This mouse definitely stands out from the rest of the bunch, but not always in a good way. The joystick implementation needs more work before it will feel like anything more than a gimmick. Unfortunately, this detracts from the mouse more than the other features can make up for.
Usually, when something works well the general consensus is to not change it until it’s necessary. Or, in other words, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ We think Asus and ROG might’ve missed the memo because it has released another mouse with a joystick slapped on the side.
The ROG Chakram X, first seen at CES this year, is an update to the ROG Chakram, first seen at CES in 2020. The X sports a new sensor, more buttons, and different switches.
Our first thought was that this was going to be nothing more than a cool gimmick you might use once or twice before it got annoying. Were we right? Is the cool gimmick worth the steep price?
More of the same
At their core, gaming mice are all the same. You get some micro switches and a sensor in a plastic shell. Those micro switches are all very similar and most of the sensors made today don’t produce inaccuracies. When picking a mouse for you, it mostly comes down to preferences. For gaming mice, shape is the most important factor to consider. Find a shape that fits your hand and grip style and then look for extra features. There isn’t much use buying the latest mouse with gimmicky features if you aren’t accurate with it.
So, if the thought of a mouse with a joystick excites you, we hope you have medium to large hands. The ROG Chakram X uses a fairly common asymmetrical shape and is suited for those of you with hands 20cm long and 10cm wide or larger, and a palm, hybrid-palm, or fingertip grip.
The matte coating doesn’t cling to dirt and oil as much as we expected, which is a good thing. The L/R click blades feature comfort grooves which is always a plus. Those click blades and the palm rest are also removable to allow access to the mouse’s innards. You can swap out the micro switches and the plate of the palm RGB light. There are extras of both included in the box.
Flip the Chakram X over and you’re met with some PTFE feet and the DPI and Bluetooth pairing buttons. There’s also a Qi wireless charging coil but you can’t see that. This adds to the weight of this mouse, which tips the scales at 127g. That’s heavier than almost every other mouse on the market. Some people prefer a heavier peripheral but some customizability here would’ve been nice. If only there was a little more space inside. But that’s the price you pay for wireless charging on a wireless mouse.
So far so good
The battery will apparently get you up to 150 hours, according to Asus. That’s while connected via Bluetooth with all the lights off. Real-world usage means you should expect less than that. But you’re still in for over 100 hours of playtime which is decent for a wireless gaming mouse. It also supports fast charging if you plug it in with the included cable. 15 minutes of charge equates to 25 hours of playtime.
For connectivity, you have the usual three options of wired, Bluetooth, or an RF 2.4GHz dongle. We’d recommend you use the dongle for wireless gaming and Bluetooth if you’re switching between two devices. Bluetooth caps out at a 250Hz polling rate. There’s no need to shoot yourself in the foot when the dongle is right there, begging to be used. You’ll have to use the cable if you want to hit the flashy 8,000Hz polling rate touted as a feature. But this is more of a gimmick than the joystick. There are too many requirements that must be met to get your money’s worth.
For starters, most game engines can’t handle the increased information your system is bombarding them with about the position of your mouse. The exceptions here are Valorant and Overwatch. But since neither have local servers and no one plays Overwatch anyway, your 8,000Hz competitive edge is null.
It also uses noticeably more CPU power than the standard 1,000Hz. If you’re already pushing your system, you’re going to run into problems. Then there’s the issue of having to plug in a wireless mouse. Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
Addressing the joystick in the room
Finally, we come to the joystick. We really wanted this to be more than just a gimmick that only has a handful of uses. Sadly, that’s exactly what it is. We still like the idea but it needs refinement. Even if you do have big hands, the placement of the joystick means you require a bit of reaching to use it effectively. But then everything else will feel uncomfortable because now you’ve moved your hands from the ideal position on the mouse.
If it were closer to the thumb position and Asus got rid of some of the dinky side buttons, the joystick might feel more comfortable. Those side buttons aren’t positioned well at all. The front and rear buttons are too far apart which means you’ll need to adjust your thumb often to use all of them.
ROG Chakram X verdict
We really wanted to like the ROG Chakram X. It isn’t often that companies stray this far from the industry standard. Sometimes that works out but that’s not the case here. The addition of a joystick might seem like a good idea, but the time and patience it’ll take to get used to it and adapt your grip will turn all but the most determined away. And if that doesn’t, the price surely will. All these extra features and addons don’t come cheap.
Other than that, the Chakram X is a decent mouse – if a little too big and heavy for our liking. We’re sure there’s at least one person out there that will like everything the ROG Chakram X has to offer. They’re bound to be hiding somewhere.
The ROG Chakram X has a recommended retail price of R3,000 and will be available in South Africa from October 2022.