In another crack at creating the best gaming mouse, Razer updated its three-year-old Basilisk mouse this year. The Razer Basilisk V2 boasts a new sensor, more programmable buttons and other improvements. (Don't fret, Harry Potter fans, we assume no eggs or toads were involved with the birth of this product.)
But the Basilisk V2 has a tough act to follow, and to get there it does so with a high price ($80 at the time of writing) for what’s still a wired pointer. But this basilisk earns its keep by proving a better contender than Razer-branded competition.
Razer Basilisk V2 Specs
|Sensor Model||Razer Focus+|
|Sensitivity||Up to 20,000 CPI|
|Polling Rates||125, 500 or 1,000 Hz|
|LED Zones and Colors||2 RGB zones|
|Cable Length||7 feet (2.1m)|
|Measurements (LxWxH)||5.11 x 2.36 x 1.65 inches (12.98 x 6 x 4.19cm)|
|Weight (excluding cable)||3.3 ounces (93.55g)|
Design and Comfort
The Basilisk V2 is a right-handed mouse with a matte palm rest, textured scroll wheel and stippled thumb rest. It targets palm or claw grips and is a bit more angular than the original Basilisk, but aside from that, most of the changes between models aren't visible at a glance.
I found the Basilisk V2 far more comfortable to use for longer periods than the Razer DeathAdder V2. That's most likely because the Basilisk V2 is ever so slightly shorter, measuring (L x W x H) 5.11 x 2.36 x 1.65 inches compared to the DeathAdder V2’s 5 x 2.43 x 1.68 inches.
Being a bit longer, narrower and shorter means the Basilisk V2 doesn't have the same bulbous feel as the DeathAdder V2. Its textures are also gentler. People with big hands who like rough textures might favor the DeathAdder V2; everyone else might prefer the Basilisk V2. There's no right or wrong choice here.
An upgrade from the original Basilisk’s eight programmable buttons, the Basilisk V2 features 11 programmable buttons: the primary mouse buttons, the two side buttons, the scroll wheel, the scroll wheel button, two tilt wheel buttons, two CPI switches and the Razer Hypershift button. Pressing that last one temporarily switches the Basilisk V2 over to another profile, which means it essentially has 20 programmable buttons in total, excluding the Hypershift button.
I don’t use that many side buttons. In most of the FPS games I play all I need are the primary mouse buttons for aiming--and, you know, shooting--with a scroll wheel to cycle through weapons and at least one side button so I can trash talk my team. (By which I mean “make effective and respectful callouts to my fellow players.”) But people who play games that rely on more inputs, such as MMORPGs, will appreciate the ability to map a whole bunch of actions to dedicated buttons.
Otherwise, the Basilisk V2 looks like your typical Razer product. It features sharp angles, various shades of black and two RGB lighting zones that support up to 16.8 million colors. Never let it be said that Razer didn't have a consistent aesthetic.
Razer equipped the Basilisk V2 with many of the same features it added to the DeathAdder V2. It boasts the same Razer Focus+ optical sensor with support for up to 20,000 CPI, 650 inches per second (IPS) and 50g acceleration. There’s also the Razer Speedflex cable that minimizes drag and Razer-branded optical switches that the company claims can withstand 70 million clicks.
The Basilisk V2 offered similar performance to the DeathAdder V2. I didn't have any problems with the mouse's tracking or notice any mis-clicks (much to my chagrins, as the recent influx of gamers for many popular titles humbled me a bit). My inability to keep up with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare players sprinting across the map and blowing my head off moments after they appear on my screen is my fault alone; the Basilisk V2 performed exactly like it’s supposed to.
The Basilisk V2 starts to beat out the DeathAdder V2 with its side buttons. They're larger, which makes them easier to locate, and I never wonder if I've actually pressed one. I wasn't a fan of the DeathAdder V2's side buttons because it was hard to press one without accidentally activating the other and overall difficult to tell if either one was ever pressed hard enough. The Basilisk V2's improved buttons give it a clear advantage over the DeathAdder V2.
It seemed like Razer finally stumbled with the Basilisk V2's scroll wheel, which had too much resistance by default. Finally, the DeathAdder V2 could actually compete, I thought. Alas, the Basilisk V2 boasts customizable scroll wheel resistance (see the Features and Software section below), so it should be easy for anyone to get the feel just right.
Adjusting the scroll wheel’s resistance did require a little trial and error, though, because it gradually changes the scroll wheel’s tightness as it’s turned. There are no presets to click through, nor indications of how much the resistance has changed. The best way to find the right setting for you would be to move the dial a bit, flip it over, give the scroll wheel a few flicks and then re-adjust in whichever direction you feel is best.
Features and Software
The Basilisk V2 is compatible with the Razer Synapse 3 beta app, where you can manage various settings. You can set the sensitivity to anywhere from 100 to 20,000 CPI with support for saving up to five sensitivity levels that can be cycled through using the CPI switch directly south of the scroll wheel.
Razer Synapse can also control the Basilisk V2's polling rate, which can be set to 125, 500 or 1,000 MHz, and configure the Razer Focus+ sensor's handling of various mouse mats. (Although I'm fairly certain most people won't notice a difference regardless of whether or not they use that particular setting.)
But most people will probably end up using Razer Synapse to assign specific functions to the Basilisk V2's 11 programmable buttons. The mouse supports Razer Hypershift, too, which allows it to switch to a different profile when you hold down the assigned button. So it essentially has 22 different inputs.
Fear not, RGB enthusiasts, Basilisk V2 also works with Razer Chroma. It has two lighting zones--the scroll wheel and the logo in the palm rest--that you can program to their own colors or lighting effects, like spectrum cycling or breathing. Razer Chroma can also keep the lighting in sync with other Razer peripherals you might own that support the utility.
Razer Synapse and Razer Chroma are fine. I'd prefer if Razer didn't push its accounts on people, and sometimes the app is convinced there isn't an available update when there is, but I've used more frustrating software to manage worse mice. And Synapse 3 is still in beta mode, so it’s not surprising that there’s room for improvement.
Razer’s DeathAdder V2 is likable, but the Basilisk V2 is a homerun. The DeathAdder V2 only has a few issues, none of which are major. But those problems--the bulbous palm rest and rough texturing--did manage to dampen my enthusiasm for the mouse. The Basilisk V2 is almost identical to the DeathAdder V2 specs-wise but doesn’t have those problems.
The Basilisk V2 is more comfortable to use for extended periods and its customizable scroll wheel gives people even more control over their experience. It's pricey for a wired mouse, but the Basilisk V2 earns its $80 asking price.
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