- Created on 01 June 2011
A good gaming mouse should povide excellent precision, have a well designed ergonomic shape, and the option for multiple profiles to allow customisation for your specific gaming style. The latest mouse to review from SteelSeries, the "SteelSeries XAI Pro Gaming Laser Mouse" doesn't disappoint and in fact surpasses in most points the majority of gaming mice we have reviewed until now.
At face value the XAI gaming mouse doesn't really look any different to your average desktop mouse, beyond the SteelSeries Logo. The whole mouse is finished in a matt black non-slip coating that makes the mouse very easy to hold and grip. Beyond the main three buttons (left, right and middle scroll wheel), the XAI has a single button located behind the scroll wheel for altering the CPI on the fly between two settings (thereby increasing the sensitivity of the mouse) as well as two pairs of buttons on either side of the mouse. The mouse cable is covered in nylon braiding which prevents any tangles occurring in transit and the USB connector is gold plated (if nothing else, it looks cool!). In comparison to other gaming mice we have reviewed, the XAI doesn't even show off with multi-coloured LEDs and only sports one white LED above the CPI button that indicates the current CPI mode. Underneath, however, the unit is a different matter as this gaming mouse sports a LCD display with an interactive menu system so that profiles can be changed and edited directly through the mouse's inbuilt menu system using the mouse buttons (useful if in the middle of a competition!).
If you want to have a bit more control over the mapping and customisation, the XAI configuration software can be downloaded directly from the Steelseries website. The software allows mapping of all eight of the buttons either for specific actions or with macros, switching between right and left handed modes (the mouse is designed for either handedness!) as well as CPI settings from 100-5001 CPI (ExactSense), Report rate up to 1000Hz (ExactRate), smoothing for FPS games (ExactAim), cursor prediction on mouse movement (ExactMove) and hardware acceleration (ExactAccel). Each of these latter settings can be customised down to the nearest unit allowing ulitmate customisablility to the mouse, with 5 profiles to modify. If you don't want to do the work yourself you can even download and use profiles from professionals via the SteelSeries website.
Throughout our testing the SteelSeries XAI Pro Gaming Laser Mouse felt great to use, the level of customisation available meant that we could get the mouse not just close, but exactly how we wanted it for each game we played. Physically it was very comfortable to use over extended lengths of time and weightwise it felt about right giving it a solid feel (certainly not light enough to go wondering off under the weight of the cable like some!). Certainly we couldn't make the mouse miss a beat however fast we moved it around, verifying in our eyes the benefit of this technology loaded gaming mouse. For this level of gaming mouse (and this is definitely one of the best we have reviewed) you can expect to pay a bit more, but with it being available for ~£60 at the time of writing it would, in our eyes, certainly be worth the extra outlay.