Review: The avatar among rodents
NZXT is a company that people usually associate with high quality computer cases or power supply units, but as of recently NZXT has launched its first mouse, the Avatar. We must admit that we were a bit skeptical about the whole thing but then again NZXT has some great and high quality computer cases and other products.
The Avatar looks sharp once you take it out of the box, and despite our belief that it is a small mouse when you placed it next to, for example, OCZ Dominatrix, which is quite large, you notice that it Avatar is in fact just slim or if you want narrow, but definitely not small. Unlike most of rodents on the market which are built for right-handed people, the Avatar has an ambidextrous design, which means that left-handed users will have no trouble with this one.
The NZXT Avatar measures at 36.8 x 69.1 x 128mm (HxWxD) and has seven programmable buttons. It features a 2600 DPI optical sensor with four sensitivity settings , 5.8 Mega Pixels/second at a max rate of 6469 and a hardware DPI switch option.
Now that we got the specs out of the way, we can get back to the actual design. It's comfortable, a show off, and a solid performer, and that's what gaming mice are all about. The Avatar comes packed in a neat looking box, that houses the mice, safely protected on one side, and a manual with a driver CD on the other side neatly tucked inside a "cover".
The mouse itself has a rubbery feel all over it and two first things that you notice are two silver buttons on both sides and a DPI LED indicator with three LEDs. Since it has an ambidextrous design, both sides of the mouse have a rubber-coated thumb rest.
You can also notice two glossy underlines near the two main buttons but we will get to that a bit later. Of course, between the main buttons, there's a scroll wheel, and behind it, two DPI switch buttons. The bottom side is reserved for three large Teflon feet which ensure a smooth glide over almost any surface.
The overall feel of the mouse is comfortable and the only thing that we had to adjust to, is a bit strange feeling on the fingers that are gripping the outer edge, as we accidentally pressed the "back" button a few times, but again it's something that you can get used to. The DPI switch buttons that are located behind the scroll wheel are also a bit hard to reach.
The fun starts when you plug the mouse in, as its lights up in a soft shade of blue. Those two glossy underlines located along both top edges of the Avatar, as well as the LED DPI indicator glow in a kind of cool blue which gives it a great look in low lighting conditions.
The software installation is as easy as it can be, few clicks on the "next" button and you are up and running. The software places a small icon on the taskbar for quick access to the button configuration panel, and various sensitivity settings. Avatar's software allows up to five different profiles, three different pooling rate settings and as mentioned before four different DPI settings.
The sensitivity tab of software offers settings for master X and Y axis sensitivity, as well as sensitivity settings for the Windows pointer speed. The last, advance settings tab, has scroll speed settings and sensitivity, double click speed settings and a test area.
We used the Avatar for some casual gaming and normal office work and it performs admirably. We had a slight doubt concerning this mouse, as it is the first one made by NZXT, but it certainly surprised us. It works well in games, both FPS and RTS as you can set the DPI depending on your need. It is comfortable and slides easy over any mouse pad that we have tried.
The Avatar is a NZXT's attempt to enter the gaming peripheral market, and as far as we are concerned it's a rather good product. With its sleek, elegant look, precise 2600 DPI sensor and that soft blue LED backlight, the Avatar is one of the coolest looking mice that has ever entered our lab.
Some people might not like the slim and light design of the Avatar but as with all gaming peripherals but this is purely a question of personal preference and taste. The only thing that we had to get used to is the location and sensitivity of the side buttons, as it is a bit annoying when you hit the back button in the browser when you don’t want to, and in games it can maybe cost you a kill or two, depending on the command that you assigned to this button.
It has an ambidextrous design so left-handed users will feel like at home with this mouse. Due to its "Gaming mouse" label some might object the lack of weight system which is now a must when you are talking about gaming rodents, but we didn't have any objections to Avatar's weight as it is heavy enough for you to feel it and light enough not to snail over the mouse pad.
The mouse currently sells at Newegg.com for US $69.99. The Europeans can find it listed at Geizhals.at for as low as €38,86, which is yet again not as expensive as some "high-end" gaming rodents.
With the elegant and sleek looks, decent price, and top notch performance, we can easily recommend the Avatar.