Few people noticed how a small revolution began in the field of wireless peripherals. It is caused by the fact that the new PixArt PAW3335 sensors, which are generally available to manufacturers, are characterized by extremely low power consumption. Approximately 12 times smaller than the reference gaming PixArt PMW3389. But a cordless mouse is always a compromise between sensor performance, battery capacity, link quality and weight. Unfortunately, in terms of batteries, the development of technology has stalled. A rough increase in capacity is impossible, since it entails an increase in the weight of the device. And the engineers went the other way, trying to reduce energy consumption. The PAW3335 itself is the first big hit (aside from the proprietary Hero family of sensors) on the road to a new approach to mouse autonomy. Mainly also because in terms of its technical characteristics it is not much inferior to the best gaming sensors. Add to this a reliable wireless module and we get … Well, let’s just say – just a good gaming mouse without a wire.
In fact, we recently did a review of the ASUS ROG Chakram mouse built on such a sensor. But it was a very expensive test of several experimental technologies at once. But ASUS ROG Pugio II, which will be discussed today, is still not cheap, but much more affordable and practical device for the consumer.
|Model||ASUS ROG Dagger II|
|Interface||Wired / Wireless (USB / 2.4GHz / Bluetooth LE)|
|Type||Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)|
|Sensor Model||PixArt PAW3335DB-TZDU|
|Permission, cpi||100 – 16 000|
|Number of buttons||7 buttons + scroll up/down (left, middle, right, four side buttons)|
|Maximum acceleration, g||40|
|Lift-off height (LOD), mm||1–2|
|Maximum speed, m/s||10,16|
|USB port polling rate, Hz||125/250/500/1000|
|Frame rate, fps||Variable|
|Inner memory||+ (three profiles)|
|Wireless receiver type||Nano receiver|
|Power, battery life||Built-in lithium battery, up to 69 hours with backlight off in 2.4GHz mode, up to 100 hours when connected via Bluetooth|
|Protocol (GHz) / range (m) of wireless communication||2.4GHz up to 10m|
|Ability to change weight||–|
|Possibility to adjust the body shape||–|
|Cord length, m||1,8|
|Cable material||No tangles|
|Housing surface material||Plastic|
|Illumination zones||Logo, scroll wheel, side and rear hull stripe|
|Leg material||Teflon (PTFE)|
|Software||+ (ASUS Armoury II или Armoury Crate)|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||127 x 64 x 40|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 10|
|Additionally||Easily removable hinged main keypads, connectors for easy swapping of LMB and RMB switches, magnetic back cover with receiver compartment and replaceable logo, detachable USB type C cable, magnetic pads on the four side keys to physically cover them, spare Omron replacement switches for LMB and PCM. Ability to work and charge via cable, wireless operation via Bluetooth LE or via a 2.4 GHz receiver|
|average cost||2799 hryvnias|
Contents of delivery
The mouse comes in a box, typical for the ROG series, decorated in black and red colors. On the front side there is an image of the mouse itself, and on the back the advantages of the product are listed and some of its technical characteristics are indicated.
The mouse comes with instructions for use, a brochure with warranty information, a USB type C charging cable, a triangular box with accessories (two spare switches, tweezers for removing them and four end caps for side buttons), an adhesive ROG logo and a USB receiver, and also a replacement transparent plate to create an alternative logo on the back of the mouse.
Practically, apart from the name, ASUS ROG Pugio II has very little in common with its first version. This is most noticeable in the shape of the hull. It has become more classic and streamlined, returning to its roots in the face of Microsoft 1.1A symmetry, so to speak. The top panel is made in the currently popular smoky translucent style from ASUS. The panels of the main keys are separate and hinged, but we will return to this a bit later. They have a little play, but not as annoying as the magnetic buttons in the Chakram. LMB and RMB are pressed easily, with a click of medium volume and without free play. The middle key switch is traditionally quieter and slightly tighter to press. There are no more buttons here. The surface coating gets dirty quickly, although it is practically invisible on it. The touch is quite tenacious and does not cause sweating of the palm.
