Mouse: SideWinder X3
Microsoft's first gaming mouse, the SideWinder, earned strong reviews from a number of critical outlets. Personally, I never cared much for the plastic design and circular thumb buttons. In contrast, the X3 has an elongated oval design that's a bit more familiar, and it boasts a 2,000 DPI laser sensor.
The X3 was the lightest of the mice in this round-up and subsequently felt the most difficult to control because of its hollow plastic. It's also the most affordable, retailing for just under $40. The X5 may have been a more direct competitor to the other mice we have here, but the X3, despite its size and weight, held its own rather well.
You can still switch laser sensitivity on the fly between 400, 800, and 2,000 DPI using the X3’s three buttons located just under the scroll wheel. The mouse fits comfortably in either hand and sports single customizable buttons on both sides of the mouse. I found the thumb buttons to be a little far forward for regular use, but they're there, and all of the games I tested with recognized them.
The SideWinder X3 is likely ideal for gamers who don't want to break the bank on their peripherals, but still want something programmable. Alternatively, the X3 is ideal if you're looking for a gaming mouse on a shared computer that won't freak out less gaming-oriented users. I found myself switching DPI settings more often with the X3 than the other mice in the round-up. In the end, for $10 more, you are better off picking up another mouse with more functionality.