Razer Basilisk Ultimate Review
With all these super light and stripped down FPS gaming mice hitting the market these days it's easy to forget that there are gamers (yes, even FPS gamers) who prefer a heftier mouse that's loaded with some extra features. Razer luckily hasn't forgotten that, and have recently given their Basilisk (click here to see our review on the older version of this mouse) the 'Ultimate' update.
Fully tricked out with Razer's Hyperspeed wireless as well as (among other, smaller changes) a new sensor, new switches, and new mouse feet this should be a worthy upgrade on the Basilisk. Is it really the ultimate version of this mouse? And more importantly: is it the ultimate mouse for people looking for a tricked out ergonomic mouse? You'll find out all that and more in our full review.
"The Basilisk Ultimate might not appeal to the ultralight crowd, but not every mouse needs to do so and I know for a fact that there are plenty of people out there who will love this mouse."Our mouse reviewer
Razer Basilisk Ultimate - First Impressions
As a reviewer I get to experience all current trends first hand, and if you've been reviewing mostly (ultra) light mice over the past few months then the weight of the Basilisk Ultimate is definitely something that stands out. This is a chonky mouse, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. I'll freely admit that I gravitate more towards the lighter end of the spectrum with my gaming mice, but I know plenty of gamers who prefer heavier mice so I'm not gonna hold its weight against it. The Basilisk Ultimate doesn't position itself as a stripped down gaming mouse either; it's supposed to be a heavily customizable device with a host of additional features for those gamers who swear by those things.
With that out of the way I can say that the Basilisk Ultimate looks pretty darn good. The scroll wheel and Razer logo at the back lighting up is pretty standard, but there are also two thin (multi zone) RGB strips on either side of the mouse that look really nice and subtle. The mixture of rubber grips on the sides, matte coating on the top, and glossy accents throughout the mouse make it visually distinct from most other mice and all things considered the Basilisk Ultimate looks very much like a premium product. That's a good thing given it's pretty steep asking price though.
The adjustable tilting scroll wheel, thumb rest, and removable DPI clutch button are other features that separate this mouse from most other options on the high end gaming mouse market. I'll obviously go into all of these features throughout the review, but since we're talking about first impressions here I have to say that I immediately noticed that there's now only one DPI paddle included with this mouse, whereas you had two (a short one and a longer one) with the Basilisk Quartz that I reviewed a while ago. That's a bit of a shame, since it removes some of the 'customizability' of the mouse, but more on that later too.
The Basilisk Ultimate is what I'd call a medium sized mouse, but coupled with the weight and the thumb rest (which does limit your grip options somewhat) it's not the most nimble mouse on the market. People interested in this mouse will probably have realized that already, but I thought I'd mention it regardless.
As far as the shape goes it's quite apparent to me that the Ultimate is longer than the older version of the Basilisk. To me that's an improvement since it makes it easier to rest my palm on the mouse, but obviously this will vary for each individual. The overall shape is still very much the same though, so if you liked the older edition you'll also like this one.
The Basilisk Ultimate comes in a nicely made box that you open up like a book and closes by means of a magnetic system. Inside this box you'll immediately be greeted by the mouse and the charging dock. Delve a little deeper and you'll find the charging cable as well as the optional DPI shift paddle.
Of course you also get the usual documentation, and here it's paired with the standard Razer 'thank you for purchasing' note and a bunch of Razer branded stickers. I really like the packaging of Razer's Ultimate versions of their mice: it's easy to repack the products (which is what I do when I go to a LAN or something) and the boxes are decently sturdy.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
The Basilisk Ultimate is almost a quintessential ergonomic mouse with its thumb rest and rather formed design. That doesn't mean that the shape is unsafe in any way, though. Granted, you'd have to like ergonomic mice in the first place if you're gonna try to love this shape, but if you're a fan of more formed mice like this then it's a really comfortable mouse that has a a decent amount of room for you to adjust your precise grip.
