I’ve always loved the Naga by Razer. If you’re an MMO gamer, and haven’t picked up the Logitech equivalent or Razer’s MMO mouse, you’re really missing out. Once you’ve learned how to play these games with the thumb hotkeys, it feels like a huge tactical step backwards to try and do without them. That’s why I was glad to get my hands on the newly refreshed 2014 Edition of the Naga (retailing for $79.99) when Razer sent a review copy my way. You wouldn’t think there would be much “new” to remodeled version of the MMO mouse, but you’d be surprised how much a few slight changes can alter how the hardware fits in the hand and how it suddenly needs to be relearned.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Naga, you can see from below that it’s a mouse like any other… with the addition of 12 keys on the left side that can server as keys 1 through = (in effect your standard hotbar). This is the singular feature that makes mice like these impossibly useful for MMO gamers, and in previous models the keypad has always worked wondrously. The first time I used a Naga, it took some getting used to, but eventually your left thumb learns where the keys are just as you know where the WASD keys are on a keyboard. In the 2014 Edition, Razer has altered the keypad slightly in a seemingly haphazard and subtle way that actually makes sense… it just takes some getting used to, again. On older versions, my thumb never accidentally hit the 1 key where it rests. The 2014 has this issue, but over my week plus of using it, I’ve learned to not move the mouse with my thumb as much. Still the mechanical keys are hair-triggers. This is good when gaming, but not so good when working on other things and you accidentally type a 4, 5 or 1.
Being the defining feature of the mouse, you’d think Razer wouldn’t be in a hurry to shake things up, especially since the previous versions worked so well. My Naga Epic is still the go-to mouse for me, even after becoming used to the 2014’s keys. The new keys have some tactical advantages though: they’re mechanical now, and there’s something to be said about this format over the satisfaction and tactile responsiveness of mechanical keys over the rubber-domed standards of today. The shape of the mouse has been altered too, and this is for the better. I liked the original “swap out parts” version of previous editions, but this one-size-fits-all actually works really well. It’s comfortable, the matte finish on the mouse means your hand doesn’t really “stick” to it the way it does to glossy plastic, and overall it’s just a very ergonomic design. One other cool feature is that you can tilt-click the scroll wheel to move up and down a webpage or zoom in and out in-game. It seems silly to mention, but once you use it, you’ll wind up thinking, “Why don’t all mice do this?!”
The 2014 Naga also steps up the game with the Synapse software, which allows you to save your settings on the mouse to the cloud (using a Razer account), and then keeping those settings on whatever PC your using. It’s a great idea, but unless you’re constantly gaming on different PCs, I really don’t see the need for it. The Naga works wondrously out of the box, and doesn’t really need to be tweaked all that much. Overall, the newest addition to the Naga line is quite superb. But if you already have one, and it’s still working? There’s really no need to upgrade until it breaks down on you. Unless you just like new things (don’t we all?).
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.