If you're just a casual gamer or someone who uses their computer for viewing pictures of their grandkids, then SteelSeries really isn't targeting you. Since their inception in 2001, the Danish company has been working to create top-of-the-line gear for the hardcore gamer, specifically those who like to play first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and MMORPG titles. So it's not a surprise SteelSeries showed up at PAX to show off their latest wares, and after checking out their booth, I came away very impressed.
First, I got a chance to experience SteelSeries' new optical gaming mice, the Xai and Kinzu. The Kinzu is the less powerful of the two, essentially a highly-tuned optical mouse with a few features like slip-resistant coating, a sensitivity toggle and an ergonomic, lightweight design. But the real beast of the two is the brand-new Xai, a mouse that has to be seen to be believed, because otherwise you won't believe what SteelSeries has managed to cram into it.
The Xai features some things that are quite common on pro gaming mice — programmable macro buttons, a slip-resistant surface, etc. — but it's what's inside the Xai that sets it apart. First off, the Xai not only has all of the necessary software built right in to the mouse, but it has a menu system that can be accessed directly on the mouse itself. This menu system not only allows you to make adjustments, but it saves up to five different settings that you can easily transfer from PC to PC. You can take the Xai to a buddy's house, plug it into his PC, hop on a game like Team Fortress 2, and your mouse settings will be the same as they are in your house. It's absolutely mind-blowing to flip the mouse over and see the little menu screen on the underside, but I quickly learned that with using the mouse buttons and the scroll wheel, it's actually easy to make even the tiniest changes without having to go through a PC program to do so. Oh, and all that built-in software and hardware allows the Xai to process 12,000 frames per second at movements of up to 150 inches per second, which in layman's terms just means this thing can track and react to your movements almost instantly.