Mice http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/56/ en Func MS-3 (Revision 2) Mouse Review http://www.maximumpc.com/func_ms-3_revision_2_mouse_review <!--paging_filter--><h3>A solid mouse that's a little too smooth</h3> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">For a gaming mouse, the Func MS-3&nbsp;(revision 2) looks rather unassuming and unpretentious. It is pretty big as mice go, but that doesn't get in the way of its performance too much. The MS-3&nbsp;also brings features that you'd see in more expensive mice.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">Measuring nearly 5 inches long and almost 4 inches wide, the MS-3&nbsp;doesn't fit in your hand. Instead, your hand rides on top of it, filling your palm. For those who use a high finger arch (claw posture), your metacarpophalangeal joints (the joints at the base of the fingers) won't touch the surface, placing your hand weight on the ball of your hand. The mouse is really built to suit those who prefer a flatter hand posture; there's no adjustments here. Southpaws need not apply; this mouse is clearly designed for righties.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/ms-3.2-size.jpg" alt="Func MS-3 sizing" title="Func MS-3 sizing" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><strong>The MS-3 has a sizable footprint, which may put off some.</strong></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">The right ring and pinky fingers get their own rests, which can feel a little awkward if you are used to holding the side of the mouse with those fingers. Again, these rests are built for a flatter posture, so a claw handed grip won't take advantage of the molding, and it will feel a bit out of place for the two fingers. The mouse's silky, yet slightly rubbery texture feels great on your hand. When you place your two fingers in the rests, you get the feeling that they're being hugged. Who doesn't like hugs? Crotchety old curmudegons sitting on the porch in a rocking chair with a shotgun, that's who.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">What we didn't like about the mouse's flatter profile and smoothness is that it feels like the mouse will slip out of your grip when you try to pick it up. This is only really an issue when you deliberately try to lift the mouse, as the low slope of the right side of the mouse results in reduced lateral grip. If you try to apply that lateral pressure with your little fingers, the fingers tend to want to slip out of the molded grooves. In the gaming situations that we tested, it wasn't really an issue, but if you lift up your mouse constantly, it will be something you notice.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/ms-3.2-front-right-led.jpg" alt="Func MS-3 finger grooves" title="Func MS-3 finger grooves" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><strong>Those finger grooves both provide comfort and keep you from picking up the mouse easily.</strong></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">The mouse is also a bit on the heavy side, but not as heavy as other mice we've used. We weighed it while holding up the cable, and found that it is 4.2 ounces. That's a full 1.3 ounces more than a stock Dell M056UO laser mouse (2.9 ounces) we weighed using the same method. That means it will take a bit more force to flick the mouse around for quick movements, but the MS-3's high sensitivity of 5,670 DPI compensates for that. Response felt snappy and accurate while moving on a bare black IKEA desk.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">A gaming or high-end mouse wouldn't be complete without good configuration software, and Func did a solid job here. The driver software lets you set three profiles, each with its own macros, colors, and DPI settings. Each profile has three DPI settings that you can cycle through, with a fourth "Instant Aim" mode that is </span><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">by default</span> activated by pressing the illuminated thumb button. This is great for gamers who prefer a high DPI setting for most situations, but need to dial in the accuracy for some situations. FPS players who play as snipers will really appreciate this. Of course, you could also set the DPI higher to get an inverse effect. Each DPI setting can be set anywhere from 90 to 5,670 with 10 DPI increments. You can also separate DPI settings for the X and Y axes, so traverse and elevation for vehicle guns in games like Battlefield and Arma can function at different rates.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/func-software.png" alt="Func MS-3 software" title="Func MS-3 software" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><strong>The MS-3's software offers a lot of configuration options, but is missing game detection and is only available for Windows.</strong></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">The software can "backup" (export) settings to and "restore" (import) settings from a file on the hard drive. There's also a tool to install new firmware, which will also perform a checksum on the firmware file to ensure you've got the official, intact file. It's also great for security since the</span><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">&nbsp;MS-3 stores its profiles and settings in the mouse's memory. The onboard memeory allows you to configure the mouse on one machine, plug it into another, and everything will work as you'd expect. Want to reinstall Windows or use the mouse in Linux? No problem.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">Want to use it with a gaming laptop when you travel? Go right ahead, globetrotter.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">We would've liked to see a per-game settings detection and import tool. Sure, you can effectively get the same result by restoring from a file, but an option to autodetect games and save or load profiles accordingly (like we see in Logitech Gaming Software) would be nice. Since this is a software-side issue, it would make a great addition in an update.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">The thumb rest on the left side of the mouse provides access to four buttons, all of which are well spaced to prevent accidental clicks. The round center button lights up, and defaults to "Instant Aim," which will be described a bit later. The two upper thumb buttons default to the usual forward and back in Windows, while the button at the base of the thumb rest defaults to an audio mute button. The top of the mouse has six buttons, including the standard left and right buttons and clickable scroll wheel. The two buttons behind the scroll wheel default to change DPI presets, while the button to the front-right will switch profiles. All of the buttons on the MS-3</span><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">&nbsp;are highly configurable, and can be set to keys, macros, or OS functions, depending on user preference.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">We also liked that the mouse's subtle, yet effective LED lighting illuminates the scroll wheel and side button. The LEDs are bright enough to be effective accents, but won't signal aircraft or keep you awake in a dark bedroom. The lighting is fully customizable in Func's software, including saturation and brightness, not just color. There are also three orange LEDs on the top left of the mouse that indicate which profile is being used. They're pretty small and understated, but viewable between the thumb and index finger.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/ms-3.2-hand.jpg" alt="Func MS-3 rev. 2 with hand" title="Func MS-3 rev. 2 with hand" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2; text-align: center;"><strong>Thumb buttons on the MS-3 are accessible and uncluttered. Orange LEDs in between the thumb and index finger indicate which profile is active, and are visible while using the mouse.</strong></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">The scroll wheel itself makes it very clear that this is a gaming mouse. Each click with a wheel turn feels deliberate, and won't have you switching weapons by mistake. Clicking the mouse wheel button doesn't make you feel like you're going to move the wheel mid-click. Sometimes, we can be hesitant to bind actions to MOUSE 3 in games because of unintended wheel scroll; that's not a problem with the MS-3. Clicks feel solid and stable, without unintended weapon or spell switch.</span></p> <p style="orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">The price point is what really sells us on this mouse. For under $60, you get a top-tier gaming mouse that delivers on looks and response, even if it is on the big side.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-size: small;">We definitely recommend this gaming mouse for righties who don't mind a few minor shortcomings and don't violently lift up their mice like a crane operator with a coke habit.</span></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/func_ms-3_revision_2_mouse_review#comments gaming mouse Hardware Mice Reviews Wed, 15 Apr 2015 21:49:57 +0000 Alex Campbell 29738 at http://www.maximumpc.com An Inside Look at How Logitech Designs Its Gaming Mice http://www.maximumpc.com/inside_look_how_logitech_designs_its_gaming_mice2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154082/dsc01600.jpg" alt="logitech gaming mouse" title="logitech gaming mouse" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />The science and testing behind Logitech’s gaming mice</h3> <p><em>This is part two of our in-depth tour of Logitech’s facilities in Switzerland. This article focuses on how Logitech designs and develops its gaming mice. For an inside look at how the company is attempting to reinvent the mechanical keyboard, click <a title="logitech mechanical keyboard" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/how_logitech_reinventing_mechanical_keyboard2014" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <p>While Logitech is generally viewed as a peripheral manufacturer, the company views itself as a technology company. In an attempt to show PC gamers that it uses cutting-edge design methodologies, Logitech invited us to its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland to show us how the company designs and tests it gaming mice.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/I-Aq-KBMPEs" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Logitech explains how its G402 mouse uses two sensors</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><img src="/files/u154082/g402_hyperion_fury.jpg" alt="logitech g402 hyperion fury" title="logitech g402 hyperion fury" width="200" height="214" style="float: left; margin: 5px;" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury<br /></strong>The company’s most interesting mouse today is arguably the G402 Hyperion Fury, which it claims to be “the world’s fastest gaming mouse.” Logitech boasts that the G402 can move a blistering 12.5 meters a second. To achieve this, Logitech says it uses a combination of two sensors. At slow-to-moderate speeds, the mouse uses a traditional optical sensor. Optical sensors are arguably the most common sensors used in gaming mice and use high-speed cameras to take blazing-fast images of the surface it rests upon. From here, the sensor then overlaps the images to create a movement map. While the cameras used in Logitech’s optical sensors are magnitudes faster than the traditional point-and-shoot cameras you find at your camera store (think about 12,000 shots a second), the company says that even they have detectable lag when you’re trying to move a mouse at 12.5 meters a second. Therefore, beyond a certain speed threshold, the G402 switches over to an accelerometer/gyroscope solution. It uses a small ARM processor that can switch on the fly, and Logitech claims less than a millisecond of delay results from the switch. While a gyroscope solution isn’t the most accurate sensor at low speeds, Logitech says they excel when there is a quick burst of movement, thus the G402 uses a hybrid solution that aims to leverage both sensor’s strengths to achieve its speed.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/63jEXIwiFHk" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>An indepth interview with Logitech's mouse expert Chris Pate</strong></p> <p><img src="/files/u154082/logitech_g302.jpg" alt="Logitech G302 Daedalus Prime" title="Logitech G302 Daedalus Prime" width="200" height="166" style="float: left; margin: 5px;" /></p> <p><strong>Logitech G302 Daedalus Prime<br /></strong>While this hybrid sensor seems advantageous for the end user, we were surprised to hear that the company’s even newer G302 Daedalus Prime mouse opts instead to support a more traditional optical solution. Logitech told us the reason the hybrid solution wasn’t included was because the G302 was designed to be a smaller, lighter MOBA mouse, and trying to house two sensors along with the G402’s ARM processor wasn’t ideal to achieve this compact form factor. This isn’t to say the G302 doesn’t have its element of uniqueness, however.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/1JgJyTegDqc" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Logitech says its mice are good for at least 20 million clicks</strong></p> <p>Because MOBAs like League of Legends and DOTA 2 feature tons of clicking, the Daedalus Prime is largely focused on eliminating the travel between the mouse’s buttons and its microswitches that activate commands. The G302 is able to do this by separating the left and right mouse buttons from the body of the mouse (Logitech says most mice use a monolithic design), and having them rest directly on top of the microswitch. This means that there is no air travel between the button and the switch at all. In the absence of air travel, Logitech designed a new metal spring tensioning system that rests between the button and the switch. When we asked Logitech if this could potentially add unwanted tension, which could theoretically create microscopic amounts of lag in and of itself, the company assured us that it didn’t, but rather aided in a consistent clicking experience.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VKmfG_Wv14Q" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>A Logitech contraption that measures mouse accuracy</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u152332/buildit-12387_small.jpg" alt="logitech g602" title="logitech g602" width="200" height="165" style="float: left; margin: 5px;" /></p> <p><strong>Logitech G602<br /></strong>One of the best-selling mice that Logitech currently offers is its G602 wireless mouse. According to Logitech, when you look at the mouse industry as a whole, wireless mice outsell wired ones. This might not be true for gaming, but with the G602, Logitech worked to overcome many of gamers’ fears.</p> <p>The most obvious concern for gamers is lag. According to Logitech, lag on the G602 is imperceptible. The company ran an experiment where it asked a group of gamers if they could detect any noticeable lag using its wireless gaming mouse. People said they believed it felt laggier than a traditional wired mouse. When Logitech plugged in a faux wired cable (that did nothing), the same users said it felt much more responsive. Essentially, Logitech asserts that it was merely the placebo effect at play. According to Logitech, the G602 is capable of delivering a two millisecond response time. The company says that most people can only detect latency at four milliseconds and beyond. According to its own studies, some people can’t even perceive 40 milliseconds of lag.