Physical and electrical design
A4Tech is primarily known for its battery-free wireless mice, but it has also recently begun to explore the highly competitive gaming mouse market. The X-750F is indeed battery-free, but it is not wireless -- generally that is viewed as a favorable quality in a gaming mouse because wireless mice tend to have varying degrees of latency and always run out of battery power at the most critical moments.
Like A4Tech's laptop mouse, the X-750F has a thin, rubbery USB cord that won't get in your way. Most other corded mice have thick cables which are considerably more durable, but can interfere with smooth mouse motion if the cord encounters any obstacles (and on a computer desk, it's hard to position your mouse so that the cord won't be hindered by anything).
Instead of LED-optical tracking like most previous A4Tech designs, the X750F uses a laser, which tracks at a higher (yet variable through user adjustment) resolution. This makes the mouse motion more precise and allows it to work better on a wider variety of surfaces, but the extra electronics also add some heft to the mouse -- not nearly as much as if it had to hold two AA batteries as well, but it's noticeably heavier than corded LED-optical mice. Some may prefer that, and some may find it an inconvenience; aside from simple personal preference, the effect of a differently-weighted mouse depends on what kind of surface you have under it. A gaming surface like the Icemat or Steelpad will be more accommodating to a heavier mouse, whereas non-traditional and low-end surfaces like cloth mousepads and plastic gaming surfaces will tend to stick to the mouse feet and make slow or slight mouse movements difficult to perform.
Physically the X-750F is made of smooth plastic, and has a slightly abrasive thumb grip to prevent slipping due to sweat. That doesn't make the rest of the mouse any less slippery during a particularly intense battle, though -- especially the mouse buttons.
The scroll wheel is thin (compared to other A4Tech models, which have a finger-width scroll wheel) and moves in distinct steps. It's also slightly abrasive, and requires a little more effort to turn than I usually prefer in a gaming mouse.
One interesting and unique feature of the X-750F is a mid-mounted button that changes the resolution of the laser. There are six levels ranging from 600dpi to 2500dpi. Theoretically this enables you to switch between precise aiming and high-speed movement at the click of a button. I was glad to see that this feature does not require third-party software to be installed, and it works just as well in GNU/Linux and *BSD as it does in Windows -- in other words, it's built into the hardware instead of being pushed into lame, memory-resident software.
As for the other extra buttons, there are two near the thumb and one integrated onto the top of the left mouse button. The two on the left are much like they are on comparable Microsoft and Logitech mice -- forward and back in Web browser history, and whatever you program them to do in your games. The extra top button performs three quick clicks of the left mouse button. This will definitely come in handy in games that require a lot of quick clicking.
|The A4Tech X-750: good for gaming, not for work|
Putting it to the test
I used the X-750F for a few days in a mostly work, partly play environment in Mandriva Linux 2007. It took about an hour of Unreal Tournament 2004 to get used to the feel of a different mouse. After that I found it rather effective for gaming -- certainly more effective than any regular desktop mouse I've used.
Despite the fact that it was easy to access, I couldn't adjust my habits to make meaningful use of the resolution adjustment button. I picked one resolution that worked well for me and stuck with it. Even outside of the game when thinking and acting quickly weren't so critical to success, I found that I ignored the resolution adjustment feature. The two extra thumb buttons never ceased to get in my way whether I was playing a game or not. This is no surprise, really -- those buttons annoy me in other mice, too.
My index finger got a little sore after a day of regular X-750F use, mostly because of the scroll wheel. As mentioned above, it's slightly abrasive and somewhat more resistant than I prefer. When I'm playing UT2004 and I know I'm on the exact wrong weapon for the situation I'm in, I tend to spin the scroll wheel and sort of "Russian roulette" my weapon selection. I can't really do that effectively with the X-750F, though I would imagine that a few weeks or a month of heavy use would free up the wheel a little. The skin on my finger might be raw by then, though.
I have a battle-worn X-Raypad Thunder 9 for my mousing surface (I no longer recommend plastic gaming surfaces to people -- they wear out too quickly no matter what precautions you take), and because it's starting to get shiny, it is a little sticky with heavy mice. The X-750F is just a little too heavy for the X-Raypad in its current condition. I know a lot of gamers prefer mice that have a little heft to them, though, so many will see this as a boon where I personally see it as a burden.
I definitely like the "angel hair" mouse cord -- while it appears delicate, it never interferes with my accuracy like the heavy-corded Microsoft Intellimouse series.
Conclusions and manufacturer recommendations
Overall I think this is a great gaming mouse. I won't be using it for my daily work, but if someday I build a portable LAN party system, the X-750F will definitely make the cut. In addition to being accurate, motile, and fully-featured, it's also a lot less expensive than most gaming mice.
If you're looking for an inexpensive way to improve your FPS skills a little, an A4Tech X-750F plus a decent gaming surface like the Icemat will definitely get you more kills and fewer deaths.
While it's a good product as-is, here are some things I'd like to see in future model revisions:
- Make the scroll wheel a little less resistant. Again, perhaps others prefer a stiff wheel, but my gaming tastes demand something that moves a little more fluidly while still clicking in regular steps. Maybe this could be adjustable in a future model?
- Make it a little lighter. This is another thing that could be adjustable. I'm sure there's enough unused space inside the mouse that could be used to house little weights so that gamers could adjust the heft to their preference. As it currently is, I think the X-750F is just a little too heavy for plastic gaming surfaces, but it might be perfect for glass or metal pads.
|Device support||USB, comes with PS/2 adapter|
|Market||Computer game players, first-person shooters in particular|
|Price (retail)||U.S. ~$45|
|Product Web site||Click here|