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First Looks: Microsoft SideWinder X8 Wireless Gaming Mouse

By Kenny Yeo - 3 Mar 2009

Breaking the Wireless Taboo

Breaking the Wireless Taboo

For the hardcore gamer, performance is of utmost importance and latency is a killjoy. For that very reason, if there were anything gamers avoid like the plague, it's wireless mice. Regarded by gamers as slow and unresponsive, they have long shunned wireless mice. But Microsoft wants to change your mind. How? With the SideWinder X8, their latest and newest flagship gaming mouse, which is, as you might have guessed by now, wireless.

The Dark Knight

A gamer regards the mouse highly. It is more than a gaming tool; it is an extension of his gaming alter ego. As such, not only must it perform well, it must look the part too. Fortunately, the Microsoft SideWinder X8 looks like it means business. Black as night, it's certainly not a small mouse and might be a tad too big for those with modest-sized hands.

The built-in LCD display on the SideWinder X8 screams "l337 cred". It's not just a cool-looking thing though, as it also displays the mouse's DPI settings. There's a convenient indicator located at the lower-end of the mouse which glows amber when low on juice. The SideWinder X8 comes with a single rechargeable AA battery and we found it to be good for over a week of use on a single charge. Best of all, a magnetic connection cable from the USB transceiver ensures that you can charge your mouse while using it at the same time.

Tracking the Target

For gamers worried about latency, we are pleased to report that the SideWinder X8 was supremely responsive and we experienced no perceivable lag. Additionally, the SideWinder X8 is powered by Microsoft's proprietary BlueTrack technology, which allows the SideWinder X8 to track over virtually any surface (except glass and other mirrored surfaces). However, this is probably moot since it's safe to say that most gamers would already have a gaming mat of their own. The SideWinder X8 can be adjusted from 250DPI right up to 4000DPI, and has buttons that allows you to preset your favorite DPI settings and change it on-the-fly.

Like any other high-end gaming mice, the SideWinder X8 has side buttons. But unlike most other gaming mice, the side buttons here are stacked vertically, which is a really good idea. Not only are they more accessible, it felt more natural too.

The SideWinder X8 also has swappable feet for different surfaces and a one-click macro recording function. These guys have really given the SideWinder X8 serious thought, haven't they?

Final Thoughts

After spending a couple of days with the SideWinder X8, we were deeply impressed. It is an exceptionally well thought-out mouse with everything you might possibly need.

It is not perfect, however, as its hefty size would, in all likelihood, make it uncomfortable for those with smaller-sized hands. Although its shape allows for left-handers, the placement of the side buttons means that lefties have no choice but to use their pinkies to trigger them. We are not sure if pinkies are up to the task.

To conclude, if you are right-handed and have a fairly large hand, then the SideWinder X8 is for you. It is an excellent wireless gaming mouse that performs just as well or even better than the typical gaming mouse and in the process changes how we see wireless gaming mice.

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