Following Tuesday's official Microsoft announcement of its first BlueTrack mice, Wednesday we get word of the unsurprising extension of the new sensor technology to Microsoft's SideWinder gaming mice. The SideWinder X8 will go for $100 when it ships in February (although Amazon.com is apparently already taking orders).
As we reported Tuesday, the new BlueTrack sensor is a Microsoft-developed optical-tracking technology that purports to give mice greater accuracy over a wider variety of surfaces than laser or IR optical mice.
Microsoft claims scalable dpi settings from 250 to 4,000 dpi for the SideWinder X8, which should please gamers. Thankfully, this new mouse also brings back the macro-record button for on-the-fly command recording, introduced by last year's SideWinder, but missing from the more recent X5 model.
Distinguishing the SideWinder X8 from the Explorer Mouse announced Tuesday are the extra programmable buttons on the SideWinder, as well as a unique combination of wired and wireless usage modes. In its wireless mode, the X8 connects to your PC via a 2.4GHz wireless connection, and Microsoft claims 30 hours of play time.
But the mouse also comes with a disc-shaped box that hides both extra mouse feet (for customizing the feel of the glide, depending on the surface) and a USB cable. Connect the mouse to your PC via the cable and you can play and recharge. We've seen laptop mice that use this kind of design, but to our knowledge this is Microsoft's first attempt at a wireless gaming mouse, let alone one with this kind of charging mechanism. That feature may be a bigger draw than the updated sensor.