There’s always a first time for everything. NZXT is known for its line of designer cases and now the company is entering the gaming mice market with the Avatar. Following the steps from its cases, the Avatar is also a designer product. But it’s not only easy on the eyes: it delivered a solid gaming experience and quickly endeared itself to us. Despite being a debut, the Avatar didn’t feel the pressure and got a standing ovation like a pro.
The Avatar has an ambidextrous and curved shape. It features a leaner body, shall we say, then its immediate competitors, like the Lachesys from Razer (which is also being tested and we’ll post a review pretty soon). Being a little smaller, the Avatar is recommended to player with medium to small hands. Both finger rests are rubber-coated and very comfortable. Above them you can easily notice the lateral silver buttons (one at each side) in contrast with the dull black rubber coating of the mouse. The scroll wheel and both DPI buttons are kept in a small ditch. Some gaming mice have an illuminated scroll wheel, but the Avatar went with a blue LED running on both sides and other three LEDs to indicate the current DPI level.
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The Avatar comes with a very comprehensive application in mini CD. The software features three panels. The first one, "Advanced Functions", allows the user to configure seven different buttons (from the side buttons to the scroll wheel) and features the DPI switcher, from 600, 1,200, 1,800 and 2,600 dpi. The user can also record macros – programming a sequence of keys to respond to a single button stroke – that can save up to 20 keystrokes to a single button.
The “Sensitivity” panel regulates pointer speed and X/Y axis master sensitivity. Finally, the “Advance Settings” panel has the same features as the Windows mouse configuration panel, where you can set up the scroll wheel and clicking speed.
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Once we’ve set the Avatar to our liking, it was time to put it through test. As we previously said, the mouse is smaller, leaner and lighter than others in the same category. It may not appeal to everybody being that way. It also doesn’t feature a weight custom system. We invited a fellow gamer, a big handed individual, and he dislike the Avatar; but for us it’s one the most ergonomically comfortable mice we’ve tested so far. It’s all very subjective, but we think the Avatar is both good at playing and working.
The lateral buttons deserve some praise. Since they stick out a bit, they’re easily reachable even by the pinkie, which has less strength and precision than the thumb to press a button. Unfortunately the DPI buttons are not that great – they are a bit far from the scroll wheel, and the back one requires you to contort the middle finger all the way to reach it. It would be better if they were smaller and a bit closer to the scroll wheel.
To try the Avatar’s precision and ease of use, we did our usual procedure: we always test our mice with the same game (Team Fortress 2) running the same map at the same server. We switched surfaces, from our Razer Destructor mouse pad (which we tested already) to the bare wood work table and also a regular mouse pad, like one of those you get for free. Obviously the Avatar + Destructor combo turned out to be the best, but the mouse gave the performance we expected from its 2,600 dpi on the other surfaces. We actually had some of our best matches lately with the Avatar. It excelled in quick action maneuvers and also during the quiet moments of just aiming and taking headshots at the virtual enemies. When it felt a bit light to perform the actions we required, we just decreased the DPI setting to compensate for the mouse’s natural agility.
We were truly impressed with the overall feel of the Avatar. It’s our gaming mouse of choice for now, even though we’ve tested some pretty good products recently, like the excellent OCZ Dominatrix.
The NZXT Avatar main specifications are:
- USB laser mouse
- Ambidextrous design
- Assignable buttons: 7
- Maximum acceleration: 15g
- Tracking Resolution: 600 to 2,600 dpi (user selectable)
- Image Processing: 5.8 megapixels/second
- More information: https://www.nzxt.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 59.00
* Researched at https://www.shopping.com on the day we published this review.
- Elegant design
- Comfortable grip
- Comprehensive software
- Precise tracking over different surfaces
- Easily reachable side buttons, even the one resting above the pinkie
- No weight customization feature
- DPI buttons require some hard bending from middle finger
- Can be considered a bit small and light for big handed users