Oct 15, 2018 Written by: Hilko_Black

Shapeshifting with the ROG Strix Evolve gaming mouse

Article Tags: Hands On

People love ergonomic mice because they’re more comfortable for long gaming sessions. The downside is that by definition an ergonomic mouse is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If you build a mouse for righties, you alienate the roughly 10% of the population who are left handed, and of course all users have their own preferences about the specific shape and feel of their mouse. What's comfortable varies from one user to the next, and that makes it hard to build a great ambidextrous gaming mouse. The ROG Strix Evolve neatly side-steps this conundrum with an innovative design that allows you to change the shape of the mouse to fit you. 

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Four-way, your way

The shape of the Evolve can be configured in multiple ways thanks to modular covers that can be easily swapped out. It comes with four removable top covers, each with a different shape, and you can mix and match them to come up with whatever shape feels best under your fingers. Two of the covers are low-profile while the other pair are higher profile, so you can go for uniformity, or mix a low-profile cover with a high-profile cover for a more ergonomic shape.

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Changing out the covers takes just a few seconds, allowing you to freely experiment with different combinations (though you should unplug the mouse from your PC while you change covers to prevent accidental clicks). Gently pry the cover from the back of the mouse, where the palm rest meets the LED lighting strip. It will pop right off. When you put a cover on, be sure to line up the post on the cover with the hole in the mouse towards the front, and then snap the back of it into place.

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I like a little shape on my mouse, so I settled on an asymmetrical combo with a high-profile cover on the left and a low-profile cover on the right. This setup puts my index finger and thumb in a position that is both comfortable and gives me a strong grip, while allowing my middle and ring fingers to bunch a bit closer together for some added grip strength on the right side of the mouse.

The Strix Evolve is light but full-bodied at just 100g and 125 x 65 x 41mm, so although it doesn’t take much to whip it around the mouse mat, having the right balance is an important part of feeling in control of your movements. You’ll find the mix of covers that works for you. The size and shape of your hand and your preferred grip will inform what you like best, but virtually everyone will find a balance that feels right.

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Buttoned up

There are numerous buttons on the Strix Evolve. The standard left and right buttons have Omron switches that will last for more than 50 million clicks. The click wheel has an Alps encoder and offers a tactile scroll with a soft, rubber cover that feels gentle under your finger. The patterned design on the wheel matches the Mayan-inspired rubber sides for added grip and style. There’s also a two-stage DPI button tucked in directly behind the wheel. This position means you won’t accidentally bump it but can still easily slide your finger back to click it when you need to.

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Forward and back navigation buttons on both sides of the Strix Evolve accommodate both right- and left-handed users. This sort of arrangement can sometimes be problematic due to inadvertent clicks when your hand is wrapped around the mouse, but I had no problems with accidental presses. The button placement on the Evolve is at the very top of the thumb rest on either side, so there’s plenty of room for your fingers to grip the mouse without colliding with the buttons.

Taking control

If you want to totally eliminate the possibility of any accidental clicks, you can disable the buttons in the ROG Armoury II software. With the app open, click the Buttons tab, select "Right" below the GUI of the mouse, and then click “9 Backward.” Under the “Change to be” drop-down menu, select Disable. Repeat for the button labeled “10 Forward.”

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Armoury II is for more than just disabling buttons, though. You can assign any of the buttons to perform nearly any mouse function. You can also assign keyboard functions, Windows shortcuts, media controls, and macros. Having so many buttons to tinker with opens up some intriguing possibilities for games. I like to map the “r” key on my keyboard to one of the right-side buttons so I can reload during the heat of combat without having to take a finger off of the WASD cluster. I'll also assign a key that triggers a special move or power to the second side button, like left Shift for sprinting in Fortnite. For your life as a productive worker, you can load all those buttons up with macros. I have an Alt + Tab macro assigned to an extra mouse button, but you could also dial Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V into adjacent buttons to streamline your workflow.

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With all the settings tuned to my liking, I was ready for a firefight, and this is where the two-stage DPI switcher came in handy. Although the optical sensor can handle up to 7200 DPI, I dialed it down to 2500 DPI for fast-paced shooting games and 1000 DPI for actions like sniping. Tracking was smooth and precise as I played my through a few of my favorite games, and having a single button to toggle between just two DPI settings is way better than having two buttons that click through multiple DPI steps. I didn’t have to think about whether I was bumping the DPI up or down, or which button I was hitting, which made on-the-fly DPI changes much easier. 

Let there be light(s)

The ROG Strix Evolve has rather understated lighting, but there are extensive options for customization here, too. A sliver of light between the two top covers runs perpendicular to a rim of light around the back edge of the palm rest. You can leave the color static or enact effects that include Breathing, Color Cycle, and Reactive, and brightness can be adjusted in five steps from 100% down to 0%, too. If you want a specific color out of the 16.8 million possibilities, you can punch in R, G, and B numbers in the text boxes next to the color wheel. When you’ve made your selections, click Save. The ROG Strix Evolve is also Aura Sync compatible, so you can match your lighting configurations across all of your compatible ASUS peripherals and devices.

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Armoury II allows you to save up to three profiles so you have all your carefully selected settings at the ready any time. You might keep one for your workplace macros and another configuration for flashy lights and button assignments for games. The profiles are saved directly onto the mouse’s onboard storage, which means they’ll be there if you plug it into another PC. To switch between them in a flash, press the DPI button plus the back button, forward button, or scroll wheel in turn to change to Profile 1, 2, or 3, respectively.

  ROG Strix Evolve
Sensor PixArt PMW3330 (optical)
Maximum Resolution 7200 DPI
Dimensions 125 x 65 x 41 mm
Weight 100 g (without cable)
Price $69.99 USD / $89.99 CAD
Availability (US) ASUS Store
Newegg
Amazon
B&H
Micro Center
Best Buy
Availability (Canada) Canada Computers
Amazon

Weapon of choice

The ability to modify the Strix Evolve’s external shape, combined with endless button configurations, macros, and lighting effects, make for a tremendously flexible ambidextrous gaming mouse. You can get your own ROG Strix Evolve for $69.99 in the U.S. and $89.99 in Canada from the retailers listed in the table above. Gamers in other regions should check with their local ROG representative for details on local pricing and availability.

Article Tags: Hands On
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