelessly on any charging pad that works with the ubiquitous Qi standard.
At the bottom of the mouse is a button to toggle among four different dots per inch (DPI) levels, to vary the mouse sensitivity. For even finer control of the DPI setting, press and hold this DPI button while spinning the mouse scroll wheel to adjust the DPI levels by increments of 100.
The mouse's RGB lighting changes colour according to the DPI level.
The mouse's RGB lighting and 13 programmable buttons can be customised by using the Asus Armoury II software. Because I am paranoid about my wireless mouse running out of juice in the middle of a game, I set the RGB lighting to indicate the approximate level of battery life - red means I should charge it soon.
• Easy to customise
• Joystick grows on you
• Lots of features and extra accessories
• Good build quality
• Not suitable for left-handed users
• Software not as polished as the ones by its competitors
SENSITIVITY: 100 to 16,000 dpi
MAXIMUM SPEED: Up to 400 ips
CONNECTIVITY: USB, Bluetooth, 2.4GHz radio frequency with USB dongle
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5
By now, it should be evident Asus has integrated a slew of features in this mouse.
But what impressed me most was the customisation. The mouse cover is secured magnetically, so it is easy to remove it. The same goes for the covers of the mouse buttons, which let you swop the Omron-branded mouse switches with the spare switches included in the package. Given that the switches are supposedly good for 50 million clicks, the need to swop them out probably does not happen often.
Even the joystick comes with two different lengths.
The installed version is shorter, so if you prefer one that protrudes further out, just swop to the spare. There is even a cover that will make the side of the mouse flush if you do not wish to use the joystick.
Despite its removable covers, the Chakram feels solid and well-made. The buttons feel suitably clicky while the Teflon-coated feet move smoothly across the table. However, at 122g, it is slightly heavier than some of its wireless rivals.
Its ease of customisation, build quality and features just about justify its $249 price tag, which is as expensive as a gaming mouse gets.