Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse

The latest gaming series mouse from the big MS has made some changes; we find out the good, the bad and the ugly.
| Oct 13, 2008 at 11:00 pm CDT
Manufacturer: none

The dark side of the force

The dark side of the forceMicrosoft has sent me a whole box of goodies to review recently and in amongst the pile of goodness is something sinister looking; something very black and very evil...The SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse. This is a modified version of the classic SideWinder gaming mouse that sported a lovely burgundy coloured detailing. However, they have done away with the colouring in favour of a look that reminds us of stealth bombers.
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
Gone are the silver side buttons, replaced with some black ones to complete the look of pure malevolence. It's like Darth Vader in mouse form. It only gets better once you plug it in to have it light up with red LEDs under the back. Red illuminated DPI switching buttons on top also compliment the look and it's sure to put the fear into any other gamers at a LAN party. The box is a cardboard frame around a blister pack that contains the mouse, drivers and manuals. The mouse is on full display to show off the new styling; light just falls into this mouse like it's made of pure dark-matter.
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
Installing the drivers and plugging the mouse in, it's instantly recognised as the X5 mouse. The red LEDs light up and it sits there on your mouse mat daring you to touch it like it's an armed bomb!After a few fear-gripped seconds I grab the mouse and start to play around with it; it has a nice feel in the hand, fills the whole of the palm nicely and the buttons go far enough back so that if you like to only 'perch' your hand on the mouse, you can still get a good clicking action.
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
The scroll wheel has a very solid click and resistance to make sure you are not accidentally going to switch weapons in a game. This can make it a bit awkward in surfing web pages, though, with an audible and definite physical click every scroll. Not to mention there's a faint twang on the spring every time you middle click to open a link in a tab.

Sith peripheral of choice

Sith peripheral of choiceThe mouse performance is stellar with excellent tracking capabilities; the forward and back buttons don't intrude too much either and their positioning makes them ideal for assigning macros to, making your gaming that little bit sharper.Jumping into Crysis: Warhead to give this mouse a run through, the size in my palm is apparent when playing; it takes up a lot of my hand on the mouse and keeps it fairly spread out. This is a good thing because after a couple of hours of play my hand doesn't have any cramped feelings or stiffness normally associated with thinner mice.The side buttons do have a lot of use in games that have many features and customisations which need to be flicked through quickly. Warhead is one of those where you can assign weapon modifications and key based functions to a button, meaning your in game speed picks up and with less stopping to look at the keyboard.
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
The interesting feature of the mouse is the inclusion of a macro that allows you to do a full 360 spin in game without moving the mouse. What this will do for you is give you a quick glance all around you for bad guys so you can go and kick their asses. Using this a few times, it has come in handy during a fire fight, but it's not a completely necessary feature as most HUDs in game will tell you where you are being shot at from anyway.The large PTFE pads on the bottom allow the mouse to glide about pretty effortlessly as well and don't suffer much on any surface, so you won't have to worry about replacing them any time soon.The software allows for the usual full customisation of the mouse, including all the DPI presets as you would expect and allows you to assign macros to the mouse buttons as well. There is no fancy interface here; instead, Microsoft keep to their traditional style of tabs and Windows layout. This is great because it works and it never looks out of place with the rest of your Windows theme.
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse

Pimped out tie fighters

Pimped out tie fightersThere are some differences with the X5 vs. the traditional SideWinder mouse and while the reduced price point and sleek black looks might appeal to some, they seem to have skimped out on some of the features that made the original SideWinder a great gaming mouse.
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
Metal buttons for the forward and back gave a feel of quality and could have been kept on this unit and just anodised black to fit the colour scheme, along with the weight system to adjust the mouse weight to your liking. Little things that make a gaming mouse seem worth its price tag and can get people to really fall in love with it.
Microsoft SideWinder X5 Gaming Mouse
But the omissions aside, this mouse has the potential to be something fantastic, with some fantastic looks to boot. The dark and ominous looks are perfect for an all black desktop setup or especially paired up with Microsoft's new SideWinder X6 keyboard (which I'll be covering in my next review; keep an eye out for it soon).This mouse is definitely a sound investment if you are looking for something to complete your imperial desktop selection. You won't be disappointed with the performance and the feel.
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Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:27 pm CDT

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