SteelSeries Xai Mouse & 9HD Mousepad Review

SteelSeries Xai Mouse Review

With Red Orchestra 2 already out, Battlefield 3, the full version of Minecraft and of course,Star Wars: The Old Republic, coming in time for the holiday season, it’s prime time for gamers to prep and/or upgrade their PCs for some quality gaming experiences. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been testing out some of SteelSeries’ headsets and other gaming peripherals to see if they’ll do the job. Check out our review of the SteelSeries Shift keyboard to see if it's worthwhile to package it along with the SteelSeries Xai pro gaming mouse and the SteelSeries 9HD mousepad.

The Xai is simple in its design and elegance. At a quick glance, the Xai appears like any other standard two-button mouse with a centered wheel, but this couldn't be further from the truth. From a functional standpoint the driver independent (simply plug in and play) laser mouse actually features a pair of additional, smaller buttons on each side with a 5th, arrowhead-shaped button behind the scroll wheel (more on what this bad boy does later...).

The scroll wheel, along with the mouse clicks are very precise and not the least bit finicky. More buttons the merrier for a gaming mouse, but what's under the hood of the ambidextrous unit defines the slick mouse.

SteelSeries Xai Pro Gaming Mouse Review

Download the software from the SteelSeries site (here) and open the simple utility to take advantage of the full range of the Xai's functions.  You don't need this to use the mouse, but if you're buying a pro gaming mouse, do this before jumping into a game. The software allows users to change up to 8 macros on the Xai, each up to 200 different keystrokes, and users can set up profiles and adjust the mouse's acceleration. Users can even go to the SteelSeries site and download the profiles of pro Counter-Strike gamers.

To ensure the Xai works for literally any gamer on any surface, the fully customizable ambidextrous design can be paired with SteelSeries ExactAim which lets the mouse laser optimize for surfaces that do not usually lend themselves to gaming mice, so the user can get the best possible experience.

Like the SteelSeries Shift keyboard and the upcoming SteelSeries Diablo III mouse, the Xai is designed with durability in mind. It is extremely light-weight mouse which allows for extended periods of hardcore play without any strain on the user's wrist and is constructed with a sweat resistant surface. The Xai's cord is braided and tangle-proof so it won't get stuck, damaged or stretched with use.

Everything we've listed describes what may be a perfect mouse for gamers, but that's not all. Flip the mouse over and there is a built-in LCD menu screen on the underside which lets gamers customize the mouse's settings - Again, download the utility for all of the options. Simply hold down the arrow-shaped button behind the scroll wheel for a few seconds, flip the mouse over and you can choose profiles, acceleration, adjust ExactAim, etc.

SteelSeries Mouse LCD Menu

The SteelSeries Xai works on Max OSX and Windows 2000 and above - its utility however is only available for Windows XP, Vista and 7. Drivers and utilities for SteelSeries Products can be found on the site - click here to find them.

The Specs

Size & Weight

  • Weight: 98 grams (0.22 lbs)
  • Height: 38,7 mm (1.5 in)
  • Width: 68,3 mm (2.7 in)
  • Length: 125,5 mm (4.9 in)

Laser Sensor

  • Frames per second: 12.000
  • Inches per second: 150+
  • Mega pixels per second: 10,8
  • Counts per inch: 5.001
  • Maximum acceleration: 30 G
  • Sensor data path: True 16 bit
  • Lift distance: ~1mm
  • Maximum polling: 1.000 Hz

The SteelSeries Xai mouse retails for $89.99 and is a must-have recommendation for anyone serious about gaming and appreciates a traditional design of a classic mouse. Its durability, functions and ambidextrous support make the Xai a mouse for anyone and everyone, for use at home at LANs and on any surface. It is the perfect all-purpose gaming mouse for gamers not looking for an extreme, high-cost fancy mouse littered in LED lights.

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If considering the Xai or any mouse for that matter, maybe it's time to get a mousepad.

SteelSeries 9HD Mousepad Review

SteelSeries 9HD

The 9HD, the largest of the HD series of mousepads from SteelSeries, is a hard-plastic pad that launched along with the SteelSeries Xai mouse. It's large surface is designed for low-sensitivity gamers.

Made as a perfect marriage to the Xai mouse, the 9HD has a non-slip rubber base that prevents any unwanted movement on the user's desk surface during gaming and its surface optimizes laser mouse tracking, allowing for smooth, high-precision use.

SteelSeries 9HD mousepoad

The 9HD retails for only $34.99 and comes packaged with resealable case and a cleaning cloth. While we love the pad, the price point makes it a tough recommendation since the Xai works incredibly well on any desk surface. The price point is simply too high for what the package offers.


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