Thursday, 10 March 2016

Asus ROG Gladius Gaming Mouse

Asus ROG Gladius Gaming Mouse

Anthony looks at a mouse that encourages a bit of DIY

Over the past ten years or so, I’ve reviewed a fair few gaming mice from a huge range of companies. Generally, they’ve been impressive, but one or two of them, through long-term use, revealed themselves to have some significant weaknesses, which it would have been impossible to see at the time of review. Chief among these problems were broken cables and unresponsive buttons.

Asus, it seems, is well of aware of these issues, though, because with the Republic of Gaming Gladius, you get not only two spare switches for your two main mouse buttons, you’ll also find in the box two cables of different lengths (one 2m braided and one 1m regular rubber coated). You also get four spare stick-on feet, in case the ones already on the mouse peel off, two ROG stickers and a handy little pouch to put the Gladius in.

The mouse itself is a righthanded affair, with a mostly standard shape, although Asus claims it’s particularly ideal for FPS players. That might be the case, but it should be okay for any game genre.

As well as the main two mouse buttons, the Gladius also offers back and forward navigation buttons on one side and, on top, a single button used for alternating between two customisable sensitivity settings.

This is all fairly run-of-the-mill for a gaming mouse and, if anything, some players might expect more from a £50 device. But that would miss the point of what Asus has done here. Yes, it’s true that other gaming mice have more buttons and a greater range of on-board DPI settings. And the absence of an adjustable weight system and a profile switch might put some buyers off (although others consider such things little more than gimmicks).

Whether these are things you use or not, there’s no doubt that a lot of the luxuries you’d normally associate with a premium mouse are missing from the Gladius, but the focus is clearly on long-term use. The mouse cable, for a start, is detachable. Sliding the switch on the underside of the mouse’s body, you can pull out the cable. Looking at the end, you'll find it uses a standard micro-USB connection, so you won’t struggle to find a replacement if you somehow manage to break both the included leads.

The replaceable switches, meanwhile, are easy to fit. They do require you to remove the feet underneath and to take out the screws beneath them, but changing the switches over is simply a case of pulling out the old ones and slotting in the new ones.

The software, meanwhile, is straightforward. Going by the name of Armoury, it allows you to define functions for each button, as well as assigning macros to them. This is also where you choose your sensitivity settings (up to 6400dpi), perform a surface calibration routine, alter acceleration and deceleration, tweak the polling rate (up  to 2000Hz) and mess around with the potentially useful ‘angle snapping’ feature.

And for those who care about such things, you can toggle the red LEDs under the logo, the scroll wheel and the DPI switch. What you don’t get is different coloured lights, which can be useful for quickly seeing which profile you’re on. This makes sense, though, seeing as there’s no profile switch on the mouse itself, but that in itself just highlights another problem: to change profile you need to go into the Armoury software. It may not be a massive chore, but it’s yet another thing missing from the Gladius that can be found elsewhere.

But in the end, none of these things are really necessary. The Gladius has all the essentials of a good gaming mouse, and it gets them all right. And what matters most is its potential longevity. Sure, you could get something more fancy for around the same amount of money – or even less – but the modular nature of the Gladius means it’s more likely than the competition to still be functioning in a few years’ time. For that reason alone, it’s worth serious consideration. Anthony Enticknap

Not fancy but built to last.