Testing a mouse isn't the easiest of jobs. It's a very personal device that one user will have totally different preferences towards than another. And since mousemark09 isn't available, you'll have to put up with my judgement and insight for this section.
The mouse was originally tested with a system using Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit, and it's note worthy that while the majority of the mouse's features worked flawlessly, there were a few that didn't. These were the illumination function and the ability to switch the mouse's DPI with the software. However after doing a bit of googling i found people were reporting the same fault on Vista, but not on XP. So a quick trial on XP showed that the functions worked perfectly. I should hope this will be fixed in a future software update, but Vista has been out for a fair while now so there's not much of an excuse.
General Use & Feel
Firstly we'll start with general usage & how the mouse felt from the off. And the very initial thought from the word go was 'wow this feels fat'. Now, is this a good or bad thing? This is where mouse reviewing gets tricky. For a user with large hands this can be an advantage, as it means it'll fit nicely under the palm and, hopefully, be comfortable. On the other hand, a user with smaller hands may find it difficult to use, perhaps having to move their hand over around the mouse to find a button. My hands are pretty average, and thusly was stuck somewhere in the middle. After a while the bulk of the mouse was more familiar but still felt large after the short time I had to test with. This is one of those things that with time (which we don't really have for reviews) you would adjust to and using any other mouse would then feel small. Using the mouse around a windows environment wasn't the most enthralling of events. It felt a little un-sensitive to start without the ability to adjust the DPI, even with the win pointer speed set to max, but after a while I adjusted to this too.
The buttons in the most part were well placed. Problems arose mostly due to the little finger buttons on the right of the mouse. With my average sized hand sat in it's most natural feeling position I could just reach the rear of the two buttons, having to move to a different position to reach the second. It also felt plain un-natural to use the little finger for a button, but this would be another thing that would come with time. The left hand (thumb) buttons didn't suffer from the same fate, I'm pleased to say. The furthest back single button sat in a perfect position (and became my push to talk button for ventrillo it was so comfy) with the four way d-pad style button sat directly under the thumb. The four buttons being bound to one pad was a little awkward, sometimes accidentally pressing 2 of them in a rush to get a spell out. The two buttons on the spine of the mouse were also a little awkward to reach, but not too bad. I found them best bound to switching profiles up and down and they fit that bill very nicely. Last of the extra buttons were each side of the mouse wheel, and these were unbelievably useful. As I'll describe a bit more during the WoW testing section.
Arguably, this section could make or break this mouse. I mean if a peripheral doesn't work well with a piece of software is specifically designed for is there much point in it? So to start I'd get to grips with the mouse with a area of the game I'm going to dub 'General play'. This involved grinding mobs, questing and the occasional instance on the warlock I'm levelling at the time of writing. Being the first thing I tried, it also involved using the software & game interface for the first time too. So to start with I enabled the in-game support, which was as easy as checking a box in the interface -> mouse section. Bound some spells to some buttons and took to it like a fish to water. The extra binds really do help when you've got a lot of spells to juggle. I found it most useful to bind lesser used spells to the mouse in this situation. It especially suited well for AoE (Specifically in this case Shadowfury). Moving on to a bit of PvP on the same character, the binds became more valuable, the ability to use things that would normally be clicked, or require a key modifier were much easily accessed bound the mouse buttons. Another example for my warlock being using the voidwalkers sacrifice, or trinketing out of crowd control.
Moving on to a slightly different aspect of the game, raiding, the mouse became even more prominent. The character I tested with was my 80 Resto Druid, so being assigned to raid healing there is an awful lot of clicking involved. The extra binds were this time assigned to the spells used most to stop my Conrad's from snuffing it at the hands of various bosses. Setting up the mouse to operate as I wanted for healing took a fair bit longer than setting it up for the warlock. Eventually it was set up to use the extra buttons to simply hover over a raid members icon on grid, clicking the button and it would cast the spell on the correct target. In theory, there was various was of achieving the desired effect, but the only one that actually worked. This involved disabling the in game support, having mouse over macros bound to the action bar and binding the action bar to the mouse buttons via SteelSeries software. If this was done in game the clicks were eaten up by grid, the spell wasn't cast and subsequently someone would die. However, once set up correctly, the extra binds became a very viable alternative to standard button bashing.
With the testing over, turn the page to see what conclusions we can draw about the mouse...