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Microsoft SideWinder X8 Mouse

Ludicrously expensive but quality mouse

Great looks; comfortable; awesome play & charge feature; interchangeable friction feet; five programmable buttons



The first marketed integrated mouse – shipped as a part of a computer and intended for personal computer navigation – came with the Xerox 8010 Star Information System in 1981. However, the mouse remained relatively obscure until the appearance of the Apple Macintosh; in 1984 a prominent PC columnist commented the release of this new computer with a mouse: ‘There is no evidence that people want to use these things.’ A mouse now comes with every computer sold and many other varieties can be bought separately, ranging from ergonomic ones to help reduce RSI to ultra-responsive models for gamers.

Microsoft’s SideWinder X8 (£90) mouse offers wireless freedom with a 2.4GHz wireless connection that is built for lag-free play. Targeted primarily at gamers looking for a cutting-edge look and feel, the latest SideWinder features an innovative play-and-charge system to ensure a nonstop gaming experience – up to 30 hours of active gaming on a single charge – with no need to stop your game to change batteries. And thanks to Microsoft’s new proprietary BlueTrack Technology, the SideWinder X8 has some of the best frame rate, speed and acceleration on the market – along with a tracking range from 250 to 4000 dots per inch (dpi) for precision.

There’s no doubt that there is plenty of room for improving on the wireless experience for gamers, especially as it related to perceived delay or lag time of response. The SideWinder X8 puts those wireless gaming mouse fears to rest by performing to the highest gaming standards – with near-zero latency, uninterrupted gameplay and the world’s most advanced tracking with BlueTrack Technology. Sure you can never get the same ultra-reliability from a wireless device than you can a wired mouse, but the SideWinder X8 is definitely one of the best wire-free mice on the market.

Comfort continues to be one of the main needs of PC gamers, and the SideWinder X8 features a unique, comfortable design that gamers will appreciate for extended sessions of play. There’s also a scroll wheel with tilt so that the mouse has better feel and response with detents for precise control, and the top and bottom design makes locating side buttons easier and reduces unintentional activation. The SideWinder X8 also offers smart features to enhance the gaming experience, including an LCD screen on the mouse that shows you which sensitivity you have selected, whether macro mode is enabled, and how much battery power is left if you’ve got the mouse plugged into the charger.

Gamers like to customise their gaming mouse to fit their needs, which is why the SideWinder X8 offers DPI switching (high, medium and low), replaceable feet (choice of three materials for glide preference), five programmable buttons (plus left and right tilt), and a macro record button. Overall it’s a very comfortable mouse that looks great and has plenty of features for gamers. The only downside is the high price, especially considering that Razer offers similar mice for less than half the price. Even if your pockets are deep you’ll have trouble justifying the asking price.