Razer Naga Hex initial review

My old trusty Anywhere MX, a top notch laser mouse from Logitech, has started to show the symptoms of desease most Logitech mice are dying of—the microswitch under the left button has failed and started to register double clicks when I only press left mouse button ones. I tried to fix it... unsuccessfully. Thus, the search for the new mouse has begun. This time I decided to stay away from the Logitech products thinking I had enough of the two years life span with the Russian roulette of the double click instead of single click in the end. Boy, I was wrong.

I am an avid World of Warcraft player so the products marketed to the WoW players stuck in the depths of my memory. When my quest has begun the Razer Naga MMO gaming mouse has emerged naturally. I have read half a dozen of reviews, watched like a two full hours of unboxing and review videos on YouTube, read through the various gaming forums and stumbled upon a newer and seemingly better model—Razer Naga Hex.

Naga Hex, has six (versus 12 on the original Naga) thumb buttons, they are mechanical and not that crowded. In the reviews and on video it looked like the really great idea and the six side buttons seemed to be handy in game.

I have checked other trusted gaming mouse manufacturers and found nothing worth the attention (remember, I was avoiding Logitech). The top grade mice from the SteelSeries and Roccat didn't impressed me much. So after a short hesitation I has pulled the trigger on the green Razer Naga Hex.

I had a poor experience with the Logitech G13 gamepad drivers on Mac not so long before, and the Naga Hex's ability to be fully functional without any drivers was another argument into purchasing one for me. If you read other reviews of the Razer Naga Hex you probably know that it has a 123/NUM switch on its belly that allows you to choose whether to emulate 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 keys of the digits row of the keyboard with its six hexagonal buttons or their counterparts situated on the numerical pad of the standard 104-keys keyboard.

Razer's mice are dedicated gaming devices, so when I first brought my shiny green Razer Naga Hex home and connected it to my iMac, the first thing I has launched was World of Warcraft. Even before installing the drivers.

My initial thoughts on using Razer Naga Hex were to bind my Fury Warrior's six special abilities rotation to Naga's side buttons (actually, to keyboard's NumPad 1 to 6 keys); bind the AOE rotation to the same six side buttons with some modifier key like Control or Option; bind the Toggle Autorun feature to a middle-click (on the wheel) and mount a flying mount / jump combo to the top two buttons (visible in the system as Mouse Button 4 and Mouse Button 5, as well, even with no drivers installed) between left-click and right-click buttons. The most used cooldowns, buffs and other useful abilities would go to the different keyboard keys thus retiring my Logitech G13 gamepad. With such setup I would be able to do most of the tasks in game, like doing dailies and farming, with only one right hand keeping my left one for a cup of coffee.

The first fight I engaged in with the key-binding setup described above proved me wrong.

Despite the plethora of excited reviews, Razer Naga Hex has a load of ergonomic flaws:

The size.

It neither big nor small. My hand is a very little bit larger than average and I got used to the pretty big mice like the Logitech M500 as well as pretty small ones like the Logitech Anywhere MX. The Razer Naga Hex is somewhere in the middle between those two. I was holding my M500 with the full-hand grip and was very comfortable with it, and for the Anywhere MX I was holding it with the so called claw-grip and also it was very comfortable for me.

When I'm trying to hold the Razer Naga Hex full-hand, its back is hurting my palm. My index and middle fingers are slipping off the left and right click buttons. Not only Mouse Button 4 and Mouse Button 5 are becoming virtually unaccessible but the scroll wheel too.

The claw-grip doesn't helps either. The mouse is way to high and long for me to claw-grip it.

The ring/pinky fingers support

In a more than a decade of using standard mice and a little less than a decade of using top grade Logitech mice I got used to keep my pinky and ring fingers on a table. It's pretty natural, it helps to move mouse precisely enough and to lift it when it's needed. Razer Naga incorporates somewhat innovative ring finger support, but this is really a bad thing. A very bad thing.

It works pretty much as intended when you are kid or a tiny Asian woman, but for the rest of the Earth population--it's way too short. And this design flaw adds the most to the overall inferiority of the Razer Naga Hex.

This protrusion on the right side of the mouse forces me to keep my ring and little fingers aloft rather than resting them on the table top. Not only this grip is awkwardly uncomfortable, it makes my hand hurt after half an hour of playing WoW.

After four or five days of living with this mouse I almost got used to this thing and finally learn how to rest my ring and pinky on the table but the right side protrusion is still here and cutting into the ring finger with its not well rounded edge rendering the whole mouse's ergonomics worse than one of a thirty-times-cheaper disposable raton. Also it doesn't help for stability.

Lifting problems

It doesn't matter how high your mouse sensitivity is set, sooner or later you will need to lift the mouse and put it back to the middle of your mouse pad or just a virtual circle on the table surface designated to the mouse movements. Otherwise is will stuck into you keyboard, or your coffee mug, or whatever things are sitting on your table.

Imaging this situation: your ring and little fingers are floating above the protrusion on the right side of the Razer Naga Hex, your thumb is anxiously sitting on the rubber pad in the middle of the six buttons hexagon. How would you lift it up? Would you use the Force to lift the mouse up or would you rather distantly force-choke those who made such controversial design decisions?

Even after some period of time when you'll get used to keep the ring and pinky on the table trying not to hurt them with the sharp edges of the right side protuberance, it's still be tricky enough. The black mate plastic that covers the sides of the mouse has a fine sandblasted finish—looks cool but feels way too slippery. And the thumb buttons are made of hard plastic with the gloss finnish—not a great thing to hold firmly either.

I somewhat solved this issue by getting used to flip Razer Naga Hex on its right side and than move to the desired position. It's noisy but does the trick. Also I switched the six buttons on the mouse's left side off to prevent accidental clicks during the such maneuvers, thus rendering the whole idea of Naga Hex completely useless.

Wrap up

All those ergonomic flaws are even more disappointing because otherwise Razer Naga Hex is a great mouse. The build quality is fascinating—it's on par with the most expensive Logitechs. The new control panel—Synapse 2.0—works great on OS X, has a nice easy to navigate layout and stores the settings online. The sensor is quick and snappy.

Of course I wouldn't throw the hundred bucks into the trash bin. I will continue to use it since it's still better than the Apple's Magic Mouse, but this is the first mouse in the decade I am not feeling happy with.