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#1 1/31/09 7:47 PM

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Just forty years ago the first computerized mouse was invented and made practical, yet even today we haven't seen a mouse that is both highly comfortable while still able to retain a high amount of quality-features (ergonomic mice seem to lack necessary features). eSportNova, a company with 15 years of experience in the peripheral market, has decided to hopefully solve that problem with the Nova Slider X600. Today, we're going to take a look at this new product and see if it offers what consumers are looking for - a comfortable, high performance mouse.


• Ceramic Glide Pads
• Cypress Ovation I Laser
• 5 Programmable Colors
• 400 - 3200 DPI, on three customizable buttons
• Two additional side buttons
• Form-fitting ergonomic design
• Two year warranty
eSportNova's Product Page
Price $94.99 @ XPCGear

Packaging can mean everything - it's the first view of the product you have and shows how much confidence the manufacturer has. eSportNova hit the right note here, the packaging is an irregular hexagonal shape (yeah, geometry wasn't a complete waste) made out of clear hard plastic (no cheap cardboard boxes or hellish plastic packages) that shows off the device in an attractive manner.
The sides of the package (excluding the bottom) show all the aforementioned specifications/features in English and French.
On the bottom the specifications/features are again stated in many other languages. Upon pulling up the top tab a screwdriver is present, which leads us to our next section...

The Opening:
Opening the device requires using the included screwdriver (or another) to remove four screws around the bottom of the packaging that connect the mouse's mount to the hard plastic casing.
Besides the mouse and stand, included is informational reading on eSportNova's mouse pad, a multilingual instructional manual, and a small driver disc to install the optional mouse manager. One downside is the usage of a smaller disc, this means most people with slot-loading drives (people using Sony laptops mainly) will be unable to use the mouse manager. There also is no available driver download link on eSportNova's website, which is something I would like to see changed.
The mouse itself is actually held to the stand via two small screws. They need to be removed via a screwdriver to begin using the mouse. However, eSportNova included a hole through the bottom of the stand allowing for easy removal.

The Mouse:
The top of the mouse is formed out of a smooth glossy plastic and the sides a rather familiar rubberized plastic (similar to the MX510/518's sides - lookout for paint fading).
The top buttons make for a very satisfying click, without any of the sticking issues that similarly priced Logitech mice seem to have. The scroll wheel's section has a bit of an indent to help make scrolling more fluid. And, scrolling itself is indeed very fluid, it has a good amount of feedback/"pop" without being overly rough like most Microsoft scroll wheel's are. Unfortunately, there is a lack of side-scrolling built-in to the scroll wheel, hopefully they will update this in a future revision.
As this mouse is purely designed for right-handed usage (most lefties I know use their right hand for their mice anyway), the left side is (thankfully) designed to comfortably fit the curves of your hand. The left side is also home to the on-the-fly DPI settings and two additional programmable buttons.
However, this is where I have one gripe with placement, the DPI buttons are way too far out. I have large hands and even I have trouble reaching the DPI buttons. I suggest that they move the DPI buttons underneath the two programmable buttons, or add a DPI rocker-style switch further in.
Long session computer users rejoice, a feature-packed mouse finally has full support for every finger. It really does make all the difference to have full support. Compared to other "comfortable" mice I've used, nothing holds a candle to this implementation. The strange indents on the side allow you to quickly change your hand position for scrolling.
How could one forget to mention the uniquely positioned braided cable and built-in clip? Unlike most mice, the Nova Slider X600's cable is braided which allows for the cable to easily be reshaped. The side-cable design allows for much more mousing freedom; and the included cable clip makes it easy to keep the amount of cable you need on your surface without any extra drag.
Along with the LED on the right-side and behind the scroll-wheel, the bottom of the mouse is home to four additional customizable LEDs. The bottom is also home to one of the greatest mouse innovations I have seen in ages - ceramic gliding plates. No more teflon strips that peel off after a year of heavy use. However, I feel that the ceramic gliding plates may be a little bit too slick for photo manipulation usage. Fortunately, you can purchase a higher friction mousepad if this is an issue. You will also find no option to change weights with the Nova Slider X600, a feature which I find unnecessary anyway. Although, you may find the mouse to be a bit lighter than most.

The Software:
While it's not necessary to run the drivers included, you may want them if you need to change the LED colors, DPI settings, or setup button profiles. I suggest setting the LEDs to turn-off after an hour of in-activity for longevity purposes.
I commend eSportNova on making software that is simple to look at and simple to use, without any hidden processes or unnecessary programs (Logitech - I'm coming after you).
The mouse manager also comes with a built-in tweak for disabling Windows mouse acceleration. This can be handy if you are having issues with Windows / games overriding your DPI settings or USB speed.
I suggest in future versions they either directly include the "Skill Test" or just remove the option from the mouse manager, as the software must be installed separately to function (the button just launches the eSport Nova website).

As you can see, the Nova Slider X600 seems a lot smaller than other mice from the side.
As well as from the top.

The difference between using my MX510 and using the Nova Slider X600 was absolutely huge. But, as there's no real way to test the difference in mice I decided to use eSportNova's "Skill Test" application. I do have to mention that you may want to set the polling rate to 1000 Mhz and have the lower DPI option set to 600 for all you graphic editors / RTS fanatics. When it comes to FPS gaming, I found that I was much more aware and able to jump into action when prompted (Planetside was used for testing).


Reviewing a product and recommending it to consumers is about having the positives outweigh the negatives. And while the Nova Slider X600 has some issues that need to be worked out, I would have to say that it is one amazing product. If not just for the usage of ceramic plates and ergonomic stylings. The price and lack of availability are the largest of negatives (get this product on NewEgg and drop the price down to $75). If you're looking for a new mouse for hardcore FPS usage (photo buffs and RTS commanders might want to turn the other way) you really can't go wrong with this product.

Ergonomic design (no longer just for cubicle slaves)
Cord design (that clip is a godsend)
Very high quality laser (a little bit too sensitive)
The death of teflon (no more peeling strips)
Simple software

Neutral Ground:
If you put too much weight on the back of the device you may push it upwards
Rubberized paint will eventually fade (sooner rather than later)
Additional programmable buttons could have been put near the scroll wheel
Driver disc is one of those hated mini-discs
Weights may have been nice for some users

No side-scrolling - what is this, 1999?
DPI buttons are difficult to reach
Cost & availability
Mouse is too light

Thanks go to eSport Nova for supplying us with this awesome product!


1/31/09 7:47 PM

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