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/GcFGIFAhAqg" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Logitech has a special room that removes all wireless signals to detect wireless dead zones for its wireless mice.</strong></p> <p>Logitech claims it could have gotten the G602’s response time under two milliseconds, but at the cost of battery life, which is actually the true obstacle of a wireless gaming mouse. By scaling it back to two milliseconds, Logitech says it was able to get much more battery life out of the G602, which it asserts is able to get 250 hours of use out of a single charge. How is the company able to achieve those figures? Logitech says that it designed the G602 with battery in mind and created a sensor specifically for gaming wirelessly. The G602 also uses Logitech’s proprietary USB interface. When we asked them why it didn’t use Bluetooth, the company informed us that the response rate of Bluetooth devices are at the mercy of the host (computer) device. The G602, in particular, uses a 1,000Hz polling rate through USB.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/V3Aro0DNpGk" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Logitech proving that there is no added acceleration to its mice.</strong></p> <p>Other interesting things we learned about mice from Logitech is that no sensor is 100 percent accurate. You might see that terminology used to market mice from other vendors, but Logitech asserts that these claims are simply false.</p> <p>Another question we had pertained to laser mice. Several years ago, laser mice were quite popular because they tracked on a wider range of surfaces compared to optical. While laser mice aren’t terrible, optical mice have one key advantage over them, and that comes down to accuracy variance, more commonly referred to as “mouse acceleration.” Mouse acceleration is undesired for gaming and generally equates to an inconsistent movement experience. According to Logitech, with laser mice, you get about a five to six percent variance, making for an inconsistent experience, compared to an optical sensor’s one percent equivalent.</p> <p>One final interesting tidbit that we learned is that many gamers prefer braided cables on their mice, but Logitech’s data shows that more pros actually prefer plastic cables as they tend to offer more flexibility. So if you want to play like a pro, you might want to consider ditching the braided cable.</p> <p>For more pictures and information from the event, check out our image gallery below.&nbsp;</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/inside_look_how_logitech_designs_its_gaming_mice2015#comments Daedalus Prime esports G302 G402 g602 gaming mice Hardware hyperion fury logitech moba mouse shooter wireless Gaming News Mice Features Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:35:46 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29321 at http://www.maximumpc.com CES 2015: Roccat Unveils Modular Gaming Mouse Nyth and New Ryos Mechanical Keyboards [Video] http://www.maximumpc.com/ces_2015_roccat_unveils_modular_gaming_mouse_nyth_and_new_ryos_mechanical_keyboards_video_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/roccat_nyth.jpg" alt="Roccat Nyth" title="Roccat Nyth" width="200" height="173" style="float: right;" />A mouse that can be adapted for various video game genres</h3> <p>When it comes to your mouse, you want one that is comfortable to use when it comes to work and playing games. But when it comes to gaming, sometimes a standard mouse isn’t going to cut it. For some consumers, a different kind of mouse that is designed specifically for massively multiplayer online games (MMO) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are needed for a more efficient and enhanced playstyle. However, players may no longer have to worry about buying a specific mouse for a certain type of game. At CES 2015, Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang was able to see <strong>Roccat’s modular gaming mouse Nyth along with the Ryos MK FX and Ryos TKL FX mechanical keyboards</strong>.</p> <p>The Roccat Nyth is the company’s solution to consumers who play games from multiple genres what might want a mouse that can be adapted to enhance the gaming experience when switching from a game like World of Warcraft (MMO) to Dota 2 (MOBA). While designed as an MMO mouse, consumers will be able to transform the MMO layout of the Nyth into a MOBA or FPS layout due to the device’s custom button placement and interchangeable side-parts.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/OMP1q0npmdo" width="600" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: left;">But instead of having to purchase different kinds of buttons, though the Nyth will come with two or three sets of buttons according to the rep, those who own 3D printers will be able to print buttons and side-parts from an online file library in order to customize the Nyth (there will also be a third-party service available to print buttons for consumers). Users will be able to add up to 12 buttons.</p> <p>The Roccat Nyth is expected to be out in Q2 or Q3 this year but no price was provided.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Jimmy was also able to check out the prototypes of two new additions to the Ryos series of mechanical RGB keyboards. The Ryos MK FX version excludes the numpad while the Ryos TKL FX is a full-sized keyboard. Both devices feature Cherry MX switches and require two USB ports in order to be used.&nbsp;</p> <p>But regarding the two USB port requirement, Jimmy brought up the fact that Logitech’s keyboard requires only one USB port to be powered and asked the rep why Roccat still requires dual USB ports who replied that it was necessary because of the Cherry MX switches and that the “RGB LEDs are much more power-consuming than the single-color ones.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The Ryos MK FX and Ryos TKL FX are expected to be out in Q3 2015 but no price was forthcoming.&nbsp;</p> <p>What do you think of the Roccat Nyth and its ability to be adapted for various types of video games? Sound off in the comments below!&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="https://plus.google.com/+SeanKnightD?rel=author" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="https://twitter.com/SeanDKnight" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="https://www.facebook.com/seandknight" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/ces_2015_roccat_unveils_modular_gaming_mouse_nyth_and_new_ryos_mechanical_keyboards_video_2015#comments cherry MX mechanical keyboard modular gaming mouse modular mouse RGB roccat Roccat Nyth ryos Gaming News Keyboards Mice Sat, 10 Jan 2015 01:46:32 +0000 Sean D Knight and Jimmy Thang 29232 at http://www.maximumpc.com Best Gaming Mouse http://www.maximumpc.com/best_gaming_mouse_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Best Gaming Mouse: Six cutting-edge gaming mice. Which one belongs in your paw?</h3> <p>We tend to think of some PC components as having a longer shelf life than others. A video card gets out of date faster than a motherboard, which gets out of date faster than an optical drive, for instance. Some people think that a mouse falls way down at the bottom of that list, somewhere between a power supply and the screwdriver you use to put the whole thing together, but those people have got it all wrong.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/mice_tony-12421_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/mice_tony-12421_small.jpg" width="620" height="511" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Eeny, Meeny, Miny Mouse</strong></p> <p>Your mouse has a huge effect on how effectively you use your computer, and mouse technology evolves every year. Last year’s killer feature becomes this year’s baseline. Performance that was once top-of-the-line starts to make an appearance in the bargain bin. So if you’re still using the same crusty old mouse from half a decade ago, or if you’ve never made the jump to a true gaming mouse in the first place, you owe it to yourself to take a look at what’s on the market right now.</p> <p>To help you out, we’ve rounded up six premium gaming mice spanning multiple price points and niches and put them to the test in an attempt to find the <strong>best gaming mouse</strong>. Each one has been rated based on its features, build quality, performance, and software support. Some of these mice are among the best we’ve ever tested, so read on and find out how you’re going to control your next PC.</p> <h4>Logitech G602</h4> <p><strong>Is it time to cut the cord?</strong></p> <p>A lot of gamers still have the idea that a true gaming mouse can’t be wireless—that wireless mice lag and are unreliable and will totally wreck your K/D in Call of Duty. Fortunately, that idea has been proven wrong repeatedly recently, as multiple companies have released high-quality wireless gaming mice. With the G602, Logitech has pounded another nail in that myth’s coffin.</p> <p>The G602 is a wireless mouse with a solid, all-purpose set of features. It has plenty of buttons, including a bank of six bindable keys accessible to your thumb, which allows it to work fairly well for MMO or FPS gameplay.</p> <p>It’s long, with a high-arched design that will work best for those who prefer a full-palm grip, and the construction is top-notch. A rubber pad on the palm makes the mouse easy to hold on to, and the textured plastic around the sides of the mouse feels very durable.</p> <p>The G602 isn’t rechargeable, but it is designed for extreme longevity. Logitech claims that in gaming mode, a single set of two AA batteries will last for 250 hours. During our testing, we weren’t able to make a dent in the battery meter, so we’re not inclined to disagree.</p> <p>In order to provide longer battery life, Logitech went with an optical sensor. We found the tracking to be quite good, though the maximum 2,500 dpi and 500Hz polling rate might be too low for some gamers. Logitech’s software is usually solid, and the G602 is no exception.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buildit-12387_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buildit-12387_small.jpg" alt="The Logitech G602 features plenty of thumb buttons. " title="Logitech G602" width="620" height="512" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Logitech G602 features plenty of thumb buttons. </strong></p> <p>If you’re looking for a wireless-only mouse with plenty of features for any type of gaming, you won’t be disappointed by the G602.</p> <p><strong>Logitech G602</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong><strong>$80, </strong><a style="font-weight: bold;" href="http://www.logitech.com/">www.logitech.com</a><strong>&nbsp;</strong><br /><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E4MQODC?tag=mpcedit-20" target="_blank">View on Amazon</a></strong></strong></p> <h4>Mad Catz R.A.T. M</h4> <p><strong>A super-small mouse with some full-size problems</strong></p> <p>You’ve got to hand it to Mad Catz—the company is not afraid to try new things with its peripherals. This derring-do was apparent with the über-customizable R.A.T. 7, which was truly innovative. With the R.A.T. M, Mad Catz tried something new again. This time, however, it didn’t work out so well.</p> <p>The R.A.T. M is a gaming mouse designed for portable gaming. It’s wireless, powered by two AAA batteries, and absolutely tiny, so you can throw it in your laptop bag. It can be used as a Bluetooth mouse, though it also comes with a low-profile USB dongle that stows away under the mouse when not in use. As is usually the case, we found the USB mode to be more dependable than Bluetooth. A laser sensor provides great tracking on nearly any surface.</p> <p>Unfortunately, for all its portable conveniences, the R.A.T. M just isn’t comfortable to use. The palm rest on the mouse extends, increasing the overall length, but even at its very longest, the mouse is still quite small, leaving your hand in a cramp-inducing extreme arc. Worse, the palm rest doesn’t lock into place, so during the course of normal use it would almost constantly get shoved back into its shortest setting, rendering the mouse incredibly uncomfortable to use for more than a short while. There are plenty of buttons on the R.A.T. M, but most of them are quite difficult to hit, due again to the mouse’s small size.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buildit-12383_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buildit-12383_small.jpg" alt="With the R.A.T. M’s palm rest extended, the mouse is almost big enough to comfortably use." title="Mad Catz R.A.T. M" width="620" height="498" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>With the R.A.T. M’s palm rest extended, the mouse is almost big enough to comfortably use.</strong></p> <p>A portable mouse is always going to be a compromise, but at $130 MSRP, the R.A.T. M asks too much, and offers too little.</p> <p><strong>Mad Catz R.A.T. M</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_6.jpg" alt="score:6" title="score:6" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$130, <a href="http://www.cyborggaming.com/">www.cyborggaming.com</a>&nbsp;<br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BEEFOUW?tag=mpcedit-20" target="_blank">View on Amazon</a>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Click the next page to read about the TT ESports Theron and Roccat Kone Pure.</em></strong></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4>TT ESports Theron</h4> <p><strong>Aside from some flashy lights, does this newcomer bring much to the table?</strong></p> <p>TT ESports is the peripherals division of Thermaltake, and one of the newer entrants into the increasingly crowded market. While the Theron isn’t the flashiest mouse we’ve seen, it’s a very solid piece of hardware, and a sign that the company’s serious about competing.</p> <p>The Theron is an especially boxy mouse, with very wide, flat buttons and a nice clicking action. When powered up, it emits light from the scroll wheel, dragon logo, and from three LEDs located around the bottom, lighting up your desk under the mouse.</p> <p>The mouse features the sort of “soft-touch” rubberized surface that’s popular on a lot of gaming mice. Though it feels nice to the touch, these coatings have a tendency to make your hand feel sweaty quickly, and the Theron’s in particular started to show grease and fingerprints right away.</p> <p>On the underside of the Theron is a hatch that opens up to reveal a bank of five 4.5 gram weights, which allows you to substantially alter the overall weight of the mouse. It has two additional thumb buttons, one pinky button, and two DPI buttons. All are bindable, though the DPI buttons are placed far enough back from the thumb wheel that there’s no real hope of hitting them in the heat of battle. Our only real complaint about the construction of the mouse is that the scroll wheel felt a little flimsy in its socket—otherwise, the Theron is quite solid.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buildit-12392_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buildit-12392_small.jpg" alt="Like a souped-up street racer, the Theron features customizable underlighting." title="Tt eSports Theron" width="620" height="429" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Like a souped-up street racer, the Theron features customizable underlighting.</strong></p> <p>The Theron doesn’t do much to stand out among the other mice in its price range, but it’s hard to find specific things to fault it for. It’s an all-around respectable option.