Microsoft Sidewinder X8 - Hands-on test of the wireless gaming mouse
With the Sidewinder X8 Microsoft introduced a wireless mouse that is fit for gaming.
On first sight one could mistake the 4,000 dpi Sidewinder X8 with the Sidewinder X5 - the basic design of the chassis is identical. But there are obvious differences. On the buttons on the left side of the X8 aren't round anymore, but flat. This doesn't look as "stylish” but the two buttons can be operated more intuitively. The sidewinder X8 has seven buttons all in all.
Microsoft also listened to customers' feedback in matters of the dpi selection buttons which are located right behind the mouse wheel. They are a little closer to the wheel now and operating them - even in the thick of the fight - is less error-prone. The mouse wheel itself is metal again. Regardless of the 4-way construction the pressure point is clearly defined and precise. On the left side above the thumb buttons are the displays showing the battery life and the selected dpi ratio. The two remaining buttons more or less belong to the gimmicks section. On the uppers side of the X8 there is a button that opens the Game Explorer and another one controls the illumination of the mouse; you can switch the light on or off and you can have it pulse. From behind the X8 reminds of a Cylon - freaky.
Who wants to play safe and save battery life can use the power switch on the underside. The hatch next to the switch gives access to the battery. The charging station is an ingenious feature. Similar to the X6 keyboard, the charging cable is equipped with a magnetic mechanism. If you put the X8 near the magnetic area, the cable snaps into the notch on mouse.
Taking a look beneath the switched on mouse reveals blue light. This is caused by Microsoft's BlueTrack technology which has a beam that covers four times the surface as LED or Laser sensors do, and works at a higher surface resolution at the same time. The result: With BlueTrack the Sidewinder X8 works on almost every surface. The sensor of the wireless device delivers up to 4,000 dpi.
Scanning and Gaming
BlueTrack, 4,000 dpi, many useful features - but what is the mouse really capable of? In short, the Sidewinder X8 will be one of the best wireless gaming mice with 2.4 GHz transmission when it is released. Only Logitech's phased out G7 could have keep the pace. Independent of the chosen dpi level, no matter if low-, mid or high-sense gamer, the Sidewinder X8 is fit for all (gaming) circumstances and with 140 grams it is comparatively light.
If you like the design of the Sidewinder X5, you will also suit your taste. In matters of latency, scanning and reliability, the mouse can be rated as "absolutely appropriate for gaming”. The X8 is supposed to become for about 70 Euros in March 2009. Not really cheap, but there aren't real alternatives at the moment.
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Razer Mamba Gaming Mouse with 5,600 dpi and wireless/wired connection