When we last looked at Microsoft's revitalization of the Sidewinder peripheral line, we weren't very impressed. Though the mouse was technologically sound, it was painfully uncomfortable to use. We weren't alone in that assessment either; sites all over the Internet penned the Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse as a rodent. Well Microsoft has taken another crack at the gaming mouse market, and they've scaled things back a little bit with their latest endeavour. This latest mouse, the SideWinder X5, is as much a slight redesign as it is an extension of the existing product line into less expensive territory. They shave a few pounds off the old design, which still leaves us with one burning question. Is this new mouse still a pain to use, or does it pass muster?
Microsoft Sidewinder Redux...
The Microsoft SideWinder X5 mouse is very similar to the original Microsoft SideWinder mouse put out nearly a year ago. The button configuration is the same, and some of the features followed from the old model to this one. The big difference is that the package is much more economical. Everything is plastic, and is designed to offer a lower priced option to the full feature Microsoft SideWinder. You still get a laser sensor with sensitivity adjustable up to 2000 dpi, and you still get the same software and programmable button options. It's just missing elite features like weights, feet of various friction levels, and a cable anchor. You can see more of the differences and how they stack up on the product home page.
So how much money will dropping these features save you? Well the MSRP of the SideWinder X5 is $59.95 USD, which is only $20 cheaper than the more feature rich SideWinder. When you start looking at the prices offered by many online retailers, the pricing gap grows even more narrow. So we're left with the same question we posed two paragraphs ago; the answer to which would make the price and drop in features worth it. But before we can answer those questions, we should take a close look at the SideWinder X5 itself, as well as what accompanies it.
What's in the Box?
Microsoft included a fairly simple package with the SideWinder X5. This isn't surprising, given this mouse's positioning as a cheaper alternative to the SideWinder. Still they have included their full software package, which allows you to customize the mouse in its entirety, as well as setup macros for your favourite games. It still has the same shortcomings as the software included with the SideWinder, but it has the features that count.
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