A wireless mouse is blasphemy for most gamers-Logitech's got the G7, but Razer won't go near wireless-so naturally, that's exactly what Microsoft's revived, genre-busting SideWinder is doing with the X8. Not only is it wireless-using a 2.4GHz connection, like the G7-it escalates the silly DPI arms race, taking it up to 4000dpi to match the current champ, Razer's Lachesis, though it uses Microsoft's new BlueTrack laser tech that'll let you mouse on a Jedi master's bald head.
Happily, they're (probably) not exaggerating the battery life, touting 30 hours of "active gaming" on a single charge. While the G7 gives you two hot-swap batteries in case you run out mid-genocide, the X8 has a play-and-charge cable that you unwrap from the small hockey puck. You've also got the usual gaming mouse standards-on-the-fly DPI switching, macro recording, and a total of seven buttons, plus the scroll wheel now tilts left and right.
Ergonomically, this looks better than the previous two SideWinder mice. The sharp "bump" at the top has been smoothed out and should be more comfortable, and it's less angular overall. Most importantly, they're halfway to admitting defeat on the thumb buttons. Though still vertically aligned (damn it), the uncomfortable, hard-to-hit circles have been replaced by sloping rectangles that make them easier to distinguish and press instinctively. While I love that they're doing things differently, I think they just need to concede that horizontal thumb buttons are the standard for a reason-it's better.
It'll be out in February for $100, though you should be able to pre-order it any minute now on Amazon.
Update: Right now, actually.
Experience Untethered, Uninterrupted Gameplay With Microsoft's New SideWinder X8 Mouse
First wireless SideWinder mouse features Microsoft BlueTrack Technology for the best speeds and feeds available.
REDMOND, Wash. Sept. 10, 2008 Microsoft Corp. today unleashed the SideWinder X8 Mouse, offering wireless freedom with wired performance with a 2.4GHz wireless connection that is built for lag-free play. The latest SideWinder mouse 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 the game to change batteries. The SideWinder X8 Mouse is a top performer thanks to Microsoft's new, proprietary BlueTrack Technology that gives this mouse the best frame rate, speed and acceleration on the market and a tracking range from 250 to 4,000 dots per inch (dpi).
"When conducting our research, we found room for improving on the wireless experience for gamers, especially as it related to perceived delay or lag time of response. The SideWinder X8 Mouse will put those wireless gaming mouse fears to rest," said Bill Jukes, product marketing manager for Microsoft Hardware. "We designed this mouse to perform to the highest gaming standards - with near-zero latency, uninterrupted gameplay and the world's most advanced tracking with BlueTrack Technology."
Innovation for Gaming Performance
The SideWinder X8 Mouse is a top-performing wireless gaming mouse, with a combination of BlueTrack Technology tracking that provides the best speeds and feeds available, 2.4GHz wireless technology built for lag-free play, and an easy recharging system that keeps gamers in action.
• BlueTrack Technology. The world's most advanced tracking offers next-generation tracking technology for gaming with image processing of 13,000 frames per second, 75g maximum acceleration and 120 inches per second maximum speed.
• 2.4GHz wireless. The device is built for lag-free play with virtually no latency.
• Play and charge. Get up to 30 hours of active gaming on a single charge, or use the play-and-charge cable for nonstop action. The winding cord management system offers easy charging - simply unwrap the cord from around the storage box and snap it onto the underside of the mouse.
Designed for Gaming
Comfort continues to be one of the main needs of PC gamers, and the SideWinder X8 Mouse features a unique, comfortable design that gamers will appreciate for extended sessions of play. Features include the following:
• Scroll wheel with tilt. The mouse has better feel and response with detents for precise control.
• Engineered for speed. The shape was designed for quick, balanced and precise gaming actions.
• Vertical side buttons. The top and bottom design makes locating side buttons easier and reduces unintentional activation. The X8 also offers smart features to enhance the gaming experience, including an LCD screen on the mouse to quickly view dpi settings and macro-recording icons, and a Quick Launch button that provides one-touch access to Microsoft's PC gaming features.
Gamers also like to customize their gaming mouse to fit their needs, which is why the SideWinder X8 Mouse offers the following adjustable features:
• DPI switching. Instantly switch sensitivity among high, medium and low with one click, ranging from 250 to 4,000 dpi.
• Replaceable mouse feet. Choose from three materials for glide preference.
• Seven programmable buttons. Customize five programmable main buttons, plus left and right tilt.
• Macro record button. Easily record macros while in game with the dedicated button.
Pricing and Availability
The SideWinder X8 Mouse will be widely available in February 2009 for an estimated retail price of $99.95 (U.S.).2 The mouse is available now for pre-sale on Amazon.com and will ship in February when it is released. The SideWinder X8 Mouse will be backed by a worldwide three-year limited hardware warranty from Microsoft Corp. More information about this and other Microsoft Hardware products can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware.
About Microsoft Hardware
For more than 25 years, the Hardware Group has employed innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that enhance the software experience and strengthen the connection between consumers and their PC. Microsoft Hardware leads the industry in ergonomic engineering, industrial design and hardware/software compatibility, offering consumers an easier, more convenient and more enjoyable computing experience. Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer, which launched in 1999, earned a place on PCWorld.com's December 2005 list of "The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years" as the first mainstream optical mouse that "brought gunk-free pointing devices" to a broad consumer base. More information about the Hardware Group is available at http://www.mshardwareguide.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.