I’m a big fan of Razer’s Basilisk mouse line. This family of right-handed gaming mice, designed in the first-person-shooter (FPS) style, is known for having a button where the tip of your thumb rests. It’s one of the most comfortable fits in PC gaming. When Razer made a cheaper model, the Basilisk Essential, I sung its praises, too, for bringing the form factor to a larger audience. Now, for the power-gamer set, Razer has made a $169.99-MSRP wireless version, the Basilisk Ultimate, that updates the Basilisk design inside and out, cuts its cord, and adds wireless charging through an optional dock. In other words, one of the best gaming mice just got a bunch better.
Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Wing
The Basilisk Ultimate’s core look and feel remain mostly unchanged from the original. It’s technically an 11-button, right-handed model, though it has only nine customizable buttons.
On top, you have the usual two main clickers, a scroll wheel that clicks, and two resolution-swapping buttons. On the side, you have two macro/shortcut buttons and a detachable FPS-minded “sniper” paddle that, by default, drops your tracking resolution to low sensitivity for precise clicking.
Last, underneath the mouse is a button that cycles quickly among the Basilisk’s five onboard profiles without making you open Synapse, Razer’s configuration software. Also, as on the other Basilisks, a dial on the underside lets you tune the scroll wheel’s sensitivity, which keeps you out of system settings if you like to tweak that parameter often.
So where do the last two “buttons” come from? The scroll wheel on the Basilisk got a little hop-up: In addition to the usual scroll-wheel down-click, you can now tilt the scroll wheel to the left or right. The tilt function feels great in action, both for everyday use and in gaming. While browsing the web and looking at documents, I found myself tilting the wheel to scroll up and down pages instead of rolling it. (The default function is repeat scroll.) In games, it pays to reconfigure these tilt actions to your key commands, as it’s faster to tilt the wheel, where you already have a finger resting, than to reach a side button by repositioning your thumb. The Basilisk Ultimate isn’t the only mouse adding these inputs here in late ’19, but it’s the first I’ve reviewed, and I hope more companies embrace it.
As I suggested up top, my favorite thing about the Basilisk is its shape, which remains mostly unchanged. With a footprint of 5.1 by 2.8 inches (including the thumb wing) and at 1.65 inches tall, the 3.8-ounce Basilisk Ultimate is nearly identical to the original. Your hand still falls perfectly into place and rests naturally on the mouse in a way that you never feel the need to grip or maneuver your hand to get comfortable. Plus, you need to make only small movements to hit any of its essential inputs.
Part of the comfort is the thumb wing, which returns and continues to stand apart, despite the fact that so many mice employ some kind of extended thumb support. This one isn’t too large or too small, and the curve is just the right shape to let you rest your thumb for long play sessions, or to support it while you grip the side of the mouse.
I did note a couple of small differences. The Basilisk Ultimate has a pair of extra lighting elements, comprising a pair of thin accent lines high on the mouse’s sides. On the thumb side, the line sits right above the macro buttons. It’s subtle, but the added lights, along with the lighting in the palm and scroll wheel, make the lighting a strong element, especially since you can actually see the side lights while you’re playing. (They won’t be covered by your hand, as mouse RGB bling tends to be.)
The detachable sniper paddle on the Ultimate is slightly shorter than what I remember on the original Basilisk and the Basilisk Essential, so for some players (myself included), you may need to reach a bit to tap it. If you don’t use the paddle often, this may be a blessing, as you’ll be less likely to tap it by mistake when gripping the mouse in a tense moment. If you use the paddle often, that could be a slight but noticeable quibble.
Internally, the Basilisk Ultimate has had a few technical upgrades. First and foremost, the click panels in the Basilisk Ultimate now use Razer’s new optical mouse switches, which it introduced earlier this year in the esports-focused Razer Viper. Razer claims the switches cut out microseconds worth of delay on each click, allowing for faster, more accurate clicking. Having used multiple mice with these switches (and many without) the difference was not perceptible to me, but I can attest that the panels deliver a good, quick click.
