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Microsoft SideWinder X3 Gaming Mouse

The X3 is one of four mice in the SideWinder family and the second of three units from Microsoft being reviewed today --the original SideWinder was included in our five-mouse rundown back in 2008. Unlike its siblings in this review, the SideWinder X3 has an ambidextrous design and a two-tone color scheme: silver plastic on the top and black plastic on the sides. There are no rubber side grips like we have seen on other units on our test table.

Buttons include left and right click buttons, clickable scroll wheel, three buttons beneath the scroll wheel used to adjust the DPI on-the-fly, and two recessed silver buttons on either side of the mouse. The DPI speeds are preset at 400, 800 and 2,000 from bottom to top. The currently selected DPI button is illuminated with a subtle red status LED.

The scroll wheel has a decent grip, a nice tactical feel and is easy to depress. Unlike some of the other mice in this round up, the wheel does not tilt side-to-side. The bottom of the mouse is red and features two large, smooth Teflon-style feet, one at the top and one at the bottom, while the sits right in the center of the mouse.

The X3 uses the same IntelliPoint software suite as the Laser Mouse 7000. The software disc included with the X3 is equipped with version 6.3, while the current version on Microsoft's website is 7.1 so I of course used the latter.

As anticipated, the layout is virtually identical to that of the 7000 software. The only difference is the button layout changes from the two devices. You can remap five of the buttons and even create and store macros. The rest of the software is generic in nature and offers the basic mouse options.

In Windows, the SideWinder X3 is great to work with. Movements are fluid and there was no jittering like the 7000 had. The mouse itself is comfortable but perhaps could be slightly wider. My thumb and pinky finger would occasionally get caught on the sides of the mouse between it and the mouse pad, but I guess this will vary from user to user.

In games, I had no problems with this mouse. I was able to remap keys as I wanted and the DPI selector buttons worked flawlessly. I wish you could fine-tune the presets, however. The mouse slides across my mouse pad with ease and is very quiet doing so. My only complaint is with the position of the left side button. My regular-sized mitt fit the mouse well but it was a real stretch to reach this button with my thumb. Those of you with larger hands might not have the same issue.

With an MSRP of only $35.95 on Microsoft's website and the OEM version selling for under $30 at Newegg, the Microsoft SideWinder X3 offers fantastic value for the price.

Pros:
  • Price
  • Ambidextrous
  • Comfortable
  • Quality clickable scroll wheel
  • Slides easily
  • Adjustable DPI on-the-fly
  • Remappable buttons and macros
Cons:
  • Could be wider
  • Side buttons just out of reach for my regular sized hand