The inclusion of a thumb rest does mean that you'll be forced to place your thumb somewhere around the middle of the mouse; you can't grip it low (due to the thumb rest) and you can't grip it super high either because then you'll be touching the side buttons. That last part happens with pretty much every mouse so I can't imagine that this is an issue for anyone, but if you do like to place your thumb towards the bottom of the left side panel you should take note.
Speaking of thumbs: the included 'DPI clutch button' (which can be programmed to do pretty much anything you want in the software) is too short for me, or at least it is for the way that I grip this mouse. In order to reach it I have to lay my thumb almost completely flat on the side, or move it so far up that it becomes a bit awkward to move the mouse accurately. It's a bit of a shame that they didn't include a longer paddle for people like me since having to awkwardly adjust your grip to get to the 'sniper button' kind of defeats its purpose of aiding with certain aiming tasks. For reference: my hands are 18.5 x 10 cm, but you might not have issues with this depending on your grip style.
As far as the coating goes the Basilisk Ultimate has a very nice matte coating on top, though most of the actual gripping will take place on the rubber sides. These have a fine texturing on them to aid with lift and grip and feel and perform great. I like matte coatings and rubber side (inserts) so it doesn't get any better than this combo if you're asking me.
Both side buttons are easy to reach and distinguish, which is a marked improvement over the older Basilisk in my book as I did have some trouble telling the two buttons apart on earlier versions of this mouse.
On the bottom there are now six pure PTFE feet, which is another major difference between the new version and older iterations that had larger non-PTFE skates. These new ones glide fine in practice: I didn't get the smoothest or fastest glide here, but that might be down to the fact that I'm not used to weightier mice (anymore) so don't misinterpret this section. There's no scratchiness and it's all even, so there's no need to worry about the skates' performance or anything.
Buttons and scroll wheel
Razer has been pushing their new Optical Mouse Switches on most of their new products, and I have no problem with these at all. These switches actuate by allowing an infrared light beam to pass through inside the switch, resulting in a faster actuation (3 times faster than a traditional mech switch according to Razer) and a longer durability.
That's all cool in theory but I don't really notice the improved speed, and I doubt anyone will since regular mechanical switches are plenty fast for gaming, so it's good news then that these switches feel pretty good to use. They're not as crispy as top quality mechanical switches, but you do get a decent feeling click. The clicks are a bit on the mushier side, but there's almost no travel to speak of (except for a bit of pre travel and sideways movement on the right button when pressed) so I've got no problems using these switches at all.
The side buttons feel great and actually actuate with a snappier click than the main buttons, but there is a bit too much post travel on the second side button for me. It's not massively annoying (though it gets worse the further back you press it) but this is something they could take a look at in the future if it's not something that's only on my unit.
One of the main draws for this mouse is undoubtedly the scroll wheel. Not only can you tilt it to either side so that you get two extra input options but you can also adjust the resistance of the wheel by turning a dial on the bottom of the mouse. This works fantastically and you can go all the way from feeling no steps at all (though you can't get it to free scroll) to having a wheel that feels as if you have to break a tiny glass slate with every step so every user will be able to find a setting that they like here. When using the wheel at the firmest setting I did get a lot of accidental mouse wheel clicks though. That's probably my own fault (since scrolling at the firmest setting requires a lot of force) but I thought I'd mention it.
The wheel itself has a nice rubber texture on top so that it's easy to use even at the firmest setting and clicking or tilting it is easy and feels great so I'm a fan. Underneath the wheel there are two additional programmable buttons. What's nifty here is that one of the buttons is angled slightly, which makes them super easy to tell apart even in the most intense situations. These buttons (especially the bottom one) are extremely sensitive though, so make sure you're aware of that before binding 'all or nothing' abilities to them.
Last but not least there's the 'sniper button'. As I said before I'd love for this thing to be a bit longer since it's basically useless for me at the length that it's at, but it does feel sturdy and reliable when clicking. Despite the fact that installing it is extremely easy you can't get it off under normal use (I tried) so that's always a plus. For anyone wondering: I tried to fit the paddles of the Basilisk Quartz that I have lying around on this mouse and they don't fit, so if you've got the same problem as I have you're going to be out of luck. Let's hope Razer adds a longer paddle in the future.
