NZXT Avatar S Review

ClayMeow gotdamojo06 - 2011-05-20 15:55:01 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: ClayMeow   gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: May 23, 2011
Price: $39.99

Introduction: 

Are you sick and tired of your current mouse? Maybe you are not able to get the kills that you know you should be able to in your favorite first person shooter because your current mouse is not able to move across your screen as quick as it should be able to. Well you may be just in luck, as NZXT has just released a new mouse called the Avatar S. This mouse is capable of giving up to a 1600 DPI reading, allowing you to quickly move your mouse across your screen to get that headshot that you know you're capable of getting. The NZXT Avatar S does not require you to download and install any drivers for the mouse to properly function, nor for you to take advantage of the three DPI settings that the mouse can support. This mouse is aimed at the user that rests their hand on the mouse in a flat manner with their index and middle fingers resting on the left and right click buttons. I am curious to see exactly how well this mouse is going to be able to stack up against the competition, so let's get started.

 

Closer Look: 

Taking a look at the packaging for the NZXT Avatar S, you'll notice that it is a well put together package that shows simplicity as well as a little bit of elegance. The NZXT logo is printed in the upper left hand corner of the package with the Avatar S logo printed along the right hand side in white with a black background. On the left half of the package is a cutout with a plastic covering that shows off the actual NZXT Avatar S inside instead of simply using a picture to display the mouse. As you can see, the actual mouse features the same color scheme as the package does, white and black. When you take a look at the back of the package, you'll see a list of features in the center; they are listed not only in English, but Dutch, French, and Spanish as well. At the top of the package, you will find the Avatar S logo printed in the left corner and a sketch of the mouse in the right hand corner. At the bottom of the package are three badges that give you the highlighted features that NZXT wanted you to know about, which happen to be 1600 DPI, 16Kb onboard memory, and LED on/off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it's time to get the NZXT Avatar S out of the packaging. The entire mouse is a white color with black highlighting accents throughout the design of the mouse. Looking at the NZXT Avatar S mouse head-on, you will see that it has your typical two buttons with a scroll wheel in the center — there are no other buttons located on the front section of the mouse, like some others have for DPI adjustments and macros. When you look at the back-end of the mouse, you will see that the body is very narrow — the base of the mouse kind of flares out on either end to give the edges of your hand support on the mouse, but allows the NZXT Avatar S to fit directly in the center of your hand. On either side of the mouse, you will find a small button — these are going to be your backward and forward buttons in your web browser of choice. On the left hand side (looking from the back of the mouse), you will find the NZXT logo, which lights up when the mouse is plugged in and your computer is turned on.

 

 

 

Flipping the NZXT Avatar S over, you will see the laser sensor in the center — a Precision 1600 DPI sensor allowing you to have a maximum DPI setting of 1600 and a maximum acceleration of up to 20G. You are also going to find the Model Number, Rating, and the Serial Number on the bottom of the mouse. The NZXT Avatar S was designed in Los Angeles and has a SVDC 150MA rating. Again, looking at the front of the mouse, you will see that there are only the two mouse buttons with the scroll wheel that also has a down-click function. As mentioned before, there are side buttons on either side of the mouse.

 

 

The USB cable that is attached to the NZXT Avatar S measures out to be just around seven feet long, giving you plenty of length to route the cable where ever you may need it to go. The USB plug is gold-plated to give you the best connection possible and does require a USB 2.0 port for full functionality. The mouse reports to the USB port at a polling rate of 1,000Hz.

 

 

Since the entire NZXT Avatar S functions with out drivers, but does still allow you to adjust your DPI settings, there needs to be a way to adjust the DPI setting, as well as a feedback indicator that shows you which DPI setting you have currently enabled. The NZXT Avatar S allows for 1600, 800, and 400 DPI and is easily adjustable once you figure it out. Simply press the side button on the left hand side of the mouse and with that button depressed, use the scroll wheel up and down to select the DPI setting you wish. When you have the 1600 DPI setting selected, the NZXT logo will show up as blue, while 800 DPI is pink and 400 DPI is red.

 


Now that we know exactly what the NZXT Avatar S looks like, it is time to take a look at the specifications and features of the mouse. 

