NZXT Avatar 2600dpi Gaming Mouse Review

nzxt-avatar

Using the mouse

One thing of note is that this mouse is very thin near the back, which feels rather odd at first.  Most gaming mice have a normal to fat backside, which supports your palm and ring finger.  Placing your hand on this mouse makes me feel like I have to put more pressure on my fingers for movement, and my ring finger touches the mousepad, introducing drag.  The thumb feels comfortable in its tucked position, but is not lifted off the mousepad like the World of Warcraft mouse (reviewed here) or SteelSeries Ikari Laser (reviewed here).

As mentioned before, there is only one thumb button, as its twin is mirrored on the side with your ring finger.  This placement can be good or bad, depending on your use.  For one, the Back button is probably the most used button for desktop and gaming purposes (other than Primary Fire), so you may not want to have to reach for the Forward button.  Unfortunately, using your ring finger to click this button is way more effort, so you may want to assign it to some special purpose that you rarely use.


Serious Kung-Fu Grip with single Back button

At first I was unsure how to change the DPI on the mouse, as other gaming mice have dedicated buttons.  The Avatar uses the scroll wheel, coupled with the Back button, to adjust DPI on the fly.  Just hold down the Back button, and flick the scroll wheel up and down.  Unfortunately, adjusting the DPI on the desktop can be annoying.  Once you let go of the dual-function Back button, the active window will be issued a “Back” command, which can be disruptive in a web browser (or catastrophic for those who author documents online, such as myself).  The 3-position LED shows 4 DPI levels:

# of LEDs to DPI chart

LEDs DPI
0 (off) 600dpi
1 1200dpi
2 1800dpi
3 2600dpi

It takes two clicks of the scroll wheel to register a DPI change.  Unfortuantely, the blue LED DPI indicators are under your hand, whether you are left or right-handed.  You can kinda see if you are right-handed, but Southpaws cannot see it at all, as they would have to lift their hands off the mouse to see the lights.  It would have been better if the indicators were located near the top sides of the mouse, like the Ikari does. Usability would also be improved if a different LED color was used for each DPI level… humans can distinguish color much better than having to count how many blue dots are visible.

I am personally a fan of “high” and “low” modes.  In many games, gamers do not need a huge palette of granularity.  Most gamers are in “run:loose” mode and “snipe:precision” mode, and are usually reacting to something when switching between these.  Being able to click without looking to toggle between these modes is critical.  If I have to guess, or take my eyes off the screen to switch between these modes, then I’ll probably be gibbed (which happens often enough anyway).  I would have liked to see a mode that lets me assign a particular DPI setting to a button (or toggle between high and low).

Alas, most gaming mice force you through the intermediary dpi settings before you get to the “high” and “low” modes.