Pair of gaming mice from Mionix challenge the big names in gaming (March 11th, 2014)
Product Manufacturer: Mionix
- Many customization options in software
- Great feel/comfort to the Naos
- Awkward grip on Avior
- Sensor issues on Avior
Mice are a part of the computer experience that is hard to live without, even more so if someone is going to be gaming. There are tons of different mice to choose from based on the needs of the customer. Mionix recently released two new entries into the gaming mice arena, with the Naos and Avoir 7000. Each mouse brings something different to the table, but are either of them worthy to grace a desktop in a market that features competitors like Razer or Logitech?
When looking at the mice from Mionix, they easily blend in with any normal gaming mouse found these days. Both mice offer a sleek black exterior that features rubberized coatings on their bases. The Naos and the Avior are mice that are easy to hold onto even when a hand gets sweaty, but collect a good amount of oil and residue on the main buttons. The bottoms of each mouse features thick polytetrafluoroethylene skid pads that are secured extremely well and are slick to the touch. Customizable LEDS come from a small logo in the palm of each mouse, as well as a small amount of light that emanates out of the mouse wheel. However, both mice are a bit on the light side. Neither offers weights to help customize the feel of the mice.
Buttons offer a clear click as they are pressed, be it either the top mouse buttons or the side thumb buttons. Thumb buttons offer a contrasting slick finish on the Naos with a springier feel. The Avior thumb buttons are matte-textured, but stick out a little further. Both buttons give users a better feel for the placement when they need to be used. Buttons for quickly changing DPI settings sit behind the sturdy mouse wheels which match the texture of the thumb buttons for each respective mouse. The Naos and Avior are both driven by ADNS-3310 IR-LED sensors that handle from 50 to 7000 DPI in increments of 50. Both mice offer settings up to 125, 250, 500 and 1000 Mhz polling rates.
The fit and finish of the mice impressed us, especially for a relatively small brand. No blemishes were found anywhere on the mice. Seams were even, without any odd gaps or overlaps of other pieces. The cords were tightly braided, with a gold plated USB 2.0 connector. The USB plugs felt a little on the small side, but didn't offer any sort of odd resistance when plugging in. A nice touch on the Avior are the small thumbnail notches on one side of the bottom pads to be able to gain leverage to pull them off. The Avior is a low profile, slimmer mouse that is setup to be ambidextrous, while the Naos has a contoured fit with a wide base that a large right hand can rest on comfortably.
The Avior attempts to make the most of the ambidextrous intentions. With thumb buttons on each side, the mouse creates a feeling that is mirrored evenly on both sides. The software defaults the right side thumb buttons to disabled, and for good reason: they are hit frequently when the mouse is in use. For someone accustomed to a right-handed mouse, it may feel somewhat odd. The thumb buttons stick out far enough to force a user to re-arrange their grip. Mionix states that either a palm or claw grip can be used with the mouse. More of a claw style or a wider gap in fingers must be adopted in order to compensate. The later means that the pinky will drag, perhaps with the ring finger if the users hand is big enough.
The Avior suffers from a few problems that are hard to get past, beyond the odd feeling and almost-required claw grip. Something about the mouse doesn't feel quite right. While the internal hardware and software look no different than the version used for the Naos outside of the button assignment page, there is something problematic about it.
Several times during the course of the review there were issues with getting exact points. This happened at all DPI settings and polling rates. Different mouse pads were tested, with each ran through the software's analyzing tool. However, the problem persisted, making it difficult to aim with any sort of accuracy in games. It feels as if the sensor is slightly offset or lagging, which requires the user to inch closer to whatever was trying to be clicked on. Frankly, it made trying to double-click on an icon or use Photoshop with any sort of accuracy frustrating.
On the other hand, the Naos did not suffer from the same issue. In fact it worked flawlessly, never hiccuping or running into any sort of use issue in both games and standard desktop use. The mouse would have benefitted from the ability to add weights to the back in order to create a better pivot, but the need for such customization varies for every user. As it stands, the Naos is competitive with other big-name gaming mice straight out of the box.
Even though the Naos is only slightly taller than the Avior, it hugs the users hand -- making the mouse feel that it is one with the hand moving it. It helps that there is a kick out on the right side with groves nested in it for the ring and pinky fingers that allows them to comfortably rest on the mouse. Since the fingers sit directly on the mouse, there is no drag incurred because of an overhanging finger. It was a joy to use from a comfort perspective during long gaming sessions.
The software for both of the mice from Mionix is quite comprehensive. It reminded us of the type of options that Roccat uses, but without the achievement system or sound feedback built in. LED options allow for custom colors in different effects, such as solid or breathing system illumination. All of the options are straightforward and easy to use, from the drop-down button assignments or radio button selections for polling rates.
Two neat features of the software are the sliders for the custom DPI settings and the surface analyzer tool. The slider allows for three settings to be used with the DPI hot switch buttons -- which in itself isn't special, but the fact that the software allows for independent X and Y rates for each setting is. The surface analyzer rates the surface quality of the mousepad in relation to the mouse being used, quickly letting users know if the surface will be compatible with either Mionix mouse or if something else should be used because of data loss based on the images the sensor is taking.
Outside of both mice being light and the few issues that the Avior had, a common issue with both mice revolved around the mouse wheels. While they function fine, the rubber that wraps the center part of each has little notches on it that come up from the mouse from time to time. It isn't a constant occurrence nor is it a debilitating feature of the mice, but it was enough to be annoying in everyday use. Vigorous scrolling made it happen more often.
We had issues with tracking speed on a OS X system -- there are no custom drivers for either mouse at this time. The mice default to extremely low settings, making long hand movements only accomplish short distances traveled on screen. The same issue was noticed on Windows until the drivers were installed. Minoix doesn't currently list any OS X compatibility, so caveat emptor (third-party mouse assistance programs may resolve some of these issues until a proper OS X driver appears).
Mionix's mice offerings are deserving of a look in category that has them fighting with some big names. With configurations to fit most play styles, there is bound to be something for consumers looking for something a little different in a slightly-higher price range. The ambidextrous, low profile setup of the Avior and wide, hand-hugging Naos won't break the bank at $80 for either model. However, the basic use problems with the Avior keep it from being a contender with the gaming crowd, let alone something to be used every day. Unfortunately, given our problems with the Avior, we feel it deserves a two-star rating. The four-star rating as listed with the review is for the Naos mouse, and we feel that it will perform well in the hands of users seeking comfort and customization.