Alienware Elite AW958 Gaming Mouse Review

For hardcore gamers, fancy mice and keyboards go together like Mountain Dew and Doritos. No doubt, there is lots less surface available for snazzing up your mouse, therefore the main issue to create anything truly impressive is really challenging for manufacturers of gaming mouse. Alienware’s Elite AW958 makes thoughtful attempt to fit this bill. But, when it’s about features and price, this gaming mouse falls in middle of pack, which isn’t bad.

After several years of manufacturing gaming PC, Alienware has broken to crowded peripherals scene. Its Elite AW958 gaming mouse is the first ever gaming mouse at customizable, high end gaming mouse, and it is just fine. Alienware Elite AW958 by Dell is an inoffensive, however it costs lots of bucks and comes with few uncomfortable flaws in terms of its design.

This gaming mouse is an inoffensive piece, despite of few truly bizarre design options, however it is hard to accept it costs so many bucks, given its relative shortage of many innovative features. This gaming mouse is not worth tossing out when it comes packed in new Alienware system, however if you are just in the market for new gaming mouse, you can have many other mouse that are comfortable, effective yet less expensive.


 

Technical Specifications

  • Sensor: Optical (Pixart PMW 3360)
  • DPI Levels: 12000
  • Max. acceleration: 50G
  • Max. speed: up to 250 inches/sec
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Programmable Buttons: 13

Other Features:

  • 512kb Onboard memory
  • 3 Adjustable grip positions
  • 4 interchangeable side modules
  • Optical Surface calibration
  • 16.8M RGB Lighting by AlienFX

Mouse Buttons

You can have 13 buttons including;
• 1 left, 1 right click button,
• 1 three way clicking Scroll wheel
• 1 DPI adjustment button
• 2 or 6 programmable buttons on either side
 

Mouse Design

Alienware AW958 is wide, squat mouse, though depending on user’s preference, it can be made squatter and wider. It has an angular design. It features 3 LED strips in center. By default, the dimension of this mouse are 5.1 inches Length x 3.8 Width x 1.6 inches height. However you can swap out its components on both sides. Both thumb rests are of similar size, although has 6 buttons and other has 2 buttons. If you feel 6 tiny thumb buttons squeezed in the space often occupied by 2 sound buttons unwieldy, you are quite correct.

It can also be swap between a smooth side for your outermost fingers or there is an extended surface to rest on. To me, neither option was much comfortable. Thumb rest extends far enough that using opposite, smooth makes it unbalanced. On the other hand, using extended rest, you will be making it to feel too large. Peripheral’s center of gravity isn’t quite where it is expected to be.

Its left/right buttons are of silver color, while remaining is matte black. Below its scroll wheel there is a switch. You can tilt this switch right and left to change DPI. 2 grips on its either side are attached magnetically to help you remove or interchange the grips easily.

This gaming mouse is attractive enough. With its silver buttons and dark gray bottom, it looks pretty refined and deliberately intended for more exciting purposes as compared to everyday use or office work. Alienware gaming mouse is precise and responsive, and despite of pain to assign macros to every button, having between 2 and 6 extra buttons is quite helpful.

Tunability is the thing of Alienware AW958 game. It allow to add or remove weights in the back and adjustment of height of palm rest. When combined with swappable side parts, mouse is really quite ambitious. Only issue is that even when you tweak every factor, holding it is still not that pleasant. Roccat Nyth and Logitech G900 both demonstrated that comfort and customizability aren’t mutually exclusive.

Mouse Software

Alien AW958 runs on Alienware Control Centre Software. It yet has a long way to go before it can run with SteelSeries, Razer and other similar gaming mice. It allow you to perform all standard things such as DPI adjustments, Polling rate adjustments, Altering RGB lighting on 3 thin strips on the chassis of mouse, however reprogramming of buttons is extremely difficult.

This control center also let you record macros, which is good, however it also needs you to record macros, which is not good thing. Instead of simply assigning keystroke to thumb buttons, you need to program macro and then drag/drop it. Even with a macro that just hit a “1” key, you need to record that macro and then drag/drop. Fairly speaking, this isn’t a huge task, but no other bigger gaming mouse brand makes its users jump through such a tedious job for only setting up the functions on thumb buttons.

Mouse Performance

It is nearly impossible to discover a high quality gaming mouse which does not work well under regular conditions, and Alienware AW958 is same. I was able to command Terran armies in StarCraft: Plowed, Re-mastered through foes in Overwatch as Reaper. When I tried to raise dead as Necromancer in Diablo III it was found to be fine: Downed HYDRA and Reaper of Souls agents in Marvel Heroes Omega without any problem. This gaming mouse simply works as promised by the company in their advertisements. It is precise and accurate, and despite of pain of assigning macros to every button, having between 2 and 6 extra buttons was quite helpful.

The only complaint I found in most if not all the reviews is that if you choose for 6 button layout instead of 2 button layout, they are about as extremely tightly bound, and they are as small as the corn kernels on cob. Eventually you could acclimate yourself to every singly buttons, however you would be better off with gaming mice such as Razer Naga Hex and Nyth.

Other Features

Beside the software, Alienware AW958 customizable feel and swappable components are some key features which set this mouse apart from most if not all of its rivals. I believe, they do not do much to elevate product overall, however they are useful inclusion, given how harshly the users’ hand sizes may vary.

PROS

  • Attractive colors
  • Swappable parts
  • Competent performance
  • Lots of programmable buttons
  • Customizable weights
  • Customizable sides

CONS

  • Too costly
  • Surface calibration is complex and annoying
  • Uncomfortable to hold
  • Tedious software

Bottom Line

Alienware’s AW958 is the first ever premium mouse could be much worse, however it is few years behind times. Swappable parts do not help to address mouse’s overall design problems, software seems to be half-baked and its price is just baffling. You can bet much better mice for $10 less, like Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum or Razer Lancehead.

Similar to Acer Predator, if AW958 came with your new gaming PC, you can keep it. It is fine for daily gaming sessions, although not quite fine for eSports, because of its unconventional design. This gaming mouse is easy on the eyes. Beside all this, I suggest you to value your hard earned money and get something exclusive instead of passable.

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