Sep 14, 2018 Written by:ASUS

The ROG Pugio gaming mouse is all about customization

Article Tags: Hands On

asus pugio gaming mouse

Too often, gaming mice are the result of compromises and lowest common denominators in an effort to please every type of gamer. When you play that game, though, sometimes you end up with a product that pleases no one. Creating a mouse design that will work for both right- and left-handed people is tricky. You need a symmetrical body, and if you want to include forward and back navigation buttons on the side, you have to put them on both sides. That means whichever hand you game with, your ring finger is constantly bumping extra buttons you won't ever use. And then you have the issue of the primary left and right buttons, which many users wish they could adjust, too.

The ROG Pugio is an ambidextrous mouse that starts with a balanced design and allows end users to make the final decisions on the specifics relating to nav button placement and primary button feel. The symmetrical body features a narrow front and full palm rest, while the sides are rubberized to ensure a secure grip, even if you’re sweating through an intense game. The Pugio has a bit of heft that feels great when you’re sliding it around a mousepad, but it’s not so heavy that your wrist ever gets tired. This balanced design is augmented by a modular approach that allows you to configure the buttons on the left and right sides and swappable Omron switches for the primary buttons.

Click it and click it again

Durability is crucial for mouse buttons. You don't want them to wear out and become less responsive over time. The buttons on the Pugio are rated for 50 million clicks, so you don't need to worry about wear, but you may want to swap out the switches for a totally different reason. Like mechanical keyboards, mice have mechanical switches with differing weights and feels. The Pugio is equipped with our push-fit sockets that let you swap in your preferred mouse switches so that the click of the buttons is exactly what you want. 

The default Omron switches have a blue stem and a light but audible click on both the press and release. The replacement set of switches come in a little case and have a fuller, almost thocky click that’s more pronounced on the rebound. You’ll want to experiment with both to get a sense of what you prefer. If you like, you can even use one type for the left click button and pop in the other type for the right. If you want to explore a bit further, the Pugio is compatible with a wide range of standard D2F and D2FC switches, so you can buy additional switches online. 

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Swapping the switches is neither difficult nor time-consuming, but you will need a couple of tools. Be sure the Pugio is unplugged from your PC before you begin. Use a small spudger or flat head screwdriver to pop off the four round rubber feet on the underside of mouse. Then, use a regular-sized Phillips head screwdriver to remove the four screws holding the mouse chassis together. Keep track of these tiny pieces.

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Next, gently lift the top of the mouse from the rear end and pull it slightly back. Don't tug too hard, or you'll pull out the cable that connects the top to the bottom. You do actually need to remove that cable manually, but do so by gripping the plug connecting the DPI indicator to the bottom part of the mouse and wiggle it gently until it’s free.

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You can pull the switches out with your fingertips. Make sure to pull on the switch itself, not the switch socket. Take the new switch, and with the colored piece to the front, line up the three pins and the three holes, and gently but firmly push the switch into place. All that's left after that is to reconnect the cable and put everything back together again. This whole process takes less than 10 minutes.

Switching sides

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Customizing button feel is one thing, but ambidextrous mice often have extraneous side buttons you don't need. One workaround is to disable the offending buttons, but a better solution is to let you choose where you want the buttons in the first place. 

By default, there are two buttons each on the right and left sides of the Pugio that are programmed for forward and backward navigation. Because I’m right-handed, I don’t want any nav buttons on the right side of the mouse. Thanks to a bit of brilliant engineering, the solution is elegantly simple: The buttons are attached by magnets, and can be replaced with one long button cover, which also attaches magnetically and makes it impossible to click either of the switches underneath. You can store whatever buttons you're not using in the case with your spare set of switches. 

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This way, you don’t have to go into the ROG Armoury II software to reassign the function of the buttons unless you want to. If you are looking to assign specialized functions, Armoury II makes it easy to customize any of the Pugio's buttons. Open the software and you'll be greeted by a picture of the mouse along with tabs for adjusting Buttons, Performance, Lighting, and Calibration. If you want to disable the side buttons, you'll find what you need under the Buttons tab. Click Left underneath the mouse graphic, then click the Backward and Forward buttons and select Disable under the “Button change to be” drop-down menu. Repeat this for for the Right side.

While you’re in there, you can assign functions to the left click, right click, scroll up, scroll down, scroll click, DPI switch, and all four of the side buttons. You can save up to three different profiles so your settings are ready for you anytime you want them. These settings are stored on the mouse, so you don't need to tweak your settings if you switch from laptop to desktop.

Lighting sighting

The Pugio has three RGB lighting zones with Aura Sync support. The click wheel has a ring of lights, and the illuminated ROG logo on the palm rest offers a striking contrast to the metallic gunmetal gray finish. The whole back of the mouse is rimmed in light. A glowing strip neatly divides the rubberized Mayan-inspired side panels from the palm rest. The zones are all evenly lit for a consistent glow with no dim spots. This was no easy feat, especially for the sharp corners of the RGB zone on the palm rest. Ensuring the lighting at each of those corners was perfectly balanced required careful work.

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Just as you can configure your button assignments in ROG Armoury II, you can also play with the lighting. Open the software and click the Lighting tab. With a click, you can employ different modes like Breathing, Static, Reactive, and more. You can also select the brightness, the speed of the various effects you employ, the direction they move, and (of course) the color. 

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Click Logo, Scroll Wheel, or Base to customize the lighting for each, or simply ensure the Sync All Areas option is toggled on in the software to keep everything uniform. I’m a fan of keeping all three areas synced for the sake of consistency, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t often set it to the default rainbow setting. I have the effect set to Breathing for a little movement in my glow, and it looks awesome in the darkness of my gaming room. You can also synchronize your favorite colors and effects with a host of Aura Sync-enabled devices and peripherals to coordinate lighting effects across your entire system. 

Sensitivity on speed dial

PixArt's 7,200-DPI PMW3330 optical sensor offers smooth precise tracking, and Armoury II allows you to dial in the DPI according to your preference. There's even a dedicated DPI switch located behind the scroll wheel for flipping back and forth between two different DPI settings, so you can handily switch between your preferred settings for work and play. 

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The Pugio will track masterfully out of the box, though to ensure optimal precision you should use the calibration tool to maximize accuracy based on the surface you’re using. Click the Calibration tab in Armoury II and tick the box next to Enable Surface Calibration. Here you can select from a wide variety of preset surfaces, including a range of ROG surfaces as well as generic cloth, plastic, glass, or metal mousepads. 

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For manual calibration, the software will ask you to choose between Low, Medium, or High liftoff distance, and then as you move the cursor, it will scan the surface the mouse is on. Liftoff distance, or LOD, is one of those aspects of mousing that differs dramatically from person to person and mouse to mouse. A relatively light mouse with a deep concavity on the sides for easy grip might have a high LOD, whereas a heavy mouse might end up with very low LOD because it’s not as easy to pick it up while you game. Every gamer is different, of course, but whether you’re more of a lifter than a slider, the calibration tool will help you get the best accuracy out of the Pugio.

Your mouse, your choice

The ROG Pugio gives you a multitude of options to tailor your mouse exactly to your tastes. Swappable switches with pushfit sockets make swapping out switches to find the perfect sound and feel really easy, and the modular design lets you determine your own placement for additional navigation buttons. It's all wrapped up in a distinctly ROG design with Aura Sync, and further button configuration, macro recording, and lighting options through ROG Armoury II make the Pugio a truly customizable mouse for any type of gamer. The Pugio is priced at $89.99 USD and $119.99 CAD and is available in North America from the retailers listed in the table below. Gamers in other regions should check with their local ROG representative for details on local pricing and availability.

  ROG Pugio
Sensor PixArt PMW3330 (optical)
Maximum Resolution 7,200 DPI
Dimensions 120 x 68 x 37 mm
Weight 103 g (without cable)
Price $89.99 USD / $119.99 CAD
Availability (US) ASUS Store
Micro Center
Best Buy
Availability (Canada) Amazon
Memory Express
Mike's Computer Shop


Article Tags: Hands On
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