Quality and cable
Shaking the mouse or doing an aggressive swipe with it reveals some scroll wheel rattle, but I suppose that's inevitable with this kind of adjustable scroll wheel. I will say that I could only hear the wheel on the old version when I shook the mouse vertically so it's kind of disappointing that you can also hear it when swiping/moving horizontally but then again it doesn't feel loose and isn't overtly loud so I'll let this slide.
The Basilisk Ultimate utilizes Razer's HyperSpeed Wireless tech (more on the performance in the next section) so technically you don't need to give a hoot about the cable, but in case you ever find yourself without any juice left in the battery you won't feel shackled because Razer included a Speedflex cable to charge the device. That's Razer's version of a paracord-like cable, which basically means that it's an extremely light and flexible cable. You thus don't need to worry about using this mouse with the cable at all.
This Ultimate version also comes with a charging dock and that's honestly one of the coolest parts of this package for me. The dock itself looks really nice (it even has RGB lighting underneath) and it's just so practical and intuitive to slap your mouse on the dock when you're going to be away from your PC for a while that I can't imagine anyone running out of battery here. The dock has a sticky adhesive on the bottom that doesn't leave any traces and can be reused multiple times without losing any sticking qualities so all in all this docking station is a really nice addition.
Performance and sensor
Along with their Optical Mouse Switches, Razer have also been pushing their new Focus+ Optical sensor with their newest products. This is a flawless sensor (which means no smoothing, acceleration, or any of that nonsense) so in a way it's no different from anything we've seen from the major brands over the past years, but this one goes up to 20000 DPI.
That's pretty useless (almost every pro that we analyze uses a DPI lower than 3200, for example) but the Focus+ does have some cool functions such as Asymmetric Cut-Off (that allows you to set the landing distance and LOD to different heights) and the ability to let it automatically set the optimal LOD depending on the surface that you're playing on.
This isn't news for anyone who's been following the scene for a while, but Razer's HyperSpeed Wireless technology works great: I never got a drop in connection nor did I feel like any of my actions were being registered late or something like that so that's great news for people who want to cut the cord and go wireless.
You'll be going wireless for a long time, by the way. This mouse has a battery life of 100 hours, and that's very impressive. Couple that with the convenience of using the charging dock and I very much doubt that anyone is going to be using this mouse with the cable plugged in.
As usual you can configure pretty much everything (as well as create macros and what not) about the Basilisk Ultimate in Razer's Synapse software, and you can store up to five of those profiles on the mouse itself.
Provided you don't dislike a mouse with a thumb rest this Basilisk Ultimate can accommodate a variety of grip types. Obviously it's not going to be ideal for fingertip grippers due to the form factor and weight but I can see this being a dream mouse for palm grippers or claw grippers.
Again: thanks to the thumb rest this is a rather formed mouse as opposed to something like a more naturally and accommodatingly curved DeathAdder, so you have to be into this sort of shape to really love it, but if you're into this kind of shell design it's a great feeling mouse.
Conclusion & Recommendation
I know that a lot of (shooter) gamers will ignore the Basilisk Ultimate by default because of the weight, but that doesn't mean that it's a bad shooter mouse. I know for a fact that there are gamers who prefer heavier mice and/or mice that offer a bunch of extra features, and for those people the Razer Basilisk Ultimate is a perfect choice.
It's got great battery life, a smooth glide, a flawless sensor, nice clicks, and a grab bag of additional features without being encumbered by them. For me the inclusion of a longer 'sniper button paddle' is almost a necessity though. It could be that my hands are just too small for this mouse (bear in mind that it's a fair bit longer than its predecessor) but if you're a gamer who's getting this you'll obviously want to be able to make use of all of the extra features that it offers.
Aside from that mishap the Razer Basilisk Ultimate does what it sets out to do perfectly, so if you're one of those gamers who likes to use heavier mice and/or you love some extra features on your pointing device this one should be at or near the top of your list.