By: Kenneth Kwok
April 9, 2010
It is quite hard to believe that it has been over two years since we last took a look at any mice that are on the market! The most recent one is the Logitech G9 review, which our Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Kwan had written about way back in November of 2007. After two long years, we are back with a brand new computer mouse review, presented by yours truly. "A star has been born" is a prominently advertised slogan on Mionix's product page -- and that 'star', unsurprisingly, happens to be the Mionix Naos, as this product is named after a star of the same name. The star Naos is said to spin a hundred times faster than the Sun, alluding to the speed factor of this mouse under the same name. The numeric '5000' designation at the end of the product's name represents the 5040 dpi sensor, and like all marketing tactics, they took the round number in order to make it easier to remember as well as sounding better at the same time. With all the large scale references to planets, Mionix even goes deep into looking for perfection with this mouse. Many companies advertise excellence, but as experienced users would know, perfection is quite hard to come by these days. Our Arctic Cooling Arctic Sound E352 review written last week is a good example (Actually, it is quite the opposite of perfection, haha). To be honest, I had not heard of Mionix before this review, but word on the street is that they are an excellent gaming peripherals manufacturer. Their marketing direction is also very similar to established, well known gaming companies, and this bodes well for Mionix as well. So, without further delay, let's get straight into today's review and see how close to 'perfection' the Mionix Naos 5000 reaches.
Our review unit of the Mionix Naos 5000 was shipped in a medium sized brown corrugated cardboard box from Mionix's USA offices in California, USA. Using UPS Standard as the shipping method, everything arrived in great condition, as we've always had in the past. The same UPS person came to my house dropping off packages so frequently lately; it is actually kind of funny. The inside packaging material consists of packing peanuts; the retail box for the mouse is actually quite small in comparison. Let's just say I will have a lot of packing peanuts for future shipping purposes just from this box alone, haha.
Our review unit of the Mionix Naos 5000 came in retail packaging, and has a design that somewhat reminds me of Razer in designing a box for gaming accessories. First off, there is the black background, then add a touch of green, all complemented with lighting effect in the center that displays the product in a dramatic fashion. In this case, it would be a photo of the Naos 5000 itself in its full glory. Surround that with the names and description of the mouse, and voila, a true gamer's mouse box design! It makes for a sophisticated yet very clean design. The bottom left is a big Mionix logo, with the word 'Mionix' printed next to it in white to contrast the black, as well as adding emphasis to the company name. The model number is written to the side, and is located on the left side in both green and white text. The front flap is held closed by a small magnet for an additional touch of class.
Physical packaging was done well with the Mionix Naos 5000. Pull off the upper cover portion of the box, and the mouse as well as its accessories are revealed. Not surprisingly, there is not very much inside the box. An increasing amount of companies now have their drivers posted online, and have stopped including driver CDs out of the box. This not only reduces waste, but it also makes for lower production costs. That's not to mention that most enthusiasts don't bother with installing drivers from included media to ensure the most up to date version is installed on our computers anyway. Out of the box, you will receive the following contents: the Mionix Naos 5000 mouse itself, a tin case that holds the weights, and a tiny information card. Internal partitioning involves a plastic layer molded into the shape of the mouse and weights, with a cardboard cut-out on top to hold the pieces in place. Design wise, it is as minimal as it can be, but at the same time effective and practical.
Anyway, before we move on any further, let's take a look at the specifications of the Mionix Naos 5000, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
- Grip friendly rubber coating
- 7 buttons (7 programmable)
- 3 steps in-game dpi adjustment
- In-game profile switch
- 128 kb built-in memory
- Cable length: 2 m (braided for durability)
Dimensions & Weight
-Dimensions: 130.84x84.72x38.67 mm / 5.15x3.33x1.52 in
-Net Weight (w/o cable): 106 gr
-Net Weight (cable incl.): 158 gr
-Weight tuning: up to 40 gr
- 5040 dpi gaming laser sensor
- S.Q.A.T - Surface Quality Analyzer Tool
- Adjustable lift distance
- 1 ms response time
- 12 000 frames/sec
- Tracking speed: 5.1 m/sec (200 ips)
- 10.6 megapixels/sec image processing
- Acceleration: 30 g
- 40 000 Hz sampling rate
- True 16-bit data path
The Mionix Naos 5000 uses the now fairly standard braided USB cable among high performance mice, as more products in this category utilize cables of this type for stronger durability, increased flexibility, and generally less friction than those standard plastic or rubber coated cables. The cable is 2m long, which should be more than sufficient for most desktop users.
