NZXT Avatar S Mouse Review
By André Gordirro on July 5, 2011
Not everyone wants a weighted mouse with a dozen reprogrammable buttons and a configuration software that looks like it was made by NASA. Those super mice repel the less demanding user, the one who just wants a peripheral that is superior to the model used at the office but that doesn't cost a fortune or have more functions than needed. If you are like that, then maybe the NZXT Avatar S mouse might be the one you are looking for. Let us show why once we describe the product.
The S model basically follows the same design as the first Avatar mouse we tested in 2008. The body features an ambidextrous grip and the setting (left- or right-handed) can be changed through the configuration software. It comes in white or black, and the LED details on the sides and company logo can change color (blue, pink or red) to match the current sensitivity level, or it can be turned off.
There is a single button on each side, right above the rest space for the thumb and little finger. The scroll wheel doesn't light up, and it rests alone on the upper edge of the mouse without the classic buttons to control the resolution level found on more advanced models. The underside has three Teflon feet and the 1600 DPI laser sensor. The cable is not cloth-wrapped but ends on a gold-plated USB plug. Like the bigger Avatar, the S model catches the eye with its elongated design, which nowadays, is a contrast to the bulkier mice full of buttons. The Avatar S is quite light on the hand.
Despite the simple premise, the Avatar S is still a gaming-grade mouse that features configurable buttons and the creation of up to five different profiles; that is, the user can create five sets of controls for games, work applications, etc. The program is easy to use and makes it possible to change the mouse sensitivity to three fixed tiers: 400 (red LED), 800 (pink LED) and 1600 dpi (blue LED). These values are a bit low, and being fixed is kind of a problem. We understand that this is a simple model, but a little higher resolution and some freedom of choice were sorely missed.
The Avatar S doesn't come with an installation CD but with a card with the NZXT URL instead for downloading the application and PDF manual. When we started testing the mouse, the link was down, but the error got corrected, and now the download happens as it should.
Because of its simplicity, the Avatar S was one of the models that saw quicker action in our hands. Since it doesn't feature dozens of buttons and DPI settings, we programmed the five buttons to our liking and played our favorite titles – World of Warcraft and Battlefield Bad Company 2 – to see how the mouse performed. As we already discussed, we found the sensitivity levels a bit low, and the imposed tier limitation annoying – we weren't pleased with the 400 DPI, for instance, so the Avatar S ended up having only two working settings for us: 800 DPI and 1600 dpi.
The model is a bit too light, and the elongated design doesn't favor those who prefer to control the mouse with the fingertips, a style known as “claw grip.” As it features only a single button on each side, if the user wants to control a fifth button, he/she must hit it with the little finger. We ended up leaving that button for perfunctory functions which required less precision or urgency (like opening the character's bag on World of Warcraft). We understand that the button disposition follows the idea behind the ambidextrous design, but at least we should have had the compensation of a central button located below the scroll wheel. Hitting a button with your little finger, no matter if you are left- or right-handed, is not pratical.
In our experience, the Avatar S did what it set out to do: to be a simple gaming-grade mouse for the less demanding user. It just bothered us by having fixed sensitivity tiers and those tiers being so low. We had to adjust our grip and thought that the mouse could be a bit heavier, but that depends on personal playing style.
The main specifications for the NZXT Avatar S include:
Below you can see a summary of our impressions about the NZXT Avatar S mouse.