</p> <p><strong>Tt eSports Theron</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$70, <a href="http://www.ttesports.com/">www.ttesports.com</a>&nbsp;<br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EVVNMQI/?tag=mpcedit-20" target="_blank">View on Amazon</a>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h3><span style="font-size: 1em;">Roccat Kone Pure Color Edition</span></h3> <p><strong>Sometimes beauty is more than skin deep</strong></p> <p>“Pure” is a good name for this version of the Roccat Kone gaming mouse—it’s all about pure performance. It doesn’t have a billion buttons, or removable weights, or any other extraneous features. Instead, the Kone Pure focuses on doing a smaller number of things well.</p> <p>For one, the Kone Pure offers great tracking, with a top-notch 8,200 dpi laser sensor. The mouse’s lift-off distance can be customized, if you like to really fiddle with your mouse’s performance. It also features half a megabyte of onboard memory, and a 32-bit processor, so you can store your profiles and macros directly on the mouse, and use them anywhere.</p> <p>Because the mouse is a little on the shorter side, we recommend it most for those who hold their device with their fingers bent, or who have smaller hands. The Color Edition we were sent for review is treated with a breathable matte finish and bright “Cool Blue” paint job. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to our eyes this thing is absolutely killer.</p> <p>The Kone Pure’s software is a little cluttered, but generally up to the task of accessing the myriad ways you can customize the mouse. The mouse features four buttons in addition to the standard three, but one of the thumb buttons acts as a shift key, effectively doubling the number of keys or macros you can bind.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buildit-12385_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buildit-12385_small.jpg" alt="The Roccat Kone Pure comes in an array of limited-edition colors." title="Roccat Kone Pure Color" width="620" height="416" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Roccat Kone Pure comes in an array of limited-edition colors.</strong></p> <p>The Kone Pure’s the real deal. It may not be perfect for everyone, but for most folks it’s a great option.</p> <p><strong>Roccat Kone Pure Color Edition</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_9.jpg" alt="score:9" title="score:9" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$70, <a href="http://www.roccat.org/">www.roccat.org</a>&nbsp;<br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C2AUN80/?tag=mpcedit-20" target="_blank">View on Amazon</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.roccat.org /global2.asp"></a></strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Click the next page to read about the Corsair Raptor M40 and Razer&nbsp;Ouroboros.</em></span></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4>Corsair Raptor M40</h4> <p><strong>What a difference $10 makes</strong></p> <p>The Raptor M40 occupies a curious space in Corsair’s too-dense lineup of gaming mice. With an MSRP of $60, it’s priced right at the bottom end of what we’d normally consider the premium gaming mouse market, yet it’s feature set is more in line with what you’d find in a budget mouse.</p> <p>It is, essentially, a stripped-down version of Corsair’s M65 gaming mouse, which has an MSRP of $70. The two share the same overall shape and design, but the M65 features an aluminum baseplate, a useful DPS-switching sniper button, and, most importantly, a laser sensor. The M40, by comparison, is all plastic and has an optical sensor.</p> <p>We experienced a noticeable performance dip switching to this M40 from the other mice in this roundup, including tracking problems on some of our test surfaces. Without many other features to speak of, the optical sensor is a strike against the M40.</p> <p>Otherwise, the M40 is perfectly decent. The software is a little clunky but serviceable, and offers profiles with multiple DPI settings and user-defined macros. Under the mouse, three separate weight chambers allow you to customize how the M40’s weight is distributed, which is a nice touch.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buildit-12390_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buildit-12390_small.jpg" alt="Under the M40, you’ll find three separate weight chambers." title="Corsair Raptor M40" width="620" height="485" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Under the M40, you’ll find three separate weight chambers.</strong></p> <p>Ultimately, the M40 isn’t bad, it just doesn’t offer a great set of features at this price. If you like the design, we strongly recommend paying the extra $10 for the M65. Otherwise, you can get more mouse for $60 elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>Corsair Raptor M40</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" title="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$60, <a href="http://www.corsair.com/">www.corsair.com</a>&nbsp;<br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CXI0BPG/?tag=mpcedit-20" target="_blank">View on Amazon</a>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.corsair.com/global2.asp"></a></strong></p> <h4>Razer Ouroboros</h4> <p><strong>Razer redefines ‘top of the line’</strong></p> <p>The Ouroboros takes a page (or maybe even a whole chapter) from the Cyborg R.A.T., the mouse that introduced the idea of a fully customizable device. Like that model, the Ouroboros’s length can be adjusted, and you can swap out the mouse’s side-plates, choosing between flat panels and flared wings. You can also fine-tune the angle of the palm rest, giving the mouse more or less arch as you desire. Somewhat surprisingly, the Ouroboros does not offer any sort of weight adjustment—a feature that’s started to pop up in a lot of high-end mice.</p> <p>The design and build quality on the Ouroboros are both excellent. It’s got an aggressive, boxy look and lacks the swoopy lines of Razer’s other mice. It’s also perfectly symmetrical, so it works equally well for left-handed gaming. A detachable USB cord allows the mouse to be used wired or wirelessly, with a small recharging station that doubles as the wireless receiver.</p> <p>Razer’s software is reliably high-quality, and the Ouroboros is no exception. As with all products using the Razer Synapse software, you have to sign up for an account to use it, which is silly, but once you do, you get access to pretty much every customization feature you could ask for in a mouse. Button bindings, macros, profiles, the works—in a slick, easy-to-use package.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/buildit-12393_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/buildit-12393_small.jpg" alt="The Ouroboros can be adjusted to fit any size hand." title="Razer Ouroboros" width="620" height="522" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Ouroboros can be adjusted to fit any size hand.</strong></p> <p>The bottom line is that this mouse is top of the line, and it’s priced to match. If you want a mouse that can do it all, and don’t mind spending a bundle, this is a great choice.</p> <p><strong>Razer Ouroboros</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_9ka.jpg" alt="score:9ka" title="score:9ka" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$150, <a href="http://www.razerzone.com/">www.razerzone.com</a>&nbsp;<br /><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EWEHI5K/?tag=mpcedit-20" target="_blank">View on Amazon</a>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h3>Know the Lingo</h3> <p>There’s a lot of jargon used in marketing material for gaming mice. Here are definitions for some of the most common terms.</p> <p>DPI Short for “dots per inch,” dpi is the measure of a mouse sensor’s maximum sensitivity. A higher dpi value lets you move the pointer faster without sacrificing any accuracy. Dpi is important, but note that dpi values higher than 2,000 only really matter if you prefer very fast, “twitchy” pointer movement. Anything much higher than 4,000 or so is unlikely to actually come up in real-world use.</p> <p>Polling Frequency This is how often the mouse sends new location information to your PC. A higher frequency means a quicker response time, though, as with dpi, it will be difficult for you to perceive differences in polling rates above 500Hz.</p> <p>Onboard Processor/Memory These features allow you to store profile information and performance settings directly on a mouse, so they’ll work on any computer the mouse is plugged into. This is useful, but some marketing materials oversell the utility of having a processor in your mouse.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="/files/u152332/razer_hand_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/razer_hand_small.jpg" width="620" height="503" /></a></p> <p>Grip Style Razer marketing in particular likes to describe each mouse as being best for one particular grip style or another (see image). The major thing you should be aware of is whether you like to lay your palm and fingers flat on the mouse, or raise them up in an arch, so only your fingertips and the bottom of your palm touch it. The former favors a long mouse, with a higher, ergonomic arch.</p> <h3>Understanding Mouse Settings</h3> <p>In Windows, there are really only three important mouse settings, and they are all located in the Mouse Properties panel. You can access this panel by opening the Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then Mouse. Here’s what you need to know.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Pointer Speed This slider adjusts how fast your pointer moves, of course, but the real secret is that you shouldn’t ever need to use it. Any modern gaming mouse will allow you to set custom dpi levels, which adjust how sensitive the mouse is. Higher sensitivity will make the pointer move faster. If you instead keep the mouse sensitivity set low, and increase the pointer speed in Windows or in a game, your mouse accuracy will suffer.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Mouse Acceleration Mouse acceleration causes the mouse pointer to move farther based on how fast you’re moving the mouse. So, quickly jerking the mouse over an inch will move the pointer farther than slowly dragging it that same inch. Many people find that this feels natural, but for some types of games where extreme mouse precision is required it may be undesirable. To disable it, uncheck the box labeled “Enhance pointer precision.”<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> http://www.maximumpc.com/best_gaming_mouse_2014#comments best gaming mouse Hardware logitech G602 Mad Catz RAT M maximum pc Razer Ouroboros Roccat Kone Pure TT Esports Theron wireless Mice Features Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:09:29 +0000 Alex Castle 27555 at http://www.maximumpc.com Windows 8 Hardware Reviews http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/windows_8_hardware_reviews_2013 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Microsoft’s re-imagined OS is only half the equation</h3> <p>As has been reported exhaustively by now, <a title="windows 8 maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/windows_8" target="_blank"><strong>Windows 8</strong></a>&nbsp;can be a <a title="youtube dad windows 8" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4boTbv9_nU" target="_blank">very unsettling experience</a> for longtime <a title="Windows maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/Windows" target="_blank">Windows</a> users. It’s like going to visit your parents and finding dad decked out in drag. The person you’ve known for so long is still there, but a new, unexpected element to his persona has you flummoxed and fumbling for how to behave.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The big, blocky, colorful, touch-centric Modern UI seems about as natural to a desktop jockey as seeing pops in a bouffant blonde wig and a body-hugging velour pantsuit. But while adjusting to dad’s new way of life could take considerable time, and possibly therapy, adapting to Windows 8 might simply be a matter of having the right hardware.</p> <p>Windows 8 is a new OS for a new way of computing. Obviously, mobile is a big part of that. Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet as well as a host of portables combining tablet and notebook qualities in one have been built expressly with Windows 8 in mind. But there’s also hardware that makes Windows 8 more agreeable for tower users—touchscreen monitors, touchpads, Win8-optimized mice and keyboards. On the following pages we take a look at several of these products to determine which ones succeed in making sense of Windows 8.</p> <p><em>To read our indepth review of the Windows 8 os, click <a title="Windows 8 review maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/windows_8_Review" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <h4><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Microsoft Surface RT</span></h4> <p><strong>Software giant takes on tablets</strong></p> <p><a title="microsoft maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/Microsoft" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> is thought of only as a software company by most, but people often forget the company’s long string of hardware victories over the years, such as the <a title="xbox 360 maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/Xbox_360" target="_blank">Xbox 360</a>, as well a line of award-winning and coveted mice, game controllers, and keyboards.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/surface-black-cover-front-nbg_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/surface-black-cover-front-nbg_small.jpg" width="620" height="411" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Two keyboard options are available: a "real" keyboard (seen here) and a membrane keyboard that actuallyl isn't Atari 400-bad.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Frankly, we think you can add the Surface RT to that list of impressive hardware pieces. The Surface RT exudes luxury with its stylized and solid metal case, clever kickstand, magnetic power connector (a first on a tablet that we know of), and innovative keyboard cover.</p> <p>Windows RT—the pared-down Windows 8 OS in the Surface RT—and its Modern UI (née Metro), makes for a truly unique (god help us) “reboot” on how you interface with a touch-enabled computer. Yes, by bucking the rows of icons we’ve used for years now to interface with touch, the learning curve is steeper, but there’s something enjoyable and refreshing about Windows’ new tiled interface.</p> <p>For hardware, the Surface RT packs an Nvidia <a title="tegra 3 maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/tegra_3" target="_blank">Tegra 3</a> part clocked at 1.4GHz, 2GB of LP-DDR3, 32GB (or 64GB) of storage,&nbsp; front and rear cameras, and a 10.6-inch 1366x768 screen. Given the RT’s premium price, Microsoft has taken dings for the screen’s resolution. With the fourth-gen <a title="ipad" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/iPad" target="_blank">iPad</a>’s resolution at 2048x1536 and the <a title="Nexus 10" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/nexus_10" target="_blank">Nexus 10</a>’s at 2560x1600, it’s no surprise that people see the relatively low resolution of Surface RT as a minus. In practical use, it won’t kill you, but there will be times when you wished the Surface RT had a few more pixels to smooth things out.