Watch how you play, as you play


WE’RE IN AGREE­MENT with Mionix when it comes to the mouse mar­ket: It’s stag­nat­ing. It's noth­ing more than a gen­tly flow­ing stream, pro­duc­ing slightly dif­fer­ent it­er­a­tions of the same prod­uct each and every year. There’s no in­no­va­tion. Noth­ing new, noth­ing truly in­ter­est­ing.

Per­haps the mouse has reached its end goal. Per­haps there is noth­ing more to do but re­it­er­ate on the de­sign. Mionix doesn’t think so. The Naos QG is the first mouse we’ve seen since the in­tro­duc­tion of the laser sen­sor—which shifted away from the un­wieldy ball—to truly re­think what you can do with the wily pe­riph­eral. In­deed, a heart rate sen­sor and GSR (gal­vanic skin re­sponse) sen­sor hardly seem like ob­vi­ous ad­di­tions, but the more you think about it, the more they make sense.

Con­sider be­ing able to track your heart rate while you’re us­ing your com­puter, di­rectly link­ing and synch­ing pro­grams up with it. Whether that’s for health rea­sons, or purely for en­ter­tain­ment, it’s an in­ter­est­ing con­cept. Link a game to a heart rate sen­sor, and you could have it re­act ac­cord­ing to how you’re be­hav­ing. Take a hor­ror ti­tle, for in­stance. Things be­com­ing a lit­tle too in­tense? Knock it down a notch. Feel­ing calm? Send more jump scares. Ob­vi­ously, that could be­come a lit­tle dan­ger­ous for the end user in terms of po­ten­tial health is­sues….

The Naos QG comes loaded with th­ese sen­sors: one IR-based heart rate sen­sor to the left-hand side of your right palm, and the GSR to your right. It’s cer­tainly an ex­pe­ri­ence—with an Over­wolf over­lay on screen, you can see your heart­beat dis­played as you play or wan­der around your desk­top. In game, it is some­what un­nerv­ing to see how your body re­acts. As your hairs stand on end due to the ter­ri­fy­ing scenes held within each ti­tle, the mouse de­tects the changes, and vast spikes run­ning along the out­side of the edge of the over­lay make it painfully ap­par­ent that you’re some­what ruf­fled. Those watch­ing can im­me­di­ately tell. And that brings us to who this was ini­tially de­signed for: stream­ers and con­tent cre­ators. It adds an­other layer for the au­di­ence to view your re­ac­tion, an­other way for them to see how you re­spond in those of­ten ter­ri­fy­ing player ex­pe­ri­ences. NICE MICE? That aside, this is still an er­gonom­i­cally well-crafted tool. For right-han­ders only, un­for­tu­nately, the Naos sup­ports your ring fin­ger and pinky, nestling you into place nat­u­rally. It’s big—bulkier than the Cas­tor—but still feels quick and ag­ile enough to ping even the most grace­ful of head­shots into the skull of your op­po­nent’s avatar. The RGB light­ing is there, of course, along with the other fea­tures you’d ex­pect from any mouse, in­clud­ing ad­just­ments to polling rates, DPI, and lift-off sen­si­tiv­ity. Along­side that, the Naos has a soft-touch rub­ber­ized gray fin­ish, mak­ing it re­sis­tant to grease and sweat, while still pro­vid­ing you with an in­trigu­ingly dif­fer­ent non­black/white de­vice—it’s a sub­tle color, al­most look­ing as though it’s still in its ini­tial con­cept phase.

Is it flaw­less? No, not on your life. The soft­ware is still in its in­fancy, and the heart rate sen­sor is jit­tery. Some­times, you go from 70bpm to 150bpm, even while on desk­top, with lit­tle to no ex­pla­na­tion, even af­ter re­mov­ing your hand from the mouse. Other times, it reg­is­ters your heart rate at 40bpm. It’s not fre­quent enough to make it a par­tic­u­larly frus­trat­ing is­sue, and no doubt it’ll be some­thing that’s ironed out in firmware and soft­ware up­dates, but it is still a con­cern.

Is this a good mouse? Yes, very much so. It’s cur­rently tar­geted at a very niche au­di­ence, but as it is some­what of an open stan­dard, with a set of open APIs, it may very well be some­thing that we see a lot more of go­ing for­ward. And that’s no bad thing in our book. –ZAK STOREY

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