Microsoft Sidewinder X5

Microsoft Sidewinder X5


Stripping down the old-timer
Gaming can be an expensive hobby. High-end gaming machines can quickly cost thousands of dollars, and peripherals are pretty expensive as well. So, it’s always nice to be able to save money without sacrificing functionality and quality. Microsoft has now brought us just such a product: the Sidewinder X5 gaming mouse, a slimmed-down version of the venerable Sidewinder we reviewed in our Great Mouse Showdown earlier this year. We tested the Sidewinder X5 to find out how it measures up with other, more expensive gaming mice available right now.

Despite the low price, the Sidewinder X5 comes packed with all the necessary bits and pieces: thumb buttons, multiple DPI settings, a stylized, comfortable shell, and of course a couple of showy red LEDs.

  • Max. DPI 2000

  • Max. Polling 500Hz

  • Buttons 9 (5 macro programmable)

  • Form factor right

  • Size in mm (LxWxH) 128 x 77.7 x 40 mm

  • Inches per second 45+

Microsoft Sidewinder X5
While the Sidewinder X5’s overall shape may look uncomfortable, it is in fact perfectly comfortable both in everyday use and while gaming. The overall shape is exactly the same as the Sidewinder’s. In fact, the only difference between the original Sidewinder and the slimmed-down X5 are the lack of the DPI display (the three DPI selection buttons still light up, however, to show you the current setting), a minor cosmetic change (the stripe down the middle is black instead of dark red like the original), the lack of customizable feet and weight, as well as the use of plastic instead of metal for the wheel and side buttons. None of these changes really affect the usage of the mouse, unless you are a hardcore gamer who absolutely needs such features on his mouse.

The top part of the mouse is finished in simple black plastic (the stripe down the middle being a bit more reflective), while the sides are coated with a rubberized, matte material. Seeing how we never got sweaty hands (or, heaven forbid, lost grip of our mouse) while gaming, we can definitely say that both materials are well-suited and a pleasure to grip.

The overall design of the mouse is fairly ergonomic. There’s a small “shelf” for placing your ring finger on, and small grooves keep index and middle finger on the left and right mouse button. Additionally, there’s an indentation on the left side for the thumb. All in all, the X5 is very nice and comfortable to use.

When it comes to buttons, the X5 has all the necessary goods. The left and right mouse buttons feel sharp and give nice feedback. The three buttons for switching between DPI settings do their job as well. As a side note, we’d like to mention that we find this solution rather impractical – two buttons for switching up and down would be more than sufficient. A fourth button is located in-line with these, right underneath the user’s palm (a misplacement if we ever saw one). As on the original, this one serves as a shortcut to Windows Vista’s Games folder – sadly, this button cannot be reconfigured.