gaming mouses

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Review Of Microsoft SideWinder Gaming Mouses

Xah Lee, 2009-12-18, 2010-11-19

Spend few hours looking at gaming mouse today. Here are some thoughts.

Even if you are not a gamer, a gaming mouse provides multiple reprogramable buttons and that is a productivity gain. Generally speaking, it has more advanced technology than a non-gaming mouse.

Gaming mouse from Microsoft:

  • “Microsoft SideWinder X8 Mouse”. amazon
  • “Microsoft SideWinder Gaming Mouse”. amazon
  • “Microsoft SideWinder X5 Mouse”. amazon
  • “Microsoft SideWinder X3 Mouse”. amazon
Microsoft sidewinder x8 mouse

“Microsoft Sidewinder X8 mouse” . Wireless. amazon

Microsoft sidewinder x8 mouse 2

“Microsoft Sidewinder X8 mouse”, and a recharger with magnetic connector.

All these mouses have 1 scroll wheel, 3 instant-change-dpi buttons, and at least 5 programable buttons. But the X8 has 7 programable buttons, counting the left/right nudge of the scroll wheel.

The X8 is wireless, all the others are wired. The wireless of X8 is actually quite advanced. It uses and comes with one standard AA sized rechargeable battery. It has a magnetic connector, so it snaps onto the mouse when you need to connect the charger, and you can use it as a wired mouse while it is charging. It also features a new blue laser technology, for a 4k DPI tracking. But even if you are a hardcore gamer, any DPI over 2k is basically useless. (See: What's Mouse DPI; Does Mouse DPI Matter in Gaming?.)

The middle 3 red buttons let you change dpi by a single press. They light up. The top button is 2000 dpi, the middle 800, the bottom 400.

Changing dpi is a great feature. For gaming, you want fast action, for example when turning, but when you are aiming at a far target, you want less sensitivity for precision aiming. This applies for non-gaming work as well, such as working in 3D modlers.

All are shaped for the right hand, except the X3, which is symmetric.

Microsoft sidewinder x3 mouse 2

“Microsoft Sidewinder X3” amazon

In the end, i bought the Sindewinder X3, on discount, for $20 at a local Fry's Electronics. It is fantastic. The flat cylinder shaped scroll wheel is great, because it is easier to push as a actual button too. (Most other mouse's wheel is tube shaped and hard to press.) I choose this model because this is the smallest among them, and i have small hands. Also, this is the only among them that is symmetric for either hand. I always use 2 mouses, one for each hand. But i'm buying this mouse for my left hand. When playing combat games, i use left hand for mousing. Also, this is the lightest among them. I prefer mouse as light as possible. Those gaming mouses that comes with attachable weights seem ridiculous to me. Another great feature about this mouse, or perhaps the whole series, is that it is shaped so it is easy to grab and lift. You want it to be easily grabable for quick lifting, sometimes needed. Many mouses come in some oval shape that's comparably less easily grabable.

One thing curious is that the laser at the bottom does not glow. In all optical mouses i've used, they glow a red glow. And if you lift the mouse, after few secs they'll start to flash. On the X3, there's no light on the laser. (if you peek into the lens carefully, you can however see red light inside.) I find this no-glow interesting and welcome.

Razer Naga Mouse


“Razer Naga MMOG Laser Gaming Mouse” amazon

Review at: Best Mouse for Programers and AutoHotkey Keyboard Macros.

Logitech Gaming Mouses

Logitech G9 mouse Logitech G9 mouse wheel

“Logitech G9 Laser Mouse” amazon, offers a wheel that can switch between smooth mode and notched mode.

I haven't tried any Logitech mouses. No particular reason, just that i've always been happy with Microsoft's keyboard and mouse. The current available gaming mouses are:

  • “Logitech G9X Laser Mouse” amazon
  • “Logitech G9 Laser Mouse” amazon
  • “Logitech G500 Gaming Mouse” (optical) amazon
  • “Logitech MX 518 High Performance Optical Gaming Mouse” amazon

According to a amazon reviewer, the G9 and G9X are identical except that G9X offers 5000 dpi vs G9's 3200. LOL. See: What's Mouse DPI; Does Mouse DPI Matter in Gaming?.

One annoying thing is that most spec don't say their size. Here's some info gathered from a amazon reviewer “Lakemechanic”:

  • V220 — 8.8 long
  • V320 — 9.8
  • V450 — 10.5
  • L6, L7, L8, MX400, MX Revolution — 12.3
  • LX7 — 12 × 5 × 2.5 (long × wide × high)
  • MX518 — 12.5
  • MX620 — 12.8
  • G5 — 12.5
  • G9 — 10.5
  • Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse — 11.2 × 5.1 × 4.2
  • Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000 — 12.4 × 6.7 × 4.2
  • Razer DeathAdder — 12.6 × 6.9 × 4.5

(all units in cm.)

What's the Difference Between Optical vs Laser?

Both optical and laser mouse use light technology. Optical mouse uses LED, while laser uses laser. Laser tech can track on more surfaces, at higher frequency.

Other Notes

Wikipedia article Mouse (computing) has quite a lot juice on mouse.

  • “Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000” (68C-00001) amazon
  • “Microsoft LifeCam VX-7000” amazon
  • “Microsoft LifeCam Cinema” amazon

The best one from Microsoft is the Cinema one. I think i'll have that.

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