ASUS ROG Chakram Core Review
Let’s be honest — the core design of a mouse has somewhat remained the same since computers became mainstream. Sure, as technology has evolved we have seen vast improvements in optical sensors and wireless technology, but honestly, how much can you do with two main buttons and a sensor? Increase the DPI and polling rates? Add more buttons? Introduce a modular design that includes a joystick? Well, how about all the above? Because this is exactly what ROG has done with its ROG Chakram Core gaming mouse.
The ROG Chakram Core is truly unique — in a good way. Its modular design allows for the majority of its components to be interchangeable to create a level of customisation that most mice can’t provide. This means that you can remove the top casing, mouse buttons (including the Omron switches), and of course, the joystick. Each of these components is held in place by magnetism and can be removed by simply using the provided tool or brute force. It is a pretty interesting concept, one that other companies such as Razer have done quite well with their Naga Pro. I get the feeling that ROG only wanted to get their feet wet – so to speak – with the modular footprint of the Chakram Core. I say this because other than adjusting the weight of the mouse (by adding or removing the 13.6 g weight module to its base weight of 94 g) or changing the profile/removing the joystick, I doubt you will be taking the covers off the Chakram Core at all.
This modular design does, however, play into another innovative feature of the Chakram Core; its joystick. Out of the box, ROG provides two different profile joysticks to add some flexibility for users of different hand sizes and grip types. There is a small and large profile joystick (in reference to the size of the joystick) along with a socket cover in case you want to completely remove the joystick and return to the familiarity of a traditional mouse.
A subtle touch that many manufacturers still overlook to this day is including a braided USB cable with their mouse. Luckily, ROG knows what gamers want and have included a 1.8m braided USB cable with the Chakram Core. This continues with ROG’s subtle theme of durability as including a braided USB cable not only looks fantastic but increases the long-term durability of the mouse as I can speak for the majority of PC gamers when I say we have all had to replace one of our most favourite mouses over the years due to the cable breaking or rubbing away.
Aesthetically, the Chakram Core is what you expect from a ROG product as it is dark, aggressive and most of all, looks fantastic. Its dark-transparent finish is different from anything else on the market and is almost black in colour. This finish creates an interesting effect as it somewhat blurs the ROG illuminated logo that beats from the heart of the mouse. I must admit, I didn’t like this at first as it made me feel like I needed glasses whenever I looked at the mouse, but it has definitely grown on me and I can see why ROG went with this finish.
The curves of the mouse are a real highlight for me as I love the oversized wing. Not only does it provide support for your thumb, but ROG has ensured that the wing naturally flows with the shape of the mouse and backs up the aggressive look of the Chakram Core. Despite the addition of the joystick, ROG chose to keep the two side buttons on the mouse — albeit slightly further back towards the palm of your hand. Unfortunately, this means that the side of the mouse is a bit crowded and initially, I found it quite awkward to use both the joystick and the side buttons. This became less of an inconvenience once I became familiar with the layout and remapped the buttons.
As you would expect from a ROG product, the Chakram Core performs at a high standard thanks to its custom high-end optical sensor that is based on the PixArt PAW3335. This sensor provides the Chakram Core with a DPI value of up to 16,000 DPI, 400 IPS, and 40g of acceleration. When you combine this with 1,000 Hz polling rate and an adjustable lift-off distance via the Armory Crate software, ROG has done everything possible to ensure the Chakram Core delivers the best possible gaming experience.
As esports continues to evolve, speed and accuracy are more important than ever. It is clear that ROG has built the foundation of the Chakram Core on these characteristics and included support for NVIDIA’s Reflex Latency Analyzer — a tool for measuring and optimising and measuring system latency for competitive games. For most gamers, this level of analytics and optimisation is not required, but for esports enthusiasts who own a compatible 360Hz G-SYNC esports display then there is no better option for you than the Chakram Core, it’s the perfect companion.
There are two adjustable LOD settings: low and high. Although no direct measurement is provided by ROG, from my measurements low was around 1.5mm and high 3mm. Having this adjustment is particularly useful for gamers who have a tendency to lift off due to low sensitivity, small mouse pad, or simply just a force of habit.
And finally, the joystick. While it does take some time to get used to, the joystick can be a valuable asset when used correctly. You can configure the Chakram Core’s joystick in two options, digital or analog. Digital allows the joystick to act much like your traditional D-pad with 4 different inputs (up, down, left, and right). This was my goto mode as I found this mode particularly useful when I needed to utilise extra inputs or macros on my mouse such as MMOs, MOBAs, and FPS games.
Analog mode transforms the joystick into a precise 256 input device that was great for controlling my camera in RPG games or AutoCAD. Due to its small size and positioning on the mouse, it simply cannot replace traditional joysticks such as the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog or Logitech G X56 HOTAS RGB. This may come as bad news for Microsoft Flight Simulator or Star Wars: Squadrons fans but honestly, do you want to control your Boeing 787 Dreamliner or X-Wing with a small joystick on the side of your mouse?
Much like other recent ROG peripherals, ROG has begun phasing out Armoury II in favour of Armoury Crate and the Chakram Core is no different. Armoury Crate is ROG’s one-stop software that lets you customise features such as RGB illumination and the mouse’s functionality. Straight off the bat, Armoury Crate is not perfect, but it is a significant improvement over Armoury II. One of the most appealing features of Aura Sync is the ability to not only sync the Chakram Core to the rest of your ROG product’s RGB illumination, but also with your Phillips Hue lighting that creates a truly immersive experience that incorporates both your home lighting and gaming setups.
Armoury Crate also includes a host of other features that lets you get the most of your Chakram Core such as DPI, macros, remapping of mouse buttons, adjusting the polling rate (not sure why you would want to), and save these settings to individual profiles. But perhaps the most useful feature of this software is configuring the joysticks inputs. In digital mode, the joystick features 4 different inputs (in each direction).
The ROG Chakram Core isn’t quite the game changer it claims to be, but it is still an amazing mouse that is packed full of performance, innovation and versatility. Its modular design allows for a level of customisation that the majority of mouses cannot match, while its joystick is much more than a clever gimmick and adds a level of versatility no other mouse can provide.
There is a lot of competition at the Chakram Core’s price point ($150-$175 AUD) but the Chakram Core does deliver on two key aspects — performance and innovation. Combine this with support for NVIDIA’s Reflex Latency Analyzer and you have a fantastic option for anyone that wants an esports grade mouse that is ready for the next generation of gaming.
ASUS ROG Chakram Core Review
- DESIGN - 92%92%
- PERFORMANCE - 92%92%
- QUALITY - 86%86%
- VALUE - 86%86%
The ROG Chakram Core provides a level of customisation and versatility that you don’t associate with a traditional mouse. Combine this with support for NVIDIA’s Reflex Latency Analyzer and the improved Armoury Crate software, the Chakram Core is a great option for serious gamers.
For more on ASUS, check out our previous coverage.