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Review: Razer's Naga 2014 gaming mouse makes 17 buttons look good

Nate Ralph | July 31, 2013
Does anyone need a 17-button mouse? Razer thinks so, and I'm inclined to agree.

Gripes aside, Synapse's robust key-mapping functionality is as powerful and welcome as ever. This mouse can be programmed to do just about anything you can imagine, including firing off complex keyboard macros with a single button press. Better still, Razer has introduced an all new in-game configurator, a compact overlay that lets you tweak the Naga 2014's settings while you're playing a game. This is huge—being able to add new functionality or get DPI settings just right without ducking out of a fight or what have you is nigh indispensable—provided you're into that sort of thing.

That brings us back to square one: does anyone need a 17-button mouse? Pragmatists will dismiss this monstrosity as a fool's bauble, a toy for folks with more money than sense. But the rest of us are unabashed MMO-junkies, and have already mentally mapped important abilities to the first three or six buttons, debating which abilities could be shunted from keyboard down onto the rest of the 12-button number pad and wondering if we're dextrous enough to hit everything on the fly.

For what its worth the new Naga's updated design makes keeping track of individual buttons easy, and after a few hours slogging through my MMOs du jour (Guild Wars 2 and Firefall, if you're keeping track) I had no trouble at all. And all of this customizability will let you mold the mouse to suit your needs, instead of requiring you to change countless keybinds and the like to fit some finicky tool. That's always been the strength of pricey gaming hardware, and—despite my issues with Synapse's account requirements—Razer has always excelled at this sort of thing.

The Razer Naga 2014 will set you back $80 at the time of this review, and if you're a dedicated MMO player who spends time setting up keybinds and the like you will not be disappointed.  There are other options: Mad Catz's $99 R.A..T. 7 comes to mind, an ergonomical dream that's equal parts conversation starter and gaming gear. That said, it's marginally pricier and once you've molded it to fit your hand all of the fiddly bits start to feel a little comical. If spending this much on a mouse feels dumb, then you'll probably be set with two buttons and a scrollwheel and can look right past these. But trust me on this one; the new Naga feels fantastic in the hand, with buttons are far more functional than its predecessors. It's arguably only going to make sense for folks who need a lot of abilities and functions at their disposal, and excels in every way.

One more thing: Razer has pledged to offer a version of the new Naga for lefties. As a southpaw I've begrudgingly grown acclimated to mousing with my wrong (read: right) hand, so as to avoid missing out on all the bells and whistles my gaming peers are afforded. This is good news to say the least, if only because Razer is pretty much the only peripheral maker left willing to take a loss and cater to that forgotten segment of the gaming population. I'm loathe to replace my functional mouse, but as a lefty who's also an MMO junkie, I'll be putting some cash under my pillow and waiting for a lefty Naga to hit Razer's site.

 

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