Asus ROG Gladius II Review

Completely customizable clicker with a bright upside

Since they emerged from the damp, beige, angular swamp of the early ’90s, mice have—at least in comparison to the rest of the PC peripheral market—been objects of scant innovation. Mainly because, really, where is there to go? A thing that fits your hand, some buttons, a wheel, and a sensor that determines how you’re moving the thing. Those components are frequently refined, but where’s the next big change? What can make the mouse new again? Well, if you’re Asus, you’ll find at least some of that innovation inspiration both in the current trend of adding RGB LED lighting to absolutely everything, and beneath the chassis of the most pimped-out rides.

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So, let’s begin with the Gladius II’s big shiny selling point, that RGB illumination, an upgrade from the primo Gladius’s plain old red wheel and palm light. It’s actually quite fun. As much as we’d like to give it a curmudgeonly dismissal, the LEDs— which hook up to Asus’s Aura Sync lighting protocol—look brilliant, the underlights projecting a halo on to your mousing surface in whatever color (or colors) you choose, pulsating or breathing if you wish, helping you pick out your mouse in darkened locations, and generally giving you the standard cheap thrill of RGB jollies.

That Aura Sync integration means you can, in theory, line up your mouse’s lighting with that of the rest of your components— as long as you’ve bought Asus, of course.

The other step up from Gladius the First is the addition of a thumb-seated resolution button which, if you’re running in high DPI mode, drops the res (thus slowing your mouse and increasing your accuracy) for as long as it’s depressed.

Having this function so close at hand is a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s easy to activate by accident, and for non-gamers, the space might well have been better served by a customizable button, but its position does mean that there’s no need to fumble around—it’s exactly where you need it in the middle of a virtual firefight.

Above the sniper button, there’s a pair of additional action buttons, quickly activated by sliding your thumb upward.

Waggle your middle finger sufficiently, and you’ll find a comfortably notched and rubberized wheel, behind which is a DPI toggle, which jumps between the mouse’s two modes.

Reasonably standard mouse stuff. The sensor, at 12,000 dpi, is ridiculously sensitive, as are the left and right buttons, at least by default. Included in the package is a pair of stiffer replacement Omron microswitches, easily substituted by unscrewing the mouse’s case, pulling out the old ones, and push-fitting the new—the alternatives are perfect for those of us with heavy fingers, and more Omron switches are available online.

Package deal Innovation being what it is, though, nothing here is actually brand new. Razer’s well-regarded DeathAdder Chroma, for example, has underlighting based on its own RGB protocol, while thumb-mounted DPI shifters are reasonably commonplace in gaming mice. Easily replaceable microswitches, at least those that don’t require solder, are significantly rarer, but not absolutely unknown. So we need to assess this based on the whole package, rather than any one of its individual features. And, as a whole, the Gladius II is pretty damn awesome.

It’s super-comfortable to hold in both palm and claw grips, aided by the pleasant textured rubberized edges. The combination of silicon pads and rubber bungs on the underside results in a slippery movement feel with satisfying bite. Everything is easy to reach, the locking detachable cable system works well, and despite testing it on a large number of potential mousing surfaces, we were unable to trip up the sensor even slightly. Fantastic.

Is it fantastic enough to justify an MSRP, though? Well, it’s not lefty-compatible, the aforementioned DeathAdder Chroma can be had for a fair chunk less, and you could easily pick up an adequate, though not as luxurious, gaming mouse, so it depends on what price you put on such indulgence.

[Alex cox]

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Gladius Great feel; awesome lighting; switchable switches.
Badius Rather expensive; for righthanders only.
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SPECIFICATIONS

sensor Optical
sensitivity 12,000 dpi
sensor Model PixArt PMW3360
Polling Rate 1,000Hz
Programmable Buttons 2
LEds RGB wheel, palm, base
Cable length 6.5ft
Weight 3.9oz

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