But that’s not all the Sidewinder has in terms of features – oh no, it’s far more feature packed than we could ever really cover on a single page.
The sidewinder also comes with two thumb buttons which are located in a vertical alignment instead of the usual horizontal setup – the idea being that you don’t have to reach your thumb forward to hit the front thumb button. You just reach up or down instead.
There’s also a macro recording button which is located in front of these in a place where you can’t easily reach it. The placement of it is deliberately annoying so that you can’t press it by accident because it allows you to record macros of up to 250 keystrokes and map them to a mouse button so that you can release preset combos in games. Is this cheating? That’s a good question, but an even better one is ‘Do we care?’
On the fly DPI changing is a feature which has seeped through into the vast majority of gaming mice nowadays and the Sidewinder mouse is no exception. The mouse has three buttons on it which can be used to flick between any one of three preset sensitivities. The sensitivity you assign to these buttons is then displayed on the mini LCD screen near the thumb when you switch to that setting. The LCD is a little pointless, but it’s nice to look at nonetheless, despite the red background and black text.
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The sensitivity setting though isn’t as nice. It requires installing and using the latest version of the Microsoft Intellipoint software. The software itself isn’t anything to really write home about, but it does the job and has a lot of little options and tweaks which you’ll probably never use. The sensitivity setting though, the one setting you will definitely want to fiddle with, doesn’t give you full control though and it’s impossible to select an exact DPI setting. Instead, you have to use one of the options.
That’s fine if you want to use 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1400, 1600, 1800 or 2000 DPI, but not much use if you want to choose something a bit more exact. Granted, the range will cover most people but for a high-end gaming mouse with customisable weight and feet we would have hoped for more sensitivity options.
The final feature of the Sidewinder is an additional button located on the top of the mouse, right under where your palm would be if you hold the mouse like a normal person. It’s a small silver button. If you run Vista then pressing it will open up the Games folder. That’s all it does. It can’t be remapped to a custom function unlike every other button and can only be deactivated by holding it down for five seconds. It’s incredibly pointless when you bear in mind that the gaming folder can be accessed in only two clicks from the start menu anyway.
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The overall feel of the mouse is a mixed bag too. With such sharp angles on it, the Sidewinder does look like it should be pretty uncomfortable, but it actually doesn’t feel that bad and if you can ignore the vaguely repulsive decorations then it’s a mostly comfortable mouse to use. The build quality is through the roof too, with a knurled metal scroll wheel and large studs for thumb buttons the whole mouse feels incredibly solid and sturdy. Throw in some of those weights and it’ll start to feel reassuringly heavy as well.
The cable anchor is a good move too and effectively stops the mouse cable from getting tangled or caught and guaranteeing you a certain amount of cable slack. Then again, if it were wireless then you wouldn’t need a cable anchor anyway.
With all these features in mind, it’s only fair that we give them a through testing before we make our minds up about the mouse, so flip the page and we’ll take a look at the Sidewinder in action.