The ASUS ROG Spatha gaming mouse is the latest gaming mouse from a company best known for PC hardware. ASUS have released several mice before with their Republic of Gamers branding, but the Spatha is the biggest, flashiest peripheral we've yet seen from the company.
The Spatha features twelve programmable buttons in a very distinctive design, dual wired/wireless functionality, and even two additional Omron switches to swap into the mouse if the default switch ever starts to let you down.
The ASUS ROG Spatha is currently available for $159.99 on Newegg. As of this writing it has a user rating of three out of five, with eight reviews.
Design and Features
The Spatha looks different, that's for sure. And for the most part, it looks cool as well. No matter what else you think of the mouse, this is an impressive specimen that looks great on your desk and photographs well. The surface is refreshingly smudge-resistant (you'll still get fingerprints, but the Spatha doesn't show them as much as most other gaming mice I've used). The side buttons are like nothing else on the market, and the LED backlighting glows around their edges, making the whole thing look like some kind of alien artifact or a puzzle box constructed by an evil A.I.
The surface of the Spatha is also solidly grippy, with a rough texture in the right places to help you grip it even when your hand gets a little sweaty. Grippy textures are one of my personal favorite features on gaming mice, and while the Spatha doesn't reach the same heights in this area as something like the Corsair M65, it does a better job than many mice out there.
The Spatha is one of the more expensive gaming mice out there, but it does offer some impressive features for your dollar. This includes functioning in both wired or wireless modes, via the use of a charging dock made to display your eye-catching mouse to great effect. It also features 12 reprogrammable buttons (with varying degrees of utility, depending on their location) and high-performance sensitivity options that you can tweak like crazy (8200 DPI, 150 ips, 30g acceleration, and 2000Hz USB polling rate in wired mode). It also has RGB lighting of course, with three zones on the mouse you can adjust separately.
All of the Spatha's various options are managed via the ASUS ROG Armoury software, which is well-designed and easy-to-use.
And the features just keep coming, as the Spatha includes both a braided cable AND a rubber one (use one for the charging dock and one for the mouse in wired mode, your choice), a sturdy carrying case, a star-head screwdriver, and, finally, two replacement Omron switches that you can swap into the mouse if the one that comes with the mouse ever starts wearing out (which should be somewhere around 20-million clicks, according to the specs from ASUS).
It'll be up to you whether you'll ever really use the carrying case or extra sensors, but ASUS is certainly offering a heck of a lot with their mouse. If I had my way I would have liked to see swappable buttons, panels, and other parts to allow for more flexibility of the mouse itself, rather than a cool carrying case I probably won't use much (I'm not a Dota 2 pro, despite my best efforts, and nobody I know has LAN parties anymore).
Comfort and Performance
My biggest problem with the Spatha is how bulky it is. It's shockingly heavy, and this was an impression that was confirmed by several other gamers I had try out the mouse. The grippy texture helps you keep hold of the mouse, which mitigates the weight issue somewhat, and the smooth magnesium alloy bottom plate does a good job of keeping the mouse sliding freely on a variety of surfaces, but for me the mouse just felt too heavy for my liking. And this is coming from someone who usually uses all the optional weights that come with gaming mice.
The Spatha is made for big hands, and features both a modest thumb scoop on the left and a cut-out finger rest on the right. I have average-sized hands and the Spatha was never quite comfortable for me, but you may have a better experience if you're some kind of giant hands monster or something.
The side buttons on the Spatha are pretty weird, and I wasn't pleased with how they worked in practice. Reading other reviews of the Spatha I found that some people praised the mouse for the unique button configuration, saying that it made the buttons easier to find during a game, but for me that didn't outweigh the fact that the buttons were awkwardly shaped and gummy and imprecise to press.
I played hours of Battleborn and Overwatch with the Spatha, with my abilities mapped to the side buttons of the mouse. I think games like these are probably the best-use scenario for the mouse, as I wouldn't want to rely on the smaller buttons for any key abilities or commands in an MMO or RTS. Even in these games with only two or three of the side-buttons in use though, the performance of the Spatha's side buttons wasn't as sharp as I wanted it to be.
I used the Spatha most often in wired mode, as I found wireless performance to be inconsistent. I have a rather complex setup at work, with a laptop running through a dock, and I log in and out of my PC frequently. This was a real problem for the Spatha, as it frequently failed to connect wirelessly when I would return to my PC. I could usually fix the problem just by setting the mouse on the charging dock for a couple of seconds, but it was an annoyance all the same. Once everything was functioning the wireless mode was fine, and I didn't notice any lag issues, but the performance snags was a disappointment, especially coming off my recent time with Logitech's G900 wired/wireless mouse, which never hit any similar bumps.
The wireless battery does last plenty of time in the Spatha, so that's not a concern, and it's conceivable you could never encounter the same issues as I did if you try the mouse for yourself. If you do have problems though, to ASUS's credit, they've been pretty responsive to comments in user reviews posted on the Newegg product page.