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Razer Basilisk review

Eye of Razer's Basilisk stares at first-person shooter fans with deadly precision

The problem with gaming mice is that they all have just one purpose – that is, to be a mouse. There’s only so much you can cram into the palm-sized device, and only so many ways manufacturers can differentiate their products from the competitors without a profound change in the general mouse design. There’s no gaming-changing mouse, and likely never will be, so companies are looking for unique ways to make their solutions “special.”

Enter our Razer Basilisk review. This is a gaming mouse with an extra you won’t find anywhere else, and it doesn’t cost any more than its peers.

Take precise aim with this “hero” feature

Razer is targeting first-person shooter fans with its new $70 Basilisk mouse. It’s designed for right-handed gamers only, sporting a built-in thumb rest blanketed with a rubberized surface for a better grip. That’s meant to keep your thumb off the desktop surface so it doesn’t become a drag, providing better mouse movement. The right side also includes a rubberized surface so your ring finger has a better grip on the mouse, as well.

What makes the Razer Basilisk different than its other gaming-focused mice is the addition of a “clutch.” Located on the left side of the mouse, this clutch is a long button accessed with your thumb. Press it, and the DPI setting will change while it’s pressed. Remove your thumb, and the mouse will immediately revert to the default sensitivity.

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Razer hopes this will let gamers change sensitivity on the fly during heated gameplay moments. The clutch only provides one DPI setting — whatever you choose in Razer’s Synapse desktop software. This is the “pressed” speed, while your default sensitivity is handled through two configurable buttons mounted behind the mouse.

The clutch comes in handy when you need to take a moment for precision shots.

The clutch is aimed at first-person shooters, ranging from Quake Champions, to Overwatch, to Prey. You can run around and gun down opponents using your preferred sensitivity. When needed, though, you can press the clutch button for a few seconds and tighten the mouse movement so you can make a precise shot. Then release the clutch button, and continue with your run-and-gun bonanza.

It’s a great feature. In theory, just about any modern gaming mouse can change sensitivity for precise movement, using buttons that flip settings on the fly. Yet those buttons are often small and hard to use, while Razer’s new clutch is big and easy to grip. The Basilisk’s clutch is such an obvious evolution adjustable mouse sensitivity that, now it’s available, it’s hard to imagine going back.

Of course, if you don’t want to use the clutch button to quickly change your DPI setting, you can assign it with any command in the mouse settings. Razer supplies you with two clutch buttons with different lengths that are magnetically held into place, so you can switch to the version you like most. There’s also a cap to cover the hole if you simply don’t want to deal with a clutch.

But wait! There’s more!

The Basilisk has another unique feature, which is tied to the scroll wheel. Many gamers love a loose wheel to quickly cycle through their weapons. Others like resistance to the wheel movement so it doesn’t feel out of control. The Razer Basilisk meets both in the middle with a resistance feature.

Razer Basilisk review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A dial on the bottom of the mouse allows you to “tighten” or “loosen” the wheel’s resistance. The tighter the Basilisk’s grip on the wheel, the more tactile feedback you’ll receive from the peripheral. This resistance doesn’t seem to have any impact on the speed of the wheel’s input, but only in how it feels when you scroll up and down.

The lengthy button is also an ideal solution for Razer’s Hypershift option, to quickly access a second set of commands.

Beyond that, the Basilisk provides the clutch and two buttons on the left, the typical left and right click buttons, the mouse wheel (which technically handles three commands), and two DPI stage buttons. Everything is configurable through Razer’s software, with commands ranging from default mouse functions, to keyboard commands, to macros, to Windows 8 charms. Yep, people evidently still use them.

What’s neat about the Basilisk is that you can assign a second command to each button using Razer’s new “Hypershift” system. If you have keyboard that supports the Razer Synapse 3 beta, you can simply press the FN key to access these secondary Hypershift button commands. If you don’t have a compatible keyboard, you can assign a button as the Hypershift activator on the mouse.

For instance, if you don’t plan on using the clutch to shift sensitivities on the fly, you can assign tit he Hypershift function instead.

A look that kills

All custom button assignments you make are saved to a profile within the Synapse software. A profile is simply a batch of settings with a common theme, such as tuned controls for first-person shooters, or a specific layout for strategy games. You can assign games to your profiles as well, so when the game launches, the attached profile loads too. This comes in handy if you have a default setup for everyday tasks, and need a specific layout for a specific game.

Razer Basilisk review
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While you can seemingly create as many profiles as you want on the PC, you can store up to four on the mouse itself. These are color-coded – Red, Green, Blue, and Cyan – and correspond to an LED mounted on the bottom of the peripheral. Next to the LED is a physical switch for cycling through the stored profiles when you can’t do so using software, such as playing in tournaments that don’t allow third-party software.

Profiles also hold your lighting configurations. The Basilisk supports Razer’s Chroma platform, which synchronizes the lighting effects across all supporting Razer hardware. The mouse includes two lighting zones – the mouse wheel and Razer logo – that are customizable through the Synapse software. There are eight lighting effects supporting 16.8 million colors, including Breathing, Fire, Reactive, Starlight, Wave, and more. You can stack effects in profiles too to get a unique lighting design.

A terrific addition to your gaming arsenal

Because this is a wired device, we had no issues with performance. The sensitivity ranges between 100 and an insane 16,000 DPI via Razer’s “5G” optical sensor. You can even configure between two and five sensitivity stages to cycle through using the physical up/down buttons. The clutch is where the mouse shines, coming in handy when you need to take a moment and make precision shots. It’s the Basilisk’s major selling point.

There’s no question that the Basilisk is a must-have for shooters, though not all gamers will flock to the dual-DPI ability. Yet the lengthy button is an ideal solution for Razer’s Hypershift option if you want to quickly access a second set of commands on the fly. That’s a plus in our book, too, shoving more customizable commands under your fingertips.

The only drawback we see with the Basilisk is that it’s for right-handed gamers only. Southpaws using the right side of their brains should seek out Razer’s Lancehead mouse instead, which doesn’t include a DPI clutch, but is a great solution nonetheless. If you’re a right-handed gamer, we highly recommend the Basilisk for its high performance, its durability, and its unique features.

Editors' Recommendations

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
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