The mouse market is a confusing place filled with equally confusing terminology and numbers. There’s so much choice out there, from established brands to a myriad of newcomers offering insanely light mice designed for people who have sacrificed thousands of hours upon the altars of competitive multiplayer. So when I went hunting to replace my Logitech G403 I was greeted with so many choices that my brain immediately displayed a 404 error and refused to do anything for a few hours. After a lot of searching, I settled on one of Razer’s latest mice, the Basilisk V3, their updated version of a mouse I actually reviewed back in 2017. Three revisions later, how is it holding up?
I’ve said before that I unapologetically enjoy RGB lighting because it appeals to my inner child, so I’m counting the Basilisk V3’s eye-catching new underglow as a massive plus. Razer has stuck a few strips onto the undercarriage of the mouse and the result is a really cool effect that almost makes the Basilisk V3 look like it’s floating above the mouse pad. There are 9 zones you can tinker with and several preset effects, plus the Razer logo and the mouse wheel can have their lighting changed, too. Of course, you can turn it all off if you prefer something that doesn’t look like it’s trying to imitate Need for Speed: Unbound’s cars. And with the lights turned off, the overall look is sleek and not overly “G4MERR” like some other mice on the market. You could probably even get away with it for office work.
On the left, there’s a lovely curved rest where your thumb can rest upon its mighty laurels, and there’s even a very nice, soft-touch plastic with a cross-hatch pattern. I’m a sucker for thumb rests That same combination can be found on the opposite side, minus a curved wing for your pinky finger to ride around on. It’s very much a mouse for right-handed users, then, a fact made even clearer by the right side which slopes downward. There are two side buttons here that I found to be very easy to reach, plus a third button that acts as a clutch to drop the DPI, allowing for smaller, more accurate movements. Not something I tend to use but it can be remapped to perform any function that you like. Oddly, though, Razer has done away with the ability to remove the clutch button entirely. This clutch also makes a great candidate for Razer’s Hypershift functionality, a very dramatic name for a simple idea: press the Hypershift button and all the other buttons will swap to their secondary functionality, as assigned by you. Thus, your right-click could become a macro.
Ergonomically, then, pretty much nothing has changed from the Razer Basilisk V2 or even the basic design of the original Basilisk, but considering it was well-liked by many that’s probably a good thing – don’t fix what ain’t broke. This is easily the comfiest mouse I’ve ever used, fitting snugly into my medium-sized hand using the typical palm grip. I swapped to just using my fingertips quite often, too, and still found it excellent. My only nitpick is that on the right side where the right click and the rest of the shell meet, there’s a sharp edge that my fingers would sometimes rest on naturally. But I quickly adjusted for that. I’d also love to see Razer release a left-handed version so my lefty friends could get in on the action.
Most mouse companies these days are endlessly chasing the dream of making their pointers lighter and lighter, stripping out everything they can and even poking holes in the shells to reduce weight. I tend to like a little heft in my hand, but if you do prefer something light for the extra speed then the Basilisk V3 is on the heavier side at 104g. In fact, it’s heavier than the previous V2 which sat at 92g. Where has that extra 12 g come from? I have no idea, though I’d awesome the new scroll wheel system may be the culprit. More on that later. Maybe the V3 just got a little greedy at the buffet?
The build quality seems to be excellent, which I’m very glad to report because Razer’s past products could sometimes feel creaky and cheap despite their quite high price tags. The Basilisk V3 doesn’t creak or groan even under pressure and all the plastics feel great. It has a premium vibe and that’s exactly what I want from a product that’s going to spend hundreds of hours stuck beneath my grubby hand. Speaking of which, the shell does tend to soak up the natural oils from skin, but it isn’t too bad.
The super-slidey PTFE feet on the bottom are also awesome. These bad boys let the mouse glide a professional ice-skater, though obviously, the surface you are using makes a difference. Weirdly, there isn’t a glide pad on the right-hand side of the mouse which is baffling to me, if only for the sake of symmetry. But it didn’t seem to make any difference to performance unless I very deliberately tried to put extra weight on that side. I suppose you could always pick up a pad and add it yourself, but for £70 I think you’d be right in expecting it to have the missing foot.
Under the hood, there’s the latest Razer Focus+ sensor that provides a frankly absurd 20,000 native DPI, or 26,000 with the Razer Synapse software installed. I say absurd not because it isn’t impressive – it absolutely is – but because the chances of any regular person using anywhere near the upper limits of those numbers is incredibly unlikely. It’s kind of like owning a hypercar but being stuck constantly on backroads where you can never unleash the full power. I attempted using the maximum DPI on my 1440p Ultrawide, and when I moved the mouse a mere millimetre the cursor blasted off the edge of the screen so quickly it actually broke free of the confines of my screen and is now presumably orbiting the Earth somewhere. The sensor can handle up to 650 inches per second of travel with 50g of velocity. Finally, it has a 1000Hz polling rate which isn’t anywhere near Razer’s own Deathadder 8k which can hit 8000Hz, but for most people, it’s more than enough.
