With three new four-way buttons on a moderately large mouse, you’re not quite cramped for space but there are ergonomic issues. Buttons four and five are very close together and right above the left 3D button. Pressing both at the same time cycles through the standard DPI settings – 400, 800, 1600, and 2000. As you can imagine, in a heated moment it’s a bit easy to press both at the same time, especially if you intend to hit one or the other. The close proximity of the left 3D Button also means that it’s easy to press down on it. Overall, however, if one is cautious it’s at least possible to add two more completely safe key presses, since the software allows the same keypress to be replicated any number of times on any number of buttons. The more co-ordinated and used to the mouse you are, the more options that become available.
Build is a bit of a question mark as well. The plastic used for mice rarely screams of quality, but the Sandio mouse seems a bit lower on the scale than usual. Perhaps it’s merely the bright red laminate paint, but its slickness and smoothness make it easy to sweat up a hand and begin to have grip issues. There is no softness to the feel, unlike the Razer copperhead, nor the more traditional slight pitting for improved grip. The primary mouse buttons work without a trouble, but they also feel a bit loose.
The mouse has some build advantages, however. On the performance side, the ability to scale from 400 to 2000 dpi is a nice feature for all sorts of players and even in the regular desktop environment. Also, the teflon pads that serve as mouse feet are quite thick and large. The rear pad is especially beefy, where the hand rests.
Since the 3D Buttons are really more hat switches than analog sticks, changing the design of the stick to a four-way switch with four clear directions may make the mouse easier to work for a new user. The typical four prongs from a traditional joystick would be ideal. That way, when trying to manipulate the controls, the operator will know precisely what he’s doing, rather than feeling his way to where “down” and “ahead” are.
Sandio has developed an interesting product and is taking a bold step in putting it to market, but at the moment there is nothing out there expressly designed to take advantage of it. The extra key presses are a great feature for many games, but it would take developer support to see the camera and control functions integrated properly. The best possibilities are of course a game like EVE, as mentioned before, and perhaps 3D modeling/CAD programs. Quick and easy manipulation of the object ahead of you is likely highly desireable in the art/design industry and Sandio may have more luck getting support there at first.