Microsoft SideWinder Mouse Series

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Note: Microsoft no longer makes gaming mouses.

Spend a few hours looking at gaming mouse today. Here are some thoughts. Even if you are not a gamer, a gaming mouse provides multiple programable buttons and that is a productivity gain. Generally speaking, it has more advanced technology than a non-gaming mouse.

Here's a complete list of gaming mouse from Microsoft.

Microsoft SideWinder Gaming Mouse

This came out around August 22, 2007.

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Microsoft SideWinder Mouse Buy at amazon
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Microsoft SideWinder Mouse
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Microsoft SideWinder Mouse

Microsoft SideWinder X5 Mouse

This came out around August 20, 2008

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Microsoft SideWinder X5 Mouse Buy at amazon
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Microsoft SideWinder X5 Mouse
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Microsoft SideWinder X5 Mouse

Microsoft SideWinder X3

May 19, 2009

The X3 is symmetric.

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Microsoft Sidewinder X3 Buy at amazon

In the end, i bought the Sindewinder X3, on discount, for $20 at a local Fry's Electronics. It is fantastic. The flat cylinder shaped scroll wheel is great, because it is easier to push as a actual button too. (Most non-gaming mouse's wheel is tube shaped and hard to press.) I choose this model because this is the smallest among them, and i have small hands. Also, this is the only among them that is symmetric for either hand. I always use 2 mouses, one for each hand. But i'm buying this mouse for my left hand. When playing combat games, i use left hand for mousing. Also, this is the lightest among them. I prefer mouse as light as possible. Those gaming mouses that comes with attachable weights seem ridiculous to me. Another great feature about this mouse, or perhaps the whole series, is that it is shaped so it is easy to grab and lift. You want it to be easily grabable for quick lifting, sometimes needed. Many mouses come in some oval shape that's comparably less easily grabable.

Note: I've been using X3 for close to 3 years now. It works fine, but in hindsight, in comparison to other mouses, i do not recommend X3. Because, the side buttons are hard to use. So, it's almost as good as none-existent.

Microsoft SideWinder X8 Mouse

This came out in 2009

Buy at amazon

Additional Features:

This is their latest and greatest.

Microsoft sidewinder x8 mouse
Microsoft Sidewinder X8 mouse. Wireless. Buy at amazon
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Microsoft Sidewinder X8 mouse, and a recharger with magnetic connector.

All these mouses have 1 scroll wheel, 3 instant-change DPI buttons, and at least 5 programable buttons. But the X8 has 7 programable buttons, counting the left/right nudge of the scroll wheel (aka tilt).

The X8 is wireless, all the others are wired. The wireless of X8 is actually quite advanced. It uses and comes with one standard AA sized rechargeable battery. It has a magnetic connector, so it snaps onto the mouse when you need to connect the charger, and you can use it as a wired mouse while it is charging. It also features a new blue laser technology, for a 4k DPI tracking. But even if you are a hardcore gamer, any DPI over 2k is basically useless. [see What's Mouse DPI? Does DPI Matter?]

The middle 3 red buttons let you change DPI by a single press. They light up. For example, on the X3, the top button is 2000 DPI, the middle 800, the bottom 400.

Changing DPI is a great feature. For gaming, you want fast turning, but when you are aiming at a distant target, you want less sensitivity for precision aiming. This applies for non-gaming work as well, such as working in 3D Modeling Software.

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