This story is part of our continuing coverage of CES 2020, including tech and gadgets from the showroom floor.
CES 2020 didn’t have heaps of new mice on show, but the ones that were there were easily overshadowed by the Asus Chakram. With its built-in joystick, wireless charging, RGB lighting, and high-end Omron switches, it proved far more capable than we expected. It’s super customizable too, so it can be a mouse for any situation and any user. Its price reflects its high-flying feature set, but it could be a cost worth paying.
Asus grabbed our attention when it first showed off the ROG Chakram gaming mouse at IFA 2019 with its built-in joystick, and now that it’s up for pre-order, we felt it was a great time to revisit it. It still impresses. With a 16,000 DPI optical sensor, support for both 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, it’s a great all-round, wireless, RGB gaming mouse. But it’s the built-in joystick which separates it from the pack.
Built right into the thumb rest, this joystick can operate flight simulators surprisingly intuitively. We flew planes, shot down enemies, and managed to seamlessly tab out of the game and adjust some menus, before diving back into the action, all without removing our hand from the mouse. In digital mode, it can also as a quad-directional D-Pad. That makes it versatile in retro games, as well as menu selections.
Like all the other buttons on the Chakram, the joystick is entirely programmable for whatever else you might want to do with it. Just as the Steam controller ended up with some unique community configurations, we’d be surprised if Chakram fans didn’t come up with some fun creative ways to use this versatile rodent. Likewise in its physical modification. It comes with several joystick heads you can swap in and out depending on your preferences, but you could probably supplant third party options too.
Don’t like the joystick but love the Chakram otherwise? Just want to play a normal game without a joystick sticking out the side of your mouse? You can always just pop it off and replace it with a seamless puck that sits flush with the frame.
The same customization options apply to the rest of the mouse too, with options for different Omron switches for the left/right-click buttons, both of which can be popped off thanks to magnetic attachment, rather than screws or clips. That makes modifying your Chakram incredibly easy and if you find any of it fiddly, there are bundled tools to make it that bit easier.
DPI can be adjusted without back-end software using the button on the underside, cycling through various modes. Or you can adjust it minutely using the scroll wheel. The logo at the rear can be tweaked with different puck options too, or more heavily customized through back-end Asus Armory II software.
It also supports fast charging, for up to 12 hours of gameplay from just 15-minutes, of charging has Qi-charging support for wireless power on the Asus ROG Balteus Qi mouse mat, and lasts up to 79 hours on a full charge.
Set to go on sale in the very near future, the Asus Chakram will be priced at $150.
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