Reviewed: July 2, 2003
Type: Optical Mouse
I hate mieces to pieces! Well, ol Jinxy aside most of us wouldnít like to function with out our trusty side arm, especially in any FPS or RTS game. Fortunately, there have been plenty of companies around to keep us with a steady stream of mice. Saitek has just added another to the pile, and while it may not be the most technologically advanced mouse, it also isnít the most expensive thing on the market.
Aesthetics - 6
From the side this thing looks a lot like the head off of an Alien (the Geiger designed chest bursting variety), though it has blue lighting and a decided lack of acidic blood or internal mandibles. While this is sleek and aerodynamic why does a mouse need to lessen wind resistance? Iím certainly not going to be taking mine out for a test drive. Also the blue lights are pretty useless though they do look pretty.
So we have a very ďmodernĒ looking mouse, unfortunately; it seems to preserve the lines of the mouse Saitek decided to sacrifice any attempt at ergonomics. The real problem is that even this is a bit of a wasted effort because this mouse just doesnít look that good. The buttons and mouse wheel fit nicely into the design, but overall itís just this side of too narrow with the buttons a little farther foreword than is comfortable. It looks good, but not too good.
Durability - 7
This mouse is fairly weightless so donít be surprised if you find yourself not noticing it. In other words it feels just like a hollow plastic shell, so I wouldnít be too rough with it. That aside it holds up very well, with the wheel remaining tight and the buttons keeping their play. Also since this is an optical mouse there are no pesky trac balls to replace or anything of that nature. However the lens for the sensor is rather deep set into the mouse, so there is great possibility for it to get clogged with dust and other detritus from your desk and be a big pain to get clean.
The fortunate thing about all this is that mice tend to be fairly low impact devices so there isnít that much need for durability and since there are fairly few parts to this device there is a lot less to go wrong.
Performance - 7
The best thing about this mouse is that it is plug and play. All you need is a USB port on your computer and stick the thing in, at least that is with Windows XP Home edition. Saitekís instructions claim it is compatible with 98 through to the present (though it does not specifically mention XP), so it should just use whatever drivers you already have. If not they did include a CD, however XP didnít like it so I passed loading that and have had no real problems with the mouse.
This functions just as well as any other mouse Iíve had the pleasure of using, and the beauty of optical is that I can use it with a laptop and not have to worry about carting around that pad. There is a cord though, and only two buttons in addition to the wheel so you hard-core gamers out there may not want to go shell out the cash for something with a few less bangs and whistles. Its simplicity can be a virtue though because like I said it is very easy to install and so long as you donít need the extra buttons is perfect.
The downside is that it isnít very comfortable. It isnít quite uncomfortable and you wonít find yourself with an aching wrist or cramped palm but the arc is a little more pronounced that that at which my hand relaxes so I rest a little farther foreword and it is less like I rest my hand on it. The difference is a little hard to describe, but think of it like the difference between wearing khakis and a polo shirt and sweats and a tee. You arenít uncomfortable in the former but you arenít relaxed either. Ya dig?
Other performance issues are minor. There have been a few times where Iíve had my pointer go in the opposite direction that I have moved the mouse (I went up, it went down. I went left, it went right etc.) but these could have easily been the cause of the surface or just brief glitches as they corrected almost immediately and have only occurred about two or three times. That aside this is an excellent basic optical mouse and would be perfect for traveling because it is lightweight and fairly small.
Value - 7
Anymore I donít think you can buy a computer without a mouse so the necessity for mice like these is a little questionable. However if youíre looking for a cheap way to upgrade from the physical ball to a nice optical mouse but donít want all the other complications then this is a good choice. Also if you have a laptop as your primary computing device and just want something to replace that touch pad or trac ball then this is also a viable option. At $29.95 this fits into the budget and is well worth the price if its what youíre looking for.
Overall Ė 7.0
This isnít the Mercedes of computer accessories, but it comes in at a nice Honda Civic level. It works and it works well. It looks sporty and if you can fit the Civil War coloration into your desktop computing area then by all means. Precise and good for those southpaws out there as well as us righties, this is an excellent bargain if it has all the options youíre looking for.