</p> <p>Performance of the Surface RT is difficult to gauge, as there are no standardized benchmarks that can’t be run outside of the browser on the iPad, Nexus, and RT. We did run several browser-based benchmarks, but obviously, you’re not getting that close to the metal and each platform’s browser has a significant impact on performance. If pushed to make call, we’d say it’s a split in the numbers game, as each device won at least one benchmark. Using our Mk. 1 eyeball as a benchmark, the Surface RT didn’t feel slow in the apps we tried and the scrolling seemed creamy-smooth—certainly better than the severe stutter we experienced on pre-Jelly Bean Androids tabs. One thing that’s apparent, though, are slow application launches. It takes from five to six seconds to launch the most basic apps, which is unacceptable on a premium tablet. Once cached, it’s fine but the initial launch is s-l-o-w.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/surface-cyan-cover-back_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/surface-cyan-cover-back_small.jpg" title="Surface RT" width="620" height="420" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>A clever kickstand lets you stand up the Surface RT for movie viewing or typing on the optional keyboard.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">While we’re harping on hardware, we’ll also ding the camera used in the Surface RT. Both front and rear are 720p, which is pretty sad in this day and age, but maybe that will dissuade people from embarrassing themselves by using the tablet as a camera. Another hardware issue worth mentioning: The 32GB version we reviewed is about half spent on OS storage. That’s fortunately mitigated by the inclusion of a MicroSD slot, so an additional 64GB is just one Amazon click away.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/surface-flat_prin_smallt_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/surface-flat_prin_smallt.jpg" title="Surface Flat print" width="620" height="435" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Surface is sexy-thin and its hard angles are refreshing in a world of soft-round-cornered gadgets.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The most impressive feature of the tablet is the integrated keyboard cover. Two versions are available: a 5.75mm thick Type Cover that uses mechanical keys and a 3mm Touch Cover that uses membrane “keys” that don’t move at all. We purchased the Touch Cover with our Surface RT and initially worried that it would remind us of the <a title="Atari 400 keyboard" href="http://www.old-computers.com/museum/photos/atari_400.jpg" target="_blank">Atari 400 keyboard</a>. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad and we could comfortably type on it once we became accustomed to it. We will say that the track pad for the cursor is too small. Both covers attach via a clever magnetic connector that’s strong enough to hold the weight of the Surface RT when picked up by the cover.</p> <p>Some people have criticized the inclusion of a keyboard as a sign of weakness in the Windows RT OS. We strongly disagree. First, you don’t get the keyboard for free—you have to pony up $120 for the <a title="Touch Cover Surface" href="http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-us/accessories/touch-cover" target="_blank">Touch Cover</a> and $130 for the <a title="type cover maximum pc" href="http://www.microsoft.com/Surface/en-us/accessories/type-cover" target="_blank">Type Cover</a>. Ouch. There’s also no strong emphasis on the keyboard in the OS. You can navigate perfectly fine using just touch.</p> <p>What we do have problems with is the OS. We, again, think Modern, or whatever you want to call it, is a refreshing and futuristic take on a touch interface but Windows RT is marred by minor irritations such as non-uniform controls in the applications (some apps feature back buttons, and some don’t) and difficultly controlling some aspects of it. Our biggest complaint, though, is that portions of the OS aren’t finished. For the most part, 90 percent of the OS is in the fat-finger-friendly Modern UI. But doing something as common as changing the screen time drops you into the desktop mode. And while still surprisingly easy to manipulate with your finger, the desktop mode is jarring—why in a touch-centric device, would you force someone to use a non-touch UI? It’s just surprising to us that Microsoft relegates so much of the control in Surface RT to the desktop mode. Want to use basic calculator functionality? Do it desktop mode.</p> <p>From what we can see, Windows RT is just a recompile of Windows 8 for <a title="ARM" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/ARM" target="_blank">ARM</a>. Want a DOS box? Got it. Manually make regedit changes? That’s there, too. It’s simply mind blowing for anyone coming from the four rubber walls of iOS, or the slightly less confining environs of Android. Don’t get us wrong, we like command lines and tweaking the guts of an OS and we know it’s there in <a title="ios" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/iOS" target="_blank">iOS</a> and <a title="Android" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/Android" target="_blank">Android</a>, too—it’s just a little disconcerting in&nbsp; Windows RT.</p> <p>We suppose there’s some strength here. If a large company could port its custom Win32 app to Windows RT, the desktop mode would be a seamless way to transition to a tablet. Unfortunately, apparently only Microsoft has permission to install applications for the desktop mode, so what’s the point of even having it? To us, this makes the real competition for Surface RT its x86-based brothers. With the barren shelves of the Metro app store, x86-based Windows 8 tablets at least give you the fallback of millions of Win32 apps already out. With Surface RT and a keyboard at $600 versus a full-on x86-based tablet such as Acer’s Iconia W510 hybrid at $750 with a keyboard dock, it ain’t pretty.</p> <p>Ultimately, we’re impressed by the Surface RT. Yes, it has some rough spots, and yes, the app store looks like a grocery store after the zombie apocalypse has hit, but this is a very good first effort with a lot of potential.</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">Microsoft Surface RT</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Pluses<br /></span> <p>Supports most USB mass storage devices and printers directly over USB</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Minuses<br /></span> <p>Slow app startup and some too much reliance on desktop mode</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$600, <a href="http://www.microsoft.com" target="_blank">www.microsoft.com</a></strong></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong>Surface RT</strong></td> <td><strong>Nexus 7</strong></td> <td><strong>iPad 3rd-Gen<br /></strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">CPU</td> <td class="item-dark">Quad-core 1.4GHz Nvidia Tegra 3</td> <td>Quad-core 1.2GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 T30L</td> <td>Dual-core 1GHz Apple A5X</td> </tr> <tr> <td>GPU</td> <td>520GHz Nvidia ULP GeForce</td> <td>416GHz Nvidia ULP GeForce</td> <td>PowerVR SGX543MP4</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">RAM</td> <td class="item-dark">2GB</td> <td>1GB</td> <td>1GB</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Screen size / Resolution / PPI</td> <td>10.6-inches / 1366x768 / 148</td> <td>7-inches / 1280x800 / 216</td> <td>9.7-inches / 2048x1536 / 264</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Dimensions / Weight</td> <td>10.81x6.77x0.37 / 1.5 lbs</td> <td>7.7x4.7x10.4x.4 / .74 lbs</td> <td>9.5x7.3x.37 / 1.44 lbs</td> </tr> <tr> <td>SunSpider JavaScript 0.9.1 (ms)</td> <td><strong>982</strong></td> <td>1,702</td> <td>1,519</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Google Octane V1</td> <td>700</td> <td><strong>1,307</strong></td> <td>881</td> </tr> <tr> <td>FutureMark Peacekeeper</td> <td>366</td> <td>461</td> <td><strong>465</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>BrowserMark</td> <td>80,558</td> <td><strong>126,618</strong></td> <td>117,980</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Microsoft Fishbowl HTML5 10 fish (fps)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </td> <td>23</td> <td>21</td> <td>60</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Best scores are bolded</em></p> <h4> <hr /></h4> <h4><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13</span></h4> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <p><strong>Bend it to your will</strong></p> <p><a title="lenovo" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/Lenovo" target="_blank">Lenovo</a> got a head start generating interest in the IdeaPad Yoga 13 when it demo’d the device at last year’s CES. At that time, its unique ability to be both an <a title="ultrabook" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/ultrabook" target="_blank">Ultrabook</a> and a tablet seemed like a far-out concept, today its “convertible” design is the perfect justification for Windows 8—and just one example of a whole new category of portable devices. As the name implies, the Yoga 13 is unusually flexible, able to assume four different positions of functionality, thanks to its special patented double-hinge. In notebook mode it’s your standard clamshell; in stand mode the keyboard is rotated back and out of the way, forming a base for the screen; in tent mode the hinge is at the apex, with the screen in front and the keyboard serving as a kickstand; and in tablet mode the screen is rotated all the way so it’s flattened against the back of the keyboard. In all instances where the physical keyboard isn’t intended for use, it’s automatically disabled, with an onscreen keyboard taking its place.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/ideapad_yoga_13.jpg" alt="ideapad yoga 13" title="ideapad yoga 13" width="620" height="486" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13</strong></p> <p>The Yoga’s screen is a 13.3-inch 10-point multitouch panel with 1600x900 resolution and the slimmest of bezels, so there’s nothing getting in the way of your “swiping” in from the edges in Windows 8 fashion. Regardless of your opinion on touchscreens, you gotta love the fact that IPS panels seem to be the norm here, as opposed to the inferior TN panels that have been typical of standard, non-touch Ultrabooks. It makes sense—a device that’s meant to be flipped and turned and viewed from a variety of orientations needs the better image fidelity of IPS. Yay for that.</p> <p>The screen not only looks good but is very responsive. Even in Desktop mode, our touches to the relatively small file/folder names, menu items, and commands were registered with pretty consistent accuracy.</p> <p>Still, we were more inclined to perform desktop chores the old-fashioned way, and fortunately, the Yoga accommodates with a nice, comfortable keyboard and buttery-smooth touchpad that itself supports Windows 8 gestures. Indeed, as an Ultrabook, the Yoga 13 is pretty nice for the price. We might have been even more impressed if we hadn’t just reviewed CyberPower’s $850 <a title="Zeus M2 review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/cyberpower_zeus_m2_review" target="_blank">Zeus M2</a> last month, which had nearly the same specs but performed 10-20 percent faster than the Yoga in all tests, except Quake III, where the Zeus M2 was 75 percent faster (the Yoga can thank its single-channel RAM for that defeat). Why such disparity between two Core i5-3317Us? The Yoga has a tendency to throttle down under load, presumably to maintain thermal levels.</p> <p>Be that as it may, you’re buying the Yoga 13 for more than just an Ultrabook experience. While a 13.3-inch, three-and-a-half-pound notebook folded back upon itself is pushing the limits of a tablet (as is the sensation of a keyboard beneath your fingers on the back), the flexibility offered by the Yoga 13’s form factor and touch capabilities has definite uses, not the least of which is giving Windows 8’s split personality meaning.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Warrior Pose<br /></span> <p>Nicely built; useful flexibility; IPS screen</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Wussy Pose<br /></span> <p>CPU throttles down somewhat; 128GB SSD</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_9.jpg" alt="score:9" title="score:9" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$1000, <a href="http://www.lenovo.com" target="_blank">www.lenovo.com</a></strong></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span></div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong>Zero-Point</strong></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Premiere Pro CS3 (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">840</td> <td>1,140 <strong>(-26.3%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Photoshop CS3 (sec)</td> <td>100</td> <td>116.3 <strong>(-14%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">ProShow Producer (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">1,122</td> <td>1,409 <strong>(-20.4%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>MainConcept (sec)</td> <td>1,901</td> <td>2,419 <strong>(-21.4%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Quake III (fps)</td> <td>358.2</td> <td>250.1 <strong>(-30.2%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Quake 4 (fps)</td> <td>76.1</td> <td>59.2 <strong>(-22.2%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Battery Life (min)</td> <td>250</td> <td>282</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Our zero-point ultraportable is an Intel reference Ultrabook with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U, 4GB of DDR3/1600 RAM, integrated graphics, a 240GB SSD, and Windows 8 64-bit.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span></div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">CPU</td> <td>1.7GHz Core i5-3317U</td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>4GB DDR3/1600 single-channel RAM</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Display</td> <td>13-inch 1600x900 IPS LCD</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Storage</td> <td>Samsung 128GB SSD</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Connectivity</td> <td>HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, 2-in-1 card reader, 802.11n, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, headphone/mic, 720p webcam, USB-to-Ethernet dongle</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Lap / Carry</td> <td>3 lbs, 6.5 oz / 4 lbs, 0.6 oz</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h4><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Dell XPS 12</span></h4> <p><strong>A premium Ultrabook with a twist</strong></p> <p>Like the Yoga 13, <a title="Dell XPS 12" href="http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-12-l221x/pd" target="_blank">Dell’s XPS 12</a> is an Ultrabook convertible, but it moves from clamshell device to tablet in an entirely different way. Push in on the lower back of the screen with both hands and it rotates in its frame to face backward—then just close the lid and you have a tablet. We like how this design hides the keyboard from sight, and feel, but we can’t help but wonder how the rotating screen and thin metal frame will fare over time and with regular use. <a title="Dell maxpc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/dell" target="_blank">Dell</a> says it’s been tested to 20,000 cycles.