Looking around, even though I had never heard of the Feenix branding, it seems this company has been around out in the wild delivering customers peripherals. So long in fact, that they are now offering new editions of older products, at least by name. It is easy enough to search around the internet for images and read the opinions of various reviewers, but with companies that are new to me, I try to put the blinders on and not let what I see influence the time and results we get from their products. Not so much that I did not read anything, but it all comes with a pinch of salt. With that said, here is to hoping for a great start between us and Feenix.
From reading the information provided on the website, Feenix is well aware of the basic company issues, and is striving to rid themselves of the negative stereotypes of some of the bigger makers to end up with a company that will not only deliver top notch products, but they are all hand inspected, they run in a limited production pushing quality over quantity, and are stating that they want to offer the best customer service out there.
Feenix seems to realize the important parts of what will make fresh upstart successful, and as long as they adhere strictly to their own plan, Feenix should be able to stay in the market for a long time delivering top tier solutions to gamers' needs. It also seems like everything is kept in-house as much as possible, and with limited production numbers and the human cost to hand screen the finished product before it leaves Feenix has to come with a pretty severe cost added to each device.
Today we will be looking at two of the three products that Feenix is currently offering. They have delivered the Nascita laser gaming mouse that is free from drivers, looks amazing, and is designed to deliver great precision and a great feel in the hand. Most companies will also offer a mouse surface that is specifically designed to enhance the aspects of their mice, and here Feenix has sent us the hard plastic Dimora to take on that task. While they do currently offer a mechanical keyboard, what looks to be a future product in audio, and are even developing a game called Dragon, we will have to wait for a later date and see if we can complete the set.
For this moment in time, let's take an in depth look at the Nascita mouse, and in that time we can see if the Dimora is something that you need to buy, or if it is something that any other pad will deliver. By the time we are finished here today, Feenix will definitely be on the radar of a lot of potential customers, who at this time, had no idea this company even existed, let alone being able to deliver products of this caliber.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
As for the Nascita, the features and specifications are sort of skin for what Feenix delivers here. While they do cover the ergonomic tilt for right handed users, they pretty much sum it all up stating they offer Feenix level workmanship and engineering. From the intro, I will say it seems on paper that they hold themselves up to a very high standard. They mention the 8200 DPI maximum of the sensor, looking to the right we see that it is the Avago ADNS9800. There is a mention of an LCD, and much like the Sentinel mice, this is used to display the current DPI level.
Feenix then covers the perfect weight distribution, and the high grade Teflon feet used. Now don't think you can stick this mouse in a bucket of water, but the design does offer an almost sealed top half that is very resistant to accidental spills. The bottom of the mouse also has the sensor raised slightly, and a lip around the base to keep them from flowing into the bottom as well. They also cover the braided cable and the gold plated connection, but down the right, we see just the specifications of the laser, no mention of the Omron switches, which is a huge selling point, and maybe something as to the lifespan of the specific Omron's used?
The Feenix Dimora on the other hand is a solid plastic mouse surface. The Dimora offers a micro-textured finish to deliver a supper low coefficient of friction. Combined with the Teflon feet on the Nascita, it should move around like butter in a hot frying pan. This pad is also designed with a very reflective finish to allow the laser to discern movement much better.
It is made from one piece of molded plastic, and the back is reinforced with a diamond pattern for structural support. The way the measurements are listed, it seems a bit odd, so absorb it this way. From left to right it is 350mm. From front to back it is 280mm, and the pad sits 6mm tall. Aesthetically the Dimora is black, has a polished finish to the edge surrounding the textured area that is the vast majority of top surface, and even has the Feenix logo engraved into the top right corner.
From what I can tell by looking around on the net, Feenix products seem to be only sold through them directly. This does add a bit of an exclusive feel to the purchase, but with the Nascita 2014, hold on to your jaw here, it will cost $97 prior to any sort of shipping. We have tested mice in this price range, but in reality, not many buyers even consider these strictly based on pricing.
As for the Dimora, the pricing is much more reasonable to swallow. Here you are only required to spend $36, and I will say this up front; I have not yet had any surface as slick as the Dimora. Considering cloth pads can set you back at this level of cost, the Dimora is easily worth the investment, it is the Nascita that will be getting most of my attention as I resolve a value of its worth.
Inside of a much larger box, we were sent two Feenix products. The larger black box is of course the Dimora since it is readable that the Nascita is in the white box on top. Notice that the packaging is plain; yet has an elegant polished feel to it.
Back to the Nascita specifically, the front of the packaging is white, just like the rest of it. Feenix simply adds their logo to the front of the box in a silver-ish emblem applied in the middle.
The long sides of the box say only Nascita in all lower case letters. Simplicity at its best. Since you won't find this at a store, no point in mucking it all up, we already know what is inside it.
The only information that is really offered is some fine print at the bottom of the back of the packaging. Even then, it only shows that Feenix is base in California, and that the Nascita was made in China.
