Razer Basilisk Ultimate Review

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅30-07-21

Upon running the Basilisk Ultimate’s unified driver package you’ll be prompted to install three different utilities: Razer Cortex, Razer Central, and Razer Synapse. Only the latter is necessary to manage the mouse, others are optional and add marginal functionality.

Razer Cortex is one of an increasing number of bundled apps that will detect and manage your installed games. It also offers generalised performance optimisations for resource-hungry apps and games using a system they’re calling ‘Boost’ that can be automatically launched alongside a game, disabling superfluous system resource hogs at the same time.

Cortex’s optimisation controls are pretty granular and may be worth investigating if your system is in need of a little more oomph to get comfortable frame rates. That said, we experienced some minor issues with video stuttering in Chrome when running alongside a game with optimisations enabled, indicating that multitasking with Cortex is not desirable.

Razer Synapse is the unified configuration app. for Razer peripherals, encompassing sensor settings, button bindings and macros while also linking the Chroma lighting studio. Synapse also manages linked modules for 3rd party software integration such as Amazon Alexa, Nanoleaf and Philips HUE.

Razer Central brings it all together, integrating it all into the system tray and providing a framework for monitoring software updates and notifications. To use Central to its fullest you’ll need a Razer ID but effectively all of the baked-in hardware capabilities of each peripheral is available without a login.

Cortex and 3rd Party modules are beyond the scope of this review. We’ll be focussing on Synapse as it pertains to the Basilisk Ultimate.

Upon launching Synapse you’ll be presented with the Dashboard where you can select the peripheral you want to manage, Module you wish to launch, or online service you’d like to take advantage of (e.g. product registration, support, or the Razer Silver & Gold rewards program). Any third party Chroma Connect compatible devices connected to your system will also be shown here, for example an ASRock motherboard with RGB support in the above image.

From this page you can also configure Global Shortcuts, keyboard and mouse shortcuts that will persist across all device profiles. Key functionality such as profile cycling is the obvious one to highlight, but other aspects including DPI Sensitivity Clutch levels, macros and more are all aspects of the hardware that can be made consistent whatever the active profile.

Clicking on a given device or the tab option at the top of the window brings you to its configuration page. The Basilisk Ultimate has five config. groups, split as separate tabs, which you can tinker with on a per-profile bases:

Customise organises bindings for each of the 11 programmable buttons.

Performance sets key configuration parameters including DPI Stages and polling rate.

Lighting gets a tab to itself, with links to more advanced effects available through Chroma Studio.

Calibration helps you to calibrate the mouse sensor to your mouse mat(s), ensuring optimum mousing.

Power defines the threshold at which Low Battery Mode is active and sleep state timer.

Customising each button binding is simple. Clicking on each opens up a sidebar listing the wide variety of available options including keyboard/mouse defaults, macros and wider device settings including lighting schema.

The DPI Toggle button is here listed as the Sensitivity Clutch, and it has its own default binding and setting section. As with all the buttons here it’s of course fully bindable to other functionality.

The Performance tab is perhaps the second most important as it specifies the number of DPI stages and their sensitivity on a per-profile basis, but you shouldn't discount the Lighting and Power tabs. Note also that the Calibration tab allows you to set a manual lift-off distance which might be valuable in some instances.

Razer Hypershift

HyperShift is an optional modifier that triggers alternative behaviour for each button, similar to a keyboard’s Shift key. MMO gamers in particular will seek to take advantage of this feature as they clamour for more viable button assignments to accommodate an ever-growing list of skills. To view the HyperShift bindings click the button below the model of the mouse labelled 'Standard'.

By using HyperShift to its fullest you unlock 11 additional binds (the LMB optional keybind becomes available in this mode), doubling the total available. HyperShift can also be triggered across compatible devices, i.e. activating it on the mouse can make it apply to keyboard shortcuts and visa versa. The default behaviour of each button is unchanged so you don’t have to go through the hassle of making new assignments for each available slot, just the ones you wish to modify.


Macro creation and editing is handled solely on the Macro page with a master list of each available to the user. Macros can be recorded here, with each keystroke and button press sequence stored ready for later adjustments, or specific actions can be inserted including text strings and even Run Commands.

Once stored, the UI will also indicate how many bindings the Macro is stored to on a given device, and what those devices are. This is an excellent troubleshooting feature we can’t recall seeing elsewhere that will make hunting down rogue keybinds far easier than might otherwise be the case.


Razer’s approach to software customisation is almost utilitarian, prioritising function over fancy UI elements made in furtherance of ‘the brand’. Because of this Synapse is straightforward to use without any key feature being hidden away behind a menu or at the end of a long scrolled list. Overall it’s a credit to the manufacturer.

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