Saturday , 19 April 2014
Latest Reviews
Home » Reviews & Articles » Hardware » Star Wars: The Old Republic – Branded Razer Peripherals

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Branded Razer Peripherals

Read on to find out if hokey religions and ancient weapons are a match for these Star Wars-branded peripherals by Razer.

[review_ad]

Introduction – Star Wars: The Old Republic Peripherals

Way back in October of 2008, we read a feature in Game Informer Magazine on a new Bioware MMORPG entitled Star Wars: The Old Republic and have been absolutely hooked to the idea ever since. We followed every step of the very community-involved development cycle of the game and even attended a few trade shows that the game was being shown at such as PAX East 2011 and E3 2011.

E3 2011 was the first actual opportunity we had to play the game. Another interesting feature at E3 2011 was the Razer booth that had Star Wars: The Old Republic-branded peripherals under a glass case.

Today we’ll be taking a look at three of the four Star Wars-branded Razer peripherals: the Naga-variant mouse, the double-sided mousepad, and the lightshow headset. 

At list prices of $139.99 for the mouse, $129.99 for the headset, and $49.99 for the mouse let’s hope that there is more to these peripherals than the lights and symbols. To find out for sure, read on.  

Pictures and Packaging – Mouse

Click on images for a full-sized version

When it comes to pure aesthetics, Razer has always done well, and that goes is no different for this gaming mouse. The mouse is encased in a well-built box that, while perhaps not on par with the Razer Mamba Dual Sensor 4G, will elicit its fair share of ‘ooh’s, ‘aah’s, and ‘awesome’s, especially among Star Wars fans. 

The front of the box showcases the mouse in all of its glory on the right side and Master Ven Zallow from the ‘Deceived’ Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer on the left. Detailed specifications can be found on the back of the packaging along with some of the fancier features showcased on the left spine of the box.

Once we successfully gutted the package, we found the insides, as pictured above. The yellow box with the plastic embossed with “Wield the Force” covering it pulls out of the packaging and opens as shown. Inside the box there is a Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Mouse quick-start guide which is replicated very closely between all of the equipment we are reviewing today. The quick-start guides give basic information such as package contents and features but there are also fairly in-depth descriptions of the different connections, buttons, functions as well as installation and safety instructions.

As can be seen in the top left picture, the mouse itself favors a very clean, polished look that closely resembles the design aesthetic in Star Wars: The Old Republic. While we discuss appearance and form it is important to mention at this point that the scroll wheel on the mouse is lit on either side of the track via the Razer Synapse 2.0 software that is used to program the mouse. The software can either set the scroll wheel to display a specific color via the color palette or it can be programmed to cycle through colors constantly. The Republic symbol in the bottom right hand of the mouse will also glow gold and the plastic insert is interchangeable if you’re feeling a little more Imperial. These inserts are easily changed, as shown in the bottom right photo, by pulling off the right side of the mouse and then unsnapping the insert. By the way, the slot shown is the cavity for the wireless battery.

If we take a look at the underside of the mouse we can see the bottom of the scroll wheel which is covered up when the mouse is in wired mode by the USB connection. On the left side there is a wireless switch and on the right a switch which either enables or disables the 12 keys on the left hand side of the mouse. We feel this is a particularly useful feature because many people, us included, were worried that while using a Naga-style mouse they might end up hitting these buttons accidentally. While we haven’t actually experienced that problem, if it does become a hassle, Razer has offered up a compromise. Finally, there are two gold-plated connectors which are used to charge the battery when running in wireless mode and a pairing button which is used the first time the mouse needs to pair to its wireless receiver which is also the charging dock.

Features and Specifications – Mouse

Dual Mode Wired/Wireless Technology – Wield the Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Mouse by Razer like a Lightsaber; with precision and complete freedom of movement thanks to its gaming-grade wireless technology. Get unwired performance as responsive and accurate as when wired thanks to Razer-grade ultra-low latency. Then when it’s time to charge, switch the mouse to wired mode and keep fighting until you’re the last one standing.

17 MMO-Optimized Buttons – Reign supreme in the far reaches of the galaxy with the Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Mouse by Razer featuring 17 buttons for effortless destruction and more skills at your disposal. The Razer driver software allows easy organization and absolute freedom to remap key binds, character abilities, and macros to all the buttons to keep you on top of your game.

Interchangeable Gold-Backlit Faction Emblems – The world of Star Wars: The Old Republic is expansive and fraught with danger, so choose a side and team up to take on the galaxy. With interchangeable resplendent gold-backlit Sith Empire and Galactic Republic faction emblems, your gaming mouse is the perfect symbol of your allegiance.

