Reviews

Drakonia Black – Mouse Review

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THE SPECS:

Max. DPI 8,200
Max. acceleration 30 G
Mouse weight max. 150 g (w/o cable)
Dimensions (L x W x H) 126 x 88.1 x 41.8 mm
Sensor Laser
Connector USB2.0 (gold-plated)
Cable length 180 cm (textile sheathing)
Max. FPS 12,000
Max. IPS 150
Number of buttons 11 (Click switches: Omron)
DPI indication LEDs
Scroll wheel left/right Yes
Mouse feet 4, PTFE
Illumination Yes, configurable via software
Chip Avago ADNS-9800
Lifting sensitivity 1-5 mm
Weight Tuning System Yes (6x 5 g)

Gaming mice are not in short supply. Head onto Amazon and do a search for them and you’ll find yourself staring at pages and pages of mice, many of which cost a small fortune. The expense doesn’t stop dedicated gamers, though, who’ll spend hours pouring over specifications trying to determine which one will give just that little bit more performance. They’ll part with almost terrifying amounts of money in the name of technical jargon.  As a gaming nut I can’t say much as I’ve owned some pretty expensive mice over the years. It can be almost a daunting experience for anyone unfamiliar with the subject looking to purchase their first true gaming mouse. So, today I’m looking at the Drakonia Black from Sharkoon, and it may have just solved the gaming mouse problem, because it offers all the great performance of an expensive mouse at a fraction of the price.

If the Drakonia Black has taught me anything it’s that comfort should never be underestimated when looking for a new mouse. The Drakonia is hands down the most comfortable mouse I’ve ever used, boasting a luxuriously large wing on the left for my thumb to reside in, and yet another wing on the right to provide maximum support for my pinky and rink finger, each wonderfully contoured so that they look mighty pleasing to the eye. The mouse looks big and bulky, but that works to its advantage as the back of it has a well proportioned curve that fits beautifully into my relatively small hand. On both wings there are rubber grips so that your fingers never slip, and on the bottom of the mouse is a compartment that contains six small weights that allow you to change how heavy the entire thing is. The paint job of black scales is meant to evoke the look of a dragon, and is smooth while offering some grip for your fingers so that they never slid, even during the hardest of sessions. My hand almost felt like a king residing on its large, elegant, comfortable yet imposing throne. It’s just a shame that the Drakonia Black is designed for right-handed users, and that no model for lefties exists yet.

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The comfort factor is complimented by  great build quality. Everything about the Drakonia feels solid and well put together. Simply said it feels bomb-proof and gives the entire mouse a sense of quality that even many of the most expensive mice on the market fail to exude. My beloved Steel Series Guild Wars 2 mouse is a prime example, featuring great performance but a cheap feeling plastic body. Then there’s the black scale paint job of Drakonia. At first I admit I wasn’t enthralled with the chosen design, but the more I’ve used it and looked at it the more the scales have grown on me, and they fit the generally bulky look of the mouse nicely.

As for buttons the Drakonia sports a total of eleven, each of which is fully programmable so that you can customise the mouse to your liking. On the bottom of the left-wing of the mouse resides a single button that’s easy to reach with your thumb, while the side of the wing has two thumb buttons that are most commonly used when browsing the web to skip back and forward on pages. While the first of these buttons lies beautifully under the thumb, I did find that I had to adjust my hand position and stretch my thumb a bit to reach the second button, making it a little awkward. On the top of the mouse you’ve got your standard left and right-click which both have a lovely feel to them, and between those is a 4-way scroll wheel that performs exceptionally well. It’s smooth enough to use when skimming through Internet pages whilst having enough of a catch in its motion for gaming so that you don’t accidentally skip past the gun you want when using it as a weapon selector. A DPI selector switch is also located on the top of the mouse so that you can quickly swap between four different settings. Finally on the right-hand side of the mouse there’s another button positioned toward the front of the body making it tricky to reach while your hand is resting in a natural position, though people with larger hands may not have any problem reaching it.