Simply put, the Focus+ is currently Razer’s top-of-the-line sensor, and the company boasts it has the best stats in the biz. That’s a bold claim that I can neither confirm nor deny since I don’t have the requisite knowledge of mouse sensors. I’m sure there will be online threads full of people debating the many merits of various sensors. All I can say is that in my experience the sensor was flawless, tracking my movements smoothly and accurately. I tried to push it as hard as I possibly could, and played a bunch of different stuff like Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, some Halo Infinite and quite a lot of Marvel’s Midnight Suns. But do keep in mind, I’m not a competitive gamer and don’t try to compete at the highest levels of CS:GO or Call of Duty. Those folks require insane degrees of accuracy and speed, though from what I can tell the majority of them would be using a far lighter mouse than this and tend to favour more ambidextrous designs.
If you fancy ditching the cable entirely then the Razer Basilisk V3 Pro does exactly that. The mouse looks and feels the same but you do get a slightly upgraded sensor called the Focus+ Pro which ramps the DPI up to 30,000. The price sure as hell isn’t the same, though, because the Pro version retails on Razer’s site for £159.99 versus the regular Basilisk v3’s price of £70. You can add a special puck to that for wireless QI charging, and if you want to get Razer’s own magnetic charging dock (which also lets you plug in the dongle) then the total package goes to £208. It’s a substantial price hike, even for the most basic wireless version, and to my mind, it’s impossible to recommend it unless you have plenty of money burning a hole in your pocket. The ultralight cable on the regular Basilisk V3 is so flexible and lightweight that if you use something to pull it off the ground or a mouse bungee then it practically feels wireless.
In the scroll wheel, we find some fancy news features, specifically an infinite scroll mode that lets the wheel spin free and loose, much like the Logitech G502 mice. A handy button located just behind the wheel lets you swap between infinite scrolling and regular use, or you can opt to try out Razer’s Smart Reel feature. Basically, this puts the software in charge of swapping between regular use and infinite scrolling based on what you’re doing. If you gently roll the wheel up or down to navigate a page it will behave as normal, but if you apply a bit more force the wheel will unlock and spin freely until you either stop it with your finger or the momentum eventually brings it to a stop. It’s a pretty cool idea that can provide the best of both worlds, a potentially awesome feature for those that have to navigate huge documents, for example. I did find it to be a little touchy in practice, though, sometimes activating infinite scroll when I didn’t actually want it or turning it on when I was trying to scroll normally. With some practice, you can gradually learn the quirks of the system, though even after a few weeks I still find it a tad inconsistent.
Sadly, one cool feature of the Basilisk V2 has been lost – there’s no dial on the underside that lets you adjust the tension of the scroll wheel. It was an excellent idea, and it’s a shame there wasn’t room to include both that and the Smart Reel. Instead, on the underside, you’ll find the profile button for switching between the five different setups that the Basilisk V3 can store onboard. I can’t say I like having this button on the bottom since it makes switching on the fly a hassle, though I don’t imagine that will bother too many people.
Outside of the fancier aspects of the wheel, it feels…fine. The resistance is okay, though I’d prefer it tougher so that I don’t exactly skip weapons when swapping between them, and it’s a little noisy. It’s not the best I’ve used and it’s not the worse. It falls firmly in the middle.
All the buttons on the Basilisk V3 feature Razer’s latest generation of optical switches, rated at seventy million clicks and promising a latency of just 0.2ms, the exact amount of time I hear you last in the sack. This gives them a really pleasing tactility and a clicky sound that I love, though they are a little on the noisier side so it’s worth noting that if you game in the same room as someone else they may have the unavoidable urge to strangle you. Both the side buttons feel great too,
The wheel can also be clicked left and right, bringing the total button count to 10 reprogrammable options, although one of those is the profile switcher on the bottom of the mouse. I can’t imagine you’ll ever want to use that during games, but I could be wrong. There’s probably going to be some lunatic out there flipping their mouse over during an MMO to use it, and now that I’ve said it I actually kind of want to see someone doing it.
Razer’s Synapse software hasn’t built a great reputation over the years, so I was a bit apprehensive about having to deal with it. Its been a while since I’ve touched it, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked smoothly for me. Switching up the lighting, remapping the buttons, creating macros, it was all a doddle. The only downside is that the software is starting to feel a little bloated, and is quite slow to load sometimes.
The Razer Basilisk V3 is a stellar multi-purpose mouse and a perfect fit for someone like me who does a mix of gaming and work on their machines. For the asking price, it sure does pack a hell of a lot of features in, undoubtedly a big selling point for anyone that likes to feel as though they are getting their money’s worth. The weight and shape keep this from being at the very tippy top of the competitive ladder, but for me the design is incredibly comfortable for long days of gaming, browsing and working. It fits neatly into my hand and the glide is so smooth it makes my hand feel like its Superman cruising through the skies And then there are the internals: the sensor is excellent, the optical switches feel great and the Smart Reel system is a very cool concept, even if it could do with some more refining. Losing the ability to adjust wheel tension and the clutch no longer being removable, along with the scroll wheel just being okay, and the only gripes I really have.
In short, I freakin’ love the Basilisk V3.