The left side panel is made of grippy matte plastic, covered in diagonal grooves to improve grip even further. The grooves themselves and the ROG lettering embossed on the front are glossy, and dirt accumulates quickly in them. The two side buttons have a recess at the bottom and a ledge at the top. You can press them only from the bottom up, or strictly from the side. The front one works with a muffled sound, and the back one is loud. There is a small margin of free play, pressing occurs with an average effort. By the way, both keypads are removed and replaced with plugs if necessary, but this will be discussed later. The middle and rear parts of the case are raised from below in profile, and a strip of translucent plastic with LEDs is built into this gap.
In the front of the mouse in the middle there is a USB type C charging connector. On the front faces of the main keys, transverse stiffeners are built up, which positively affects the tactile sensations from them. The scroll wheel is rubberized, with diagonal notches. There is no backlash in it, it rotates with a quiet crackle and fixation positions are clearly distinguishable by touch.
If the cable is connected to the mouse, it takes precedence over other signal sources. Charging starts automatically regardless of the position of the power switch.
The charging cable is medium in flexibility, without braid. The given form is reluctantly maintained. Its length is 1.8 meters. There is a standard USB connector on one side of the cord, and a USB type C connector on the other. There is a Velcro on the wire to adjust the length.
The right side of the mouse is a mirror image of the left. Here, too, there are two additional side keys.
On the raised stern of the mouse, there is a strip of LEDs from below. The logo is hidden under the cover and is visible only when the backlight is on.
The mouse has a symmetrical shape and a fairly large size. The weight of 102 grams does not feel large and is well distributed along the axes of symmetry. This case is suitable for any type of grip for medium and large hands. The manipulator can be used equally comfortably with the left and right hand.
ASUS ROG Pugio II is not an ordinary mouse and has a couple of interesting and useful features. In particular, we are talking about easily replaceable main button switches and the ability to physically cover the side buttons with plugs on both sides. And in a plastic triangular box, there is just everything you need for this: two Japanese D2F-01F mechanisms, four plugs and special tweezers for dismantling switches.
Side overlays of buttons and plugs hold on magnets. They can be easily interchanged by slightly prying something on the holes near the B-pillar.
The back cover is held on by a magnet and can also be easily removed. I would even say – too easy and sometimes it happens by accident. Under the cover is access to the screws holding the main button panels and the pocket for the wireless receiver. The logo is printed on a thin plastic plate, if desired, it can be removed and replaced with another image.
The 2.4 GHz receiver uses ASUS SmartHop technology, which allows you to automatically switch to the most interference-free communication channel in real time. However, for the best signal transmission quality and minimum delays, the receiver should be as close to the mouse as possible.
To access the quick change switch slots, you will need to remove the two screws that hold the hinge mechanisms of the primary button panels. By default, Chinese Omron D2FC-FK (50M) are installed under them with a MTBF of 50 million clicks. The user can easily select replacement switches from a list of compatible and tactile switches.
The sole of the mouse has one large Teflon foot on the back and two more medium-sized feet on the front. The PixArt PAW3335 sensor window with a triangular leg around the perimeter is shifted forward. To the left of it there is a three-position switch. In the middle position, the power is off, the mouse can work on the cable. If you lower it down, the 2.4 GHz wireless mode is activated paired with the receiver. When lifted up, the mouse communicates via Bluetooth. To the right of the sensor, there are two trapezoidal keys. Front “DPI” performs three functions at once. If you just click on it, then four levels of preset resolution are sequentially switched. If you hold this button for a few seconds, the current resolution level will light up on the base, within which the resolution can be adjusted steplessly by rotating the scroll wheel, and the color of the wheel will change accordingly from blue (minimum cpi) to red (maximum cpi). If you press this button together with one of the left side or middle buttons, you can activate one of the three side profiles. The second button “Pair” is used to bind the mouse via Bluetooth. It must be held for three seconds for the device to enter pairing mode.
