There aren’t many gaming mice that incorporate a joystick into the design. The Razer Naga Trinity and Corsair Scimitar include multiple buttons on the left side, but those are designed for games like World of Warcraft or League of Legends. Binding abilities to those buttons can be more convenient for some, but cumbersome for people like me. Enter Asus’ ROG Chakram, a gaming mouse that ditches the side buttons for a joystick, and boy do I like it a whole lot more.
The Chakram does things a little differently than one of its direct competitors, Lexip’s Pu94. That one has not just one, but two joysticks. I spent some time with the Pu94 a while ago, and while its design was great for playing flying simulators and quickly rotating objects and viewpoints in The Sims 4, it’s not the best for playing first-person shooters. One of the joysticks is built into the entire shell of the mouse itself, which makes the entire top lean right and left. (Lexip has since released a single joystick version.)
The Chakram, however, is perfectly handy for first-person shooters. Its feet may not be as smooth as the Pu94's ceramic feet, which you can buy separately and stick on any mouse, but the Chakram doesn’t have a second joystick built into the shell. You don’t have to worry about your hand pressing down to one side when you flick your mouse to take out that Tracer trying to flank you from the side. Plus, you can reprogram the keybindings to the joystick. I found that to be more efficient than keeping my abilities bound to the keyboard.
But like the Pu94's side joystick, the Chakram’s joystick is too far away from my thumb. The mouse is too big for my tiny hands, so if I want to use the joystick I have to move my entire hand up and rest my palm on top of the mouse so I can reach it. A smaller mouse, like my trusty Logitech G403 Hero, would allow me to rest my wrist on my desk and reach the joystick at the same time. That would make it much more comfortable for me.
The Chakram’s joystick can also rotate a full 360 degrees, or you can limit the directional movement to a simple up, down, left, or right just by repositioning your thumb slightly. This makes it hard to move the joystick in the wrong direction accidentally, and is another reason why the Chakram can handle first-person shooters better than the Pu94.
The mouse comes with other goodies, too, like replacement switches and the option to use it wirelessly with either Bluetooth or wifi. A USB dongle is stored inside the mouse for when you need to update the firmware with Armoury Crate, and of course you can sync the lighting with all your other ROG devices.
If you’re looking for a unique mouse that can handle more keybindings or make it easier to fly around in space, the Chakram is a nice middle ground between a traditional mouse and something with lots of side buttons. I just wish it was made for smaller hands.