Microsoft’s latest Sidewinder mouse, the X8, combines a wireless design with the latest in optical sensor technology. Sporting a proprietary BlueTrack sensor, the X8 will work on most any surface, including granite and marble, which are problems for mice with more traditional optical and laser sensors. This is also Microsoft’s first wireless Sidewinder mouse—it utilizes the traditional 2.4GHz band, but updates more times per second than most wireless Microsoft mice.
We love the button placement and scroll wheel on this mouse. All of the buttons are easy to find and quick to press and the scroll wheel is quick and responsive. The top and bottom thumb buttons are especially praiseworthy. Unlike other mice equipped with a pair of thumb buttons aligned in a fore and aft configuration, the Sidewinder’s thumb buttons are aligned vertically, with Mouse5 placed above Mouse4.
Like the Razer Mamba, which we reviewed last month, the X8 features a play and charge cable. Using a magnetic power adapter that quickly and easily snaps into place, you can convert the X8 from battery power in mere seconds, should your battery die. The X8’s connection system is a marked improvement over the Mamba.
There’s really nothing worse than an otherwise wonderful product with one fatal flaw that brings its whole score down. The Razer Mamba is a wonderful wireless gaming mouse, with an absolutely devastating power problem.
For the Mamba, Razer tweaked the kick-ass shape of the now-classic DeathAdder design—perfect for palm-grip mousers—to sneak in a pair of sensitivity adjustment buttons. The changes paid off: The Mamba is eminently comfortable for long-term gaming sessions, and the sensitivity buttons fix our only complaint with the DeathAdder, which offered imprecise on-the-fly sensitivity adjustments using the mouse wheel.
When we first reviewed the original Logitech G9 (November 2007), we didn’t like it. Specifically, we thought it was uncomfortable to hold, using either of the removable shells. In fact, we described it as “not particularly comfortable for day-to-day mousing” before complaining that it was unsuitable for people who use a traditional palming grip.
We were wrong. After we made a few small adjustments to our grip, we fell in love with the G9—at least when using the grippy palm-friendly Precision body. We still don’t like the smooth grip—dubbed Wide Load—and we’re generally not fans of having to adjust our grip to suit a mouse, but the smooth response and power-gamer-friendly features that the G9x delivers make this mouse the best we’ve ever tested.
Ah, the fashion mouse. You know the one: It’s designed by the industrial design team of the moment, and it not only lets you move your PC’s cursor but also tells everyone that you care about Design (you know, with a capital D). Unfortunately, what this mouse tells anyone who knows about mice is that you’d rather use an incredibly uncomfortable device that looks cool than one that properly fits your paw and gives you good control over your cursor. Despite a more than competent laser-powered sensor, the Arc Mouse falls squarely in fashion-mouse territory.
The Arc is, ostensibly, designed to be a travel mouse, and its size and shape are indeed suited to that purpose. When you fold the back of the mouse up and snap the USB transmitter dongle into the magnetic receptacle, you get a mouse that’s small enough to fit in a pocket. That’s great and all, but it’s just not comfortable to use.
The Gyration Air Music Remote is absolutely awesome when it comes to controlling the cursor in a home-theater PC. But this device doesn’t deliver on its bigger promise to be a high-end universal remote control.
Like all Gyration remotes, this one uses a gyroscope to determine its own position in three-dimensional space. With its position established, the remote translates those coordinates to move a mouse cursor on the two-dimensional plane of a computer screen. Hold the remote in front of you, push the primary button, move your wrist up, and the cursor moves up. Point the remote to the left and the cursor moves the to the left -- and so on. Buttons to the right and left of the primary button perform the same functions as the left and right buttons of a conventional mouse.
Sporting an ever-so-slightly trimmed-down shape compared to the original Sidewinder gaming mouse, along with a stripped down featureset, the Sidewinder X5 delivers great performance at a very reasonable price. Like the original Sidewinder, the design works great for gamers who use either a claw or a standard grip (or who like to change between them), but it’s not particularly comfortable for people with small- to medium-size hands. After a couple of hours of play using a standard grip, our hands cramped.
Missing from this updated Sidewinder are the original mouse’s adjustable weighting system, the interchangeable foot pads, the sensitivity display, and the weighted cable anchor. While we especially miss the cable anchor, extra features (like the one that have been omitted) aren’t something we’d expect in a mouse that costs $60.
Steelseries delivers a one-two punch of awesome with its first mouse—the Ikari, a standard five-button, right-handed design suitable for gamers who use either the palm and claw-style grips. With its low-profile design, the Ikari doesn’t provide sufficient support for folks who like to rest their palm on the mouse; our palm-gripped tester had a stiff hand after a few hours of play. Nonetheless, the Ikari’s other features and kick-ass sensor make us almost willing to ignore the less-than-ergonomically perfect shape.
We love the shape of this mouse—it’s comfortable for even the longest session—and the DeathAdder just gets better from there. The sensor delivers pixel-perfect accuracy, and we love that the driver lets us adjust everything from X and Y sensitivity to the lights on the mouse. We’re still not sold on the idea of constantly updating firmware for a mere mouse, but Razer’s built a highly compelling rodent with the DeathAdder.
Logitech has been producing high end peripherals for years, but can the company’s midrange products maintain the aesthetics and functionality of its more expensive gear? We tested the Desktop Wave to find out.
We've tested some crazy mice over the years, from ergonomic wonders designed to prevent RSI to dedicated gaming mice shaped like an actual handgun, but the new Zalman FPSGun is one of the oddest-looking designs we've ever tested. We approve of its neutral-grip, sensor-forward design, but the actual implementation has resulted in a mouse that's just too small for the vast majority of gamers to use.