updated 01:50 pm EDT, Wed September 10, 2008
MS SideWinder X8 Mouse
Microsoft today finished off a set of peripheral announcements with one final update to the SideWinder gaming series. The X8 wireless mouse is considered by the company to be one of the quickest and most precise mice yet through a combination of technologies. It uses the same BlueTrack blue LED sensing as the new Explorer mice to properly track over more surfaces but also boosts the sensitivity to as much as 4,000DPI, twice as much as the corded SideWinder X5 and enough to match faster gaming or those with very large displays.
The X8 still has an adjustable sensitivity toggle that scales back to as low as 250DPI and uses 2.4GHz RF wireless to eliminate much of the latency that would affect Bluetooth or older RF connections. In a rare touch, the new SideWinder also has a special USB cable that lets it charge from the attached PC while it plays. Normal battery life is estimated at about 30 hours of continuous use from a built-in lithium-ion pack.
Ergonomics are still similar to the X5 and include the signature vertical side buttons and replaceable feet that change the friction of the mouse for different surfaces. All seven buttons are programmable for different functions; in Windows, the mouse can also be used to jump to the Vista Games menu or to record macros in-game and use them later.
The SideWinder X8's appearance comes early and won't see it ship until February, when it will be available for $100.