</p> <p>With its 12.5-inch screen, the XPS 12 is a bit smaller than Lenovo’s Yoga 13, but it weighs the same three pounds, 6.5 ounces (without its power brick) as its peer, which again, makes it a more sedentary type of tablet. We’re not saying you can’t benefit from being able to fold up this Ultrabook, rest it atop your lap, and surf the web from your couch while you watch TV, tablet-style. We’re just pointing out that it’s larger and more unwieldy than even a 10-inch iPad.</p> <p>Size issues aside, the XPS 12’s 1920x1080 IPS screen is crisp and bright and its edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass coating should make it plenty durable. Capacitive sensors enable prompt response to all the various touches and swipes in Windows 8, even in Desktop mode. Dell was kind enough to include a “Getting Started with Windows 8” app in the Modern UI, which explains how to navigate the OS—a feature that’s sorely lacking from Windows 8 itself. Like the Yoga 13, the XPS 12’s touchpad also supports Win8 gestures, so you can, say, swipe in from the right of the pad to expose the Charms bar, or swipe in from the left of the pad to switch programs. This worked most of the time, although not quite as reliably as with the Yoga. The physical keyboard is suitable for productivity, with nicely sized and spaced keys and a pleasant rubberized palm rest. It’s also backlit with blue LEDs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/xps_12_2_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/xps_12_2_small.jpg" title="Dell XPS 12" width="620" height="514" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The XPS 12 came loaded with top-notch hardware, but no Ethernet port or media reader. </strong></p> <p>The XPS 12 starts at $1,200 for a config similar to the Yoga 13. But Dell sent us its most fully loaded model, which costs quite a bit more at $1,700. It consists of a 1.9GHz Core i7-3517U, 8GB of DDR3/1600 RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It’s a pretty similar build to our zero-point Ultrabook and the two machines traded modest wins in all of our benchmarks.</p> <p>While the XPS12 is handsome and has admirable parts, it strikes us as falling shy of the mark.</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">Dell XPS 12</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Red Vines<br /></span> <p>Innovative concept; nice large SSD; IPS panel.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Twizzlers<br /></span> <p>Expensive; rotating screen and frame seem vulnerable; touchpad gestures were hit or miss.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>$1700, <a href="http://www.dell.com" target="_blank">www.dell.com</a></strong></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span></div> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td></td> <td><strong>Zero-Point</strong></td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Premiere Pro CS3 (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">840</td> <td>900 <strong>(-6.7%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Photoshop CS3 (sec)</td> <td>100</td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">ProShow Producer (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">1,122</td> <td>1,064</td> </tr> <tr> <td>MainConcept (sec)</td> <td>1,901</td> <td>1,902 <strong>(-0.1%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Quake III (fps)</td> <td>358.2</td> <td>345.3 <strong>(-3.6%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Quake 4 (fps)</td> <td>76.1</td> <td>72.3<strong> (-5.0%)</strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td>Battery Life (min)</td> <td>250</td> <td>207 <strong>(-17.2%)</strong></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Our zero-point ultraportable is an Intel reference Ultrabook with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U, 4GB of DDR3/1600 RAM, integrated graphics, a 240GB SSD, and Windows 8 64-bit.</em></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span></div> <h4 class="module orange-module article-module"> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item"> <p>CPU</p> </td> <td> <p>1.9GHz Core i7-3517U</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>GPU</p> </td> <td> <p>Intel HD4000 integrated graphics</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>RAM</p> </td> <td> <p>8GB dual-channel DDR3/1600</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item"> <p>Display</p> </td> <td> <p>12.5-inch 1920x1080 IPS LCD</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Storage</p> </td> <td> <p>Micron 256GB SSD</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Connectivity</p> </td> <td> <p>2x USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 802.11n, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, headphone/mic, 1.3MP webcam</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Lap / Carry</p> </td> <td> <p>3 lbs, 6.5 oz / 4 lbs, 0.6 oz</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p class="module-content">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> </h4> <h4><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Acer Iconia W510</span></h4> <p><strong>A two-fer, hybrid-style</strong></p> <p><a title="Acer maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/Acer" target="_blank">Acer’</a>s Iconia W510 also aims to give users a notebook and tablet in one, but it’s what’s called a hybrid device, as opposed to a convertible. This means there’s a discrete tablet that contains all the brains of the operation, which can slot into a sturdy keyboard base as needed.</p> <p>The Iconia W510 differs from the two convertible reviewed here in another significant way. It’s running an <a title="atom maximum pc" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/atom" target="_blank">Atom</a> processor, specifically Intel’s Z2760 system-on-chip (code-named Clover Trail). That combined with its smaller size—10.1 inches—also makes the W510 a lot less expensive. It can be purchased as a stand-alone tablet for $500, or complete with its keyboard and auxiliary battery base, like the model featured here, for $750.</p> <p>Of course, what you’re no doubt wondering is whether Atom sucks. Intel’s ultra-low-power Atom chips got a reputation of being subpar during the rise of netbooks, which, while low-priced, were known for weak performance. The Z2760 is a 1.8GHz dual-core chip with Hyper-Threading and non-Intel PowerVR graphics. While the base clock speed is a little bit higher than previous Atom chips, the biggest change is reported to be in power consumption. It also has the benefit of running Windows 8, which was developed with mobile applications in mind, unlike the decidedly desktop-centric Windows 7.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the unit Acer sent us is pre-production, so we can’t test Atom’s performance with benchmarks yet. What we can tell you is that the W510 booted to the Modern UI in about 16 seconds. Once there, horizontal scrolling through the interface was surprisingly smooth, but vertical scrolling, as on web pages, was inconsistent, with periodic lags. Still, we have to say we were surprised that the sucktastic qualities of old Atom were not apparent. We did experience a few quirks that we’re attributing to its pre-production state, but we’re going to give Acer the benefit of the doubt and assume these issues will be fixed in the final product. It’s an intriguing concept, so we’d like to see it polished.<strong><br /></strong></p> <p> </p><p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/acer_620_0.jpg"></a></p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/untitled_620_0.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/untitled_620_1.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/acer_620.jpg" title="Acer iconia W510" width="620" height="521" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Batteries in both the keyboard base and the screen/tablet keep the W510 supplied with plenty of juice.</strong></p> <p>As a tablet, the Iconia W510 is far more convincing than either the Yoga 13 or the XPS 12. Freed from its keyboard, the W510 weighs just one pound, four ounces. The 10.1-inch screen is easy to hold in one or both hands, and while its 1366x768 resolution isn’t going to win any contests, it’s got the nice image quality of an IPS panel, under a protective layer of Gorilla Glass.</p> <p>As a notebook, the experience is more compromised. For starters, the device is top-heavy, what with all the computing components stuffed into the screen, so it has a tendency to topple backward when it’s sitting in your lap. Then there’s the somewhat cramped keyboard, which isn’t great for long bouts of typing. And its 64GB of storage is all too tablet-like for our tastes (a media reader and USB port make expansion possible). Also, its touchpad isn’t great. Not only does it not support Win8 gestures, but it was noticeably less responsive than either Lenovo’s or Dell’s.</p> <p>Still, we think this device has potential if the quirks we experienced are worked out in the final product. It’s a believable tablet with far more productivity chops than other tablets offer at down-to-earth pricing.</p> <p><strong>Acer Iconia W510</strong></p> <p><strong>$750,</strong> <a class="thickbox" href="http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/home"><span class="thickbox">www.acer.com</span></a></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span></div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table style="width: 619px; height: 266px;" border="0"> <thead> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">CPU</td> <td>1.5GHz Intel Atom Z2760 SoC</td> </tr> <tr> <td>GPU</td> <td>PowerVR SGX540</td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>2GB DDR2/800</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Display</td> <td>10.1-inch1366x768 IPS LCD</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Storage</td> <td>64GB SSD</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Connectivity</td> <td>Micro HDMI (with dongle for VGA), Micro USB 2.0 (with dongle for full-size USB 2.0), Micro SD card reader, 802.11n, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, headphone, mic, keyboard dock with USB 2.0</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Lap / Carry (with dock)</td> <td>With dock: 2 lbs, 12.4 oz / 3 lbs, 0.2 oz with dock); tablet only: 1 lb, 4 oz</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p class="module-content">&nbsp;</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <h4><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">Acer T232HL</span></h4> <p><strong>Doesn’t come with a bottle of Windex</strong></p> <p>What makes a monitor “good” for Windows 8? First, you need a touch panel with a flush bezel that lets you summon the various Windows 8 command ghosts. That pretty much eliminates optical-based monitors, which have the camera lenses hidden in the corners. Microsoft also recommends no less than five-finger multitouch for the OS, but 10-finger is advisable.</p> <p>That’s all good news for Acer’s new 23-inch T232HL touch panel. This 10-point-touch projected-capacitive panel lets you do all the Windows 8 swiping and flicking your heart desires. As you can imagine, projected capacitive carries a price premium and the Acer streets at $500—compared to, say, the $280 that a 23-inch optical touch panel might cost you. That’s a big price increase, but certainly not as pricey as the InnovaTouch (reviewed next).</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/acert232hl_620_copy.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/acert232hl_620.jpg" title="Acer T232HL" width="620" height="413" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Step-back Modern UI, haters, this multitouch panel won’t break the bank.</strong></p> <p>Running the panel through the Lagom LCD monitor obstacle course (www.lagom.nl), the Acer was good in most of the tests but we did see banding in the gradient tests. That issue wasn’t in just synthetic tests, either—using a real-world product shot of a system, we could see the banding in one particular fade in the background. It’s not terrible, and some might accuse us of pixel-peeping but the issue was noticeable compared with the InnovaTouch monitor. A series of digital images also looked less impressive on the Acer than the InnovaTouch—not to a great degree, but again, worth noting. The InnovaTouch also wins in responsiveness over the Acer, exhibiting less lag in response to touch commands.</p> <p>Where the Acer wins is in ports—you get DVI, VGA, HDMI, and three USB 3.0 ports vs. the VGA and DVI on the InnovaTouch. The Acer also is also far sexier, though we’re not totally sold on the design. Neither panel is height adjustable.</p> <p>Despite all this, we think the Acer is a pretty decent panel for the price. It’s IPS and, more importantly, it’s a flush-bezel multitouch, which will make even the Win8 Modern UI haters reconsider their position.</p> <div class="module-content"> <p class="module orange-module article-module"><strong>Acer T232H</strong></p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" title="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> <p><strong>$500, <a class="thickbox" href="http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/home"><span class="thickbox">www.acer.com</span>&nbsp;</a></strong></p> <h4><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">InnovaTouch IW2235P-U</span></h4> <p><strong>Looks aren’t everything</strong></p> <p>When we first began our hunt for flush-bezel touch panels to review, one of the few we could find initially was InnovaTouch’s IW2235P-U. This IPS, 10-point projective-capacitive panel isn’t the typical consumer-grade monitor, and in fact, is marketed for commercial applications; its price of $754 reflects that. The fact that the panel is slightly smaller than the Acer, at just under 22-inches viewable, would immediately make you recoil and assume there’s no real difference between this panel and consumer panels that cost about two-thirds the price.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>After using the InnovaTouch side-by-side with the Acer, we can say that’s not true. Using Lagom’s LCD test images on the pair of 1080p panels, we found the InnovaTouch slightly better than the Acer in image quality, particularly in areas of gradation. The Acer isn’t horrible, but the InnovaTouch was far smoother. Grading the panel for digital photo work, we found the InnovaTouch slightly warmer and with a bit more contrast, too. Off axis, however, the InnovaTouch had a ghastly yellowish tinge to it.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/620_0.jpg"></a></p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/620_1.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/620_2.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/620.jpg" width="620" height="620" /></a></p> <p>One key advantage to the panel has is in touch response. We used a painting app and drew our finger across the screen. When drawing at anything faster than slow speeds, the Acer’s digitizer lagged far behind the InnovaTouch’s.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>So what’s not to like? The stand, which is designed to stabilize the panel when tilted flat, is insanely overbuilt—as well as downright ugly. There’s also a pretty limited input selection—no media&nbsp; reader, camera, or USB ports; just DVI and VGA. So we suppose your choice really depends on what you value. The edge in image quality and touch performance goes to the InnovaTouch, but the Acer aces in price, ports, and style.