In recent years the demand for comfortable, affordable mice has sky rocketed as people spend more time at their computers. Speed link was established in 1998 and now claims to be one of the leading manufacturers of computer and gaming peripherals. One of their latest products is the Styx gaming mouse. With 7 buttons, 5 of which are programmable with the drivers provided, and some innovative features at a low cost this mouse looks set to be a good product for the average gamer.
- Gaming mouse with 7 buttons
- Laser sensor with up to 2200 dpi scanning resolution
- Adjustable dpi setting indicated with coloured lights at 800, 1600 or 2200 dpi
- Multiple fire configurable at up to 4x per button press
- Ergonomic right handed design
- 1.6 m USB cable
The mouse comes in a cardboard box with a large cut out on the front so you can clearly see the product. The colours of red and white on the box contrast nicely and give a conservative yet stylish look to the product. I imagine this is to appeal to a wider target market so it doesn’t only get bought by gamers.
The back of the packaging shows the features of the mouse in 12 different languages – speed link has a large European market – these are clear and useful for telling what your mouse will do. In the bottom left hand corner of the rear of the box is written a hotline number and speed link’s web address.
When taken out of the box the mouse is packed in vacuum formed plastic with another piece on top as a sort of lid. This is perfectly adequate as the mouse came to me with no damage or defects of any kind. The 1.6m wire was cable tied in the normal fashion and stowed away in a small compartment at the bottom of the plastic packaging. Also included in the packaging are an 8cm driver disc and an instruction manual – with the same languages as there are on the back of the box.
Styx Gaming Mouse
First impressions as the mouse came out of the packaging were good. The top of the mouse has a shiny red lustre which is very stylish and looks very good. The sides have a smooth, matt black finish which contrasts nicely with the red on the top. The main buttons are of the same red plastic as the rest of the top and all the other buttons are silver which again contrasts nicely with everything. Between the red top and the black sides there is a nice glossy band of black plastic which contains the lights for the dpi setting and looks stealthy.
The whole thing is very aesthetically pleasing. But Speed link has also worked very hard on the ergonomics of the product. The main thing you notice is the very large thumb groove which is incredibly comfortable and is big enough so that your thumb can fit snugly in and not interfere with the 2 side buttons located there.
There are also grooves on the buttons which make the mouse much more comfortable than most mice to hold. The general curved rear of the mouse is also very ergonomically sound and makes for easy use and controlled movements.
When I first plugged in the mouse via a USB port on the back of my computer it worked immediately. The product was initially set to 800 dpi, and the 2 side buttons were set to back and forward on any browser software. After a quick look at the manual I saw that the buttons behind the scroll wheel were for the special fire button and the dpi setting. Being used to 1600 dpi with my normal mouse I quickly pressed the dpi setting button (the one with the “s” on it) and the setting changed – this was stress free and literally done at the press of a button. The blue LED on the dpi meter lit up and that was that.
Next I installed the driver software. This was like any other installation and mainly involved clicking next. The driver software was easy to use. This screen is fairly intuitive using drop down menus to allow the user to choose the function of the buttons. When I finished testing this product and went back to using my old three button mouse I found that the setting for the Styx had remained. This meant that whenever I clicked the scroll wheel down iTunes opened as I’d programmed Speed Links product to do. Whether you would find this an advantage or not I found that it was of great use to me. I’ve kept the drivers installed just so I can program my old mouse as well.
I was slightly confused as to why speed link would make the right and left mouse buttons programmable, after a little bit of thought the only conclusion I could come to, was that it makes the Styx look better; they can say that they have 5 programmable buttons which could be put to a lot of use. However having the left and right mouse buttons programmable isn’t very useful because in almost all instances you need them. Also I can understand why the special fire button is there but I would have liked it to be programmable even if it was only “out-of-game” when it was – I find no real use for this function when just browsing the internet for example. Having said that these are just nit-picks and don’t have much impact on the actual function of the mouse so can be forgiven.
I tested the Styx with Half Life 2 – the wide open areas and lots of enemies make it perfect for testing the accuracy of the mouse and the speed of response. The level I chose to play was ‘Sandtraps’. One area in particular sprung to mind in this level wherein you’ve had to abandon your car and are now fighting around 5 dropships worth of enemies in a fairly large area.
These screen shots just about say it all, the giant flying crabs in the top shot release hordes of combine and I’m left to kill them all within the area shown on the bottom shot.
Speed Link’s new product performed very well here. The nature of the level means that enemies are coming from every direction, a quick turn can be the difference between a shotgun to their head or yours. The ability to quickly change dpi was very useful as I could quickly turn and then line up a perfect shot using a slightly lower dpi. The ability to quickly change dpi takes a bit of getting used to but after about an hour of using the mouse I was able to press the change dpi button with a small movement of the base of my fingers. This was a bit awkward and sounds a bit odd but is very useful when lining up a shot.
The other main ability of the product is the special fire mode which allows you to fire a burst of 2, 3 or 4 rounds. When you press a button located just behind the scroll wheel the scroll wheel will change colour to show how big a burst you will be getting. While this may prove useful for some people, I found no use for it in game or out. If I want to fire a controlled burst I will simply release the button when I need to – this is opposed to pressing a button three times to get a four round burst (equivalent of clicking four times) then checking the colour of the scroll wheel to make sure I’m on the right setting and then finally being able to press the fire button to release a controlled burst. All a bit much if you’re in a hurry or if you find it simpler to press a button a number of times to fire a burst or hold the button down for a short while.
The only time I can see this button being useful is if you’re a massive fan of the battle rifle in Halo and have a dying need for it in Halo: Combat Evolved. This function would allow you to fire 3 shots of the assault rifle in a short burst but there still doesn’t seem like much point behind this idea.
Despite a few flaws in-game the mouse was comfortable the whole time I was using it and remained precise and fast throughout. Performance improved dramatically when I started using the nova winner 3 with it so if you are considering buying this product you might consider getting a mouse mat designed for high dpi mice.
Retailing at around £20 this is a fantastic product for your money and is well worth considering.
- Adjustable dpi
- Very comfortable
- Looks great
- Programmable buttons
- Unnecessary functions