Razer has released a “budget” version of its Basilisk mouse, dubbing it the Razer Basilisk Essential. With a lowish price of $49.99, the Basilisk Essential aims to be the perfect entry-level mouse for anyone looking to upgrade their gaming gear.
Razer Basilisk Essential – Design and Features
The Basilisk Essential features an asymmetrical, right-handed design, with a pretty wide thumb rest taking up a good portion of the left side of the mouse. The Essential is a wired mouse, and there aren’t too many frills on the top of the mouse either, with a simple tactile scroll wheel and a DPI button behind it. Along the left side of the mouse are two additional buttons, and the option to add a paddle that can be customized to serve various functions. With seven total buttons, there are more than enough options for anyone to create just the right shortcut.
Much like its name implies, the Essential is basically a stripped down version of the Razer Basilisk. Unlike the original Basilisk, the Essential does away with some of the more high-end features and instead packages together everything that made the original such a useful mouse. Instead of a 16,000 DPI Optical Sensor, the Essential caps out at 6,400, and while the paddle on the Basilisk comes with various, interchangeable lengths, the Essential includes just one, single length paddle that also serves a multi-function purpose. Players can customize either paddle to serve a variety of functions (voice chat, ultimate abilities in games like Overwatch, etc), but only having one length could hamper some players experience with the device.
The built in DPI toggle underneath the scroll wheel is a useful tool if you’re in the middle of an intense fight. By default, the button allows players to cycle through 800, 1600, 3600, 5400, and 6400 DPI with each click, although this can be customized through Razer’s Synapse 3 software. Likewise, the multi-function paddle that comes with the Essential is a really nifty tool, and it was great having a button directly against my thumb that could be set to nearly anything I wanted.
Button placement wasn’t a problem on the Essential, as the DPI toggle was just close enough to the scroll wheel for me to be able to comfortably click it, but not too far that it would ruin any movement. The scroll wheel itself, however, wasn’t as responsive as some other, higher end mice I’ve used. There were a couple of times where I inadvertently scrolled the wheel instead of clicking it, and the wheel itself doesn’t have much travel when it’s clicked, leading to some frustrating moments when I was trying to either scroll or click it.
Razer Basilisk Essential – Software
As is the case with all of Razer’s devices, the Basilisk Essential can be used in conjunction with Razer’s Synapse program. Using Razer Synapse 3, the Essential can be tuned to a pretty standard degree. You can record different macros and assign them to the buttons on the mouse, choose from a variety of lighting effects that will change how the Razer logo looks on the mouse, and program the seven different buttons on the mouse to do whatever it is you’d like them to. While the features themselves are nice, the Razer Synapse 3 program is still a bit rough around the edges.
Not only was the interface itself a bit hard to decipher, but sometimes functions that I had changed wouldn’t save after leaving the program. If you’re lucky enough to get your settings locked in, then there shouldn’t be too much of a hassle afterwards, but the Synapse 3 app does have a ways to go before it’s as stable as its previous iteration.
Razer Basilisk Essential – Gaming
Despite the differences in the Basilisk and Basilisk Essential, the Essential is still great for gaming. Movement felt incredibly smooth on both a mousepad and a wooden table, and throughout the various games I tested while using the mouse, I never felt like it couldn’t do anything I needed it to. After taking it through its paces in games like Fortnite, Overwatch, and Apex Legends, I found that everything worked about as effortlessly as I could hope for. The built in DPI toggle underneath the scroll wheel was especially great, as it gave me the opportunity to adjust the DPI on the fly, which makes for a useful tool if you’re in the middle of an intense fight or needing to change things up. Being able to change my DPI as I was setting up a shot in Fortnite or positioning myself in mid-air in Overwatch was a great tool.
Likewise, the multi-function paddle that comes with the Essential is also a really nifty tool, and it was great having a button directly against my thumb that could be set to nearly anything I wanted it to be. In my testing with the Essential, I mostly tied it to certain character abilities in Overwatch, such as Roadhogs Chain Hook or Tracers Blink ability, but you can also use it as a push to talk button, a re-calibration of your camera, or another way to toggle through DPI if you like. The paddle was almost always resting against my thumb, and thus could be used without ever taking my other fingers away from the mouse, which was handy.
the multi-function paddle that comes with the Essential is also a really nifty tool,
From a comfort standpoint, the Essential also passed with flying colors. As someone who has used various Razer products in the past, the Essential was surprisingly light compared to other mice like the Naga and Naga Epic. While all three feel great, the Essential’s inclusion of a wider thumb rest was perfect for someone with large hands like me. For players who might utilize a claw or fingertip grip, the Essential might be a bit tough to handle due to how wide the thumb grip extends, but for those who utilize a palm grip, it’s as close to a perfect fit as you will find at this price point.
The Razer Basilisk Essential has an MSRP of $49.99 and is launching today (3/14), so it’s only available from Razer’s own online storefront.