I’ve gone on record saying that the wireless mouse is the wave of the future — heck, if we’re being honest, it’s the wave of the present. Unlike wireless mice of decades past, modern wireless mice are lag-free and gorgeously designed, with virtually no signal loss and long battery lives. That’s certainly the case with the Razer Basilisk Ultimate, the latest wireless gaming mouse in Razer’s arsenal.
But if you want to enjoy the Basilisk Ultimate’s features, you’ll pay a lot for the privilege: $170 to be precise ($150 without a dock — but then buying a dock separately costs $50). This price gets you a well-designed, comfortable mouse with a full RGB color palette, a sleek charging dock and a few handy bells and whistles. While the Basilisk Ultimate is a beautiful device that works quite well, it’s also one of the most expensive wireless gaming mice on the market — which is a bit hard to swallow when you consider cheaper mice with more features, such as the Logitech G502 Lightspeed.
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The Basilisk Ultimate is a quality product, but it’s not necessarily the best gaming mouse in the wireless category. Pick it up if you want a premium wireless mouse and have an affinity for Razer gear; otherwise, consider it as one option among many.
For the right-handed among us, the Basilisk Ultimate is a thing of beauty. (Lefties should still probably go with the Logitech G903.) The Basilisk Ultimate is an ergonomic, right-handed mouse with a textured grip, a slightly protruding thumb rest and a smooth face with a stylish plastic groove that gives the mouse a little aesthetic flair.
Button-wise, it’s got plenty: a left-click, a right-click, a clickable scroll wheel, two thumb buttons and an optional “paddle” that you can use for a “sniper” feature in first-person shooters. (More on this below.) There are also two face buttons that adjust dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity.
On the underside of the mouse, there are two interesting features: a profile-switching button, and a resistance wheel that adjusts how the scroll wheel feels. The profile button is fine; I don’t think many people need to switch profiles on the fly, and if they do, they can always assign one of the thumb or face buttons to that task. The resistance wheel elicits more of a mixed opinion, though. While I like having more than just two resistance options (as in Logitech mice), it’s hard to center, it’s hard to remember settings and it’s impossible to adjust during a game or productivity task.
The Basilisk Ultimate runs on the Razer Synapse software, easily the most inconsistent software available from a major gaming manufacturer. Sometimes, the program works beautifully, slinging gorgeous lighting patterns and reprogrammable buttons like no one’s business. And sometimes, it will inexplicably refuse to update, or stop linking profiles, or something equally inane.
My experience with the Basilisk Ultimate was mixed. I had an incredibly easy time toying with the RGB lighting patterns on the palm rest, a small LED strip beneath the thumb buttons and even the charging dock. Razer sent along a Razer Firefly V2 mouse pad, and I was able to get both devices color-cycling together, which gave my whole desk a bit of pizzazz.
Reprogramming buttons is a painless process — including the innovative “paddle” that has been the hallmark of the Basilisk ever since the first version launched years ago. If you want a third thumb button, you can install a little lever that’s perfect for lowering DPI while you line up headshots. If not, you can just plug a piece of plastic in the hole and ignore the apparatus entirely. I like that it’s so easy to swap the paddle out, as I need it only for certain games.
But the Synapse software itself is still not the most stable release out there. Creating new profiles is an arduous process, as default profile names are a long string of incomprehensible letters and numbers. Linking games is a pain, as Synapse doesn’t let you assign multiple peripherals to the same game profile. (The software was absolutely certain, for example, that I wanted to assign a Final Fantasy XIV profile to the charging dock — not the mouse itself.)
And after all that, the linking sometimes flat-out doesn’t work. When I assigned button combinations and a lighting profile to FFXIV, nothing happened when I launched the program. Unless I selected the profile manually, it simply wouldn’t switch. Other games were much more cooperative, but getting the game you want to work in the way you want is a bit of a crapshoot.
On the other hand, the wireless functionality and battery life are well beyond reproach. Razer estimates that you can get up to 100 hours of life with the Basilisk Ultimate if you turn all the lighting off. I wasn’t quite ready to give up all that pretty RGB goodness, but even with everything turned up, I found that I went through about 5-10% battery power per day, depending on how much I gamed. I imagine that you can get at least 20 hours of life with all the bells and whistles activated — perhaps 25 or more. You can also recharge while you play, and the lighting changes color when it’s time to charge, so there’s no real risk of running low on juice.
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However, the charging dock also reminded me of something that the Basilisk Ultimate is missing. Logitech, Corsair and even HP all offer mouse pads that charge their wireless mice as you play. The Firefly V2, as pretty as it is, doesn’t do this. The Basilisk Ultimate costs more than any comparable mice from competitors, but still charges the old-fashioned way.
I ran the Razer Basilisk Ultimate through Overwatch, Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales and FFXIV to see how well it handled different genres, and the mouse didn’t disappoint. Whether I was leading Queen Meve to battle her foes with powerful cards or building up the greatest empires of Europe, the mouse was responsive, precise and accurate.
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It’s worth noting, though, that Razer sells the Basilisk primarily as an FPS mouse. As long as you find the design comfortable, it’s as good as any other high-end peripheral for this purpose. The paddle especially is helpful for those who like to slow down DPI on the fly, as I did while I was gunning down foes as Sombra. It’s just fine for other genres as well, though, and you can think of some creative commands for the paddle if you put your mind to it.
The Basilisk Ultimate is a comfortable, attractive and functional mouse. With great battery life and flawless wireless performance, it’s a good companion for any type of PC game play, particularly the FPS genre.
And yet, there’s something that feels a little off about the device. For $170 it should be the absolute best wireless gaming mouse on the market — but it lacks features that cheaper competitors offer. The software works about half as well as it should. Gorgeous lighting and an elegant charging dock go only so far to make up for these shortcomings.
Overall, the Basilisk Ultimate is a good mouse — but for the price, it’s not a great one. The G502 Lightspeed is still probably the way to go for most gamers, although FPS aficionados should at least check out the Ultimate for the paddle, if nothing else.