Design elements of this gaming mouse are also presentable, starting with the all black design, to the four part LED lighting system, which we will discuss in further detail later on in this review. Meanwhile, the surface of the Mionix Naos 5000 mouse itself is rubber coated for better grip -- this is beneficial for both comfort and performance. In general, the Naos 5000 makes it a palm grip type mouse, as the shape of the mouse surface is used to support and accommodate the natural shape of your palm. The shortcoming of palm grip mice is that the mouse design is asymmetrical, so if you use your mouse with your left hand, then you are out of luck. There is a curve on both the right and left side of the mouse to rest your thumb and ring finger, respectively. There is also space for your pinkie below the arched area, as shown in our photo above. The overall design is very well thought out in providing adequate comfort and grip.
On the left side of the mouse is an array of three LEDs, used as indicators to show the three step sensitivity setting. Regrettably, it only supports three pre-configured dpi steppings; personally I would like to see a few extra sensitivity steps like the Logitech G500, which supports up to five dpi settings by manipulating combinations of LED illumination. Located below that are two standard forward and back buttons, but you can map them do other tasks as well. Users familiar with mice having side forward and back buttons would know that they are useful in navigating through pages on your favorite web browser, as well as file menus in Windows Explorer. In gaming, the user can bind these buttons for alternate use. The center of the Mionix Naos 5000 features a LED backlit Mionix logo, a partially LED backlit scroll wheel, and sensitivity up and down buttons conveniently located underneath the scroll wheel. It should be fairly self explanatory with regards to the dpi setting buttons, which allow the user to increase or decrease mouse sensitivity levels at any time. The scroll wheel is fairly standard in design, but it does sport some horizontal grooves in the wheel for additional grip when scrolling the wheel up and down. In my opinion, the scroll wheel is fairly standard in feel; there's nothing special about it in particular, considering I am used to the 'frictionless' scroll wheels on my Logitech G500 high performance mice. On the other hand, it is certainly 'good' in a sense that it works as well as the scroll wheel of the Logitech G5. As aforementioned, the scroll wheel on the Mionix Naos 5000 is translucent with an LED backlight for aesthetics, as well as providing visibility in the dark.
Flipping the Mionix Naos 5000 over, we are treated with a view of the bottom of the mouse, as shown in our photo above. The bottom of the mouse is made out of plastic. Prominently shown is Mionix's logo around the areas of the optical sensor; additionally we have a Mionix label at the top displaying the product name and model number. The Naos 5000 also utilizes four sheets of polytetrafluoroethylene (Multi-C2F4, Teflon) feet which are all attached to the bottom of the mouse. It appears that these feet can be replaced by the user if they eventually wear out. Although we are not given an estimated amount of time that these Teflon feet will last, it should be fairly safe to assume that it will be at least as long as the lifetime of the mouse. This assumption is based on calculations we have done with previous Teflon feet equipped mice that we have owned in the past.
The laser sensor is located roughly in the middle of the mouse. This sensor is capable of up to 5040 dpi sensitivity with 10.6 megapixels per second at 12,000 frames per second in image processing power; although it's worth noting that the dpi rating is more of a marketing term than a reflection of actual performance in sensor precision. A high sensitivity sensor provides flexibility in usage, and can easily adapt to different styles of gamers. Using a gold-plated USB 2.0 adapter, the Naos 5000's laser sensor supports adjustable polling rates up to 1000 Hz with 1 ms response time (I know the specifications say 40,000Hz sampling rate, but the software only reflects up to 1000Hz, which is the industry performance standard). This means that the mouse can send up to one thousand pieces of tracking data per second for increased precision. Of course, the aforementioned gold-plated USB connector does little in reality, since the gold plating on the outside doesn't make actual contact with the USB pins. But it is pretty to look at, haha.
Located on two sides of the mouse are two compartments and two slide buttons. These are used to release the plastic cover off the compartments to allow custom weights to be inserted for additional customization and comfort.
As previously mentioned, the Mionix Naos 5000 includes a tin case full of weights for further user customization in adapting to different user preferences. The weights actually look more similar to those of the Logitech G9, and less so of the Logitech G500 weights; the latter is shown in our photo above. The tin case design looks almost identical to that of the Logitech G500, but it does include a hinge at the back, so the cap cannot disconnect from the case. The Mionix weight box also has a polished shiny surface, instead of the matte finish on the Logitech mice. The only problem I can see with these weights is that they are all eight of them are 5-gram units. These may be too heavy for some users looking for more precise weighting configurations -- it would have been nice to see them come in a series of different weightings instead rather than just one single weight.
