We've often commented here at OC3D at how mice are most definitely split into two camps. There are your generic 2 or 3 button jobs that come with a prebuilt PC from your local emporium and cost about £2, and gaming mice which tend to be stacked to the gills with bells and whistles and cost anything up to £100+.
What the market is crying out for is a no frills gaming mouse. Great sensor, a few buttons, affordable price.
CM Storm had a stab at this with the CM Storm Spawn, which came with a 3200DPI sensor and otherwise very little else. Unfortunately it was priced just on the fringes of the middle-range gaming mice that have lighting and macros, so having gone back to the drawing board and designed something capable of being priced even cheaper, they have produced the Xornet.
Available just under £20 this is extremely affordable, so does it provide enough thrills to be a worthy purchase?
As you can see from the specs, this is a compact number with everything pared to the bone. The primary point of interest is the 2000DPI sensor, which is obviously a long way below the high-end sensors we've seen on a lot of gaming mice, but equally it's just sensitive enough to be perfect for your average gamer.
|Material||Rubber Grip / ABS Plastic|
|Dimensions||(L) 107 X (W) 75 X (H) 35 mm / (L) 4.2 X (W) 4 X (H) 1.3 inch|
|Net Weight||142 g / 0.313 lb|
|Sensor||2000 DPI Storm Tactical Optical Sensor|
|Maximum Tracking Speed||160 IPS|
|Maximum Acceleration||23 g|
|Polling Time||1.0 ms|
|Speed Measurement||6700 FPS|
|Onboard Memory||8 Kb|
|Form Factor||Right Hand Ergonomic|
|Button Assignment||5 mouse buttons+ 2 fix function buttons|
Let's get up close and personal with the Xornet then.
The Xornet comes in a standard Mouse box, which has a Velcro flap on the front allowing you to view the mouse up close as well as get a rough feel for in beneath the plastic. Packaging design is very 'CM Storm' with the dominant colours being black, white and red, and the red slashes leave you in no doubt as to the company involved.
Because the Xornet doesn't have any software the box contents are exactly all they need to be, the mouse itself and a small booklet to cover the main points.
The Xornet is a lovely blend of textures. Plastic is the majority of the mouse for cost reasons, but the places that require a lot of grip and accuracy are coated in rubber. The placement of the back and forward buttons is near perfect, with them being in very easy reach of your thumb when holding the Xornet.
Although it's very compact, the Xornet doesn't feel small even in my large hands. Designed for those who prefer a claw grip to the palm or fingertip methods, there is a nice ring-finger rest on the right hand side to aid comfort, as well as allow the branding decal.
Behind the scroll wheel are two buttons that allow you to switch between the various DPI presets. These are large enough to be found in a hurry if required, but placed well enough that you wont accidentally find yourself attempting to turn on a sixpence at 500DPI.
Testing and Conclusion
To say that the Xornet is a pleasant surprise would be a huge understatement.
If you just look at the specifications it's easy to be underwhelmed. It has no lighting or customisation. The sensor is definitely at the bottom end of what can still be considered a gaming mouse. It's only available in black and is quite plastic-y to say the least. Finally that price tag of under £20, and from a company with a lot of brand identity, tends to ring alarm bells.
However the moment you start using it all those things melt away and it's impossible not to love the Xornet.
The design is amazingly comfortable. That bit of extra room out on the right really helps keep the compact little mouse under control and although a lot of the case is made out of that hard shiny plastic it has soft grippy rubber in all the right places. It doesn't even feel cheap. Sure it's really light as there are no weights in it, nor any frippery to increase the standard weight but it's not flimsy.
When thinking of the Xornet the word that springs to mind is chunky. Because of the reduced length and increased width, along with a decent height, even my rather large mitts could hold it comfortably. The buttons have a lovely reassuring click to them and the scroll wheel, often a stumbling block on affordable rodents, is precise but quiet.
Of course the sensor, at 2000DPI, is by no means up there with the mega sensors we've seen on some really high end mice, but for the average person this isn't an issue at all. 2000DPI is plenty responsive enough for nearly every application without being so fast that daily tasks require endless profile switching.
At the higher end of the price spectrum designers often feel they need to justify the price with strange angles and features. The Xornet is the polar opposite of this. It's like beans on toast. Cheap, but flawless. It has a refreshing simplicity to it that works so well you find yourself questioning if you really do need all those extra bit of frippery we normally demand.
For under £20 it's impossible not to fall in love with it. It's amazing value for money, comfortable, and does all that you require a mouse to do. Sure it wont cause anyone who passes to drop their jaw in wonderment but for a plug and forget solution to your pointer needs it's a gloriously honest, blue-collar product.
All the production cost and design focus has been spent in all the right areas, leaving you with a product that makes its low price tag seem like the bargain of the year. Worthy of our Gold Award and our Value for Money. Brilliant.
Thanks to CM Storm for supplying the Xornet for review. Discuss in our forums.