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BlizzCon 2010: Razer demos the Naga Epic, StarCraft 2 gear, page 2

Enticed by Naga

Before Robert escorted me and Sacco into the press box to check out the Razer Naga Epic, I had never touched a Razer Naga. It intimidated the hell out of me, and I wasn't willing to drop the cash on a mouse with a number pad on the side. The reviews came in, eventually, and the Naga was firmly in the "good, but an acquired taste" category. All right, I told myself, one day I will get to use one. But not now.

So BlizzCon was the first time I had touched a Razer Naga. Like most things in life, it was not as uncomfortable or difficult as some people said. The number of keys your thumb has access to is definitely an acquired taste, but a taste I could see myself becoming accustomed to. Thoughts of Shield Bashes, a row of different mounts and raid target-marking macros danced in my head, potentially all accessible from my thumb.

A disclaimer: My hands are not the biggest hands. They are also not the smallest hands. As with all peripherals, it all comes down to personal satisfaction with a product. The Naga is a contentious device -- people love the button layout or it just doesn't fit for them. This review is from the perspective of my own hands, which you can see in the video, holding both the original and Epic Naga mice.

From what I saw, the Epic features a few improvements, most of them big deals, over the original design. First and foremost is the mouse's ability to change between a wired and wireless mouse, with the same USB cable attaching into the mouse's recharger or straight into the mouse itself. I watched Robert shapeshift the mouse effortlessly. He told me the mouse has the same 1ms response time in wired or wireless mode. That felt nice. Having the ability to go wired in the middle of a raid when your battery is getting low is, hands down, one of the best features of a wireless mouse.

The second big difference is the comfort factor. Many people complained that the original Naga's back row of buttons was barely reachable unless you had some sort of special bionic thumb. You'll see in the video that I tried the original design of the Naga first, and then the Epic version with a larger magnetic side piece attached. While this piece didn't change my grip on the mouse, it did give me the ability to rest the right side of my hand off the mouse slightly, just enough that my thumb had an easier time reaching the back buttons on the side keypad. At the same time, moving my thumb didn't move the mouse. Touching and using the Naga for the first time was a positive experience.

As with most products on the market these days, you can change the glow color on the mouse to practically anything, and the buttons are all re-mappable and configurable. The original Naga has excellent in-game support, so I'm confident the new one will have the same bevy of options.

There is no memory on the mouse to store profiles or anything like that, which is somewhat unfortunate, as I would like to take my keybindings with me. It's not a deal-breaker, however.

Bottom line: I put my money where my mouth is by picking up the keyboard I loved so much. The Naga Epic is probably getting the same treatment. It was responsive, fast, solid and, with a little practice I'm sure, going to become second nature to use. My hand fit on the mouse well and, especially with the new magnetic stability pieces, made using the Naga Epic not feel daunting. The mouse scared me but became demystified once I touched it. I'd recommend finding a store that has a demo of the mouse out, ready to be handled so you know what you're getting into (as with any mouse, really). For me, my hand fits, and a Naga Epic will probably be living on my desk in the near future.

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