Reviewed: January 16, 2003
Type: 3D Gaming Mouse
How many times have you been dancing like death on adrenalin amongst your enemies, felling foes left and right, when you pause for one second to grab a quick swig of Mountain Dew, and thatís exactly when some n00b pops in and frags you like it was no big deal? Oh, the frustration! Oh, the humiliation!
Well your troubles are over my friend. Sandio has created the 3DGame Oí , a 3D gaming mouse, with the hope of making the WADS cluster obsolete, much to the annoyance of keyboard manufacturers everywhere.
Aesthetics - 5
While this mouse does fit rather nicely into the palm of your hand, there really is no good way to hold it. Perhaps Iím just too inured to the more traditionally designed mouse, but the joystick in the center top of the mouse is more distracting than useful.
Also there is, for no real reason that I can understand, a large grey lip around the back of the mouse. It is comfortable to rest the base of your palm on, but I have a mouse pad for that. All this does is increase the footprint of the mouse.
Undoubtedly the worst part of how this mouse looks is the coloration. The body is a bright almost candy apple red, but the buttons, joysticks, and lip are all a flat plastic grey. The over all effect is something like dressing a pug in a tuxedo, but it might smell a little better than that. Sandio does make a couple of alternatives that come in blue/black or white which make this look less like cheap plastic, but not by much.
Durability - 7
At first glance you would think that this would be a heavy accessory, but itís actually fairly light, which is good because of how much motion it requires. While mice are generally reliable, I have concerns about this one. With the three joysticks located top-center, and on the sides of the mouse, there are a lot more pieces to wear out. The joysticks themselves feel more like they are mounted on a d-pad rather than having a ball joint as you would expect, so youíre really looking at 12 contacts any one of which could be problematic. Worse, they are in some directions not very responsive, but almost too responsive in others so I can see some uneven wear developing.
The lip around the back of the mouse is removable, but it is held in place with plastic tabs that are inserted into the body of the mouse. The tabs are fairly thick so they wonít break that easily, and they make for easy attachment or removal of the lip, but the recesses in the mouse body seem like a great place for dust to collect and they would allow dust into the interior of the mouse itself.
The laser is recessed, but not too deeply, so it can be cleaned easily, and there looks like there is plenty of protection around the focus of the laser. Of course with the dust that can get in if you arenít using the lip, there is the question if that is even helpful, but at least itís there.
Performance - 6
This mouse is anything but plug and play. You can just stick it into the computer and use it as a regular mouse, but why would you? None of the 3D abilities of the mouse would function and thatís sort of the whole point of buying a 3D mouse.
So, instead youíll need to install the drivers, which in itself is no onerous task. The difficulty comes in the set up. Basically you have to configure the mouse for every different kind of game youíre going to play with it. The good news is that it comes with settings for about 20 popular games already set up. The bad news is that you have to configure the mouse outside of the game, so now not only do you have the in game configuration, you also have the mouse to mess with.
With this level of control over your input device I can see it appealing to a lot of people. Unfortunately, the mouse isnít likely to live up to the level of precision that these gamers are used to. It is a far cry from the accuracy of high end mice, such as the Razer Diamondback, and the joysticks, as mentioned before, are not as responsive, nor as sensitive as most gamers are used to.
Value - 6
While some gamers may be pleased by the change of pace this mouse offers, I donít think many people will be willing to re-learn how they play their favorite games in order to use it. The imprecision of the mouse compared to other gaming devices doesnít do much to recommend it, and for the price ($79.99) I would rather have the accuracy over the novelty.
Overall Ė 6.0
This is a great idea to change the way we game. The difficulty with this mouse is that it offers a significant decrease in performance and a steep re-learning curve. If some of these shortcomings can be addressed, this could replace the WADS cluster, but for now, itís more likely to go the way of the Power Glove.