NZXT Avatar Crafted Series Gaming Mouse ReviewZertz - September 4, 2008
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If the Avatar is simply plugged in without installing drivers, it will only work as a basic five button mouse, the DPI being locked to its lowest possible setting of 600. Once you pop the CD in, you will be prompted with the usual installation screen; simply follow the instructions. At some point after it finishes copying files, Windows will give you a warning because it's trying to install a non-WHQL driver, just hit "Install." Finally, you will have to reboot, or else the software won't work at all. It's a very straightforward process, unless you are running Vista 64-bit. In this particular case, the mouse will completly stop responding, something that should be addressed before the final driver release.
By default, the thumb button will be set to use as back in your browser while the one on the other side will serve as forward. Both buttons on top, behind the scrolling wheel, are set to control on-the-fly DPI switching, the one nearest to the wheel makes it faster and the other one will slow it down.
Once your PC is restarted, a new NZXT icon will have added itself to the taskbar. It will take a little while before it actually becomes usable, which is quite annoying. I'm still wondering what's taking it so long. Anyway, after it is done loading, you are welcomed with a good looking user interface, everything is clearly labeled and thus shouldn't pose any problems.
The first tab, Advanced Funtions, allows you to customize every single button to any function and also easily lets you change to left-handed orientation if you wish. You can save up to five custom profiles with different button assignments, DPI setting and orientation. If for some reason you wish the change the polling rate, which is the number of times per second the USB controller checks for activity, that's something else you can do. The Sensivity tab is pretty self explanatory; in there you can change both X and Y axis independently. The third and last tab, (not so) Advanced Settings, lets you change the scrolling speed, sensivity once again and double click speed. All that with an area to test out your settings.
For those who aren't familiar with this, DPI stands for dots per inch. Basically what it means is that for every inch the mouse moves, the cursor will travel a set number of pixels - 600, 1200, 1800, or 2600 in this case. A higher DPI doesn't really make the cursor move faster; it simply travels a longer distance on-screen when your hand makes the exact same movement. On the left side of the mouse, three LEDs indicate which DPI setting the mouse is currently set at, every LED off means 600, one on is 1200, two is 1800 and all three is for 2600 DPI. Lower DPI is usually good for web browsing, while higher settings are better suited for gaming. The pictures show some of the four available modes. Switching between every speed setting is pretty easy; hit the the button right behind the scroll wheel shown on the previous page to increase the DPI settings while the one on the back will decrease it. I preferred this over a single button solution since I did not have to go through every mode if I accidentally clicked it. The chrome finish on both thumb buttons along with the LED lit lines on both sides definitely gives the Avatar a sharp look.
Now let's move on to the manufacturer's specifications and features.