While a PC can technically get by with just a keyboard, it’s a little like texting with an old Nokia. It still works, albeit too slowly to make it look like you’re hacking into the CIA. There are easier ways to do things these days, and whether it’s browsing the web or trying to blaze a trail through Doom: Eternal, you’ll almost certainly want a mouse attached to your PC. The ASUS ROG Chakram is quite possibly the most serious gaming mouse package we’ve ever seen.
You can connect the Chakram with a trio of different methods, two of them wireless. There’s a dual-wireless 2.4GHz USB offering, Bluetooth for ultimate compatibility, and good old wired USB – which you’ll also use for quick charging the Chakram’s on-board battery, unless you want to take advantage of its Qi wireless charging capabilities. In wired and USB mode you’re getting the full effect of the 16000 dpi optical sensor and its 1000hz polling rate, making this a top-tier offering for accuracy and response.
There’s then the Chakram’s rather obvious and unique difference: this is a mouse with a joystick on it. Nestling under the left-hand side, just where the tip of your thumb rests, is a programmable joystick nubbin. It sounds weird, and it is to begin with. You can set this to do whatever you want it to, but I found it an absolute godsend for panning the landscape in strategy and sim games like Planet Zoo, using it like an analogue stick to do so. Alternatively, you can use it in digital mode like a D-Pad, effectively gaining an additional four buttons directly under your thumb that can be programmed however you wish – great for MMOs and MOBAs.
The wealth of inputs available to you on this mouse are frankly insane, and alongside left and right buttons, you get a clickable scroll wheel, two inline buttons on the left-hand side and the joystick. If you’re looking for a mouse that’s going to give you a serious competitive advantage, the Chakram should be top of your list.
Prising open the satisfyingly chunky box, you’re greeted by the Chakram itself, and then a bunch of additional items beneath it. There’s a handy carry case, a 1.8m USB-A to USB-C cable, a USB extender if you want to shorten the distance your wireless connection has to travel, and an accessory case that includes two additional Omron switches – fantastic if you’re going to be abusing those buttons with competitive play – and the tools to replace them.
You might be glad to learn it’s not too severe in its aesthetics. The Chakram sits towards the larger end of the spectrum, but as an averagely sized human being, I found it comfortable and well proportioned. There’s an additional lip on its left side that helps to support your thumb, and it’s clear that ROG have worked overtime to get the ergonomics just right for maintaining comfort over a long period of time.
The main body of the Chakram features a removable translucent case, and beneath it you’ll find space for the wireless USB dongle and access to remove the button housing if you’re replacing the switches. Everything is either magnetic or easily prised out, making it a doddle to tinker with. You can even swap out the ROG logo for a brand-free look, but I’m not entirely sure why you would.
If you aren’t interested in the additional functionality of the Chakram’s joystick you can easily remove it and there’s an included cover to block over the connection. I did occasionally find the joystick nub had come off in-between use, seemingly without too much help, but there are two small children in my house that I often blame for most mysterious happenings. Either way, at no point while actually using the Chakram did it come loose.
This being a gaming mouse, there are of course RGB lights to mess around with, though they’re limited to a ROG logo that sits beneath your palm, the scroll wheel and a single light strip at the front. They’ll cascade in a lovely rainbow-esque fashion as standard, but you can basically have them do whatever you like, whether that’s a variety of different pulsing patterns, solid colour or off.
As with most peripherals, ROG have a piece of software to help you control your brand-new piece of tech in the shape of the bombastic sounding Armoury Crate. From here you can mess with each of your button settings, make per-game profiles, as well as dive into the real nitty-gritty of your setup, from DPI, through polling rate and button response time. It’s a pleasingly straightforward piece of software, and one that does what it’s supposed to, which is something other manufacturers would do well to take note of.
If you don’t want to dip into the software all the time, you can easily alter the DPI on the fly as well, with the DPI control on the Chakram’s underside. Pressing it will cycle through a series of jumps in sensitivity that you can programme, while holding it for three second will then allow you to cycle through 100 DPI increments with the scroll wheel. Once again, ROG have made sure that you can tailor this mouse to fit your requirements perfectly, in the easiest manner possible.