Once the top of the box is slid off of the bottom half, there is a layer of foam covering the Nascita inside. The mouse is also caressed in a form fitted plastic liner that protects the mouse in transit and also offers room behind it for the cable, goodies, and paperwork.
Feenix Nascita Laser Gaming Mouse
The left of the Nascita offers two buttons that are in easy reach and also come with a rubberized coating. The bulk of this side is plastic, and while it looks highly textured, it is actually very smooth to the touch.
At the top edge of the left side of the mouse, Feenix adds an LCD screen near the front to display the DPI in use and further back adds the name of this mouse. Both the LCD screen as well as the Nascita name has white LED lighting when this is powered.
Since we are at the top, we may as well cover the rubberized coating that is applied to the top and heel of this design. This surrounds the scroll wheel and DPI adjustment buttons.
Looking at it from the back, the grey plastic wraps all the way around as the rubberized section stops well short of the lower section. The Feenix logo is placed here, and even though it looks good now, it looks better lit by white LED. It is also easy to see that it slopes heavily to the right and even a bit of an off camber twist to the Nascita, offering better ergonomic positioning for your wrist.
The right side of the mouse offers a large area of that grey plastic again. It is indented to accept a couple of fingers more easily, but again this surface is very smooth. There is also the white painted information at the bottom edge near the front, and is something I personally think should have never been here.
Getting around to the front of the Nascita, the right and left click buttons are both curved down in the middle to keep your fingers in the groove, if you will. On the leading edge there are two trapezoidal shaped windows to either side of the braided cable, and these will also illuminate white when powered.
The Nascita is supported by two high grade Teflon feet. Both are pretty good in size, and do go completely side to side to eliminate any wobble or potential drag. With just the product name, and the little bit at the bottom, why could what is painted on the right not be moved here?
To connect the Nascita to the PC, it has a 1.8 meter cable that has black braiding on it. In line there is a choke to eliminate noise and cross talk, the cable also comes with a Velcro tie strap, and the end is gold plated to fight corrosion as well as lowering noises to keep the Nascita signalling perfectly.
Accessories and Documentation
At the bottom of the box you will find a postcard sized insert with just the Feenix logo on one side of it. There is also a baggie with an extra set of feet.
On the back of that card there is the tag line: "The passion never dies. It is reborn." alluding to some of the major changes. One such change is the fact that the Nascita 2014 is now driverless. Another thing I find to be a very personal touch. When you open the box, you not only get the mouse and goodies, but this one actually comes with a specific person. While you may have to contact via email, phone, or Skype, there is a warm feeling knowing that they have someone on the job all the time.
As for the pair of extra feet sent with the Nascita, they are made from the same high quality Teflon that comes on the mouse. Where most others would skimp on the tape, Feenix goes with 3M adhesive. So not only can you play the feel off the mouse knowing you have another set for later, you also know they won't be coming off if they are replaced.
Inside the Feenix Nascita
The feet need to be removed to get this far, since there are a total of six screws holding these halves together. There is a ribbon cable that runs from the bottom to the top section to power the LED and the LCD screen.
The left click switch is backed with the Omron D2FC-F-7N that offers a five million click lifespan, and a click feel that is hard to duplicate with other brands.
The buttons that allow the back page and forward page functions are backed with these blue TTC switches. While we typically see red switches that require a bit more activation force, the softer feel of these blue switches makes the buttons a bit easier to use.
Set slightly lower than center is the Avago ADNS9800 laser sensor. This sensor tops out at 8200DPI, but since the Nascita is driverless, it starts at 800DPI and the buttons allow 400 DPI increments up to 1600, then goes to 800DPI increments from 2400 to 8200DPI.
Speaking of DPI selection, when you press the silver buttons behind the scroll wheel, they activate these red Kaiche switches. These are stiffer than the blue TTC switches, and make it so that there are no accidental changes; you have to really mean to change the DPI on-the-fly.
Just to the left of the DPI switches is where the Holtek HT82A525R MCU is located. It works with an internal clock of 12Hz, is full speed USB 2.0, and is plenty of processor to handle the more basic function of the Nascita. The FM24C64A chip is the EEPROM and is where all the functionality programming and settings of the mouse is stored.
The switch under the scroll wheel, uses a green switch, is marked NSPCY and is the toughest switch on the mouse to activate. As for the right slick button on the mouse, just like the left side, the same Omron switch is used here too.
All back together and now connected to power, the front of the Nascita 2014 lights up both of the headlights with the use of the large LEDs seen in the previous images. This does put a glow about three inches in front of the mouse.
The LCD screen and name also come to life once powered. Currently, we have the Nascita set to 1600 DPI as the LCD is displaying, but it is also backlit to read in the dark. The name is also lit, but depending on the angle, it may not all appear lit all the time.
As you walk up on the desk and have a seat, this is most likely the LED section that will be seen the most. I personally think the LED should be moved forward, the logo is seriously bright at the tail, but at the wing tips it is very dim.