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The bottom of the mouse houses an Avago 9800 laser sensor which can go up to a bloody staggering 8200 DPI. This works in tandem with a polling rate of 1000Hz (250Hz and 500Hz are also selectable) to deliver pinpoint accuracy and responsiveness during play, and on that front I certainly can’t fault the Drakonia: it’s incredibly fast, precise and smooth, easily ranking amongst the best mice I’ve ever used, although to be fair at this sort of level it’s hard to differentiate between the performance of mice. It’s easy to feel the difference in precision between a cheap £10 mouse and a £60+ gaming mouse, but comparing two high-performance mice is far, far trickier. But then, that’s all you truly need to know: the Drakonia Black is high-performance.

However, there is one aspect of the Drakonia’s performance which doesn’t quite to match-up to that of its competitors: selecting DPI. By using the software of a mouse like the Steelseries Guild War you can choose exactly the level of DPI you want, but with the Drokonia Black you’ve got to select from one of eight preset DPI levels – 600, 1200, 2000, 3000, 4800, 6400 and 8200. Using the selector on the top of the mouse you can switch between four of these settings on the fly, allowing you to quickly go drop from a high DPI setting for the likes of twitch shooting to a lower DPI for sniping. With eight settings available you should certainly be able to find something very close to your idea DPI, but it would still have been nice to be able to specify a precise amount.

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Installed using either the small disc included in the box or by download it from Sharkoon’s website the Drakonia’s software is clean, easy and intuitive to use, offering up plenty of options for tweaking the mouse. Tab number one is devoted entirely to setting up different profiles that you can swap between and programming each of the eleven buttons. Drop-down menus present you with a range of different actions that can be assigned to each of the buttons, ranging from copying the highlighted text to pausing your current media file. Custom macros can also be assigned to each button as well for further customisation. Tab two within the software is rightfully titled “Advanced Settings”, in which you’ll find a host of options that allow you to tweak the Drakonia’s performance. You can change the mouse speed, scroll speed, double-click speed, sensitivity (y-axis and x-axis), polling rate and DPI. The third and final tab lets you alter the color of the glowing logo located toward the rear of the mouse, as well as adjust the rate at which it pulses. Every option available to you is clearly laid out so that even the most technologically challenged of individuals will have no problem setting up the Drakonia exactly how they like it.

And now, as I prepare to type up the final words of this review and futilely attempt to come off of a sugar high brought about by eating way too many Wine Gums, we come to the thorny topic of pricing. As long time readers know the price of a game or piece of hardware never affect the final score I award, the reasoning being that I’m not reviewing bang for buck, I’m reviewing the quality of the product, regardless of price. The other reason is that what constitutes good value for money differs greatly from person to person, so it’s up to you to decide whether something seems like it’s worth the RRP. Still, this doesn’t preclude me from talking about pricing during the review, and in the Drakonia’s case it’s well worth discussing. You see, the Drakonia Black can be purchased from Amazon for Just £40, which is a bargain given the performance and comfort of the mouse. There are far more expensive mice on the market which simply aren’t as good, mice which so-called “hardcore” gamers will purchase and then regret ever buying if they try out a Drakonia Black. So, yes, final score aside I’m advocating the purchase of this mouse because it’s the best value for money I’ve seen in a while. Although, I do have to point out that the Drakonia Black’s predecessor can be picked up for just £25, and while it doesn’t have the same level of performance that’s a damn good price.

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Just how do I close out this review? I’ve fairly gushed about the Drakonia Black, speaking of its many merits like an entranced lover or a teenager caught up in the initial weeks of their first sexual relationship. But as I’ve covered, the Drakonia isn’t perfect: the thumb button near the front of the mouse is awkward to reach, as is the button on the right-wing, though I concede that someone with larger hands than I may not find this to be the case. The lack of more precise control over DPI is also a slight disappointment. Yet these aren’t massive flaws: the buttons, while awkward, are something I adjusted to, and the 8-preset DPI’s should give more than enough choice for anyone when combined with the other settings. It’s incredibly comfortable, has adjustable weight, feels incredibly well-built, performs brilliantly and even has satisfying clicks to each of its buttons, all for a fraction of the price that most dedicated gaming mice retail at. What the hell isn’t to like?

The Good:
+ Comfy.
+ performs great!
+ Adjustable weight!

The Bad:
– Can’t specify your own DPI setting.
– Two slightly awkward to reach buttons.

The Verdict: 4.5/5 – Great, bordering on awesome.
My new favorite mouse! What more can I say that I have not already said?

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