The mouse has three separate RGB lighting zones – a scroll wheel, a logo on the stern, and LEDs on the bottom edge on the sides and back. Interestingly, only the LED under the logo is able to correctly show the white color, while all the others cast blue. On the other hand, the outlines of the logo look clear only when viewed from a right angle. When viewed from the side, its contours are blurred. You can also set the backlight to show the battery level. And in case of reaching a critically low charge level, the mouse starts blinking red alarmingly.
As software, ASUS ROG Pugio II can use two driver options. Under Windows 10, Armory Crate is supposed to be installed. And for Windows 7, an older version of ASUS Armory II is available by default. In this case, it was decided to install Armory II, since it is less cumbersome for the system as a whole and does not have unnecessary functions. The driver can be configured to run manually or automatically, you can also set up a check for updates. 12 interface languages are available. It also shows the current software version, mouse firmware, and wireless adapter firmware.
In the basic Mouse/Buttons tab, you can remap commands on seven keys and two scroll directions. All settings are stored in one of three on-board profiles, which can be switched on the fly by pressing the permission button and the middle button simultaneously, or one of the two side ones. In addition, profiles can be tied to the launch of specific applications. Basic mouse and keyboard commands, macros, Windows shell commands, and media buttons are available for assignment.
There are four separate resolution levels available in the performance section, each of which can be set from 100 to 16,000 cpi in 100 cpi increments. You can enable or disable angular snapping, set cursor acceleration and deacceleration levels, set the polling rate to 125, 250, 500, or 1000 Hz. In addition, the response time of the keys is adjustable from 12 to 32 ms in 4 ms increments. It can be set to the minimum value at which there is no double pressing due to the “bounce” effect when the contacts are closed.
In the lighting tab, you can separately or synchronously control the lighting of the logo, scroll wheel and LEDs on the base. Brightness and saturation settings are available to choose from, there is an entire RGB color palette and seven lighting effects – static, pulsating, color cycle, reactive, color wave, comet and battery charge demonstration. The brightness of all LEDs can be set to 0, 25, 50, 75 or 100%. There are settings for the speed and direction of playback of effects. The charge indicator glows green when the charge is more than 75%, blue in the range from 75 to 25% and red when the charge is less than 25%.
In the calibration section, you can adjust the height of the mouse off the surface (LOD). It can be set to Low and High, which will correspond to 1 or 2 mm.
In the “power” tab, the time for the mouse to go to sleep (reduced power consumption) is configured after 1, 2, 3, 5, 10 minutes or never. The current charge level is also displayed here, though very approximately – at 0, 25, 50, 75 or 100%. Similarly, you can set up a visual signal that starts blinking at a given degree of battery charge.
The macro editor allows you to record mouse and keyboard keystrokes. The direction of the scroll wheel and the trajectory of the cursor movement are not fixed. I could not find a limit on the length of the macro. All recording and playback delays, sequence and content of commands can be easily edited at the end of the recording.
The driver has a function to synchronize the backlight with other ASUS devices.
In the statistics tab, after pressing the Record button, the number of clicks on the left and right buttons is registered and the distance traveled is calculated. Upon completion of the recording, the APM line will also be filled – the number of clicks per minute.
Ergonomics and testing
The ASUS ROG Pugio II mouse was tested on a monotonous black Mionix Alioth M fabric mat. The receiver was located at a distance of 50 cm from the mouse in the line of sight. The symmetrical shape of the mouse can be called universal in the broadest sense of the word. It does not sit perfectly in the hand, but on average it will suit everyone and for any type of grip. The smoky surface is smooth and not particularly pleasant to the touch, but it does provide good grip in the palm of your hand. It does not fog up, picks up dirt easily and is easy to clean. Removable panels of the main buttons sit quite firmly and have minimal play. In my subjective opinion, they are pressed too easily and can sometimes work under the weight of the fingers. Although, by and large, there are no complaints about the operation of all switches and the scroll wheel on this device. The mouse has a low glide inertia. The weight balance is correct. Of the unpleasant moments, I note the magnetic cover of the back panel, which flew off several times, sticking to the hand.
