Gaming mice live and die on the quality of their sensor. Thanks to huge advances in the DPI available in the higher end models it's now possible to get a 3000DPI+ sensor on a mouse that costs about the same as a good Friday night out on the town. Anyone who remembers the CM Storm Xornet knows that you don't have to splurge out a lot of cash to get a great mouse, and with so many mice down this end of the spectrum the margins between success and failure are even finer. Whereas spending £50+ starts to get people buying upon brand name recognition or the latest super-accurate sensor, at the value end we don't care about the name on the box, but solely how great it is.
Ozone have produced a range of peripherals, more often than not at a good value price point too. Like any company there have been some great products and some not so great ones, so it's with interest that we take a look at the Xenon mouse. Does it have enough to beat off the stiff competition?
Some of the finest mice we've reviewed use an Avago sensor in them, so it's pleasing to see that the Xenon has one beating at the heart of it. Obviously at £25 we're not going to see some insane DPI sensitivity, but 3500 is plenty for most mortals. Otherwise there is little of note in the specifications, as is often the case with mice.
The Xenon comes in a sturdy cardboard package with a very bold design, and a clear view of the Xenon mouse itself. It's a nice surprise to find a braided cable on a mouse of this price. We've seen many far more expensive peripherals that don't come with a braided cable. It's those little touches that are so vital to stand out from a crowded market.
The Xenon certainly is a chunky affair, and we quite like the wide-hips look. There is nothing wrong with a Rubenesque mouse. It's available in black, red or white and we've got the red model on test today which, as we think you'll agree, certainly is red. Stating the obvious maybe but so many mice are understated affairs that it's good to see one wearing its colour so proudly.
Each side has a grippy coating to help balance the glossy plastic that dominates everywhere else. Sadly that's all we have to talk about here as Ozone have taken the, frankly insane, decision to not put at side buttons on the Xenon.
As we said at the start there is a huge amount of mice available, even at this affordable price. It takes a lot for a mouse to stand out from the crowd and demand your money. Sadly the Ozone Xenon definitely falls into the miss category.
The sensor is excellent, as we've come to expect from Avago sensors. An optical 3500DPI sensor should be enough to keep all but the most demanding gamers happy, and certainly would be a good first buy as a gaming mouse if you're only used to the one that came with your computer. Unfortunately it's far and away the best part of the Xenon.
The packaging is good, and you get a driver CD and quick start guide. The driver CD only offers the same selection of adjustments that you can get from the Windows control panel, so we're skipping that. The Xenon itself feels very plastic. Obviously it is and, although we wouldn't expect some soft-touch high quality plastics at this price, the gloss finish only accentuates this.
The underside of the Xenon is coated with a lot of Teflon feet, yet it doesn't glide as nicely as we hoped. We had to resort to our slipperiest hard gaming surface to get it to respond as we'd like. This is something you could cure with some third-party feet, but when you're spending so little on the mouse itself even a few pounds more moves you into a whole different bracket of quality and the Xenon just can't keep up.
Unfortunately the final nail in the coffin has to be the decision to omit any side buttons. The back/forward buttons are so ubiquitous, so part of our muscle memory, that it's almost in the human DNA at this point.
If you could live without the side buttons then the SteelSeries Kinzu is just as responsive but £8 cheaper, and if you only have £30 to spend on a mouse the Zowie EC1 is just one of the myriad of choices available to you that does much more for the same money. That's without mentioning the £10 cheaper CM Storm Xornet, which although has a lower DPI sensor is superior in every way.
In short, as good as the sensor is the package it's wrapped in doesn't cut the mustard enough to make it worth more than a cursory glance. When you're in such a fiercely competitive market of companies all vying for the money of the average consumer, you need something special which the Xenon lacks.
Thanks to Ozone for supplying the Xenon for review. You can discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.