To tell the truth, I was, at first, not too excited about the release of the Microsoft SideWinder X8 gaming mouse. What turned me off was the blue track technology that replaces the standard laser. I have a Microsoft Wireless 5000 on my office computer and was not too impressed with it. I ended up buying the SideWinder X8 due to my fanaticism for all things Microsoft and after the first day, I was extremely pleased with my choice.
Blue Track technology makes all the difference
The MS SideWinder X8 has three DPI settings that move up to 4000 DPI and this is what makes the difference with the Blue Track. Blue Track is Microsoft’s new optical system that uses a wide-angle blue laser to allow the mouse to function on unconventional surfaces such as clear glass and carpet. My past experience was that while Blue Track haltingly worked on unconventional surfaces, it skipped and jumped a lot on regular surfaces. It wouldn’t work at all on my old black mousepad. I experienced no problems like this with the X8.
Here’s a good video review of the Microsoft SideWinder X8
After the Blue Track technology, the next notable feature is that the X8 is one of the few gaming mice that is wireless. A wireless gaming mouse is a bold choice as the signal usually cannot carry through with sensitivity of the DPI settings and this is the first wireless mouse by Microsoft marketed to gamers. The X8 handles the wireless conundrum by upgrading to a 2.4 GHz radio signal. The mouse itself runs on a single AA rechargeable battery. The battery holds a charge for 30 hours and there is no chance of being left hanging with a dead battery because the mouse will function when connected directly to the charger. The charger, on its own, is a work of genius. It runs a cool charge through a magnetic cable that sticks onto the charging port under the front base of the mouse. The charger also doubles as the wireless receiver and has a third function in storing two extra sets of replacement foot pads for the mouse.
The SideWinder X8 is shaped only slightly different from its predecessors. The mouse is just a tad shorter than the X5 and original SideWinder but it is the widest of the three. Most of the sharp angles have been rounded off, including the back, which no longer has the point like the X5. All of the changes in shape work in conjunction to give the mouse a full, solid feel while being unbelievably light. For color, the X8 sports a new shade of gray over the usual black gloss. The LCD rests on the left side of the mouse and automatically turns off to save power. The left side has 3 buttons. The tip of the thumb extends to the main button while the thumb rests between a top and bottom button. The mouse wheel of the X8 has gone from rubber to metal and it uses a clicking scroll and features a left and right tilt. Three DPI setting buttons are in the center below the scroll wheel and can be set from the software interface.
Microsoft has finally built a mouse for gamers that is both practical and comfortable. As far as the SideWinder series is concerned, the X8 is perfection.
Microsoft SideWinder X8 Features:
• 2.4 GHz wireless radio frequency
• Blue Track optical technology
• 30 hrs play time per charge
• 12 buttons – 7 programmable buttons
• Scroll wheel with tilt
• 500 Hz USB reporting
• Precision design for a full gaming experience
• LCD display for DPI settings, macros, and charge indicator
• Quick launch to Microsoft PC Gaming
• One-click DPI switching – 250 to 4000 DPI
• Max acceleration – 75 G
• Max speed – 120 inches/second
• Image processing – 13,000 frames/second
• Windows XP, Vista, 7
• 3-year limited warranty
Check out more pics of the SideWinder X8 Below:
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