The Basilisk Ultimate also features Razer’s new Focus+ sensor, which is also in Razer’s other new high-end mouse, the Viper Ultimate. The new sensor bumps the highest tracking settings up to a whopping 20,000 dots per inch (dpi) and 650 inches per second. In more practical terms, it’s more than capable of keeping track of your movements even when you’re whipping your cursor across multiple monitors like a player possessed.
That accuracy wouldn’t mean much if the Basilisk Ultimate didn’t also have strong wireless connectivity to maintain the connection. Using Razer’s radio-frequency (RF) wireless tech (which the company dubs “Hyperspeed”) over a USB dongle, the Basilisk Ultimate achieves a stable connection with 1,000Hz polling, bringing lag down to an imperceptible level. Gaming-mouse makers have figured that dongle-based wireless connections are the way to go, so this isn’t quite as grand an achievement as it sounds, but it’s noteworthy as many serious gamers still swear they need a wired connection. It may also explain why Razer decided to forgo Bluetooth support.
Like the Viper Ultimate, the Basilisk Ultimate supports wireless charging through its proprietary, USB-connected mouse dock. The dock comes with the $169.99 version of the mouse reviewed here, but it is also sold separately. Having a wireless charging solution really makes using the Basilisk Ultimate feel like a true wireless experience. Plus, the Basilisk gets decent battery life. Razer claims “up to” 100 hours, and I found the mouse needed a recharge every four or five days, but that feels near-inconsequential if you have the charging dock. When you need to charge, you simply park it on the dock, then remove it when you need the mouse again. It requires no cables to connect or disconnect, so charging is not a hassle at all.
It helps that the dock is very well-designed. It holds the mouse in place on top of the dock magnetically at a jaunty angle, showing off the mouse. (To my eyes, it looks great.) The dock itself is also quite stylish, with a lighting element around its base that you can customize with Razer’s Chroma lighting software and incorporate into your PC’s lighting look. (It also shows the battery’s power level when you dock it.) The dock, thoughtfully, also has a USB port into which you can plug in the mouse’s USB RF dongle, so the dock and dongle together occupy just one USB port on your computer.
From Synapse to Chroma
Like all Razer mice, the Basilisk Ultimate supports the company’s suite of configuration software—namely, Razer Synapse for button-mapping, and Razer Chroma for creating custom lighting. These apps haven’t changed, which is fine, because I find them visually appealing and easy to use in most respects.
As I mentioned earlier, the Basilisk Ultimate can store up to five profiles in its internal, on-mouse memory, including a default profile. You can also make additional per-game profiles on your PC, which you can tie to specific games and apps or swap in for other onboard profiles. Having the ability to swap among the onboard profiles on the fly without accessing Synapse is a nice touch. While Synapse is easy to use, it’s much quicker to press a button than open an app.
Measuring a Mouse’s Worth
The Basilisk Ultimate completes the wireless fantasy, looks great, and feels comfortable. It does everything I want a gaming mouse to do. There is, of course, a catch. And that’s the price: that whopping $169.99 MSRP.
Even if the mouse sees some modest discounting shortly after release, that’s a lot of dough, and I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone for saying it’s simply too much for any mouse. You can find cheaper wireless mice out there, as well as several cheaper Razer Basilisks. At the same time, in light of my other favorite wireless mouse this year, the price may not be completely out of line, when you factor in that many wireless charging mice, including the Logitech G502 Lightspeed, require you to spend extra money on a proprietary charging pad to use wireless charging. If you’re looking at the Basilisk Ultimate at or close to its list price, bear in mind that it should include the dock.
Dock or no dock, the Ultimate will be a splurge for most gamers, no doubt. But it’s worth the cash for any hardcore gamer (especially a Razer-gear loyalist) who prizes quality software and shortcut-making, lots of programmable buttons, smooth wireless operation, and a slick look.