SteelSeries XAI Review

Posted Jan 13, 2011
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SteelSeries is a well-known brand when it comes to professional gaming. Their lineup of high-end gaming peripherals constitute of Keyboards, Mice, Mouse Pads, Headphones, and even glasses. Today we’re looking at a gaming mouse from the house of SteelSeries Xai.

Specification:

Xai come with a plethora of features. We’ll be going through the tech of Xia shortly, but first, here is a bulleted list of the features.

Internal

    • Frames per second: 12.000
    • Inches per second: 150+
    • Counts per inch: 100 – 5.001
    • Maximum Acceleration: 30 G
    • Sensor data path: True 16 bit
    • Lift distance: ~1mm
    • Megapixels per second: 10.8
    • Polling Rate: 125 – 1000 Hz

External

    • Buttons: Eight
    • Cord: 2 m / 6.5 feet (braided)
    • Gold-plated USB connector
    • CPI high/low indicator
    • On board LCD
    • 3 mouse feet
    • Second generation laser sensor

Features

    • Ambidextrous shape
    • Slip-resistant mouse coating
    • Two customizable CPI settings
    • Nine programmable buttons, 6 programmable macros
    • Three Huge Teflon feet
    • High grade sensor sporting 10.8 Megapixels per Second
    • Pro-play performance with accurate tracking and extreme precision
    • Best-in-class technology: 100-5001 CPI, 12,000 FPS, and 150+ IPS
    • Plug-and-play, Driverless feature for LAN Gamers
    • Five On-board profiles
    • On board LCD, display featuring intuitive menu-system for customization of:
    o SteelSeries ExactSens Technology for Adjusting CPI from 100 to 5001, by one CPI increment/decrement
    o SteelSeries ExactAim Technology for Minimizing “jitters” for FPS Gamers
    o SteelSeries ExactRate Technology for Adjusting Polling/Report Rate from 125 to 1000, by one Hz increment/decrement
    o SteelSeries FreeMove Technology for adjusting cursor prediction on mouse movement
    o SteelSeries ExactAccel Technology for adjusting hardware acceleration
    • Operating systems: Win 2000/XP/Vista/7/OSX

Package

When we look at the packing Xai is placed securely in the middle of the box after opening window to the left side, which is locked magnetically

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At the back of the box shows the Specifications/Features of Xai in English and German languages respectively

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When we take out the internal packing from the box we can see the mouse resting in the middle and the braided wire is stored in a compartment above and under the mouse there is another little compartment where we can find the documentation and SteelSeries sticker.

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All items in the packing includes the mouse, user manual, SteelSeries gaming gear catalog and sticker

SteelSeries shows there appreciation for trusting and buying this product and states that this manual is aimed to familiarize us with the basic aspects of the mouse usage and setup

And further, the manual describes the System Requirements, the Basic Functionality, Advance functionality, On-Mouse menu System Using LCD display, and Updating the firmware.

Closer Examination

Now we will take a closer look at the Mouse itself. The material used for the finishing is very smooth to the touch. Despite of being so smooth it’s impossible for it to slip

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At the top middle you will see a white wheel. And just under is the white led which shows the two level of CPI selected and further down is the pointed button which used to select Two CPI configured

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There are 2 buttons on the right side and 2 buttons on the left which means it can be used by both righty and lefty

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Now we will take a look at the bottom of the mouse, firstly we can see the name of the mouse, product number, voltage specs also this that product was designed in Denmark but manufactured in China, SteelSeries logo, the laser class 1 sensor in the middle of the mouse. Under the SteelSeries embossed logo we can also find out the plastic protective cap for the LCD screen. On all edges we can find Teflon feet, to ensure smooth mouse movements

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The USB connector is gold plated, for very good contact and no signal loss

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Insight of the Product

Design

Overall, the comfort of this mouse is outstanding. It feels comfortable no matter if you’re a left-hander or a right. It has balanced weight and buttons click softly and swiftly. The CPI button is well placed on it. It has the best wheel with deep ridges for the grip and it is almost impossible to slip the wheel. You have to get used to the side buttons and adjust your hand not to accidentally press them. The feet are very large but they are smooth on any surface that I have tested. They are not round edged which are the main cause for its feet being a dirt magnet.

