Review: Microsoft Sidewinder X3 gaming mouse

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Short version: The X3 is a rather ordinary mouse, but might serve as a good introduction to multiple DPI settings for your mom or dad, while still being comfortable and ambidextrous.

Features:

  • Ambidextrous design
  • Three buttons for custom DPI settings
  • Five total buttons not counting DPI buttons
  • MSRP: $39.99

Pros:

  • Simple and comfortable
  • DPI switching is easy and instant
  • Customization is straightforward

Cons:

  • A little too simple
  • Thumb buttons are inconveniently placed

Full review:

Just a short review for this one. The Sidewinder range of mice is Microsoft’s gaming brand, and they actually have done some pretty good work with both the X5 and the X8, the latter of which to this day sports the best wireless setup out there. The X3 is their baby brother, and it shows in the unimaginative design. The other Sidewinders had crazy buttons, were huge and angular, and pretty much screamed “freak mouse” to everyone who saw one on your desktop. But it was all good because they worked well. The X3 also works as well as can be expected, but the fact is for $40 you can get a better mouse.

The shape of the mouse is very comfortable. It’s got a good medium size and comfortable curve. There’s no shelf for your outside fingers but there is a small (but effective) one for your thumb, whichever way you hold it. DPI buttons are out of the way but quickly accessed.

The thumb buttons, however, are just way too far up on the mouse. This is a very obvious design flaw: the thumb shelf indicates where your thumb should sit when you are holding the mouse, and the button is half an inch further towards the tip of the mouse. It’s just physically impossible to be resting your thumb on the shelf and still be able to reach the button; you need to lift the heel of your hand up and reach forward, and who’s going to do that? And of course, since it’s an ambidextrous mouse, there’s a whole button going to waste near your ring finger, which can’t really do anything with it.

The sensor seems to work just fine. I thought I encountered a little jitter but right now I can’t replicate it, so it may have been just too much coffee on my part.

Conclusion:

I feel I’ve been saying this a lot lately. It’s not a bad mouse, but when you can get a Death Adder, G500 for under the price of this thing, there’s really not much else to say. Those are simply much better mice. It might be a good “gateway” mouse, as I noted in the intro, but it’s no better than the Kinzu in that regard, and the Kinzu has a much better layout. I’m afraid this mouse is the true runt of the Sidewinder litter. (do snakes have litters?)

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