The Sidewinder X8 is the wireless, feature-packed, latest addition of Microsoft’s popular Sidewinder series. It sports the same blocky, quasi-futuristic look of its predecessors, the strange vertical side button layout, and the general chrome-y feel of its ancestors.
The first thing we noticed was how comfortable the mouse was. It fits in your hand well and all the buttons are logical laid out and easily accessible. Though the thumb-button layout is strange, once you get used to it, it makes sense. Why reach your thumb forward for a button when you can quickly and efficiently move it up?
The mouse itself is big, but thankfully smaller than the X5. In order to feel at home, you really need to grip the mouse high up — higher than you’re used to. Once you get used to it, though, the Sidewinder is incredibly comfortable.
Under The Hood
The Sidewinder sports Microsoft’s new Bluetrack technology, which lets it operate on a wide variety of surfaces. With sensitivity settings anywhere from 400 to 4,000 DPI, the X8 is one of the most versatile mice on the market and can cater to any gamer’s preference. In wireless mode, the mouse operates at 2.4 ghz and can poll at 500 mhz. Though this was adequate in testing, we found the mouse had issues keeping when we cranked the DPI all the way to 4,000.
In wired mode, there are no problems. Compared to the Razer Mamba, though, this is an issue. The Razer exhibited no problems polling at any DPI and could maintain 1,000 mhz polling rate even wirelessly. Important to note: the X8 will deliver around 30 hours of use between charge cycles when it is used wirelessly.
The puck-like device that serves as the wireless transmitter, charger, and cord wrapper is fantastic. It even holds your extra mouse feet and is, by far, one of the best solutions out there for wireless mice. The charging connector itself is magnetic and is easily picked up by the front of the mouse for smooth, effortless connections every time. This is a seriously well-engineered device.
The software is a typical Microsoft No-Frills solution. Though most everything is laid out logically, the software lacks any flash and things like macros are incredibly confusing and poorly documented. To assign a macro you must set that specific button as the macro editor. Then you establish your macro and, whatever button you’ve selected now becomes the assigned macro. It’s not that hard once you figure it out, but we were damned to find it documented in the X8 software anywhere.
The DPI buttons, while well-placed should be more customizable. Microsoft lets you choose 3 DPIs to assign to the buttons, but you cannot have buttons that increase and decrease the DPI. Logitech’s solution, which allows you to establish user-defined gradations in DPI and Razer’s sensitivity on the fly are both slightly better solutions.
Microsoft has delivered another solid entry into the world of high-performance gaming. The Sidewinder X8 offers users a comfortable, customizable mouse with high DPI The Sidewinder X8 is put on the market as a direct competitor to the high end Razer laser gaming mouse, and like the Razer Mamba it also has a dual wireless / wired functionality. This means that you get the best of both worlds.
The design of this mouse should be familiar to fans of Microsoft’s gaming peripheral products. With the Sidewinder X8 however they have toned down the hard angles and have put in some curves. The result is a sleek looking mouse with contours that help your hand fall into a natural grip.
If you would like to buy the Sidewinder X8, I recommend you get it from Amazon because they are the cheapest online. The Sidewinder X8’s point of difference is in its proprietary BlueTrack sensor. This technology provides great sensitivity and performance than other gaming mouse. This improved sensitivity enables the user to use the mouse on a variety surfaces, from wood and marble to carpet and fabric.
The only thing it has problem with is glass or mirrored surfaces. The Sidewinder X8 offers a range of sensitivity selection, from 250 dpi to 4000 dpi, that are changeable by the user. Although not as high as the 5600 dpi of the Razer Mamba, it should easily satisfy the need of most serious gamers. Three buttons run down the middle of the mouse and that let you select the sensitivity that you want. Don’t miss out on one of the best mice of the year!
Microsoft Sidewinder X8