5600DPI Razer Precision 3.5G Laser Sensor – Stride into combat with the ultimate precision and deadly accuracy of Razer’s 3.5G Laser Sensor

Multi-color LED Lighting – Up to 16 million customizable colors, which also respond to actions in game.

Unlock A Unique Color Crystal – This rare Color Stone changes the color of your Lightsaber blade and blaster bolts.

1000Hz Ultrapolling/1ms Response Time – Lightning quick response time ensures you never skip a beat in battle.

Charging Dock – Allows for quick charging and also functions as a wireless receiver unit.

Synapse 2.0 Enabled – Add and manage multiple devices with Synapse 2.0. Instantly store and access your macros, key bindings, configurations and more from anywhere.

Approximate Size/Weight – 116mm/4.6” x 77mm/3.0” x 41mm/1.6” , 142g/0.31lbs

System Requirements – PC with USB port, Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Windows® XP (32-bit), Internet connection (for driver installation), At least 100MB of hard disk space

 

Pictures and Packaging – Mousepad

Click on images for a full-sized version

The packaging for the mousepad continues the trend set by the mouse, with the product displayed behind clear plastic on the right side and the Star Wars: The Old Republic splash screen on the left. Again, the back side of the packaging gives us some insight in to the features of the mousepad as well as some images of the more impressive technical specifications. 

Again, just like the mouse, inside the box we find a ‘Gaming Mouse Mat’ quick start guide that goes over features, specifications, use, and safety instructions. Also of note are the Republic/Imperial and Razer stickers that come with almost every Star Wars peripheral purchased. We now have green snakes and Star Wars stickers stuck on nearly everything.

The mousepad frame is a weighty all-metal construction with textured rubber on the back to prevent slipping. The insert is a piece of very sturdy, unbendable plastic that serves as an excellent surface for our gaming mouse. As can be seen in the pictures about there is a cutout in the frame that serves as an access point for removing and flipping the insert, as when the insert is installed in the frame it sits flush with the frame and therefore cannot be yanked out in any way.

Features and Specifications – Mousepad

Dual-Sided Mouse Mat To Display Faction Choice – One side of the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Gaming Mouse Mat by Razer™ displays the hard-edged hexagon emblem representative of the merciless Sith Empire while the other side presents the regal symbol of the Galactic Republic. Choose which side you’ll fight and swipe on for victory.

Non-Slip, Non-Reflective, Abrasion-Resistant Hard Coating – To withstand the high intensity and pressures of galactic warfare, the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Gaming Mouse Mat by Razer™ is constructed with non-slip, abrasion-resistant hard coating so you can swipe aggressively with no degradation of the mat. The non-reflective surfaces ensure mouse tracking remains precise at all times.

Performance-Grade Hard Surfaces For Smoother Mouse Swiping – Just as a Jedi or Sith warrior possesses lightning reflexes in combat, the Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ Gaming Mouse Mat by Razer™ is designed with a smooth, hard surface to deliver optimum gliding performance for increased reaction speed in-game.

Non-Slip Rubber Base And Metal Frame – Provides increased stability for intensive gaming.

Approximate Size/Weight – 316mm/12.4” x 219mm/8.62” x 5mm/0.2” , 318g/0.70lb

Pictures and Packaging – Headset

Click on images for a full-sized version

More of the same here with the headset packaging. We’ll save you all a bit of reading and quit repeating ourselves.

Again the headset is nicely displayed within the inner packaging and we see the “Wield The Force” inscription again on the back of the box. Inside we find more stickers, another quick start guide, and additional packaging for the two Imperial inserts should you choose that faction rather than the pre-installed Republic inserts.

Now we’ve got a little something to talk about with this last batch of pictures. As can be seen in the top left image the headset uses a braided cable and gold-plated connectors, just like the mouse, and the earcups/headband are covered in a velvety fabric that allows both pieces to both be comfortable and breathe. The microphone boom rotates and is bendable so that it can be positioned however users prefer, and the buttons placed on the earcups are placed intuitively: the earcup with the microphone attached controls microphone levels while the opposite earcup controls general volume.

The bottom right picture exists simply to show that the interior of the earcups is designed to look like a TIE Fighter which, while not canon-accurate, we thought was a pretty cool touch.

Features and Specifications – Headset

Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound For Positional Audio – Experience virtual surround sound with drivers tuned for 3D positional audio, letting you immerse in the rich, story-driven universe of Star Wars: The Old Republic. It also ensures you clearly hear intense cues of each battle or the subtle footsteps of an approaching enemy.

