Alienware definitely has an eye for style, and have designed this mouse with an outstandingly clean and classy look. The micro-textured smoothness of the topside coupled to the luxurious feeling yet grip enhancing rubberized sides, and the precise placement and angle of each control button truly inspires confidence in control. The mouse cord, uncommonly stiff but bendable and thoughtfully extended to six feet in length, is dressed in a woven material that prevents pinching or catching itself on nearby objects as a plastic or rubber cord often does. The TactX mouse, like the keyboard, is required to be plugged into a powered USB 2.0 computer port – no hubs once again please.
Unfortunately though for left-handed individuals, the design is specifically tailored for use with the right hand, but used in the way it was designed it feels wonderful. When the pads of the right hand just below the fingers make contact with the curve toward the back end of the mouse body, the fingers and thumb fall naturally into position to operate each button with intuitive ease. The act of pressing the DPI/Profile selection buttons just behind the left mouse button is about the only occasion when a grip adjustment might be needed, for some. In the proper hands, this mouse can become a powerful weapon.
Both the left and right mouse buttons require an almost unconsciously and intuitively appropriate measure of effort to press, in a word – ideal, and need to move an exceedingly small distance down to engage and reward the finger at work with an equally ideal level of tactile feedback. The two DPI/Profile selection buttons, labeled + and -, require somewhat more effort than the two main buttons to engage, but also need very little movement and further provide raised bumps at either end as a tactile aid to finger placement. While testing this function, I can tell that with practice I could routinely engage either DPI button without pulling my fingertip back, just by using the hard joint area directly opposite the knuckle of my index finger. The reflective area just behind the DPI/Profile selection buttons is an LED display showing graphic symbols to convey the DPI/Profile setting that is selected.
The two buttons on the right side at the top edge, activated by the thumb, operate logically by default as forward and back buttons in appropriate scenarios. They are optimal as well, or nearly so, with regard to the amount of pressure needed to engage their respective functions.
The mouse wheel performs the functions of vertical scroll wheel in addition to three buttons. It serves as the center mouse button via a direct press down, and right/left scroll by tilting the wheel to either side. A relatively solid effort is necessary to press down on the rubber edged wheel, with a lesser and quite reasonable effort needed to tilt the wheel to either side.
The underside of the mouse is of course where the 5000 DPI optical laser engine shines, though nearly invisibly, during operation to sense movement data. The two buttons accessible here enable the user to access and operate two lesser used features of the mouse: onboard Profile selection and Dual Mode Scroll functionality. The Profile button is used in conjunction with the DPI/Profile select buttons to toggle through up to five configuration profiles that can be stored on the mouse itself – allowing a user’s custom mouse control configurations to be used with this mouse on another computer without intrusively having to install software on the other computer – quite handy!
The Dual Mode Scroll button changes the mechanical operation and resultant feel of the scroll wheel. By default, the scroll wheel offers the user tactile feedback and a “braking” action by enabling wheel motion through a series of soft detents – which is common to many scroll mice. When toggled though, the scroll wheel becomes the operational equivalent of a nearly frictionless flywheel – enabling large scale vertical (or otherwise assignable…) movement through large volumes of display real estate with the flick of a fingertip. I can only imagine the myriad uses of this particular feature, but as one example, I am able to flash through the seven existing pages of this review with a single finger flick in the blink of an eye – cool!
Speaking of frictionless, the relatively huge Teflon pads are visible in this view as well. The satisfyingly smooth movement was the very first thing I noticed about this mouse, and an obvious reason is the large combined footprint of the Teflon pad area in comparison to lesser, run of the mill mice whose Teflon pads are often only the size of the holes seen in notebook paper. However, the mouse does not glide in an overtly easy manner, as the weight of the mouse, at 4.2 ounces, has been thoughtfully balanced against the frictional coefficient of the particular type and size of Teflon pads used on the TactX mouse.