Stepping back a bit to take the Nascita all in again, you can see what I mean about the LED in the name and it is easier to see the way the LED illuminates. While I may be being picky, we are speaking of a pretty serious investment here.
The packaging for the Dimora is quite the same as what the Nascita offered. On the top of the large box, Feenix simply puts their logo right in the middle with a glossy finish to contrast the flat black box.
On just the leading edge of the box, the Dimora naming is applied again, with just the finishes to distinguish the name apart from the background.
The back of this box is identical to what we found with the Nascita as well. Here, outside of the fact that the colors have been reversed, it is the exact same information we saw on the back of its packaging.
There is also a card that comes with the Dimora, and again it is simply marked with the Feenix logo on this side.
Flipping the card over there is a new tag line, "the foundation for excellence," under the Dimora naming this time. Of course it is out of the box ready, but Feenix advises registering the product to gain access to the "owner's area". It is also nice to see that there is more than one guy in support, as Chad has now been replaced by Adrian.
A close-up of the Dimora says a lot about this surface in one image. There is the highly reflective, micro-textured surface plainly visible, as is the polished section that runs around all the edges. This corner also offers the engraved Feenix logo, and it is the only marking on the surface.
Flipping the Dimora onto its face, with the fact that this is 6mm in thickness, unless they were delivering a solid slab, they have to address strength. This arrow pattern allows them to reduce the amount of supports needed, but the surface has smaller sections without support than other designs.
To keep the Dimora situated on all surfaces there are these clear silicone feet. There are twelve in total across the three rows of feet. This allows this surface to stay very sure footed, even on glass.
Stepping back, we can see that this is a smaller mediums sized surface once the Nascita is placed atop the Dimora. The surface along with this laser is a great combination and is very accurate, with the right DPI dialed in; there is little need to cover vast areas anyways.
As far as the Nascita is concerned, I am left rather torn with this design. First, I want to go over the pluses that this mouse brings to the table. It offers a great feel in the hand of a right handed user, it glides really well on any surface or mouse pad, it functions well as far as clicks and features are concerned, and it looks sleek, yet aggressively styled making an attractive looking addition to any desk top. The construction of the mouse does lend itself to a level of water resistance. There is a higher lip on the side than some mice, and the sensor is up a bit higher than in most, making spills on the desk a non-issue. For those that may spill something on it, there are no gaskets inside to make it waterproof, but the lines are all tight and there are no obvious gaps for it to flow into the mouse through either.
Once inside the Nascita is obvious that the best on the market is offered for components. It has the Avago ADNS9800, Omron Switches, TTC's as backups, and a familiar Holtek processor that has done well in the past. Putting this all together without the need for drivers is all nice as well, and with the Velcro tie strap, it is a great solution for those that travel with mice and plug them in to any PC and just go.
There are some downsides to this design as well. The rubberized surface makes for an excellent feel to the bulk of the top and the right and left buttons. What did not work out so well for me was the smoothness of the plastic used on the sides. I found that even in the normal movements it was tough to keep the Nascita properly seated in my relaxed grip. While the feel is something along the lines of grabbing one cheek of a freshly born babies bottom, it just has a super soft and smooth feel.
Then there is the fact that when in lower DPI settings to do more accurate work on say, images, there does come the time, even on larger surfaces, that you will need to lift the mouse. Both the design and the surfaces used make this more of a juggling act than anything fitting of being used while gaming. I mean really what are you going to do, stand there and say "hold on guys" I got to do three spins to get back to center", or "give me a few, I got to fumble with the mouse"? Either one is going to result in you starting over as you take a headshot right to the face.
Now when it comes to the Dimora and Nascita combination, this was a match made in heaven. I even pulled out some of the previous mice we reviewed, and I found the Dimora to not only offer the slickest or friction free top, it is also able to see every movement you make, even when at 8200DPI. The Dimora is just large enough to get your wrist all the way on it to make that 6mm height a non-issue as far as causing any discomfort from the increased height. I am pretty sure I am not stepping out of bounds with saying this, but the Dimora is the best mouse surface of any kind that I have had the pleasure of using.
As a pair, the Dimora and Nascita are tough to beat, as long as you never have the need to lift the mouse in-game. At $35 I recommend to anyone in the market for a new surface to give it very serious consideration. If you are already looking at $20 cloth pads, this will last much longer, the surface won't wear out, there are no edges that fray, and it is large enough that anyone should feel comfortable using it, without being so large the keyboard has to sit on at an angle. The Nascita on the other hand is a tougher pill to swallow at the $97 price point. It is a great mouse, as I covered with all the pluses, but for this sort of cost, I expect near perfection. While very close to correct, there are just some oddities like the lack of any way to lift it and the LEDs not looking all that great, sort of killed it for me personally. That doesn't mean it will not work for your specific needs, just that it does not meet all of mine.