My first gaming mouse completely changed PC gaming for me. I’d previously thought of such peripherals as luxuries only for hardcore gamers, those who entered tournaments and won, and I was but a lowly pub match scrub. I'm still a lowly pub match scrub, but now I consider my gaming mouse a necessity for my hours-long DOTA 2 sessions. As Razer’s new Naga Hex v2 claims to be the gaming mouse for MOBA fiends like me, I was eager to find out if it would help me to improve my K/D/A.
What Is It?
The Razer Naga Hex v2 is Razer’s newest Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) gaming mouse. Particularly optimised for games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm, its seven programmable side-buttons are configured in a ring around a rubberised thumb rest. Razer states that the mechanical buttons are equidistant from the thumb, in order to reduce the chance of a misclick. Preset button configurations for DOTA 2 and League of Legends are also available for download from the Razer website.
Like other Razer products, it connects to your Razer Synapse software, which allows you to program the buttons, save profiles, calibrate and adjust the sensitivity and chose how you want the pretty colours to light up your mouse (I’m a fan of the Spectrum Cycle because rainbows).
What’s It Like?
The Razer Naga Hex v2 has clearly been cast from the same mould as the Razer Epic Chroma, which was my previous gaming mouse. They have the same ring finger rest, the same lit up Razer symbol and the same contouring to fit within a relaxed palm. If you want to get an idea of how the Naga Hex v2 fits in your hand, try out the Epic Chroma and you’ll know everything you need to, because they are for all intents and purposes identical.
In fact, upon initial observation the only difference between the two is the number and configuration of the side buttons. While the Epic Chroma has a grid of 12 buttons, the Naga Hex v2’s seven buttons form a ring. In this way the layout of the buttons is more similar to the original Naga Hex, which had six hexagonal buttons surrounding its smaller, raised thumb rest.
The only other external differences between the Epic Chroma and the Naga Hex v2 are the Naga Hex v2’s lack of wireless capability, and its tactile, lightly textured surface. While the Epic Chroma has a matte surface, it is still comparatively smoother than the Hex v2.
I’m a big DOTA 2 player, so I tested this mouse with the DOTA 2 item profile – buttons one to six were keyed to my items, and I swapped seven from Push to Talk to Quick Buy (because I’m not foolish enough to use voice chat in DOTA 2). I also played a significant amount of Overwatch, with the buttons configured to communicate with my team (‘I need healing’, ‘Thanks’, ‘My Ultimate is ready’ and so on) and seven keyed to Push to Talk.
What’s It Good At?
In comparison to the Naga Hex, the Naga Hex v2 has made some definite upgrades in the design of the side buttons. The hexagonal buttons have been replaced with trapezoid buttons, still arranged in a circle around the thumb rest but now easier to differentiate and move between. The rubberised thumb rest is larger and textured as well, an upgrade from the raised rest on the Naga Hex. Though it is no longer interchangeable, a feature that was offered in the original Naga Hex, I didn’t miss this at all, as the thumb rest is instead sunken within the ring of raised buttons. This makes for a much more natural and comfortable rest, and significantly reduces the chance of a misclick, as your finger cannot mistakenly slide from rest to button. The large size of the buttons also work to prevent misclicks.
Both the thumb rest an the surface of the mouse itself feel fantastic. A common complaint about the Naga Hex was that its shiny surface felt slippery, and was just asking to become sweat-slick and attract fingerprints. The Naga Hex v2 seems to have taken this criticism into account, providing a surface that is even more textured and tactile than the matte Epic Chroma. The mechanical side buttons are satisfyingly tactile with a soft but audible click, and their shape and helps to differentiate them from each other. They are also a definite aesthetic upgrade from the Naga Hex, with a slick, less garish look. On the top of the mouse, the textured and rubberised scroll wheel does not feel as satisfying as the buttons in that it is not as clicky, but it was still enjoyable to use.
The operation of the mouse itself is very smooth, with a 16,000 DPI 5G sensor, which is an improvement on the Naga Hex v2 and the Epic Chroma (which have 8200 DPI 4G sensors).
What’s It Not Good At?
The number of buttons should, in theory, optimise the Naga Hex v2 for MOBA gaming, and their size and ring configuration should prevent misclicks. It was true that the larger buttons were easier to press. However, I found that trying to shift to the correct button in the heat of battle, particularly the ones behind my thumb, was much more difficult than simply shifting my thumb over a centimetre as I could on the Epic Chroma. Rather than having my thumb facing forward and simply shifting it left or right as needed, my thumb had to bend and search, particularly when it came to the buttons sitting behind the thumb rest. Though Razer has placed the buttons equidistant from the centre thumb rest, travelling from one button to another causes the distance to lengthen and reaction time to slow. Quick switching between buttons felt clumsy. Often I’d want to hit several buttons in quick succession, rather than one at a time, which would have allowed my thumb to return to the rest. In these circumstances, it was actually more difficult to use than my Epic Chroma, which has smaller buttons and was designed for MMOs. (I will note, however, that I also have small fingers.)
I did find the side buttons very useful in Overwatch, I had no need to hit several in quick succession when communicating. Unfortunately, trying to use items in DOTA 2 was awkward.
Should I Buy It?
Whether you find this mouse useful depends upon whether you do a lot of online gaming or not, and particularly whether you play MOBAs. If you liked your Naga Hex, the Naga Hex v2 is a definite upgrade, and you’ll already be accustomed to the button configuration. But if you’re not used to it, it may throw you off. Further, when you need to hit several buttons in quick succession, pressing the ones behind your thumb and moving quickly between them feels clumsy and frustrating. Still, if you have bigger fingers, have problems with misclicks and don't mind spending the time to grow accustomed to the layout, you might want to consider it.
The Razer Naga Hex v2 is available now for $139.95.