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>InnovaTouch IW2235P-U<br /></strong></p> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> <p class="verdict"><strong>$754, <a class="thickbox" href="http://www.touchsystems.com/">www.touchsystems.com</a></strong></p> <h4> <hr /></h4> <h4><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">LOGITECH WIRELESS RECHARGEABLE TOUCHPAD T650</span></h4> <p class="verdict"><strong>Touch Windows 8 without a new monitor</strong></p> <p>WE WON’T LIE—Win8 isn’t an optimal experience for traditional mouse and keyboard users. But what if you can’t afford a touchscreen? Consider a giant touchpad. That’s the idea behind Logitech’s Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650. It’s a giant (5-inch) touchpad that greatly aids the use of a touch-oriented operating system in the absence of a touchscreen.</p> <p>The T650 supports up to four-finger gestures to help you navigate Metro, err, Modern. Various moves perform different commands in Win8, such as swiping four fingers to the left or right to “snap” a Window on the desktop. Four fingers up or down on the pad will minimize or maximize a window, while swiping three fingers up pulls up the Start screen. We’re honestly not fans of any of the multitouch touchpad controls, as they’re not uniform across devices and all the swiping and gesturing makes us feel like we’re casting a magic missile more than controlling a cursor. Plus there’s the tendency to inadvertently open a program.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The Touchpad’s surface itself is glass and, frankly, smoother than the two touch panels we reviewed here. It recharges via Micro USB and works with Logitech’s wonderful Unify system so you can run six Logitech Unify devices from a single 2.4GHz RF dongle. Using the Touchpad feels luxurious if you’re coming off a cramped notebook touchpad but it can use some improvements. The Touchpad has a hard edge that we wished was beveled, as we kept catching our finger when we swiped in from the right to pull up the Charms bar.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/logitech_touchpad_t650_620_1.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/logitech_touchpad_t650_620.jpg" width="620" height="205" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The T650 offers a luxuriously smooth, 5-inch touch surface to navigate Windows 8.</strong></p> <p>While it’s great for moving through the Modern interface quickly, we had problems with the Touchpad in precision work, such as selecting a word or one or two letters of a document for deletion or editing. With a mouse, it’s second-nature to make such precision moves—not so with the Touchpad, which takes too much concentration. Another issue we had was selecting things to drag around the desktop with the Touchpad—it takes a wee bit too much finger pressure to accomplish.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650<br /></strong></p> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> <p class="verdict"><strong>$80,<a class="thickbox" href="http://www.logitech.com/"> www.logitech.com</a></strong></p> <h4 class="verdict"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">LOGITECH T620</span></h4> <p><strong>Years later, we still have issues with touch mice</strong></p> <p>Logitech's T620 reminds us of other touch-enabled mice and— unfortunately—those aren’t mice we were very fond of. Most of the surface of the T620 is touch-enabled. To left-click you can either push the whole body down or tap the left side of it. That’s not it, though— no fewer than 10 different Windows 8 functions can be accessed by touching or stroking different parts of the mouse body. To pull up the Charms bar, for example, you can stroke your finger in from the right side. In theory, it sounds neat to be able to command the OS from the mouse but we found the surface much too cramped. If we had to have “touch,” we’d rather pair Logitech’s Touchpad T650 with a traditional mouse rather than just try to tough it out with the T620 alone.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/logitech_touch_mouse_t620_620_0.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/logitech_touch_mouse_t620_620_1.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/logitech_touch_mouse_t620_620.jpg" width="620" height="551" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Touch mouse T620 tries to jam too many features into its small touch surface.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Logitech T620<br /></strong></p> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_6.jpg" alt="score:6" title="score:6" width="210" height="80" /></div> <p class="verdict"><strong>$70,<a class="thickbox" href="http://www.logitech.com/"> www.logitech.com</a></strong></p> <h4 class="verdict"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">LOGITECH T400</span></h4> <p class="verdict"><strong>It’s like the Start Menu never left</strong></p> <p>You don't know how much something means to you until it’s gone, and with Windows 8, we’re really pining for the Start menu. Sniff. Logitech’s T400 helps us get over that loss. With one touch on the glass touch area, the Modern UI Start screen is available. Like the T620 and T650, it uses Logitech’s rather nifty Unify dongle that can drive up to six devices at once. Beside the easy access to the Start screen, you can also smoothly scroll on two different axes with the T400. We appreciate the limited command set rather than the surfeit of gestures on the T620. The only other thing we’d want is an option to directly access the Charms bar. Our one real complaint about the T400 is that it’s way too small, which made driving the mouse uncomfortable rather quickly.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/logitech_zone_touch_mouse_t400_620_0.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/logitech_zone_touch_mouse_t400_620_1.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/logitech_zone_touch_mouse_t400_620.jpg" width="620" height="555" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We liked the welldefined touch area of the T400 but it’s built for smaller hands.</strong></p> </div> </div> <p><strong>Logitech T400</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong><br /> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" title="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> </p><p class="verdict"><strong>$50, <a class="thickbox" href="www.logitech.com">www.logitech.com</a></strong><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h4 class="verdict"> <hr /></h4> <h4 class="verdict"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">MICROSOFT SCULPT COMFORT KEYBOARD</span></h4> <p><strong>Curved Microsoft keyboard offers hotkeys for Windows 8</strong></p> <p>THE NEXT iteration in a long line of curved keyboards from Microsoft, the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard shares familiar lines with its predecessors. As ergonomic keyboards go, this one is rather flat, and the keys are contiguous from side to side. The palm rest is removable and also has feet enabling you to add height to the front of the keyboard.</p> <p>Designed for use with Windows 8, the Sculpt Comfort Keyboard’s function keys double as hotkeys used to emulate actions and gestures within Microsoft’s new OS. The hotkey configuration is controlled using a switch above the number pad, making it difficult to switch back and forth between the two modes.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Microsoft’s Sculpt Comfort Keyboard uses 2.4GHz wireless connectivity with the included USB dongle and is powered by two AAA batteries.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/sculptcomfortkb_print_620._1.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/sculptcomfortkb_print_620..jpg" width="620" height="241" /></a></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Microsoft’s latest curved keyboard features a split spacebar and wireless connectivity.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Keyboard<br /></strong></p> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_8.jpg" alt="score:8" title="score:8" width="210" height="80" /></div> <p class="verdict"><strong>$60, <a class="thickbox" href="http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx">www.microsoft.com</a></strong><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h4 class="verdict"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">MICROSOFT WEDGE MOBILE KEYBOARD&nbsp;</span></h4> <p><strong>Bluetooth keyboard geared toward mobile PC or tablet users</strong></p> <p>Microsoft's Wedge Mobile Keyboard provides an alternative input method for PC users on the go. A sturdy design paired with its diminutive size make it easy to carry in a bag or backpack. The included cover and tablet stand add significant weight to the keyboard. Bluetooth connectivity allows the Wedge Mobile Keyboard to be used with tablets or smartphones running a variety of platforms.</p> <p>Provided along the top row of the keyboard are media playback controls and buttons to activate the Charms buttons found in Windows 8. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard’s physical keys make touch typing much more feasible than screen-based input methods, but the key spacing leaves something to be desired.</p> <p>The build quality of the Wedge Mobile Keyboard is second to none. We wish the same could be said about the typing experience.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/prod_wedgemobilekeyboardbentcover_print_620_0.jpg"></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/prod_wedgemobilekeyboardbentcover_print_620_1.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/prod_wedgemobilekeyboardbentcover_print_620.jpg" width="620" height="313" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Mobile Keyboard really comes into its own when used with Windows 8.</strong></p> <div class="module-text full"> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard</strong></p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" title="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> <p class="verdict"><strong>$80, <a class="thickbox" href="http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx">www.microsoft.com</a></strong></p> <h4 class="verdict"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">GETTING BY WITHOUT TOUCH</span></h4> <p><strong>HOW TO NAVIGATE WINDOWS 8 WITH KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS</strong></p> <p>So you want to update to Windows 8 but have no intention of buying new touchy-feely hardware. Some common keyboard shortcuts will make getting around Windows 8 much easier than using just your mouse.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Windows key + start typing:</strong> Search<strong><br />Windows key + C:</strong> Expose the Charms bar<strong><br />Windows key + F: </strong>Open the Search charm to search files<strong><br />Windows key + Q:</strong> Open the Search charm to search apps<strong><br />Windows key + H: </strong>Open the Share charm<strong><br />Windows key + I: </strong>Open the Settings charm (this is where you’ll fi nd the power button)<strong><br />Windows key + K: </strong>Open the Devices charm<strong><br />Windows key + Shift + period (.): </strong>Snap an app to the left<strong><br />Windows key + period (.):</strong> Snap an app to the right<strong><br />Windows key + J:</strong> Switch the main app and the snapped app<strong><br />Windows key + Ctrl + Tab:</strong> Cycle through open apps (except desktop apps)<strong><br />Windows key + D: </strong>Switch from Modern to Desktop mode<strong><br />Windows key + X: </strong>Access a slew of Windows tools like Power Options, Device Manager, Control Panel, Run, etc.</p> <p><span style="font-style: italic;">Note: This feature originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of the&nbsp;</span><a style="font-style: italic;" title="Maximum PC mag" href="https://w1.buysub.com/pubs/IM/MAX/MAX-subscribe.jsp?cds_page_id=63027&amp;cds_mag_code=MAX&amp;id=1365546857248&amp;lsid=30991734171022564&amp;vid=1&amp;cds_response_key=IHTH31ANN" target="_blank">magazine</a><span style="font-style: italic;">.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/windows_8_hardware_reviews_2013#comments January 2013 2013 Acer Business Notebooks convertible Hardware Hardware lenovo logitech microsoft mouse Sculpt Comfort Keyboard surface rt review ultrabook Windows windows 8 Consumer Notebooks News Keyboards Mice Monitors Reviews Notebooks Features Mon, 15 Apr 2013 22:15:03 +0000 Maximum PC Staff 25267 at http://www.maximumpc.com Kone+ Gaming Mouse Review http://www.maximumpc.com/kone_gaming_mouse_review <!--paging_filter--><p>The first thing you notice about the Kone+ is the sheer size of it. It doesn’t look that large in pictures, but when you hold it in your hands, it becomes apparent that this is one of the larger mice on the market. Lengthwise it’s about the size of other long mice, like the Razer Mamba, but it’s wider and taller throughout the whole body of the mouse. It comes with a set of adjustable weights, and is comfortable in the hand, as long as you prefer a grip where your palm rests on the mouse—if you don’t, the Kone+ isn’t the right shape for you.</p> <p>The Kone+ has the button-count we’ve come to expect from a FPS or general-purpose gaming mouse. It has two well-positioned thumb buttons that are large and easy to hit, as well as dpi and profile controls. One feature you don’t commonly see on gaming mice is the tilt scroll wheel. The feature, which allows you to tilt the scroll wheel to the right or left as additional buttons, is traditionally found on office mice, not gaming mice. We suspect that the reason for this is because the additional freedom of movement in the scroll wheel makes the regular downward click feel slightly less responsive, and we could have done without it on the Kone+.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://stg.maximumpc.com/files/u140850/keyboard_showcase408_small.jpg" width="620" height="413" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The light strips on the Kone+ can display up to four customizable colors at once.</em></p> <p>The Kone+’s software suite is full-featured, with a manager for the onboard mouse profiles, color-control for the Kone+’s slick-looking light strips, and a very robust macro-editor. The laser sensor is 6,000 dpi and very sensitive, though we did find that it was prone to wigging out when it encountered lint or a hair on the mouse pad, to the point that it became a bit of a nuisance.</p> <p>The Kone+ is a solid mouse, but in a very crowded market, its few drawbacks mean we can’t heartily recommend it. We’re looking forward to seeing Roccat’s next entry in this category.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/kone_gaming_mouse_review#comments accessories computer desk Gaming Hardware keyboard Kone+ Gaming Mouse maximum mouse pc Peripherals Review Keyboards Mice Reviews Mon, 28 May 2012 11:50:05 +0000 Alex Castle 23430 at http://www.maximumpc.com Razer Naga Epic Review http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_naga_epic_review <!--paging_filter--><h3>A premium MMO gaming mouse that takes time to master</h3> <p>With the introduction of the Naga Epic, Razer has split its highest gaming mouse tier into two segments. The Mamba is still the top-of-the-line general-purpose gaming mouse, but it’s now joined by the Naga Epic, which runs the same high MSRP ($130) but offers features more tailored to MMO gamers. That’s a lot of cash—is the Naga Epic worth it?</p> <p>The Naga Epic packs many of the same “elite”-level features as the Mamba, including a 5,600 dpi laser sensor, a 1ms response time, and responsive hybrid wireless/wired control. Build quality is solid, as usual, and custom-color backlighting shines through the scroll wheel and thumb grid.