gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Saitek 3200dpi Gaming Mouse

Originally written for

Not long ago I took a look at one of the latest laser mouse offerings from Logitech, the G3. It scored highly for its small-hand-friendly ambidextrous design and is, in my opinion, the best of the Logitech laser mice.

Now, not long afterwards, in a class light-years away from most of the Logitech laser mice offering comes… wait for it… the 3200dpi mouse!

The Saitek 3200dpi laser mouse is a leap forward from the Saitek Gaming Mouse, with superior styling in a range of colours that all boast Saiteks trademark lighting. Functionally it boasts the usual two buttons, scroll wheel plus buttons 4 and 5, a DPI toggle and a mode switch to switch between two different programming profiles on the fly.

The DPI toggle is almost definitely the best I have ever seen on a mouse yet, on-the-fly DPI toggling has always been a bit of a pain with more than two options, most mice seem to have tiny, hard to press buttons and no indication of what mode you’re actually in. The DPI toggle on the Saitek mouse, however, is literally that… a toggle. It’s a little rocker switch that you just push or pull with your finger to switch DPI. There’s also a little LED indicator bar on the side of the mouse illustrating which setting you’re actually in, but because the rocker switch is so simple and stops at 800 or 3200 DPI instead of looping it’s easy to get a bearing for where you are within the 4 options without taking your attention from the game. Push the switch 4 times up and you’re always guaranteed to be at 800DPI. Then there’s the jump to 1600, 2400 and the final 3200. Next up, a 4000DPI mouse?

Whilst the DPI toggle is excellently innovative the Saitek 3200DPI mouse falls behind on the mode switch. It’s one of those classic hard to reach, hard to push buttons that makes mode switching in the heat of any action more or less impossible. That said, I can’t see any reason why you would want to spontaneously remap your mouse controls in the heat of battle, unless you just jumped into a vehicle in Battlefield 2142 and wanted to remap buttons 4-5 to Active Counter-measure and/or boost/run.

The final buttons on the mouse are all the standard affairs, Saitek have taken the wise design decision to leave out a right side button knowing that the FPS-gamers pinky is best employed polishing the desk (when will mice ever come with a pinky rest!) The scroll wheel is smooth and rubberised, lights up and has the usual level of tactile feedback. One of my later gripes with the Saitek Gaming Mouse is the non-smooth scroll wheel which ultimately gets gummed up with mouse grime, no such problem here!

The buttons are also smooth and rubberized, and framed in lights which seem to flash when I lift the mouse off the desk, a warning that the sensor is not getting the all important imaging data it needs to track the mouse position perhaps?

Now, as if you haven’t heard enough about something as small and simple as a mouse, we move on to the adjustable traction, balance and weight. Yes, the Logitech G5 does it too!

I’m really not kidding when I say adjustable traction. Underneath the mouse are two little clip-in covers with PTFE feet attached to them. You can unclip these covers (which gives access to the weight compartments) and flip them over to reveal much larger PTFE feet which are supposed to provide a higher level of friction between the mouse and desk. My polished wooden desk defied any attempt from the PTFE feet to gain purchase, however, so reversing these covers made absolutely no perceivable difference. Still, there are simple scientific principles that state these reversible feet must work so I will test them over an extended period of cheap-shot base camping no good dirty sniping in Battlefield 2142.

Unlike the Logitech G5, with it’s horribly overcomplicated weight loading mechanism in an awful neon orange cartridge the Saitek 3200DPI mouse opts for simplicity. The covers underneath the mouse, both front and back, are removable and underneath you will find 7 identical weights which are nothing short of a pain in the neck to remove and incredible simple to insert again. The front compartment houses two such weights and the rear compartment; 5. The Logitech G5 has more weights but no separate front and rear compartments, and not much spread to the weights either so if I used the word “balance” in reference to the Logitech weight distribution I would sound even more a geeky idiot than I do when using it with the Saitek.

The fact remains, however, that you can literally adjust the “balance” of the mouse, opting to put weights just as the front or the back, or more weights on the left than the right. Whilst this is fun for a moment it probably has absolutely no bearing on the performance of the mouse in game, whereas the overall weight of the mouse has a significant effect on the comfort when you have to pick it up to scroll further.

My personal preference, call it sacrilege if you will, is to simply remove all the weights and combine them with a magnet for an entertaining desk toy. I’ve always preferred my mice light and nimble.

Tip: Getting the best from 3200DPI

I would like to take an interlude to explain to the DPI heathens out there exactly what you are supposed to do when you jack the DPI up high and your cursor starts tearing around the screen like a jackrabbit on speed: Turn your in-game sensitivity down!

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, Computer Gaming.