Razer Basilisk Essential Review — Adding Value in All the Right Ways
The Razer Basilisk Essential is the same great mouse at a $20 reduction, thanks to deft cost-cutting where gamers feel it least.
Razer peripherals are moving towards a rebrand, trying to capture more cost-conscious gamers that don’t want to make a sacrifice when it comes to their performance. And boy is that market there — I’ve previously scoured Amazon looking for the most cost-effective gaming mouse, and $25 options just don’t cut it on build quality. In steps the Razer Basilisk Essential, among the least expensive mouses that the hardware designer sells and my new go-to gaming mouse.
While there is a near infinite amount of no-name and brand-name gaming mice, Razer’s biggest competitor is itself and competing successful lines. Even looking at the budget tier, Razer has the DeathAdder Essential, Abyssus Essential, DeathAdder Elite, and Atheris. Meanwhile, gamers looking to make the $20 jump could grab the standard Razer Basilisk. So buying into your new gaming mouse (or updating your current peripherals to something more “2019”) is really going to depend on the type of gamer you are.
Thankfully, the Razer Basilisk Essential (which made its original debut in China) is a champion of both form and function. Much like its premium brother, the mouse is built with the right-handed gamer in mind and just feels seriously comfortable. Ergonomic design for this mouse is on-par with the DualShock 4 controller, and that is saying something. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to you 10% of lefties out there… but there are more than enough ambidextrous mice for you to explore both inside and outside Razer’s line.
The other big seller of the Razer Basilisk Essential is the customizable multi-function paddle that you can remap through the all-in-one management system Razer Synapse. This can be anything, and I definitely played around with it — trying out Apex Legends on the Razer Blade Stealth 13 I mapped it to the sprint key, and it instantly became the way I like to enjoy the game. Outside of that, I’ve used it for push-to-talk on Discord, Ults in Overwatch. It’s a comfortable and versatile paddle and something everyone can utilize regardless of skill level.
One of the first performance sacrifices we see in the low-cost version of the Basilisk is one programmable button. Gone is the second under-scroll wheel button — not that it is missed too much. Realistically, this is the one to remove if you are making cost-cutting choices with little impact to gaming, however, if you need all eight programmable buttons consider springing the extra $20.
Otherwise, the differences between the Basilisk and Razer Basilisk Essential seem to be mostly cosmetic. The original supported an RGB Chroma-capable scroll wheel that can swap resistance; this one replaces it with a plain jane. Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t have RGB — the Razer logo in front is customizable with Razer Chroma, so you don’t have to go a day without switching up the color scheme of your rig.
Additionally, the DPI optical sensor goes from 16,000 to 6,4000… but it never personally impacted my playstyle. Despite the big numbers and visual difference, both can deliver the same essential points: a terrific gaming experience with a crazy amount of comfort from a known brand. One is just $20 cheaper.
Realistically, that is the big difference here. Are you going for an RGB aesthetic in 2019? Dip in the extra $20 to get the standard version of the Razer Basilisk, or find one with a nice underglow. Are you a competitive gamer where that dip in DPI or extra button will make a difference? You should realistically be spending more than $50 if this is your profession.
Everyone else? The Razer Basilisk Essential is, by all means, a perfect fit for most gamers. Sleek, colorful, a high-performer, it is taking over as my permanent gaming mouse for 2019 — and kicking out a peripheral two times the price.