Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Microsoft SideWinder X8 mouse - coming soon

Apparently fearing it would get lost among all its other product announcements yesterday, Microsoft waited until today to get official with its new SideWinder X8 mouse, which boasts the same BlueTrack technology as the company's new Explorer mice but in a more gamer-friendly package. Those touches include a play and charge system to let you keep playing while your battery recharges, switchable DPI settings, interchangeable feet to suit your "glide preference," seven programmable buttons, and a dedicated macro record button, to name a few.

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 Though still vertically aligned (damn it), the uncomfortable, hard-to-hit circles have been replaced by sloping rectangles that make them easier to distinguish and press instinctively.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.

Unfortunately, you're going to have to wait even longer to get your hands on this one, with it only set to be released in February, 2009 (for $100).

Sidewinder X8 Features

# 2.4 GHz Wireless connection - Reliable wireless connection built for lag-free play.

# BlueTrack Technology - World's most advanced tracking technology for gaming with image processing of 13,000 frames per second.

# Play and Charge - Up to 30 hours of active gaming on a single charge, or use the play-and-charge cable for non-stop action.

# Twelve Buttons – Seven are programmable - Customize the five programmable main buttons, plus left/right tilt wheel—seven programmable buttons— to customize your gaming experience.

# Scroll Wheel with Tilt - Better feel and response with detents for precise control.

# Full-Speed USB Reporting - Full-speed, 500 Hz USB reporting is built for lag-free play.

# Engineered for Speed - Shape designed for quick, balanced, precision gaming action.

# Vertical side buttons - Don’t make mistakes. The top/bottom design makes locating the side buttons easier and reduces the inadvertent actuation risk.

# LCD Display - Quickly view DPI settings and macro-recording.

# Quick Launch Button - One-touch access to Microsoft PC Gaming features.

# DPI Switching - Instantly switch sensitivity between high, medium, and low with one click.

# Replaceable Mouse Feet - Choice of three different materials for glide preference.

# Macro Record - Easily record macros while in game with the dedicated button.

# 3-Year Limited Warranty - » Limited Warranty and License Agreement available here.

System Requirements

* For Windows®-based PC - Requires a PC that meets the requirements for and has installed one of these operating systems: Windows Vista® or Windows XP.

* Hard Drive - 100 MB

* Other - Powered USB port & CD drive

* Internet - Internet access is required for software installation. Local and/or long-distance telephone toll charges may apply.


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