Lightweight Circumaural Design With 50mm Speaker Units – The Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Headset by Razer is built with a lightweight, sturdy frame and circumaural ear cups to ensure maximum comfort and minimal fatigue during those long missions and epic battles in the far reaches of the galaxy.

Adjustable Multi-Color Lighting – Whether blue for the Galactic Republic, red for the Sith Empire, or even green like a Jedi’s lightsaber, customize the multi-color LED lighting system of the Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Headset by Razer to get a unique look and style on your aural weapon of power.

Volume And Mic Control Buttons On The Headset – Optimally placed controls for convenient, easy access.

Adjustable Headband Structure For Optimal Comfort – Provides supreme comfort even after extended hours of gameplay.

Unlock A Unique Color Crystal – This rare Color Stone changes the color of your Lightsaber blade and blaster bolts.

Boom Microphone With Adjustable Tension – Adjustable, unidirectional microphone for clear, unrestrained communication.

Interchangeable Gold-Backlit Emblems – Show your allegiance in battle.

Razer Synapse 2.0 Enabled – Add and manage multiple devices with Synapse 2.0. Instantly store and access your macros, key bindings, configurations and more from anywhere.

Approximate Weight/Size – 195mm/7.7” x 180mm/7.1” x 100mm/3.9” , 318g/0.70lb

System Requirements – PC with USB port, Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Windows® XP (32-bit), Internet connection (for driver installation), At least 100MB of hard disk space

Testing Methodology

As is always the case here at Bjorn3D the test machine we used to assess the performance of these peripherals is no slouch so as to eliminate any variables concerning system requirements, input lag, or anything of that nature.

SW:TOR Peripherals Test Rig

CPU

Intel Core i7 2700K @ 4.7GHz

Motherboard

Gigabyte Z68-UD7-B3 

Memory

2x4GB G.Skill RIpjaw DDR3 1600

GPU

Powertech Radeon HD 6950 2GB flashed to 6970 

Power

Corsair GS700 700W 

Using this machine we tested all three peripherals simultaneously over the course of approximately six weeks. This extended testing time really gave us the opportunity to sample all three components in a number of games aside from Star Wars: The Old Republic, though we tested extensively with that game also.

Software Tested 

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

Mass Effect 3 

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning 

Team Fortress 2

The games chosen were meant to both test these peripherals in the likely scenario that the reader is playing one of these new and/or popular games and to spread the game types around a bit from MMORPG to action RPG and even full-on FPS.

Results – Mouse & Mousepad

By far the largest chunk of time spent with the mouse was actually in Star Wars: The Old Republic and it is there, and likely in any MMORPG, that one of its features really shines. In an MMORPG or RPG environment such as SW:TOR and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning the more technical specifications of the mouse don’t really have the opportunity to shine due to the unimportance of pinpoint accuracy or superfast polling rates but what does stand out in these environments is the benefit of the 17 buttons on the mouse as well as its interaction with the mousepad.

The effect of the mousepad on the peformance of the mouse simply cannot be understated and we feel that it is something that is overlooked by many gamers. The freedom of having a truly impeccable gaming surface is something that cannot be given up once it has been attained, and that is certainly the case with the Star Wars: The Old Republic mousepad. The hard, slightly textured surface allows the mouse to literally glide across with minimal force which makes quick skillbar clicks or quickshots in FPS all the more accessible.

Using the 12 keys on the left side of the mouse is something that takes a considerable amount of time to learn and become comfortable with, especially comfortable enough with it to perform in high-level Operations and PvP, but once you do familiarize yourself with it your play becomes that much more responsive and smooth. 

Using the Razer Synapse 2.0 software is simple and it allows you to easily and quickly assign key values to each of the 12 side buttons on the mouse so that they might be similarly mapped to your liking in SW:TOR. Synapse 2.0 is really a great driver/software utility that makes managing your enabled peripherals almost totally frustration-free, except on the rare occasion that it crashes or won’t start. In these cases, the mapping will not work, as the program has to be running for it to be enabled.

Due to the universal nature of the keybinds in Synapse 2.0, it allows us to use the button grid in any game we want. Aside from Star Wars: The Old Republic, the button grid came in handy the most in Mass Effect 3 as we were able to map all of our powers to the keys and use them on the fly rather than searching for keyboard keys or shift-pausing to select them.