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u127998/razershowcase_mouse.jpg" width="600" height="418" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>No, you’re not hallucinating. The Naga Epic has more buttons than a touch-tone phone.</strong></p> <p>So what sets the Naga apart as an MMO gaming mouse? First, there’s the shape: a higher-backed, more bulb-shaped design than you normally expect from Razer. If the Mamba is a Corvette, the Naga is a VW Bug. It’s a comfortable layout that leaves your hand in a more relaxed position for long gaming sessions. The Naga Epic has a degree of physical customization as well, in the form of three swappable pinky-side plates that let you change the feel and look of the mouse. The plates feel sturdy while in place, and are well designed; the mouse looks very nice with any of the three attached.</p> <p>The second thing that makes the Naga Epic suited for MMO gamers is the 12-button side plate, which puts an incredible number of potential hotkeys right under your thumb. Razer’s excellent driver software makes it easy to customize the 12 buttons, allowing you to save different profiles for different games. To help you “train” on the 12-button grid, Razer includes sheets of adhesive, rubbery dots so you can feel your way around. Unfortunately, we found that even with the dots, it takes a lot of effort to become adept at finding the right spot on the Naga Epic’s tightly packed grid.</p> <p>So, as a top-tier MMO gaming mouse, we can recommend the Naga Epic. It’s a comfortable mouse with a strong feature set, including a staggering number of buttons—if you’re willing to put in the time needed to learn to use them.</p> <p><strong>$130, <a href="http://www.razerzone.com" target="_blank">www.razerzone.com</a></strong></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_naga_epic_review#comments Hardware MMORPG razer 2011 July 2011 Mice Reviews From the Magazine Mon, 09 May 2011 17:33:19 +0000 Alex Castle 17985 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Review http://www.maximumpc.com/article/microsoft_arc_touch_mouse_review <!--paging_filter--><h3>Microsoft’s latest mouse redefines portable</h3> <p>The Arc Touch Mouse is the latest in the Arc line—a series of surprisingly design-minded peripherals from Microsoft. The Arc Touch takes the already high-concept line into the stratosphere with a design so innovative that it’s almost worth a buy for novelty’s sake alone.</p> <p>What makes the mouse so creative? For starters, the form factor is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Designed for portability, the Arc Touch starts off as a perfectly flat, thin slab—ideal for slipping into the pocket of a laptop bag. When you want to actually use the mouse, you flex it, and it snaps into a full-size arch-shape mouse, reminiscent of the previous Arc Mouse. The mouse automatically turns on when arched and off when flat. The whole snap-bracelet-style process is oddly satisfying.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u127998/arc-touch-mouse.jpg" width="600" height="336" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Arc Touch’s flexible design lets it pack flat when it’s not in use.</strong></p> <p>Because the mouse is designed to be perfectly flat when not in use, it doesn’t have a traditional scroll wheel. In its place, the Arc Touch has a small, touch-sensitive strip between the left and right buttons. To scroll up or down, you flick your finger up or down the strip, and you double-tap to click. Even better, the touch pad is equipped with a small rumble mechanism and a speaker, which it uses to provide tactile and auditory feedback to simulate rolling an actual wheel. It’s a little gimmicky, but the feedback actually does make it easier to scroll using the pad without looking.</p> <p>The Arc Touch is wireless, and a strong magnet holds the super-low-profile USB dongle to the mouse when not in use.</p> <p>So that’s all very cool—does that mean we recommend the Arc Touch unconditionally? Not necessarily. If you’re looking for strong mouse fundamentals, the Arc Touch falls flat in a few places. For one, it’s not ergonomic at all. It’s not totally uncomfortable, mind you, but it feels just how you’d expect a smooth arc to feel as a mouse. Also, it’s only got the two main mouse buttons and the touch pad. If you’ve become used to the almost-standard thumb-side buttons, you’re going to miss them with the Arc Touch. </p> <p>If you want a solid, ergonomic mouse for extended use, you should probably look elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for a portable mouse with a full-size feel and a head-turning design, the Arc Touch might be your rodent.</p> <p><strong>$70, <a href="http://www.microsoft.com" target="_blank">www.microsoft.com</a></strong></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/microsoft_arc_touch_mouse_review#comments Hardware microsoft Mice Reviews Thu, 31 Mar 2011 16:30:40 +0000 Alex Castle 17909 at http://www.maximumpc.com Razer StarCraft II Peripherals http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/razer_starcraft_ii_peripherals <!--paging_filter--><h3>Razer brings its B-game to Blizzard’s legendary RTS</h3> <p>It’s recently become popular for major PC game releases to be accompanied by their own line of branded peripherals, custom designed by big-name peripheral makers like Razer and SteelSeries. Frequently, these products are no more than a reskinning of a popular model, as is the case with the Call of Duty: Black Ops Stealth Mouse, which is essentially a rebranded Cyborg R.A.T. Other times, the tie-in is more substantial, as with the SteelSeries WoW mice, which feature unique, game-inspired designs as well as features and software intended to help you play the game better.</p> <p>So, when we got the complete set of StarCraft II custom peripherals in for testing from Razer, we were curious to see whether they would be more like the former or the latter scenario. What we found out was surprising.</p> <h3>Razer Spectre</h3> <p>The first product from the line that we tested, the Spectre, almost immediately raised some red flags. From a design standpoint, the Spectre is a big departure for Razer. It forgoes the company’s trademark ergonomic, curved construction for a flatter and smaller-than-usual design. With hard, angled edges and a low profile, it’s surprisingly uncomfortable for a product from a company with a lot of experience making mice that feel good to hold.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u127998/mouse_starcraftfull.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u127998/mouse_starcraft.jpg" width="405" height="325" /></a></p> <p><strong>The Spectre: The least ergonomic mouse Razer has ever produced.<br /></strong></p> <p>The Spectre (along with the rest of the set) is built of a silvery plastic that’s meant to look like metal, but instead just comes across as sort of cheap. Razer is billing this mouse as “lightweight” but we’d rather just call it “flimsy.” In short, the Spectre does not feel like an $80 gaming mouse.</p> <p>Feature-wise, the Spectre is a mixed bag. It’s got two side buttons, but only on one side—meaning that although this mouse is very nearly symmetrical, it’s not functionally ambidextrous. It’s equipped with a 5,600dpi laser sensor, and has a 1ms response time, which should be more than enough for any of your gaming needs, RTS or otherwise.</p> <p>Two features unique to the Spectre are a hardware switch on the bottom that controls the force required to push the main mouse buttons, and a set of multicolor LEDs, which change shade based on your in-game actions per minute (or APM), a vital statistic for StarCraft players. The LEDs can be configured in the well-executed software suite, which can control all three StarCraft II peripherals from a single control panel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">Razer Spectre</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Thor</span> <p>Controllable resistance on main buttons, good software support.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">SCV</span> <p>Too small, feels cheap, uncomfortable straight edges.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_5.jpg" alt="score:5" title="score:5" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Razer Marauder</h3> <p>Any decent StarCraft player can tell you the difference between a Diamond League pro and Bronze League scrub: It’s all in the keyboard. Although StarCraft can be played entirely with the mouse, a good player is going to be hammering away at the keyboard nonstop throughout the match—issuing attack orders, queuing units and buildings, and jumping around the map.</p> <p>Razer must understand this, because the Marauder is the high point of its SCII lineup. Not amazing, mind you, but solid enough.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u127998/keyboard_starcraftfull.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u127998/keyboard_starcraft.jpg" width="405" height="257" /></a></p> <p>From a design standpoint, the Marauder does a good job of matching the StarCraft II visual style, though it still features some of the ugly wannabe-steel plastic seen on the Spectre. The keys themselves are nicer, with a satiny rubber finish. They’re your standard dome-switch keys, but with a little more resistance than usual, and a satisfyingly long travel.<br />&nbsp;<br />In an interesting twist, Razer has gone for a shortened design with the Marauder—not by removing the number pad, as is most common, but by removing the arrow keys and the keys traditionally above them, such as Delete, Home, and Page Up. These keys have been mapped onto the number pad, and are accessed by hitting a new “Num Mode” key. We appreciate that the Marauder takes up less desk space than usual, but anyone who ever uses the keyboard for camera control or in any custom gametypes may find themselves at a disadvantage.</p> <p>On the bright side, the Marauder is decked out with color-changing LEDs, with separate controls for the key lights, the Razer logo, and the underlights, which shine from underneath the keyboard. Like the whole lineup, these lights can be customized to change based on APM, or when certain events happen in-game—like when an enemy attacks your base, or when a unit is produced.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">Razer Marauder</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Archon</span> <p>Nice-feeling rubberized keys, good software support.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Probe</span> <p>Lack of arrow keys limit your play options, no USB passthrough.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_7.jpg" alt="score:7" title="score:7" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Razer Banshee</h3> <p>Remember that ugly plastic we keep mentioning? With the Banshee, it seems Razer ended up with some sort of surplus of the stuff, and just decided to see how much it could possibly slap onto a single headset. The individual ear cups are simply enormous—bigger than any gaming headset we’ve used. That’s OK though, as bigger cans theoretically means room for bigger drivers, and that’s a good thing. We also know that with this set, Razer has opted to store the external soundcard hardware in the set itself, rather than in a dongle on the cord, as is more popular, which would account for some of the additional bulk.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u127998/headphones_starcraftfull.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u127998/headphones_starcraft.jpg" width="279" height="405" /></a></p> <p><strong>The Banshee’s design would leave us scratching our heads, if all this plastic weren’t in the way.</strong></p> <p>What’s hard to explain is the vast expanse of headband connecting the two earpieces, which is about 2.5 inches wide the whole way, and manages to be simultaneously bulky, heavy, and hideous.</p> <p>All that plastic doesn’t sit very well on the head. To make matters worse, the foam around the ear cups doesn’t form a good seal, the ear cups themselves don’t swivel much, which easily compromises the sound isolation. The boom microphone detaches to make the headset a bit more svelte, but the little rubber cap that covers the microphone port when the boom is detached isn’t tethered to the headset in any way—all but guaranteeing that you’ll lose it immediately.</p> <p>The sound itself is pretty good, with good bass response and clarity comparable to other headsets in the Banshee’s ~$100 price range. All the same, we expected better from such an enormous set, and the sound quality is marred by the set’s poor fit.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="lowdown"> <div class="module orange-module article-module verdict-block"><span class="module-name-header" style="font-size: 14px; border-bottom: 1px solid #000;">Razer Banshee</span><br /> <div class="module-content" style="margin-top: -20px;"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="product-verdict"> <div class="positive"><span class="header">Ultralisk</span> <p>Respectable sound quality, color-change lighting looks good in the dark.</p> </div> <div class="negative"><span class="header">Drone</span> <p>Looks terrible with the lights on, ear cups fit badly for poor sound isolation.</p> </div> <div class="verdict"><img src="/sites/maximumpc.com/themes/maximumpc/i/mxpc_6.jpg" alt="score:6" title="score:6" width="210" height="80" /></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So, in summary, the StarCraft II line of peripherals is a surprisingly low-quality offering from a well-regarded peripheral maker gifted with a major game license. There are a few bright spots—in particular the software controlling the three products is nicely done, and the color-changing LEDs make all three pieces look great in the dark, and provide an interesting channel for additional feedback from the game. However, the general low-quality feel of the parts, their unappealing visual design, and surprisingly high price points (the whole set will run you more than $300) makes Razer’s StarCraft II line a hard sell.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/razer_starcraft_ii_peripherals#comments Hardware headphones keyboards mice razer reviews StarCraft 2 2011 March 2011 Headphones Keyboards Mice Reviews From the Magazine Features Fri, 18 Feb 2011 19:29:23 +0000 Alex Castle 16761 at http://www.maximumpc.com Razer Spectre Review http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_spectre_review <!--paging_filter--><p>The first product from the line that we tested, the Spectre, almost immediately raised some red flags. From a design standpoint, the Spectre is a big departure for Razer. It forgoes the company’s trademark ergonomic, curved construction for a flatter and smaller-than-usual design. With hard, angled edges and a low profile, it’s surprisingly uncomfortable for a product from a company with a lot of experience making mice that feel good to hold.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u127998/mouse_starcraftfull.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u127998/mouse_starcraft.jpg" width="405" height="325" /></a></p> <p><strong>The Spectre: The least ergonomic mouse Razer has ever produced.<br /></strong></p> <p>The Spectre (along with the rest of the set) is built of a silvery plastic that’s meant to look like metal, but instead just comes across as sort of cheap. Razer is billing this mouse as “lightweight” but we’d rather just call it “flimsy.” In short, the Spectre does not feel like an $80 gaming mouse.