SteelSeries Xai Laser Mouse

Gaming Zap have been very kind enough to send me a SteelSeries Xai Laser PC gaming mouse, with which I’ve been playing a ton of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 online! I’ll save the Battlefield talk for another time, however I really want to talk about the mouse. I’ve been using it thoroughly over the last couple of weeks, and have to say it’s a great mouse. Here are some official photos:

The mouse is of a good size to fit the average hand. The buttons aren’t distinct, but rather part of the top surface. In the past, I’ve experienced that this can lead to poor click feedback, however the buttons have good tactile response and have just the right depth. There are two buttons on both the left and right side of the mouse. In a browser, these are typically used for back and forward, but can be customised. There is also a responsive mouse wheel, which can be clicked, and another button just before the wheel. Again, these buttons are programmable.

On the underside of the mouse, there’s a small screen which can be used to customise the mouse with a variety of settings. These don’t usually bother me, however for a hardcore gamer, I’m sure these are important to configure. I haven’t seen a mouse before that has a screen on the bottom, and at first I didn’t even notice it! It’s a pretty nice feature to have though.

The wire of the mouse, rather than being of the usual plastic/rubber material, is fabric and very sturdy. I imagine this has been done for durability and to avoid it being cut or damaged easily. It does feel very nice, and definitely feels more rugged than most other wires from a mouse.

A unique feature of the SteelSeries Xai Laser mouse, due to its symmetrical design, is that it’s suitable for both right-handed and left-handed gamers. Quite a lot of gaming mice these days have quite funky designs and forget about the left-handed gamer, so it’s nice to see that this product keeps that in mind. Thanks to the two pairs of buttons on either side, functionality doesn’t change no matter what hand you use.

On the whole, the SteelSeries Xai Laser PC Gaming Mouse is a very solid mouse. It doesn’t do a massive amount, however it does enough in all departments and has a lot of nice touches to make it a justifiable purchase. It is fairly expensive for a gaming mouse at £60, however this will go the distance and thanks to its solid finish, it should certainly last quite a while.

LogMeIn Goodness

Remote access is certainly starting to play a bigger part in my computing world. The ease of being able to leave my laptop at home or at work, and then access it from even my iPhone is just amazing. I first used LogMeIn as a little test years ago when it was relatively new, and found it to stutter. It was pretty much pointless to use due to performance issues. I’m sure it was a combination of slow connection speeds back then combined with a not-so-great infrastructure that LogMeIn used.

I started using LogMeIn again a few months ago for work, to access my work laptop from home in the evenings when needed rather than carry the beast home. It’s certainly easier and probably more efficient, since building code is a lot quicker on the work local network rather than attempting to connect to the VPN.

With that, I thought let me try LogMeIn the other way – access my home laptop from work during my lunch break. That worked really well too, especially when I had to download and install large updates. I left my laptop downloading in the morning and checked it during lunch, installing the updates and completing the setup.

The final step was to try out the iPhone application. It’s expensive, £15 – the price of a lot of desktop applications these days. It does however work extremely well. I even tried it on a 3G connection, and I was amazed at how well it worked and rendered everything. You have the same options as LogMeIn through a browser. It sticks the mouse pointer right in the middle of the screen, and you drag the screen around. To click, you tap, to double click, you tap with two fingers. It may sound complex, but it works really well surprisingly.