Gigabyte XM300 Gaming Mouse Review
There is an awful lot to like about the XM300, with only a couple of niggles stopping it from being a wholehearted "run and buy".
Firstly the Pixart 3988 is one of the best optical sensors around. The combination of super-fine DPI control and the inherent accuracy of an optical sensor mean that you're guaranteed to find a combination which suits you. The pointer always goes where you want it to be, and with tunable angle-snapping you can be assured that you're able to headshot/unit select with the best of them. Such is the lightness of the XM300, a mere 101g, that for a while we overshot our target as our muscle memory is more used to heavier mice. It doesn't take long to get used to the lack of inertia though and once you've trained your fingers it's as accurate as you could hope.
The lighting is brilliant, if you'll pardon the pun. Everything worth its salt these days comes equipped with full spectrum lighting and the Gigabyte is no exception. What really sets it apart is how well saturated the colours are, how subtle the differences between shades can be, and how uniform that shade is represented. It's amongst the very best colours we've seen on any peripheral. It's just a shame that the DPI lights remain steadfastly one colour and don't change with your choice.
The main left and right buttons are equally great. A very short throw to actuate the switches, and the kind of positive click that makes us sure they're Omron offerings. They feel crisp and direct and are a pleasure to click. The same cannot be said of the side buttons. We spoke in the pictures about how the front button protrudes much more than the back, and that's not the only area in which they differ. The back button, admittedly the one that you'll use far more of, has an extremely light actuation pressure and short distance. We normally use the pad of our thumb on the forward button and then use our knuckle for the back button. The amount of times we'd accidentally actuate the back button was innumerable. You could probably cough nearby and set it off, such is the instant click nature of it. The forward button is the exact opposite. Much larger than the back button it also feels like trying to push a marshmallow through a straw. Very vague and squishy and not nice at all. Even the design of the button is uncomfortable.
Lastly the software might look like it's stepped out of 1990s free-CD - which is obviously a matter of taste anyway - but there is no denying it's extremely powerful. Everything is where you expect it to be, clearly labelled, responsive, and with a huge range of potential adjustments. You aren't stuck with a few 'steps', but can nearly tune it to within an inch of its life. Excellent. We particularly like the ability to record the pointer location in your macro. It's a feature missing from nearly everyone but Gigabyte and yet it's vital for performing those mundane tasks that you do a million times. For example, it didn't take very long to be able to set Diablo 3 up so that we could go from the portal to Orek to close the Nephalem rift, to the blacksmith to salvage all our trash, in one press of the side button. It's fantastic.
How much you utilise your forward button will determine whether the XM300 is a no brainer purchase or something you need to try before you buy. Quite why Gigabyte put such different looking and feeling back and forward buttons on the XM300 is beyond us, particularly when every other element of the mouse, from the software to the lighting and sensor, is fantastic and worthy of our OC3D Gamers Choice Award.