The mouse can operate in three modes – via cable, via a 2.4 GHz receiver and via Bluetooth. With a wired connection that is tactile and fairly easy thanks to the symmetrical USB type C port, the Pugio II behaves like a regular gaming mouse. Charging starts automatically no matter what position the power switch is set to. The cord is soft and flexible enough not to cause any inconvenience during sudden movements.
When switching to a 2.4 GHz receiver, the user will not experience any significant differences in mouse behavior. Delays in signal processing and cursor response can only be fixed instrumentally. The mouse actually wakes up instantly, so you can safely set the sensor power-saving delay to 1 minute, unless you’re playing intense FPS shooters. The declared autonomy with the backlight off is up to 69 hours. In my case, without going to sleep, with a 1000 Hz polling rate and a constantly on backlight, the battery lasted for four working days, that is, approximately 30 hours of time. Interestingly, when the computer is turned off, the mouse also turns off. There is no need to pull the power slider each time.
In Bluetooth mode, the claimed autonomy reaches 100 hours without backlight. However, this option is more designed for “office” use. The sensor polling rate drops to 125 Hz and is not supported by the software. It takes about three hours to fully charge the mouse from a dry state to 100% of a normal USB 2.0 port.
The mouse has three onboard profiles, but switching them quickly is not very convenient, since the DPI button is located on the base. The same problem applies to changing the resolution, both in levels and in the stepless version. If this switch were on top, everything would be much easier.
In terms of software, if you only use a mouse, then it is better to install ASUS Armory II, since it is much simpler and undemanding to resources. If you have an ASUS motherboard or, in principle, a lot of gaming devices of this brand, then Armory Crate software is the best choice.
The mouse has an optical sensor with infrared illumination PixArt PAW3335. Although it is considered a mid-range sensor, it has an extremely low power consumption. But in practice, even a seasoned player is unlikely to distinguish its performance from the PMW 3389. The sensor is not subject to disruptions, the maximum speed reaches 10.16 m/s, there are no parasitic moments in the cursor behavior, and the separation height can be set to 1 mm. And all this wirelessly. The only problem that has been noticed is the rather high level of anti-aliasing, which is fixed by the Mouse Test program. If suddenly there is an urgent need to reduce it, then try setting the polling rate to 250 Hz.
The ASUS ROG Pugio II mouse makes me sympathetic, even though I am not a fan of wireless gaming mice in general. The classic body shape, light weight, economical and efficient sensor, high-quality wireless transmitter, the ability to quickly change the main switches without using a soldering iron – all this is a useful set of features for those who want to get rid of an extra cord on their desktop. The cost of such pleasure is considerable, but other similar devices cost significantly more on average. By the way, an interesting fact: after reviewing this device, out of habit, for two more days, I periodically pulled the cord of my wired mouse out of the holder, winding it too far along the rug.
Unfortunately, the ASUS ROG Pugio II manipulator is not perfect and has a couple of drawbacks that the buyer will have to put up with. The resolution switch button is located on the base, which makes it easier to change it and switch profiles through the driver. It would be in theory, since the resolution levels are switched only by the DPI button, and only the cpi ranges within each level are configured in the software. The second point is that the rear magnetic panel is too easy and sometimes involuntarily removed.
Is the ASUS ROG Pugio II worth considering as a wireless gaming mouse? Rather, yes, because in its price range, this mouse offers a balanced combination of a unique set of features, among which there are no frankly superfluous features. And the closest current analogues from other brands in a symmetrical design can be completely counted on the fingers of one hand.