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Sandio 3D Game O' Mouse
 

Sandio 3D Game O' Mouse

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Hardware
Category: Hardware
 
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When I think of mouse controllers, the two big guns come to mind Logitech and Microsoft. These companies control the majority of the desktop interface and peripherals business. This would cover a whole gamut of products, including mice, keyboards and many others. While these two giants battle there is room for innovation, as evidenced by the popular Razer mouse designs, which have carved out a pretty nice chunk of market along the enthusiast gamer section. This is where Sandio technology is aiming with their 3D Game O' Mouse 6DOF (6 Degrees of Freedom) controller, going directly for the gaming community by offering a mouse that provides unprecedented control and movement.

The Sandio 3D Game O' mouse may not sound very cool or high tech, but the new age mouse does hold a lot of promise. The device is comprised of two distinct parts, the mouse itself and a detachable base. The mouse looks pretty much like any other but it is much bigger. This actually works pretty well for those who appreciate the wrist rest guard; it functions perfectly and even has little feet for added smoothness. Not being a PC gamer myself I found the set up a little unyielding, as it does feel bulky. Of course you can opt to leave the attachment off. Aesthetically, the 3D Game O' mouse we reviewed featured a black body and silver button placements. The mouse is available in other colours as well.

Sandio’s mouse uses a laser tracking engine (using the high-speed Avago 6010 laser sensors), and the design adheres to the standard 5-button + scroll wheel design. These buttons include the standard pair of top-mounted buttons, two thumb-controlled buttons, and another activated by pressing the scroll wheel. Other features include varying levels of DPI settings (400, 800, 1600, 2000), full 16-bit data packet transfers, and configurable driver software.

The big deal about this mouse is of course the three 3D buttons (two) that are mounted on either side, and the third right on top below the scroll wheel. This configuration actually works pretty well, as Sandio has kept the 3D buttons out of the way of the standard controls which allows the mouse to be easily used in a Windows environment. I did find that I was pushing buttons when I should not have been, but a little practice will pay off later. Each of the three circular 3D buttons moves in four directions, thus providing 12 specific button arrangements and potential keystroke assignments. It also offers game movement along the x, y and z-axis, which can be very useful in real-time strategy and role-playing games. These buttons only activate using an up down-left right setting, there are some diagonal spaces available, forcing the user to choose some assignments over others.

Specific button and function set ups of the Sandio 3D Game O' mouse are controlled through a software driver set. This is the 3D Mouse Management if you will; one function is the loading of game demo configurations and other programming demos. The driver set I had was 1.08 came with over 20 configurations, mostly consisting of FPS gaming which this mouse is built for, including games like Far Cry, Prey, Quake 4, Battlefield 2, etc. One of my favourites was the Google earth one. I found I could manipulate the map so much easier then my standard mouse, it was almost revolutionary. Default settings can be edited and adjusted to individual tastes, or new configurations can be created saved and loaded. The 3D Mouse software only sets controls for the three axis (x, y, z) buttons, while leaving the standard buttons and scroll wheel for Windows or the actual game software.

After experimenting with some FPS configurations for Quake 4, Half-Life 2 and a few others I found that I gradually found an ease of use and had no major issues. I would think that most people would have their own tastes in terms of settings and configuring, with a few adjustments they should be happy. I used the mouse to surf the web, check my email, with little problems. Navigating through Windows environment felt as if I was using my regular mouse. The laser tracking felt accurate and performed perfectly. One cool setting is being able to access the DPI setting on the fly by pressing both of the thumb buttons, and the driver software displays this using color changes. This is definitely a mouse that gets better the more time you invest, and casual gamers might experience some level of button overkill.

Overall, Sandio has really great product on their hands. With a little refining this could be a very lethal weapon online. Spicing up the mouse controller market can only mean better products and choices for the gamers out there. This kind of innovation, where new designs and features are experimented with, and tested using real-world games is to be commended. The 3D Game O' mouse does offer six degrees of freedom, which for some, will be a real advantage to their gaming endeavours and lead to new and improved control strategies. For the casual gamer not willing to invest the time necessary to master this new mouse it may lead to very frustrating gaming.

I must thank Sandio Technology Corporation for sending us this very cool unit, and hope to see many more like it.

 
 

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