Specifications:

Model
Avatar S
Available Color
Black & White
Onboard Memory
16Kb
Tracking Speed
30 IPS
Acceleration
20G
Programmable Keys
5
USB Polling Rate
1000Hz
Weight System
None
Maximum DPI
1600 DPI

 

Features:


 

Testing:

To properly test the NZXT Avatar S, I will be testing four different aspects: speed, comfort, precision, and customization. To test the speed of the mouse, I will rate how fast the cursor is able to move across the screen. To test the comfort of the mouse, I will rate how comfortable it is to use. The precision of the mouse will be rated by in-game sniping ability rated by the number of head-shots. For the last rating, I will be rating how well you are able to customize the mouse to fit your needs.
 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Mice:

 

First up is the speed test, which will be rated on a scale from 1-10. I will be moving the mouse from the top left corner of the screen to the lower right corner. A 10 rating would represent lightning fast, while a 1 would be equal to a snail moving across your screen.

 

 

 

 

The comfort test is going to be rated by how comfortable and natural the feel of the mouse is to the hand, using a 1-10 point scale, where a 10 represents your hand is in heaven, while a 1 is equal to the feeling of being caught in a badger's jaw.

 

 

In the precision test, I will be gaming using Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and using the Barrett .50cal. I will rate the accuracy on a 1-10 scale, where 1 would represent no headshots and a 10 would mean all headshots.

 

 

Lastly, we have customization. To grade each mouse on this test, I will see exactly how well you are able to change the buttons of the mouse, as well as how easy it is to adjust the DPI resolution levels on the fly while you are in a game. A 10 would mean you can easily change your DPI settings in the game and have full control over changing the buttons using the software. The Microsoft intellimouse received a 1 score in this benchmark due to the fact that there is no ability to customize the mouse outside of the standard customizations Windows allows (double-click speed, pointer speed, wheel speed, etc.).

 

 

In the Speed Test, I decided to give the NZXT Avatar S an 8/10. While it was able to go from one corner of my screen to the other corner quite quickly, there have been other mice, such as the WarMouse Meta, the Logitech G500, and the Razer Naga, that were able to have higher DPI settings upwards of 6000 DPI. In the Comfort Test, the NZXT Avatar S got another 8/10. I was quite surprised with the level of comfort that the Avatar S was able to give me during my testing. I did not think that the mouse was going to be as comfortable as it was by just looking at it because there is no rubber grip coating on it and due to the slim body that it has incorporated in the design. In the Precision Testing, I gave the Avatar S a 7/10 — I was unable to get as many headshots with this mouse as I was with others that I have compared in the past. This seems like it is mainly due to the fact that it is limited to a 1600 DPI and I am used to a higher DPI setting, and the fact that the mouse is a little bit longer than I am used to, my fingers feel like they need to be stretched out to the end of the mouse just to click the left and right mouse buttons. I was only able to give the NZXT Avatar S a 5/10 in the Customization Test due to the fact that all I was able to adjust was the DPI settings. However, I did give it a little bit of a positive for the fact that it is all hardware-based switching with no drivers installed on the computer and because of the LEDs that help you know what DPI setting you are currently set at.

Conclusion:

What is there to say about the NZXT Avatar S? Well for starters, the fact that NZXT decided to use a 1600 DPI optical sensor on the mouse is always a plus — a higher DPI value on your mouse is going to allow you to quickly move across your screen and when you are gaming. It is very important for me to have a high DPI setting when I am gaming, mainly due to the fact that I game at 2560x1600 resolution, which gives you a whole heck of a lot of screen to move across and every second counts when it's life and death between you and your enemy. The simplistic design of the NZXT Avatar S is also a plus — there are only five buttons on the mouse, which is all that you are really ever going to need to have for a FPS game, which happens to be the only type that I enjoy playing. When you get into more buttons on the mouse, it can sometimes crowd the layout and could confuse you when you are needing to make a snap decision. I also liked the fact that you can change your DPI settings on the fly during your game, but the settings that are default on the mouse are 1600/800/400 DPI, and going from 1600 to 800 DPI is quite a drastic step down and basically puts the need to adjust the DPI setting on the bench while you are gaming. The lightweight design of the mouse is also a huge positive to me — when you are gaming you do not want to be pushing around a heavy mouse the entire time, as your arm will begin to get a little fatigued, which in turn will keep you from being able to have a long gaming session. Sticking to the design of the NZXT Avatar S, I did not like how long the mouse seems to be once you put your hand on it — when you are gaming with it, it almost seems like you have to have your fingers fully extended toward the end of the mouse just to be able to press the left and right mouse buttons. Finally, the LED feedback indicator on the side of the mouse is a nice idea when you do decide to change your DPI settings, as you have three different colors that indicate which DPI setting you have currently selected.

Overall, if you are looking for a new mouse, you may want to keep an eye on the NZXT Avatar S, and if the price is right, I would say go ahead and give it a try. The mouse does look great as well as perform quite well, but for my style of gaming I would not be using this mouse as a first choice, as it does feel a little too long. However, that would not stop me from using it on a different machine that does not get used for gaming.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: