Asus waves its Spatha in the air, like it just doesn’t care
• Manufacturer Asus
• Requirements: Windows 7/8/X/10, free USB 2.0 port
Asus has released two other mice under the Republic of Gamer brand: the Gladius and the Sica. For those without a degree in the history of ancient Rome, it’s interesting to note that both are named after sword types from that era. Thus, so is the new addition, the Spatha.
Let’s get the elephant ejected early in this review, though: this is the most expensive mouse I’ve ever reviewed for Micro Mart. However, having used it for just a few days, I can attest that the quality of the construction and precision of the parts combine to deliver something that actually lives up to its billing – even if the idea of spending so much on a pointing device might seem utterly ludicrous.
Not unexpectedly, the Spatha comes in a high-quality box. Inside it, you will find the mouse and all its accessories are well protected. There’s also a hard carry-case included. Rather oddly, though, the mouse doesn’t travel in, there’s simply not the room, but all the other accessories do.
The Spatha is cleverly designed to be both a wired and wireless design, giving gamers the choice between 2000MHz and 1000MHz polling, with wired having the faster option. In wireless mode the Spatha uses an angled dock as the 2.4GHz wireless connection with that being attached via USB. To charge the mouse you simply drop it on to the dock, and it magnetically snaps into place.
A minor detail I appreciated here was that Asus provide two USB cables, one for the mouse and another for the dock. That means you don’t need to disassemble the dock to remove its cable should the battery exhaust in mid-combat.
They also very thoughtfully included a couple of Omron switches and a tool to install them, should the ones they’ve installed fail at any point.
That inclusion does seem mild overkill, because as Asus’s own promotional material points out, these switches are rated for a 20-million-click lifespan.
As pointing devices go this mouse is big. Some justification for this scale is that, to effectively mount the twelve buttons it has, it can’t be small unless its intended user base has tiny fingers. Probably not the case. However, the large size (and the 175g weight) make me unsure if this design is ideal for FPS games. However, it worked flawlessly with the simulation and strategic titles I mostly play.
Where this design really excels is in the scope of the customisations available through the Armoury application that Asus designed it to work in conjunction with. Every factor imaginable is tweakable, like acceleration/ deceleration, lift-off distance and surface calibration. All the buttons are infinitely definable, and there are even six lighting modes applicable to the three RGB LEDs inside the mouse.
• Wired or Wireless connectivity
• Optical sensor
• Tracking Resolution: 8200 DPI
• Tracking Speed: 150 IPS
• Tracking Acceleration: 30g
• Polling rate: 2000 Hz (wireless), 1000Hz (wired)
• Weight: 175g
• Omron switches
• Two metre braided cable
• One metre rubber cable
• Wireless dock
With an 8200dpi sensor there is huge scope for finding the exact ratio that you need between the range of movement afforded and sensitivity. What’s more, you can define up to five sensitivity levels and cycle through them while playing.
In addition, by default, one of the buttons toggles the mouse into half the current setting for accurate sniping.
Any changes that you make are stored on flash memory in the mouse and you can define up to five profiles and quickly rotate between them. Once stored on the mouse these configurations are useable on any PC, even those without the ROG Armoury app installed.
If you use it in wireless mode you can realistically expect at least 16 hours out of a fully charged battery, and it doesn’t take long to recharge. Obviously wired mode doesn’t have any operating life limits, though I’m not really convinced that the higher polling rate would be recognised as such by the majority of humans. This leaves the real value of wired mode being the help it affords people who can’t remember to put a mouse on the charging dock when they’ve finished with it.
If there is a weakness here it is that the Spatha is made for right handed people, where I presume the sword that it borrowed its name from was effective in either hand. That’s a shame, but equally with one of the button clusters built around the position of the thumb in a right handed grip it was never going to be good for left handers without a completely mirrored model.
To get the most out of the Spatha you’ll need to do some serious work, because spending this sort of cash and then using it like a typical two-button-and-scroll device would be desecration. Buying one of these is as much about an investment in time and effort as it is in cold hard cash.
I noted this was the most expensive mouse I’ve ever reviewed, but is it the best? Probably. The combination of finely moulded plastic mounted on a magnesium alloy chassis makes for an intoxicating user experience that evolves with each subsequent use. Those wishing to take their e-sport to the next level should prepare themselves for a not inconsiderable investment, mm Mark Pickavance
Stunningly designed mouse for those who want the absolute best