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NZXT Avatar Gaming MouseThe often forgotten mouse is an item nobody normally pays much attention to when buying or upgrading a PC. Truth is, it's likely the most key component of any setup.
Out of almost everyone i have ever spoken to when asked for upgrade advice, most have stuck to the basics. What CPU should I buy? What is the best video card? Which brand of memory should I get? Even the humble hard drive is a subject of debate.
Other than keyboards, the humble mouse is almost never mentioned. True enough, if you're a serious gamer, these input devices are important, but even then, many are content with whatever wireless bundle or basic USB peripherals are available. Certainly, the idea of spending $50+ on a mouse seems absurd as a very basic one costs 1/10 of that, but there is a market out there.
Such a market is what the NZXT Avatar Gaming Mouse taps into. The Avatar features an impressive 2600 DPI Optical Sensor. This number falls into the range of what gamers typically look for and for those who don't know, this number is an indicator of the mouse's sensitivity. We'll go into more detail as we move through the review.
The Avatar is packaged in a rather small box, at least compared to what I have seen on store shelves. The box opens up like a book, giving you a clear look at the mouse as well as a diagram pointing out the functions of all the buttons and key features.
Inside the box, you will find the mouse and instruction manual. Inside the manual, the driver CD sits in a thin foam circle which can be depressed to remove the CD. We chose to download the , which NZXT recommends in their manual.
As you can see in the picture above, the NZXT Avatar is a corded mouse. While some may bemoan the fact that cordless is neater and perhaps more convenient, there are advantages to sticking with a corded mouse. Primary benefit is no batteries, and hence, no mouse dying in the middle of a fire fight. Second benefit is there is zero chance of any lag or disconnection in the event you have something in your immediate area that would normally interfere with a wireless signal. On more than one occasion, when I used to use a Microsoft Natural 6000 optical mouse my online persona would stop firing at the enemy and just stare in a random direction as I scrambled to get my mouse working again.
The USB cable is five feet long, more than enough I would think for most of us. The connection is "standard" meaning that it is not an odd shape so it will not get in the way of any other USB connections (so long as they are standard as well) on the back of your PC. As I do keep a neat desktop, I don't have any cord tangling issues, but there are products such as the Mouse Bungee that can help out.
The Avatar is sold only in black, which we do feel is overused these days, but for those of you into the absence of colour, you'll be in heaven. From a design standpoint, it does keep in line with many of NZXT's cases which tend to be black with blue LED highlights. The Avatar's shell is rubberized and a one piece design so to speak. What this means there is no separate left and right mouse buttons as both those buttons are molded into the design. The rubber coating has a good grip to it naturally and will continue to grip well even if you tend to perspire while playing. The downside is I found any grease from your hands tend to mark the mouse. It can be wiped off, but over time, it does become more difficult to do so. As with other rubber coated items we've used, there is a tendency to attract more dust as well.
The rubber grips we mentioned earlier extend to the lower part of the mouse. In the second picture above, we also have a view of the LED accents as well as the LED DPI display. There are seven programmable buttons, which would be the two side buttons, two DPI selectors, scroll wheel and left and right mouse clicks. One of the key features of the mouse is that it is ambidextrous. Whether you are left or right handed, the shape is uniform and hence, made for everyone. The side buttons are placed in the same spot on both sides and can be programmed as needed with the Avatar's software.
The side buttons are used in conjunction with the scroll wheel. There are 4 sensitivity settings, and by clicking the side button and scrolling up or down, you can adjust your sensitivity on the fly. If you would rather not adjust the sensitivity that way, the Avatar features a hardware based DPI switcher. These selectable DPI switches located right above the scroll wheel (pictured above) and being hardware based, this means that you do not need any software to get basic use of the mouse. Sll of this is fine and dandy, but how do you know what your settings are? By using the LED DPI display we mentioned a moment ago.
It is this display that visually tells us what the mouse setting is at. When nothing is displayed, the sensitivity, hence the default mouse speed and smoothness is at its lowest (600 DPI). With one bar, it is at a low setting (1200 DPI). Two bars is medium (1800 DPI) and all three bars means it is at its highest (2600 DPI). Why all the settings? If you're a camper sniper, you will want a lower sensitivity for sniping. I am more of a run and gunner, so a medium works best for me. Twitch shooters will want to keep it at the highest setting.
As useful as we find this display, it isn't perfect. The LED is only on the left side of the mouse. This location is the lone problem if you are left handed as it may not be easy to view the status of your DPI sensitivity as the LED display will be covered by your left hand.
There are three teflon feet which typically last longer than traditional mouse feet as well as gliding on multiple mouse surfaces mush easier.
The 2600 DPI Optical Sensor is capable of 5.8 Mega Pixels/second with a max frame rate of 6469. By default, with no software installed, the Avatar's polling rate will be 125MHz, but this is adjustable up to 1000MHz once the software is installed.
Above is a night shot of the mouse. The blue highlights and DPI indicator are very clear here.