Razer Basilisk Essential review: The new king of $50 gaming mice
A less expensive version of the Basilisk that's almost as good.
In late 2017, Razer introduced the Basilisk, a gaming mouse that we defined as almost perfect. That stands true to this day, but rather than replace it, Razer has just introduced a more budget-friendly version.
The Basilisk Essential keeps most of what makes the Basilisk such a brilliant gaming mouse, while shaving back some of the hardware and with it, the price. The new one costs just $50 and frankly, it's hard to think of a better mouse for that money right now.
Bottom line: Almost as good as the regular Basilisk but with a more wallet-friendly price.
- Extremely comfortable
- Responsive optical sensor
- Great price
- Removable paddle
- No left-handed version
- No detachable USB cable
- No onboard storage
What you'll like about the Razer Basilisk Essential
The key is that the Basilisk Essential is exactly what the name might imply. Firstly, it's a Basilisk, which immediately means this is a gaming mouse you need to make time for.
This sentence from our review of the original Basilisk sums it up:
Take $20 off the price and you arrive at the Basilisk Essential. It still has Chroma, it still has the exact same design, removable paddle and Razer's mechanical mice switches.
You don't lose a lot, either. You only have a single removable paddle, there's no choice in length anymore, but it's still customizable. My personal favorite for this is as a push to talk shortcut for Discord chat, but FPS fans will appreciate applying DPI shift to it, slowing your DPI right down for those sniping situations.
The gaming-grade sensor has a lower DPI at 6,400 compared to 16,000 on the regular model, but for most that will still be plenty for most. It's not Razer's 5G optical sensor, but it's still very good. It tracks well and is super responsive. And, like the regular Basilisk, the Essential has 1000 Hz Ultrapolling.
However, the Basilisk Essential houses a bunch of great hardware. The scroll wheel has a nice tactile feel to it and the rubber grips on each outer edge ensure a firm hold in the heat of battle.
Despite being a fairly chunky mouse, the Basilisk Essential is extremely light. Paired with the thumb grip keeping your digit away from the mouse pad you get minimal drag and a really agile mouse as you're flying around the mouse pad. I've been using the Basilisk Essential in conjunction with a Razer Goliathus mousepad and I can only liken the experience to sliding across a smooth sheet of ice.
The Basilisk Essential also benefits from Synapse 3 support, which is good for not only syncing your lighting, but getting the most from the mouse. It's where you'll assign dedicated functions or macros to your mouse buttons, as well as setting up your DPI stages and more.
Despite not being quite as advanced as its sibling, there's no doubting that the Basilisk Essential is a truly outstanding gaming mouse.
What you'll dislike about the Razer Basilisk Essential
There's not a whole lot to dislike, just as with the regular Basilisk. Perhaps the biggest criticism is the exclusively right-handed design. Most mice are still geared towards right-handers, but there's no left-handed version of the Basilisk Essential at this time.
It's also only available in wired form, which is fine, but the USB cable doesn't detach at all. When you're at your desk that's not a problem, but if you're a laptop gamer on the go, being able to pull it out and stow it separately would have been a nice touch.
There's also no onboard storage on the Basilisk Essential, which considering a fairly small price decrease is all you get over the regular model we'd have like to have seen included. Onboard storage means you can set up the mouse with your favorite profiles for lighting and button configuration and then use it with other PCs without the need to log in to Synapse and re-sync everything.
The omission of the 5G sensor and extra paddle alone could amount to the $20 price cut, so it's disappointing not to have this.
Should you buy the Razer Basilisk Essential
This is a a truly excellent gaming mouse, made even more remarkable by its attractive $50 asking price. The regular Basilisk is still better overall, but it's also more expensive, and in most cases what the Essential loses probably won't matter.
It's so comfortable to use, with an incredible design and such a light weight that it dances across the mousepad. Whether working or gaming, it's one of the finest experiences you'll find.
I do, however, feel that there could have been more from the regular Basilisk brought over considering the fairly slim $20 price difference. The lack of onboard storage is a little disappointing, likewise that there's no version for left-handed people.
The Basilisk is an almost perfect gaming mouse, and the Basilisk Essential is nearly as good. If you're happy with the compromises, it's hard to find a better mouse for $50 right now.
Less expensive, still a Basilisk
It's not quite as good as the regular Basilisk, but it's most of the way there while being kinder to your wallet.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine