When it comes to gaming mice these days, there are a few main concerns that pop out. Does it have RGB? Does it have extra buttons for that unfair advantage? What about the sensor? Well, let’s take a look at the brand new ASUS ROG Pugio – a gaming mouse that’s announced earlier this year.
But first, here’s a video of the entire unboxing and dismantling of the ASUS ROG Pugio!
In the year 2017, there are a few things that need to be shown off at the front of the packaging right away. Firstly is obviously RGB – which the ASUS ROG Pugio is showing it off proudly.
Secondly, showing off the mouse itself. This is a pretty standard practice among peripheral manufacturers nowadays as there will be a flap that opens up a window for you to look and grab the shape of the mouse. Still, I have no idea why ASUS didn’t go for the ROG Buzzard’s packaging style where there’s a cutout on the box itself. That way, you can actually grab the mouse as if you’re actually using the mouse!
At the back of the ASUS ROG Pugio’s packaging is where the major feature highlights are present. Again, RGB lighting with a rather interesting choice of feature – modular side buttons. Also, just like the ASUS ROG Gladius II that we reviewed here, it has a hot-swappable switch for both left and right click. I think this is the first time we’ve seen this feature present outside of the ASUS ROG Gladius lineup of gaming mice.
Digging everything out of the box, it actually looks familiar if you’ve seen our Gladius and Gladius II reviews. You still get a deck of paperwork, an adhesive ROG badge, and a carrying pouch – but this time you also get a little case that holds the extra switch and swappable side buttons. Unfortunately, there’s no second USB cable as the ASUS ROG Pugio’s cable is “permanently” attached.
Why the quotation marks? More on this later 😉
Honestly speaking, the ASUS ROG Pugio looks absolutely stunning with those 3 separated lighting zones. Seriously, it looks absolutely gorgeous with those geometric lines.
With its separated left and right clickers, the ASUS ROG Pugio is definitely satisfying to click with.
As you might have known by looking at the top-down pictures of the mouse, the ASUS ROG Pugio is indeed symmetrical. By symmetrical, ASUS also made it an ambidextrous mouse.
Of course, ASUS didn’t just make a symmetrical mouse and call it an ambidextrous mouse. They’ve even mirrored the side buttons too, and these 4 side buttons can be customized! No – not only that they’re software-customizable, but hardware-customizable too!
The ASUS ROG Pugio is a gorgeously RGB-fied ambidextrous mouse
If you’re a right-handed user (like a majority of users) and never want to strain your hand and use the right-sided buttons, then swap those two buttons on the right side with the one large piece. That’ll disable both right-sided clickers.
Come to think of it, it does seem like the ASUS ROG Pugio’s idea and concept is inspired by the Logitech G900 – another ambidextrous mouse with swappable buttons.
With all of these said… how does the ASUS ROG Pugio actually fare out in day-to-day use?
Using the ASUS ROG Gladius II
At first glance, the ASUS ROG Pugio is a tiny mouse – and it is! The Pugio is indeed made for those with a smaller hand but it’s not as simple as that.
That is after an initial look from top to bottom with a 2-dimensional view. Once I laid my hands on it, the ASUS ROG Pugio is actually pretty huge at the rear – which pretty much disables claw grip right away.
That said, these side buttons are pretty trigger-happy. It’s very light and very tactile in both sound and feel. As the ASUS ROG Pugio is indeed a symmetrical mouse with two buttons on both sides, it’s actually pretty easy to accidentally press the wrong side of those side buttons.
The ASUS ROG Pugio’s modularity and ambidexterity is quite similar with the Logitech G900.
Of course, these buttons are swappable. Just swap it with the included piece and that’ll disable the trigger-happy side buttons – which I highly recommend.
The Logitech G900 has a smaller butt (area around the palm) and that didn’t cause any strain on my hand when I tried to use it whatever grip while utilizing all of the 4 side buttons. However, because of the Pugio’s big butt, it’s pretty much impossible to utilize all 4 of the side buttons without accidentally hammering them.
Oh – the ASUS ROG Pugio doesn’t have swappable USB cable. Or I should say, not easily accessible – which leads us to the next segment.
Hot-swapping switches & USB cable?
Yes! Just like the Gladius II that we took a look here, the ASUS ROG Pugio does indeed have interchangeable left and right click switches. So how do we actually access it? To my surprise, pretty similar to the Gladius II. Remove 4 of those screw plugs and unscrew those 4 Philips screws.
After that, lift the butt a little and push it inwards from the front of the scroll wheel area. It’ll separate into two pieces – but be careful not to damage the dangling wire!
What switch is included with the Pugio? The same as what we found in the Gladius II, actually. You can also rip off the switch insert the new one into the socket effortlessly like the Gladius II.
By looking at the internals, I can say that the ASUS ROG Pugio is highly serviceable even if you don’t have the expertise. I’m not just referring to how easy it is to swap the left and right click switch as we’ve seen on the Gladius II, but other components as well.
For example, the DPI switch is connected to the main board through a 4-pin connector. You can customize that. Don’t like those trigger-happy side buttons? Well, they’re just soldered on the board itself at a very specific height. With the right expertise, it can be desoldered and replaced easily.
The one piece of modularity where the ASUS ROG Pugio redeems itself is that USB cable. It’s plugged into the board inside the Pugio through a 5-pin cable.
Technically that means the USB cable is replaceable – but finding the appropriate parts to fit in as nicely or tidily as the original will definitely be a challenge.
Surprise, surprise (or not) – the ASUS ROG Pugio works under the exact same software as the ROG Gladius II too. It’s called the ROG Armoury. Right here you have all of these options ranging from the RGB LED controls (still waiting for the lighting effect speed, by the way), macros, reprogramming each individual buttons, and a lot more bells and whistles.
Settings were consistent across all of the ASUS gaming mice so far too – ranging from the original Gladius to the Gladius II and now, the Pugio.
By the way, remember those trigger-happy side buttons that I mentioned? You can disable one of the buttons via software too. That way you have a total of 3 side buttons instead of disabling these side buttons in pairs of 2 outright.
As of now, ASUS did not disclose what is the exact sensor brand and model that is used in the Pugio – but that’s not really the main focus. If the sensor is fantastic but the ergonomics, build quality, or features are crap, then there’s no point either.
Wrapping up the ASUS ROG Pugio
All I can say here is this – the ASUS ROG Pugio offers something unique. It’s symmetrical and made for ambidextrous people. It has modular side buttons to maximize your user experience. Equipped with gorgeous RGB LED light zones, the Pugio is indeed beautiful.
However, due to the nature of its design, it’s meant for someone who has smaller hands and uses palm or fingertip grip. And with those trigger-happy side buttons – better make sure to adapt to them if you’re going to use all 4 of them. Else, disable one side entirely or render one of the button useless.
It’s priced at USD $10 lower than the ASUS ROG Gladius II that we’ve taken a look here, which is understandable since the Pugio is quite similar in terms of features. However, as a personal advice from me, never judge a mouse on its features.
You’ll have to grab it with your own hands to get a feel of it.
Where to buy?
To be honest, it’s not available in Malaysia yet.
But it is available at Amazon US for $89.90 right now!