The LCD display provides to switch between one of five profiles. When not using menu-system it displays the SteelSeries logo

lcd

We can access the profile management menu by holding the arrow shaped button for 3 seconds, for navigating through the menus the wheel and side buttons are used and wheel’s button is used to select an option

lcd1

lcd 2

We can adjust the value of each feature either by the wheel or by buttons on the side. (as wheel provide increase/decrease in 1 unit and side buttons provide increase and decrease in 3 units)

lcd3

lcd4

Performance/ Durability

SteelSeries Xai 2nd gen laser sensor performed better than anticipated. Besides being old it preforms good as 4th gen sensor and manages to provide just as smooth and precise tracking as new mouse with twin lasers. It preform very well from medium to high sensitivity, if you are fond of using low sensitivity this mouse will not live up to the mark. Tracking capabilities are one of the important features needed in a pro gaming mouse and Xai preforms surprisingly well.

Software

The software that comes for the XAI has 4 tabs and on top named as

BA1

BA2

Button Assignments tab

here we can customize each button and also use the macro feature on button 2 to button 7, we can also set the mouse for left or right handed mode and select between 5 profiles. Macro feature is very user friendly, The Advance Macro editor is divided in to 2 portions

BA3

Firstly is the Macro list in which u can create macro profiles. In the 2nd portion the profiles previously created can be customized, delay function is also available if needed and in the advance delay editor the creation of profiles is further simplified

BA4

BA5

BA6

BA7

BA8

Hardware Settings tab

HS

all of the options here are also customizable from the mouse itself except enabling or disabling the hardware cursor acceleration and the LCD setup and just under it is the apply button and I must say settings are applied just in a second. Signature features in this tab are

SteelSeries ExactSense:

This feature controls how fast your cursor moves in relation to how much you move your mouse. With
SteelSeries ExactSense you can don’t need to relay on software to adjust sensitivity settings, freeing yourself from any and all software interpolation, which will dramatically increase your precision
We can set two different values for your sensitivity and switch between them on-the-fly via the CPI toggle button.

SteelSeries ExactRate

Report rate (a.k.a polling rate) which is number of reports sent every second by the mouse to your computer. SteelSeries ExactRate allows us to customize the Report Rate to one’s liking and need.

SteelSeries ExactAim

SteelSeries ExactAim gives total control over the amount of jitter correction and prediction calculations. This is specially designed when the mouse is used on a surface that hasn’t been optimized for high precision gaming. The settings range from “pure” sensor data, that will the raw data without and prediction/calculation, up to high amounts of prediction calculations which are extremely helpful in jitter-less gaming.

SteelSeries FreeMove

Allows the user to determine how much the mouse should help with movements, and allows us to perform movements without any angle snapping and path correction. We can adjust how much control should be left up to the mouse and how much control should be left up to us in other words how precise the mouse should be in reproducing our movement.

SteelSeries ExactAccel

With acceleration we can bridge large distances quickly, while still being able to work flawlessly in small areas of the screen, without having to switch our CPI with the CPI toggle all the time. The main difference between this setting and Windows acceleration is that this setting is running in the hardware, we are also able to set the degree of dynamic acceleration.

Windows Settings tab

WST

we can set the scroll wheel speed, double click speed and the pointer speed, settings that are also available in Windows, Control Panel

Options tab

options

we can see the installed software application version, the current firmware version that is running in the mouse and the language of the interface; here we can also access multiple links like product information, additional downloads or support for the device

Conclusion

Personally, despite its second gen laser sensor I liked this mouse from the moment I started using it. Its software is easy to use and modify according to your needs and the fact that everything can be customized of the mouse without need of any driver or software is totally unique. I have tested it in many games including CODBO and Counterstrike Source and as far as gaming is concerned it works absolutely outstanding.

Its price is a bit high as compared to others but because of its comfortable grip and rich features it will definitely make its mark & will stay for years to come.

Pros

• Soft Comfortable Grip
• High Quality Material
• LCD for on go customization
• Ambidextrous Shape
• Outperforming Sensor
• simplicity in usage

Cons

• no weight management

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