</p> <p>Feature-wise, the Spectre is a mixed bag. It’s got two side buttons, but only on one side—meaning that although this mouse is very nearly symmetrical, it’s not functionally ambidextrous. It’s equipped with a 5,600dpi laser sensor, and has a 1ms response time, which should be more than enough for any of your gaming needs, RTS or otherwise.</p> <p>Two features unique to the Spectre are a hardware switch on the bottom that controls the force required to push the main mouse buttons, and a set of multicolor LEDs, which change shade based on your in-game actions per minute (or APM), a vital statistic for StarCraft players. The LEDs can be configured in the well-executed software suite, which can control all three StarCraft II peripherals from a single control panel.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_spectre_review#comments Hardware mice razer reviews StarCraft 2 2011 March 2011 Mice Reviews From the Magazine Thu, 20 Jan 2011 18:12:11 +0000 Alex Castle 16760 at http://www.maximumpc.com Razer Lachesis 5,600dpi Review http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_lachesis_5600dpi_review <!--paging_filter--><p>The Razer Lachesis gaming mouse originally launched in 2007, with a dramatically curved, ambidextrous design and a 4,000dpi sensor. Three years later, Razer has released a new Lachesis, which is not so much a sequel as a refinement of the original.</p> <p>The most important change in Lachesis 2.0 is the 5,600dpi sensor, which puts it on par with other top-end gaming mice. We don’t usually play at such a high sensitivity, but we tested it at dpi levels across the whole spectrum and found the Lachesis responsive and reliable.</p> <p>The other new addition to the Lachesis is custom-color lighting. That means that (after downloading the Lachesis driver) you can change the color of the glowing scroll wheel and Razer logo to whichever of the 16 million possible shades you fancy most. Earth-shattering? Not exactly, but it is nice that you can match your mouse’s glow to your keyboard or any lights your various hardware might emit.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u127998/mouse_razr_full.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u127998/mouse_razr_web.jpg" alt="" width="405" height="299" /></a></p> <p><strong>The Lachesis v2 may look the same as its predecessor, but it sports an improved sensor and customizable LEDs.</strong></p> <p>The Lachesis form factor hasn’t changed, but that’s all right—it’s still an amazingly ergonomic mouse. It’s bigger than your average Razer mouse, with a high-arched back and pronounced grooves on the buttons that make it a very comfortable fit for anyone with medium-to-large hands.</p> <p>The right and left mouse buttons feature a solid clicking mechanism, and the mouse has two extra buttons on each side, though the buttons on the off-thumb side cannot easily be pressed without moving your hand. On top are two more buttons behind the scroll wheel, which has a tight, clicky feel, though it lacks sideways tilt functionality.</p> <p>The standard raft of gaming features are all here, as well, including on-the-fly adjustable sensitivity and multiple user profiles. Nothing too exciting here.</p> <p>And that’s really what you’re getting with the Lachesis: a dependable gaming mouse with a time-tested form factor, a high-caliber sensor, and solid software support. Nothing innovative, but a solid buy for the money—especially for lefties and those with size-XL hands.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_lachesis_5600dpi_review#comments gaming mouse Hardware mouse razer Home Mice Reviews Thu, 09 Dec 2010 18:52:22 +0000 Alex Castle 15965 at http://www.maximumpc.com Logitech G500 http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/logitech_g500 <!--paging_filter--><h3>This throwback laser mouse is sure to please fans of the classic MX518</h3> <p>At first glance, Logitech’s new G500 mouse looks like yesterday’s model. Its chassis is almost identical to the classic G5, which was in turn a slight redesign of the MX510/518 series. The G500 takes the classic hump design of the MX510/518 and updates the sensor with one similar to the sensor used in the newer G9x line of mice. That’s very nice.</p> <p>When we say the same laser sensor as <a href="/article/reviews/logitech_g9x" target="_blank">the G9x</a>, we really mean that Logitech included an ever-so-slightly upgraded version of the G9x’s sensor. The G500’s adjustable sensor lets you select a setting from 200–5,700dpi, while the G9x limits you to 200–5,000dpi. This isn’t really a significant upgrade, as even the 5,000dpi setting is unplayable outside the small subset of games that let you set an incredibly low sensitivity. Still, we love the silky-smooth action of this mouse.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><a href="/files/u90693/1-mouselogitech-full.jpg" class="thickbox"><img src="/files/u90693/1-mouselogitech-405.jpg" width="405" height="292" /></a><br /><strong>Logitech's G500 gaming mouse takes the gamer-friendly sensor of the G9x and puts it in a mouse reminiscent of the classic MX518.</strong></div> <p>With five programmable buttons, plus the clicky mouse-wheel, there are plenty of options for the button-crazed gamer. We’re not necessarily fans of the triple thumb-button cluster, though; it sacrifices simplicity and the ability to instantly know which button you’re pressing for an extra button that we rarely use. Still, players of macro-friendly games—like RTSes and World of Warcraft—will find that it’s simple to program, although getting the timing perfect can be tricky. We absolutely love that the switch that alternates the mouse wheel between its detente-less smooth scroll setting and the more traditional one-click stop setting is squarely front and center—on top of the mouse, directly below the scroll wheel. However, its placement does mean that it’s possible to accidently click should you lose your grip.</p> <p>Like the other G-series mice from Logitech, the G500 includes a weight tray, allowing you to customize the weight of your mouse in increments of 2g or 5g. Additionally, like the G9 and G9x, you can store profiles containing everything from button assignments to dpi and mouse polling settings on the mouse. This lets you utilize your custom profiles on whatever computer you’re playing on. This is perfect for LAN parties, where you may or may not be competing on a computer you built. While you can save multiple profiles on the G500, you can’t manually switch between them on the mouse itself. It’s a minor feature, but something we liked with the G9-series mice. We were able to set as many as five different sensitivity settings in the Logitech control panel app, but we couldn’t access more than three in our tests with the actual hardware. Which three could we use? No idea, the mouse simply tells you whether you’re using the slow, medium, or fast setting, without displaying the actual dpi setting you’re using.<br /> <br />Where does that leave the G500? While we love the classic shape of the G500, we miss the G9-series’ ability to switch between profiles using just the mouse. If you absolutely detest the shape and interchangeable bodies of the G9 mice, this is an acceptable rodent. However, if you can adjust to the G9x, it’s a superior product.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/logitech_g500#comments g500 Gaming Gaming Hardware Hardware Hardware logitech mice mouse Peripherals reviews 2009 Mice Reviews December 2009 From the Magazine Mon, 09 Nov 2009 04:00:00 +0000 Will Smith 8963 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Sidewinder X8 http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/microsoft_sidewinder_x8 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Can a tasty new sensor save Microsoft's lumbering design? <br /></h3> <p>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.</p> <p>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.<br /> <br />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.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><a href="/files/u90693/Mouse_Sidewinder01_full.jpg" class="thickbox"><img src="/files/u90693/Mouse_Sidewinder01_305.jpg" width="305" height="444" /></a><br /> <div align="left"><strong>The X8 is Microsoft's first wireless gaming mouse, but despite some awesome thumb buttons, we can't recommend it.<br /></strong></div> </div> <p>The Sidewinder X8’s sensor is also worthy of note. The BlueTrack sensor uses blue LEDs instead of the more traditional red LEDs or infrared laser to illuminate the surface under the mouse. The reflected blue light is picked up by a CMOS sensor, which tracks the surface’s movement beneath the mouse and translates that into your cursor movements. The big benefit of the BlueTrack sensor is in the number of surfaces the sensor works on—we tested granite, shiny brushed metal, and black surfaces that confound other optical mice. Like other gaming mice, the X8 features an adjustable sensor, which caps out around 5,000dpi (as reported by the screen on the top of the mouse). In our testing, however, the mouse didn’t feel as smooth as other high-end gaming mice we’ve tested recently, the <a href="/article/reviews/razer_mamba" target="_blank">Razer Mamba</a> and the <a href="/article/reviews/logitech_g9x" target="_blank">Logitech G9x</a>. In fact, there were noticeable and regular skips when using the X8 in Windows.</p> <p>Unfortunately, our biggest problem with the X8 is its size. If your hands aren’t larger than average, this mouse is simply too wide and tall for most people’s comfort. After several hours of use, our hands actually cramped from the stretching required to move the mouse. We recognize that large-handed folk need to use a mouse too, but we can’t recommend this mouse to even them, due to the cursor hitching we experienced in testing.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/microsoft_sidewinder_x8#comments Hardware Hardware mice microsoft reviews sidewinder x8 2009 August 2009 Mice Reviews From the Magazine Fri, 28 Aug 2009 22:30:42 +0000 Will Smith 7606 at http://www.maximumpc.com Razer Mamba http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_mamba <!--paging_filter--><h3>An amazing mouse with an awful battery </h3> <p>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.</p> <p>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. </p> <div style="text-align: center"><a href="/files/u90693/show_mouse3271_full.jpg" class="thickbox"><img src="/files/u90693/show_mouse3271_405.jpg" width="405" height="440" /></a><br /> <div align="left"> </div> <div><strong>The Mamba would make one helluva wired mouse, but battery-life problems make us wary of its $130 price tag.</strong></div> </div> <p>The Mamba’s 1,000MHz laser sensor is wonderful as well. After side-by-side testing, we couldn’t differentiate between the Mamba’s 5,600dpi sensor and the 5,000dpi sensor on the <a href="/article/reviews/logitech_g9x" target="_blank">Logitech G9x</a>, but that’s a good thing. With five different sensitivity levels, which are tweakable using the mouse’s software, there’s absolutely nothing about this mouse’s sensor that will prevent you from fragging with wild abandon.</p> <p>What will prevent you from reaching your maximum gaming potential is the Mamba’s quick-death battery. Because the battery only lasted through about 12 hours of gaming before behaving sporadically, it’s a damn good thing that the Mamba also offers the option of plugging directly into the provided USB cable so you can continue playing after your battery inevitably dies. The bad news is that the USB cable is pretty chunky, and making the mouse/cord connection is fiddly at best. Worse, it’s hard to unplug. It required two hands and took us several minutes of fighting to remove every time we wanted to return to untethered fragging. On top of those problems, we absolutely detest that the only sure-fire way to get a full charge on the mouse is to turn off the physical power switch on its underbelly every single time you charge it. That’s just lame.</p> <p>At the end of the day, we simply stopped using the Mamba as a wireless mouse, instead preferring to leave the cord permanently plugged in. We’d much rather have an awesome wired mouse (at a wired mouse price) than have the battery conk out during a heated TF2 match, when there’s nary a moment to connect the cord. As it is, the Mamba is a great wired mouse at a price that’s high, even for a wireless mouse.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/razer_mamba#comments Hardware Hardware mamba mice razer reviews 2009 July 2009 Mice Reviews From the Magazine Thu, 13 Aug 2009 22:00:52 +0000 Will Smith 7225 at http://www.maximumpc.com Logitech G9x http://www.maximumpc.com/logitech_g9x <!--paging_filter--><h3>We didn't like the original G9, but we were wrong</h3> <p>When we first reviewed <a href="/article/logitech_g9" target="_blank">the original Logitech G9</a> (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.</p> <p>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.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u90693/Mouse_LogitechG9_Full.jpg"><img src="/files/u90693/Mouse_LogitechG9_415.jpg" width="415" height="254" /></a></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong>The Logitech G9x upgrades the mouse's sensor, but the rest of the mouse stays the same.</strong></div> <p>For the most part, the G9x and the original G9 are identical. The removable shells are the same, the internal weighting system accommodates up to 28 grams of weight, the onboard memory stores up to five profiles, and the scroll wheel switches between crazy-fast click-free scrolling to a more traditional click-to-click scroll at the press of a button. The only difference between the original G9 and the new G9x is its enhanced laser sensor.</p> <p>Replacing the original G9’s variable-sensitivity, 3,200dpi laser sensor is a 5,000dpi laser sensor, for true twitch gamers. At the highest sensitivity settings, moving the mouse a fraction of an inch will blast the cursor across the screen—giving you an edge in fast-paced shooters or RTS games where you need to cover a lot of ground quickly. Want to slow it down for a little sniping? Crank the mouse down as low as 200dpi on the fly, using the sensitivity adjustment buttons directly below the left mouse button. The mouse updates Windows up to 1,000 times per second, for accurate cursor movement no matter how fast you move it.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u90693/mouse2_Full.jpg"><img src="/files/u90693/mouse2_415.jpg" width="415" height="340" /></a></div> <p><strong>In its naked, shell-off form, you can see the G9x's removable weight tray. Whether you prefer a light or heavy rodent, you can have it your way.</strong></p> <p>As before, we love the G9x’s profile feature, which lets you switch between pre-configured profiles on the fly on any PC, whether you have Logitech’s software installed or not (you will need to have Logitech’s software installed to configure the profiles initially, though). The on-mouse LEDs change color based on the profile you’re using, so you won’t accidentally find yourself in your RTS shooter profile when you fire up Left 4 Dead.</p> <p>As with the G9, the seams between the G9x’s removable shells and the main mouse body get pretty crusty over a long period of time. But everything else about this mouse—from the braided cord to its pair of thumb buttons—is awesome.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/logitech_g9x#comments G9x Hardware logitech mice reviews 2009 June 2009 Mice Reviews From the Magazine Wed, 22 Jul 2009 17:00:00 +0000 Will Smith 6964 at http://www.maximumpc.com