The Razer Naga has been long held up as a gold standard for gaming mice highly specialized for a role outside of that typical for the market. The Naga's distinctive adaptation - an array of twelve thumb buttons all of which can be reassigned independently - saw it succeed as the first mouse designed specifically for the challenges of MMO gaming. Since its release in 2009 the Naga has undergone subtle refreshes more concerned with internal components than shape, leading to a consistent design up until the 2012 variant.
However they've not had it all their own way in recent months. Razer has been pressed hard by accomplished Logitech's G600, a design which certainly evokes the Naga but with the comfort of learning from the Naga's missteps in the past few years. A wide-ranging refresh was therefore probably warranted, not just to prove once again that they were the market leader, but also show that they hadn't lost their edge in innovation. With that in mind they're hitting the market hard with the newest Naga - coined the Razer Naga 2014 - the range's first substantial redesign and including changes to shape, layout, internal components; the works.
Razer have noted the differences between old and new on the Naga microsite, and they're cumulatively pretty significant:
Mechanical 12 button thumb grid
The Naga moves to a mechanical button grid from flat membrane, providing a tactile and audible response. The shape of the panel holding the buttons has also changed, from convex to concave for an arrangement which should prove to make differentiating between buttons easier - always a worry with these sorts of designs.
Tilt-click scroll wheel
Introduction of a tilting scroll wheel for two additional macro/function bindings and a little productivity improvement if it's also a factor in your work.
The shape of the overall chassis has also been redesigned to better fit the hand whilst remaining fairly light-weight.
In-game MMO configurator
On the software side Razer have updated their configuration software to better integrate it into MMOs, allowing you to bind keys in-game via a streamlined overlay.
Perhaps most noteworthy however is the introduction of a left-handed Naga. Whilst 10% of the population are left-handed they have traditionally been poorly catered to by the peripheral market, especially in the arena of gaming mice. Given the niche nature of the Naga it may seem like an odd decision, but in theory it will effectively corner the left-handed MMO mouse market for Razer. Plus, the goodwill engendered by simply releasing a left-handed gaming mouse can't be neglected.
One other interesting point to mention is that the Synapse 2.0 software also allows inter-device communication between Razer peripherals. Picking up matched hardware allows each peripheral to modify properties of the other, whether it be changing keyboard profiles on the mouse or mouse DPI level through a keyboard modifier. ROCCAT advertised this type of feature as a game changer in their own range (although in fairness ROCCAT Talk is more wide-ranging), so it's interesting to see Razer underplay it.
The Naga 2014 is retailing direct from Razer's online store for $79.99, the same price as the well-regarded Naga Hex. This should translate to an approx. UK street price of £69.99