Gift Guide - Gaming
Gift Guide 2008
300 2008

Review: NZXT Avatar gaming mouse

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It’s that time again, kiddies. Today we take a look at NZXT’s first foray into mouse country. Are they naturals? Find out above in video form or below in plain text and pictures.

NZXT has been on the map for a while, but until recently they were mostly known for their PC cases. They’ve begun getting into other areas and this brand new mouse seemed like a natural thing to check out. It’s called the Avatar and it costs about $60.

First off, you’ll notice its distinctive look. Looks like a cybernetic flatfish or something. It also has LED lighting along its edges, and I happen to like it. The shape of the thing is kind of the opposite of the Razer Lachesis, which had a kind of fat butt. This one has no butt. It necessitates a different sort of grip, but not one I found problematic.

What is problematic, however, is the placement of the buttons. First, I should say, the buttons are nice. They’re light and responsive and give a nice clicking noise. Unfortunately, as the mouse is symmetrical and the thumb buttons extruded (thus a natural rest for your finger) and very sensitive, you’ll often find yourself clicking the “wrong” thumb button all the time when you meant to hit the one under your thumb, or just when moving the mouse around. It’s troublesome although not a dealbreaker since you can just disable that button.

Sensitivity is easy to adjust; using the “hold a button and use the scroll bar” method was sluggish but using the DPI up and down buttons worked like a charm. You can’t customize the DPIs it switches through, which would have been nice, but the ones it had were well-spaced and you can always adjust the overall sensitivity in the control panel.

The actual movement of the mouse is where it failed me. Some mice have a “feature” by which it will “correct” the motion of the mouse into a straight line. This sounds handy in theory, say if you’re selecting parts of a line of text, or trying to draw a line. However, the Avatar seemed to do it in such a strong way that it was interfering with all my normal mouse movements. Slight diagonal movement? Corrected. Slight curve? Corrected. In the SteelSeries Ikari (which you’ll see tomorrow) this is adjustable, but not in the Avatar, and for me it was too much of an inconvenience. If you’re a gamer, the changes it makes maybe be the difference between a headshot and a near miss, and in other applications it’s the difference between “play” and “stop,” “save” and “print” or what have you.

So while the NZXT Avatar has a lot of things going for it — mainly its quality of construction and looks — the button layout is troublesome and the straightening was impossible for me to get used to. I look forward to their next mouse (maybe a little chunkier, and asymmetrical?) but I can’t recommend this one.

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