Razer Naga HEX League of Legends edition review

[Originally posted at my column on Examiner.com]

While the League of Legends Naga only brings one relatively minor change to the Naga Hex design, it’s a great one that makes it better than the original (in my book).

Razer’s League of Legends Naga Hex is essentially a ‘re-skin’ of the original Naga Hex (and if you’d like a more complete review of the Naga Hex, you can read my review of the original Naga Hex.) It has the exact same sleek, right-handed form factor with the same 6 mechanical buttons. The League of Legends Hex also sports new yellow LED accents on its 6 buttons, scroll wheel, and the pulsing League of Legends logo on its top.

And if that’s not enough, the League of Legends Naga Hex also comes with a code for a League of Legends Champion—Tryndamere, the Barbarian King.

The Naga Hex gets even better with the League of Legends Edition.

Half the buttons, twice as good
I’ve always liked the Hex’s 6-button design, and I think the Hex is actually one of the best Naga designs from a general gaming perspective. The 12-key grid on the standard Naga takes longer to master and it’s harder to navigate. It excels at MMO games for players willing to spend the time mastering it to its fullest. But outside of MMOs, the original Naga is a bit of overkill.

I should add (even if the folks at Razer will make frowny faces at me) that if you like the standard 12-key Naga design, also consider Logitech’s G600, which I think improves upon it.

Soft and flat beats green and shiny
But the most important—and best—change Razer makes to the League of Legends Naga Hex is the material construction. As much as I liked the original Naga Hex’s overall design, I disliked its shimmery, shiny plastic carapace. Sure, the original Naga Hex looks cool in its deep emerald green sheen—but shiny plastics smudge easily and can feel tacky, even after relatively brief gaming sessions.

But the League of Legends Naga Hex replaces the green glossy plastic of its predecessor with a soft-touch, faintly textured flat black material. The end result is no smudges, better and more comfortable grip characteristics, and all win. If I didn’t suck so heinously at MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games, I have no doubt the Naga Hex would help me kick some serious ass.

And even if it doesn’t help you kick butt in your favorite MOBA game, the League of Legends Naga Hex will keep you more comfortable doing it.

But wait! There’s more—Meet the Goliathus
If having a $90 kick-ass MOBA-dedicated gaming mouse doesn’t adequately express your love for League of Legends, Razer is also releasing a new League of Legends-themed Goliathus mouse mat.

Put succinctly, the Goliathus is a stitched fabric, medium-large (14 inches long x 10 inches wide x .12 inches tall) mouse mat with League of Legends art—and a Razer logo in yellow. It’s got a nice stitched frame to improve durability and reduce fraying, and a rubber underbelly to keep it put on your desk.

The League of Legends Goliathus also comes with a code for a champion. Unfortunately, it’s the same champion that comes with the Naga Hex League of Legends edition—oops. Razer would have done better to make each product come with a different champion. Regardless, the League of Legends Goliathus makes a good partner to the League of Legends Naga Hex, or a good gift for a League of Legends gaming buddy.

Overall: 5/5 stars
I gave the original Naga Hex 5 stars—yes, even despite its shininess. The League of Legends Naga Hex improves upon its predecessor and comes with the added bonus (for League of Legends players anyway) of a League of Legends champion.

Both Razer League of Legends products are available now at Razer’s Web site. Additional tech-specs and features are below.

Razer Naga Hex League of Legends Edition— U.S. $89.99 / EU €89.99

  • 6 MOBA/action-RPG optimized mechanical thumb buttons
  • 11 total programmable buttons
  • Special switches in buttons for 250 clicks-per-minute
  • 10 million click life cycle
  • Ergonomic curved design
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 software
  • 5600dpi Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor, adjustable in 100DPI increments
  • 1000Hz Ultrapolling/1ms response time
  • Approximate size : 116 mm / 4.57 in. (l) x 78 mm / 3.07 in. (w) x 42 mm / 1.65 in. (h)
  • Approximate weight: 134 g / 0.30 lbs.

Razer Goliathus–U.S. $19.99 / EU €19.99

  • Slick cloth weave for unbridled speed
  • Anti-fraying stitched frame extends mat durability
  • Pixel-precise targeting and tracking
  • Rubber base for a secure grip on smooth surfaces
  • Approximate size : 355 mm / 13.98 in. (l) x 254 mm / 10 in. (w) x 3mm / 0.12 in. (h)
  • Approximate weight: 188 g / 0.41 lbs
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