The only complaint we have about the mouse is that in an area crowded with wireless networks it can intermittently cut out. This isn’t a big deal in most situations or most games, but when playing Star Wars: The Old Republic or especially Team Fortress 2 in a high stress situation, this can mean the different between life or death. 

In terms of battery life we would generally hover around 12 hours of actual play, or slightly less if we left the fancy lights on. The Synapse 2.0 application allows for power-saving options that dim the lights when the mouse is running on battery and that pulsate when the mouse needs to be plugged in, which really helps make the mouse very user-friendly.

Results – Headset

The Star Wars: The Old Republic headset fared favorably in our tests but has one major flaw (at least for us): comfort. We found that the earcups on the headset simply weren’t large enough due to the stylized shape to accommodate the entire ear, which made them on-ear rather than around-ear. They were unbearable to wear after a very short amount of time. While not specifically used in this review, we have used a great deal of popular headsets in the past. That said, we can easily say that this headset is the least comfortable one we have ever worn, and that is truly unfortunate because we like it so much otherwise.

The primary reason we like it aside from the comfort issues is the sound quality produced via USB, which therefore eliminates the potentially expensive step of buying an aftermarket sound card to get features like Dolby Pro Logic IIx. The headset was used in a great deal of Star Wars: The Old Republic during which it did a great job of providing atmospheric, directional sound that really made us feel as though you were in the world in a way that only sound can do. From the various clinks and clunks of a spaceport to the explosions of a full-blown shootouts, the sound effects came through the headset crystal clear, and the microphone works wonderfully also.

Razer Synapse 2.0 also controls the headset and gives users a great range of options including left/right balance, volume controls, lighting controls, and a full equalizer, so that you can fine tune your sound all you like. In the Synapse 2.0 software there are 12 equalizer presets for the user to choose between, as well as custom presets to be made, and the profiles will be remember regardless of where the headset is used due to onboard memory.

Conclusion

The three Star Wars: The Old Republic-branded peripherals we’ve reviewed here today are all excellent products that any true Star Wars fan will love to use and display in their home. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, they are quite functional and are among some of the better peripherals we’ve seen, although perhaps not for the price.

The hardware we’ve looked at today is certainly aimed at the ‘enthusiast’ market as the prices for the mouse, mousepad, and headset leave a lot to be desired. That isn’t to say that they aren’t worth the cost, but there is going to need to be a great deal of subjectivity involved in the purchase of these to justify their cost as, Star Wars enthusiasm aside, there are better items out there for cheaper, many made by Razer themselves.

OUR VERDICT: SW:TOR Gaming Mouse
Performance 9
Value 6
Quality 9
Features 8
Innovation 7
We are using a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
Total 8
Pros Cons

Performs well across a variety of game types

Extremely solid construction

Star Wars aesthetics are well-done

Noticeably smooth and precise, especially combined with the mat

Short battery life for a mouse

Wireless connectivity issues in areas dense with interference

 

 

Summary: The Razer Star Wars: The Old Republic mouse performs as we would expect as it is largely a rehash of the Razer Naga. Between the Star Wars branding, solid construction, and well-done button grid it earns a Bjorn3D Bronze Bear Award.

 

OUR VERDICT: SW:TOR Gaming Mat
Performance 10
Value 6
Quality 10
Features 10
Innovation 8
We are using a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
Total 9
Pros Cons

Performs well across a variety of game types

Star Wars aesthetics are well-done

Extremely Solid construction

Price is a bit high for some

 

 

Summary: The Razer Star Wars: The Old Republic Gaming Mat surprised us the most of the three pieces on review today, as it really showcases the benefits of having a truly well-made gaming mousepad. Due to its undeniably sturdy construction and excellent design we are proud to present the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.

 

OUR VERDICT: SW:TOR Gaming Headset
Performance 9
Value 5
Quality 8
Features 8
Innovation 7
We are using a new addition to our scoring system to provide additional feedback beyond a flat score. Please note that the final score isn’t an aggregate average of the new rating system.
Total 7
Pros Cons

Performs well across a variety of game types and music

Directional audio is excellently implemented

No need for an expensive sound card

Crystal clear microphone

Well-done Star Wars theme

Solidly constructed

Unbearably uncomfortable after a very short amount of time

Lights on underside of earcups can be a bit bright at times

High price

 

 

Summary: The Razer Star Wars: The Old Republic headset provides players with a stylish way to communicate with great clarity, and to hear sounds from any direction with pinpoint accuracy. While the audio quality and branding of the headset are very unique and appealing, the comfort issue is something we keep coming back to.

 

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE