Microsoft SideWinder X8 BlueTrack Gaming Mouse - SideWinder X8

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice
Microsoft SideWinder X8 BlueTrack Gaming Mouse

Summary

Our Score:

10

What makes the X8 such a joy to use is the technology powering it. Like the Explorer mouse, the X8 uses BlueTrack technology, which is - as experience shows - a notable improvement on optical and laser.

But why the improvement? Well for a start, BlueTrack's blue LED light has a shorter wavelength than red light which can thus resolve detail to a greater degree. The blue light is also diffused and broader which helps not only to illuminate more of the surface, more evenly but also in effect increases the contrast between features and textures within that surface. This combined with a sensor and lens that can distinguish the finer differences in reflected light make BlueTrack mice more accurate as well as functional on a variety of surfaces, including smooth shiny ones.

However, what's really important is how the X8's 4,000dpi sensitivity translates into actual use. My first thought, on reading the original press release for the X8, was definitely "who on earth needs 4,000dpi" but having used the mouse I'm a sceptic no longer - the precision afforded is simply fantastic. Even if - and Microsoft agrees here - the max acceleration of 75g and 120in/s movement speed with which the X8 can cope are more than anyone could ever produce.

Gaming is an absolute pleasure with the X8. Its high-sensitivity gives great responsiveness in first-person shooters and that isn't lost when more precision is needed, say after pulling out a sniper rifle. Being able to script a macro to switch weapon and sensitivity at the same time is just icing on the cake.

Mice are tricky, highly subjective products to try and rate, but I'd definitely pick the X8 over the Steel Series Ikari which is going for around the same money, or my previous mouse of choice: Razer's Copperhead.

Verdict

Microsoft's SideWinder X8 combines the best aspects of both wired and wireless mice, adds its funky, high-sensitivity BlueTrack technology and wraps it up in a slick, ergonomic package. Put simply, the X8 is the gaming mouse we've been waiting for Microsoft to make.

Overall Score

10

Scores In Detail

  • Value 9
  • Features 10

Lord Comben III

March 17, 2009, 5:34 am

Well fair play to microsoft

stranded

March 17, 2009, 8:00 am

Is there a gaming mouse with good "handling"? Really?!!

Jon Tseng

March 17, 2009, 1:04 pm

"the X8 uses BlueTrack technology, which is - as experience shows - a notable improvement on optical and laser."





Is there an advantage because its BlueTrack or because its a 4,000 DPI mouse. You shouldn't confuse the two - there are perfectly good 4,000 DPI laser mice out there.





The main advantage of Blue Track seems to be the (rather pointless) advantage of working on rougher surfaces like "carpet and rough-grain wood" - because obviously millions of l33t gamers regularly use rough-grain wood and carpet gamer mouse pads...





Also having a plug-in wireless mouse is nothing new - Logitech did it with their MX1100 a while ago (although for some bizarre reason, only with the one that comes bundled with their cordless desktops).

TheLostSwede

March 17, 2009, 3:10 pm

@Jon, uhm... Logitech had a "proper" wireless gaming mouse, the G7 http://www.trustedreviews.com/...


The biggest problem with that one was that you had to change the battery all the time, but as it came with a pair of batteries, you could easily swap them and charge the second one in the provided charger. The MX1100 is NOT a gaming mouse.

Energizer Bunny

March 17, 2009, 3:29 pm

Hey great review Hugo. I dont even need a new mouse but I've just ordered one of these puppies on the strength of that (though I will confess to digging out a few second opinions elsewhere on the net).

hankb6d

March 17, 2009, 4:44 pm

Looks at 50p ebay "perfect" wireless mouse with dead LED, feeling more pleased it did not cost 㿲!!!





Thats still a nice mouse of course.

Ironduke

March 17, 2009, 5:06 pm

I had a Bluetooth Mouse for my Mac that allowed you to charge via USB and keep using

Keldon

March 17, 2009, 6:54 pm

How does this compare against the *KING* of mice the logitech MX Revolution?





Im a sucker for a new mouse but dont want a downgrade :)

Hugo

March 17, 2009, 7:24 pm

I can't stand the Revolution, so to me it compares extremely favourably.

colonelclaw

March 17, 2009, 7:33 pm

Ok this is interesting - MicroSoft's own website has a driver download for this mouse for the Mac. Can anyone confirm if it works and all the buttons can be programmed etc?

Keldon

March 17, 2009, 9:16 pm

Heh fair enough hugo, I just find it fits nicely in my hand and only needs charging once a fortnight :)

dustofnations

March 18, 2009, 5:04 am

I've read on a couple of other review sites that they've had varying problems with this mouse, for instance; pointer skipping (especially on cloth mousemats), odd scrollwheel behaviour when the custom drivers are installed (sometimes), and some interference problems


http://www.crunchgear.com/2009...





Would definitely be beneficial to the readers if you could confirm if these are present on the one you're using :-).

Hugo

March 18, 2009, 7:23 pm

I've not noticed any such issues - although I don't have a cloth mousemat to test with.

colonelclaw

March 18, 2009, 8:16 pm

Is there any way to reprogram the 3 buttons just below the mouse wheel or are they only for changing the DPI?

Hugo

March 19, 2009, 5:29 pm

IIRC they're only for changing sensitivity.

Borg

July 1, 2009, 8:25 pm

how much is the ms of this mouse? razer mamba got only 1ms as wireless

elitehunter

December 22, 2009, 7:29 pm

the x8 has 2ms i believe, however, in the hundreds of hours i have spent playing games online and the range of mice I have used (from cheap £20 gaming mice with 5ms response time and the razer lachesis at 1ms) i haven't noticed any difference, the only difference i notice is how sensitive the mouse is and how smootly it glides and i'm not the only one, my clan mates and gaming buddies alike each with a different way of using mice and different preferences have all said that they notice no visible difference between response times, only what they see on paper.

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