Microsoft Sidewinder X3: Entry-level mouse reviewed
Although the new Microsoft Sidewinder X3 has not hit the markets, yet, PC Games Hardware nevertheless received a sample and tested the mouse.
Apart from the high-end input devices Logitech's MX518 is still one of the most popular mice that can be used for gaming as well as everyday work and don't cost more than 30 Euros. Microsoft is apparently aiming for right this price level with the Sidewinder X3.
Sidewinder X3 reviewed: Specifications and equipment
Microsoft issued a recommended retail price of 40 Euros for the Sidewinder X3. We expect that the price level will drop a little a few weeks after the mouse becomes available. A price of about 30 Euros is most likely. Currently the mouse is offered for 32.50 Euros by Amazon.
The technical specifications of the X3 are quite surprising in a positive way. First of all the Sidewinder mouse can be used with either hand. Although the sensor has a resolution of only 2,000 dpi, the mouse is almost latency free and thus absolutely usable for gaming. The accuracy can be adjusted on the fly. The pressure points of the two main buttons and the two side buttons are quite good, too. They are well defined but could be a little quieter. One feature advertised on the Sidewinder box is in our opinion rather questionable than helpful: The low profile of side buttons. This feature makes it more difficult to operate the buttons. The mouse wheel is smooth-running and has a well defined pressure point like the main buttons. Another positive feature is the size of the feet that ensure a smooth movement on common mouse pads.
In direct comparison to the MX518 the Sidewinder X3 reveals some weaknesses: The side buttons for example are hard to operate for people with small to normal sized hands. This, in combination with a workmanship inferior to the MX518, will not be popular among possible customers.
Sidewinder X3 reviewed: Software
With version 6.1 of the Intellipoint software, Microsoft sticks to well-proven terrain, but adds an editor which can be used to assign macro commands to the buttons. This worked well during our tests, although the feature could have been a little easier to find. Furthermore you should make use of the option to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor since the ex factory settings weren't that good actually.
Sidewinder X3 reviewed: Conclusion
Microsoft's Sidewinder X3 has some advantages if you take a look at the technical data and the entry-level mouse is definitely a gaming device. Furthermore it can - in contrast to Logitech's MX518 - be used with either hand. But we have to criticize the ergonomics: Especially the position and design of the side buttons is not perfect and the mouse is too small for customers with big hands. The Sidewinder X3 could nevertheless be quite interesting for left-handed gamers, especially when the price drops to a level lower than the competitors.
• Low latency, good gliding behavior
• Comparatively low price
• Can be used with either hand
• Position of the side buttons needs getting used to
• Workmanship doesn't appear to be solid
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