Microsoft killed off the SideWinder brand due to lack of sales back in 2003, but it was a brand with a lot of love in its history (I was a fan of the joysticks) so they’ve brought it back from the dead with a new gaming mouse. No extra names involved, this is simply called the Microsoft SideWinder Mouse. It’s all about the gaming, and it’s a pretty solid piece of work.
It’s got buttons ahoy, with two under the thumb plus another a little further around the corner for your thumb to reach (I doubt I’ll ever use that one, though). Left-right buttons, obviously, plus a scroll-wheel button. The scroll has really nicely defined position clicks to suit efficient weapon switching.
The laser dpi switching is right down the middle of the mouse, offering 400, 800, or 2000 dpi accuracy – switch sensitivity to move between fast movement and more accurate aiming. However this position is not at all useful for on-the-fly switching in the heat of action (Logitech’s G9 is better placed on the left). Microsoft has pointed to the ‘first ever’ LCD display on a mouse, but you won’t be getting ammo or hit point read outs – this shows current dpi or macro record settings.
Naturally, the mouse is programmable – what gaming mouse is not. But you can also build macros if you like to get into more detailed functionality.
Three sets of feet are also included, giving different glide on your mouse surface. Between these and the included set of weights, which change the mouse from 5g to 30g, you can get just the right feel for your preference.
All up, the SideWinder Mouse feels a lot like it desperately wants to be as good as the Logitech G9 mouse. But it is definitely a lesser gaming mouse, without the interchangeable grips, the 3200 dpi, the better dpi adjust positioning, and the on board storage for profile saves.
BUT… it is also $40 cheaper (UPDATE: $75 cheaper on current Microsoft hardware cashback deals), and to that end it’s a great option if you want a slick gaming mouse but don’t want to spend up big on the top of the range option. RRP is $129.95, and Microsoft gear is often available for less – we’ve spotted it commonly for around $100 on Static Ice.