Saitek Gaming Mouse Review

- 2006-11-14 03:13:39 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by:    
Reviewed on: September 2, 2006
Saitek
GF City Computers
Price: $29.99

Introduction

Saitek is a well-known gaming peripheral company and I myself have reviewed a number of their products very favorably in the past. To date, I have dealt with the upper echelon in looking at the brilliant Flight Control Center and bombproof Eclipse keyboard. This time I will be taking a look at an affordable gaming mouse that can be found at prices ranging from 18 to 30 dollars.





Closer Look

Once pulling the device from the basic but neat looking package, you find yourself with a CD, a brief pamphlet and the mouse itself. One of the first things you will notice is the Saitek gaming mouse feels a lot like how an entry-level Kia Cerrato may feel. It will get you to work daily with little fanfare or hassle, but you will end up wondering whether life is worth living if you intend to spend numerous hours a day with your new purchase. There are two ways to look at this. One is that, like a Kia, you are getting quite a lot for what you are paying. The other way of looking at its features is by putting it up against some serious competition from Logitech and Razer. My thinking is that if you buy a Kia, you likely won’t be racing up alongside a Lotus Exige anytime soon. So we will measure it keeping its value for money firmly in mind.

  

  

Introduction continued

First off, you will notice the mouse is attractive and reasonably well built, but lacks a certain feel that most gamers look for. The blue glow coming from the mouse is very aesthetically pleasing and the gray button surface goes nicely with the black Teflon rubberized bottom portion. The mouse actually flashes while being moved during gaming. This inexplicable feature is less annoying than one may think, but it still lead to me to wonder what the point of it was. If your brain needs a flashing light to signify that it is operating your arm, perhaps online gaming is a bit beyond your skill set.

The weight of the mouse is fine but its large size makes it feel disproportionate in comparison. It feels as if there is wasted space inside, and neither I nor two other gamers got comfortable with this. My feeling is that the mouse should have what it needs to get the job done and be less bloated overall. It should be like caffeine-laden gamers themselves: wiry, responsive and a little bit crazy.

The overall size is the main problem, along with the wide body at the rear of the mouse, which makes the user hold the mouse in an unfamiliar way. You pretty much have to pinch around the bulbous rear portion of the mouse and you end up using your thumb and pointer finger to guide it around. We don’t need this much bulk. We don’t need Mighty Mouse’s muscular, puffy chest in our hands. We need the twitching, manic energy of Bernard from The Rescuers. I have a thumb to pinky finger span of over 9 inches (tell the ladies) and I found the mouse bulky.

While the molded buttons are appealing at first sight, you will soon find that the pressure needed to push the buttons forces the mouse rearward due to the steep slope on the front of this bubble-like mouse. The buttons take quite a decent touch to depress and this results in a genuine click sound once depressed. The scroll wheel is also affected by the mass of the mouse. The wheel sits slightly too high and therefore is not the quickest to use. The resistance is also greater on the first roll as opposed to extended rolling. It sort of eases up as you use it. I attribute this to it being a new mouse.

Below the wheel is the 1600 to 800 dpi button. The cheap feel of the mouse is especially prevalent here. To be honest, the button action is no better than that of a five-dollar mouse that could be found at Wal-Mart. You can hear and feel the click resonate through the mouse, giving you an impression of how spacious the interior of this mouse is. Clicking the button changes the sensitivity of the unit, a feature that does have its uses. The mouse is powered by an optical engine that sees the mouse boasting a 5.8 mega pixel frame-rate, which is super impressive at this price.





Specifications

  • "Optical engine for ultra-high accuracy
  • "Up to 1600 dpi, twice that of conventional high performance sensors
  • "Turbo-key on top-cover to speed up mouse moving instantaneously
  • "High speed motion detection, up to 1m/s and 30g of acceleration
  • Frame rate over 5000 frames per second (5.8 mega pixels per second)
  • 6 physical buttons optimized for quick gaming response
  • Rubberized wheel for easy and smooth scrolling
  • Non-slip sides and ergonomic fatigue free design
  • Zero acoustic Teflon feet for smooth motion over any surface
  • USB connector for high-speed transmission, up to 125/sec USB report rate
  • 7 foot (2,13m), lightweight, non-tangle cord
  • GamingCenter driver featuring programmable Hot Keys
  • Blue translucent border strip with illumination
  • Designed for left- and right-handers

Testing

I continue to rely on my Razer Diamondback mouse and its on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment. On the Razer I am given adjusting options on a scale of 1 to 10 in .5 increments. On the Saitek, I am given two options. Blazing fast or deathly slow. Much like having first gear and fifth gear only. I’m sure a user that is new to this option will find it suitable. Like I mentioned in my Razer review, having the ability to switch up your speed is invaluable in games such as BF2. In comparison though, the Saitek just doesn’t have enough options for sensitivity. However, keeping in mind the price point, I am inclined to say that you really can’t go wrong when getting this option at all on a mouse of this price. Think of it more as an overdrive option as opposed to a six-speed gearbox.

The Saitek has three programmable buttons overall, two on the left side and one on the right. The scroll also depresses, as with most new mice. Here you will find the action of the buttons to be just perfect. It takes enough of a press to make it easy and not so little that you will be pushing them by mistake in mid-combat. The buttons are programmed using Saitek’s standard fare SST software that is the same for most of their offerings. This effective, but uneventful, program gets the job done but lacks any sort of graphical appeal, surprising considering the visual properties of most of their products. The application basically lets you create profiles while showing a 3D representation of the peripheral at hand. Nothing surprising here.

I actually wrote myself a sticky to remind myself ‘It’s very good value for money’ to make sure I didn’t lose sight of the main selling point here. I made sure not to compare this too much to the hundred dollar mice available from Logitech and Razer. While watching our gaming scores plummet during testing, I thought of a quote by one of my television heroes, Top Gear’s James May. He described purchasing the uncontrollable 500 plus horse-powered TVR sports car as “Buying a ticket to a festival of plastic death,” The same could be said of this mouse as serious gamers will likely not find it suitable. Moderate gamers and weekend warriors however, will find this to be well worth the small amount of money. Even with a few weeks of use, I still found my scores to be slightly lower largely due to the awkward size and feel of the mouse. Although it is very responsive during gaming and there is no inherent problem with its actual function, it was just hard to get used to. Having said that, if I had not been so used to my Diamondback, I think this mouse would be more than sufficient.





Conclusion

Despite its drawbacks, I recommend this mouse based on value for money alone. Is it essentially a base model mouse that glows and has a DPI switch? Absolutely. To revisit my initial comparison, it is basically a Kia with a nice ground effects kit. So if you entered the showroom, you knew to expect a guy named Alex ready to force this affordable, plastic and essentially disposable product into your hands and you will take it home happily but making sure to look away when a Logitech or a Mazda RX-8 rolls on by.

Pros

  • Looks good, clean design
  • Color scheme is appealing
  • Molded buttons
  • Responsive
  • Value for money
  • Hi-res
  • Fast response from engine
  • Good length (7 feet) cord

Cons

  • Cheap feel
  • Too flat on bottom
  • Scroll is too light
  • 1600 DPI button feels cheap
  • Too wide
  • Too light
  • Too tall
  • No "true" on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment
  • Cord slightly on the heavy side