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ASUS ROG Pugio - Ambidextrousness Illuminated

Christopher Coke Posted:
Hardware Reviews 0

Last week, ASUS sent us two of their new high end peripherals to share our thoughts with you.We’ve already reviewed the first of that pair, the ROG Claymore Core mechanical keyboard and came away impressed. Today, we’re digging into your right hand weapon with the ROG Pugio. Or left, as the case may be, because even if you’re a lefty, this flashy ambidextrous mouse has you covered.

The Rog Pugio immediately makes a good impression. It’s a smaller mouse, definitely suited for a claw grip, and is light in the hand coming in at only 103 grams. There are eight programmable buttons, but you’re likely to only reprogram three or four of those at any given time making this a great mouse for first person shooters. The materials and patterning look fantastic, features separated left and right mouse buttons, and three separate zones of RGB illumination. It’s the first mouse we’ve had in that features underglow! Including a plush bag for easy transport to LANs is another nice touch.

Dressed to Impress

Looking a little closer, the palm rest and separated buttons are made from a matte black plastic reminiscent of anodized steel. The left and right side grips, as well as the middle mouse wheel, feature a rubberized material inscribed with the Republic of Gamers Mayan pattern. It extends around the front into a nice braided cable and across the entire bottom. The ring around the mouse wheel, the ROG logo on the palm rest, and a light bar encircling the heel of the mouse are all brightly lit and independently customizable.

The whole package looks fantastic. The material is especially resistant to showing fingerprints or oils from your palms. This is a nice touch when so many other “pure” black mice pick up smudges on the very first use. By default, all three lighting zones are synced to one another and can be set to show a number of different animations. The usual breathing and color cycle presets are available, but reactive lighting is also an option, along with a flashy “comet” preset that causes a light to streak around every zone in a loop. I came to prefer the lighting schemes that kept the heel lit, as the underglow just looks great on a desktop.

The Pugio is an ambidextrous mouse, which means both sides are identical. Above each rubberized grip are two programmable buttons. When combined with the left, right, middle mouse, and DPI adjuster, that brings your total button count up to eight. In practice, trying to use both sets of side buttons is challenging and resulted in our making more than a few misclicks. This isn’t surprising as each pair are intended to be used as thumb buttons. Since they’re held by magnets, the opposing side can easily be swapped out for a cover piece, effectively removing them entirely.

Under the Hood

Under the hood, the Pugio features a high quality sensor that can be customized anywhere between 50 and 7200 DPI. This isn’t as high as some other mice we’ve seen, but realistically speaking 7200 DPI is still well beyond a usable DPI in the vast majority of situations. The sensor features a 150 IPS tracking speed and 30g of acceleration to produce stellar responsiveness for your customized sensitivity. The software suite also lets you adjust other settings: acceleration, polling rate (125-1000Hz), angle snapping, and button response time.

Another unique feature of the mouse is its interchangable Omron switches. The Pugio comes preinstalled with a set of Chinese Omron switches rated for 50-million clicks. In the accessory case (along with the button covers), is a second Japanese set. Swapping them out is as simple as unscrewing the four screws pictured above, pulling out the old one, and inserting the alternate. It’s worth trying out, just to feel the slight difference between the two. I was personally happy with the Omrons it shipped with and didn’t find the difference big enough to justify switching. Still, it’s nice to know that if you run into the dreaded double-click problem gaming mice tend to develop, you can swap into your second pair and not be stuck buying a new mouse.

As you might expect, you can program any of the clickable buttons. The ROG Armoury software is fully featured and recording and editing macros is a breeze. You can set any button to trigger a key command, fulfill a multimedia or Windows function, or launch a program. I do wish the lighting customizations were more robust. Like the Claymore Core, there’s simply not as much flexibility in color patterns, custom timings, or triggers as can be found elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

The ASUS ROG Pugio currently retails for $89.99, which I consider to be quite expensive. If you’ve followed the ROG line, however, you know that there’s a certain premium that comes with any Republic of Gamers product. It’s ASUS’s specialty line and their products reflect that.

The Pugio is an exceptionally good mouse and works hard to justify its price point. Its ambidextrousness is a big selling point, as is its build quality and overall aesthetic. Its flexibility and customizability are important factors in this year’s peripheral market. The real selling point, though, are the replaceable switches. They’re a bit like an insurance policy. You pay a little more up front, but then have the peace of mind knowing that the main failure point in gaming mice simply isn’t a concern for you. If you’re a competitive gamer, the benefits are obvious: you’re free to go hard on the mouse and can get it back up and running quick if a switch gives out. If you’re an average gamer, though, burning through both sets of Omrons is going to take years. $89.99 seems expensive, but knowing that you won’t need to buy an entire second mouse in a year or two? That suddenly becomes a lot more reasonable.


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight