Review Price £44.99
Microsoft SideWinder X8 BlueTrack Gaming Mouse - SideWinder X8
Another of the X8's party tricks is that it is both a wired and a wireless mouse. Primarily, the X8 operates cable-free, but flip it over and three magnetic contact points at the nose, a power switch and a battery compartment are revealed. Those contacts marry directly with the magnetic contacts at the end of the cable connector which, in turn, joins to an ice hockey puck-shaped wireless transceiver/cable tidy that connects to a PC via USB.
I can't overstate how brilliantly simple the concept is. The ability to continually use a wireless mouse when the battery has run down by powering it over USB is a great albeit obvious idea. If I had a penny for every time Riyad has shouted a string of expletives at his wireless mouse for failing to find its own way to its charging dock overnight, I'd be a rich man.
Furthermore, with its charging cable connected, the X8's wireless functionality will continue to operate even if the rechargeable battery has been removed - handy if you prefer using a lighter mouse. The 'puck' also stores two additional feet for the X8 of varying slickness should such customisation be desired.
Microsoft rates the mouse for 30 hours of unwired use and I easily survived a weekend of gaming without having to charge. The LCD screen flashes and displays a charging icon, while a red light pulsates from a slit at the rear of the X8 - it's rather soothing really.
Gaming 'purists' might argue that an advantage of a wired connection is that it ensures there is no delay between mouse movements being made and a game being made aware of those movements. However, I can't say I noticed any difference between the X8 or my previous, wired, Razer Copperhead; but maybe that's just me. My Team Fortress 2 skill certainly didn't seem to suffer for using the X8, at any rate.