Installation of the weights into the Mionix Naos 5000 was more of a hassle then I would have liked. Unlike Logitech, which uses a removable tray to slide in the weights, Mionix decided to just place them into the bottom of the mouse and to enclose the compartment with a cover. Unfortunately, the cover is not exactly easy to pop out. Using the corresponding sliding buttons, one must use enough force to slide out enough of the cap in order to pop it out completely. This took me multiple attempts to get open the first time. Secondly, to replace the cover, the sliding button again has to be slid back with some effort to lock the cap in place. The biggest problem I had was inserting the weights; it wasn't terrible, but it was tedious. The weights align into their designated spots by a rail-like design, and it is easy to drop the weights between the guides if you are not careful. Of course, the picture as shown above is just for demonstration purposes, and it was not exactly the way I configured my Mionix Naos 5000's weights.
Our tests were carried out on a computer with the following specifications:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
CPU Cooling: OCZ Gladiator
Motherboard: Asus P5E3-Deluxe
RAM: OCZ Gold Edition PC3-10600 4x1GB
Graphics: Palit Radeon HD 4850 Sonic 512MB
Case: NZXT Panzerbox (NZXT 120mm - Back, NZXT 190mm - Top back, NZXT 190mm - Front)
Power: Cooler Master Silent Pro M 1000W
Optical Drive: LG 16X DVD Burner
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 640GB
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Mionix requires the user to download the driver package online in conjunction with the firmware upon the installation of the Naos 5000 gaming mouse. Installation of the driver software was easy, and just required the usual reading and clicking 'next' repeatedly. The driver also automatically updates the mouse to the latest firmware as well. The provided software is actually quite unique, as it does carry on the stylistic theme that Mionix uses to identify its brand -- this consists of the black background with white and green text as seen in the packaging material. Mionix's custom software in conjunction with the mouse's 128KB onboard memory allows up to five independent saved profiles for different settings, such as custom button assignments, double click speed, polling rate, scroll speed, pointer acceleration, dpi stepping for both the x-axis and y-axis separately, pointer speed, and lift distance. The most intriguing of all these is probably the independent x-axis and y-axis sensitivity adjustment -- it allows different sensitivity when moving from left to right compared to up and down. Gamers such as myself especially appreciates this feature, as it greatly enhances game play in various games, considering that you can actually adjust sensitivity independently in this manner to accommodate different situations and playing styles. As we have discussed earlier on in this review, there is a four-piece LED lighting system, and the lighting color can be changed to user preferences in the software. The four lighting sectors are as follows: the Mionix logo, sensitivity setting buttons, sensitivity indicator, and the left and right side of the scroll wheel. Again, each profile can have its own custom color settings, and this will make it easier to differentiate between profiles. Unfortunately, there are no separate hardware keys on the Naos 5000 to switch between profiles, so this would need to be done in software. Included as well is Mionix's Surface Quality Analyzer Tool. This uses the sensor to analyze the tracking surface that the mouse is being used on; and rates it from 'poor' to 'excellent'.
I have put the Mionix Naos 5000 through our new revamped series of tracking performance tests. Included is regular office usage in productivity programs, as well as gaming tests with various games including Garry's Mod, Counter-Strike: Source, and Company of Heroes. The mousing surfaces used includes the cloth-based Razer Goliathus and Razer Mantis, as well as the aluminum-based SteelSeries SX.
Over the course of several weeks of using this mouse on a daily basis, I grew to enjoy the extra grip from the rubber coating, as well as the top notch build quality of the mouse. The construction quality is solid and very impressive in both feel and detail. The reason why I say this is because all the parts were slick and smooth with no loose or flimsy parts; from the mouse buttons being very 'clickable' and refined, the side buttons being easy to press, and the scroll wheel's tactile feel. Again, the Mionix Naos 5000 is truly impressive here in both usability and quality -- all these combined with the smooth Teflon feet provides smooth, excellent glide among most mousing surfaces makes the Mionix Naos 5000 a very commendable product.
After years of Logitech's G-series mice, ranging from the original G5 and G7 to the latest G500, I am naturally inclined to be classified as palm mouse user. This means that I prefer to rest my entire palm completely over the surface of the mouse, instead of just using my fingers for grip. In this case, the Mionix Naos 5000 is a perfect fit for users with these preferences such as myself. A large, curved resting surface is designed for the palm, while a series of curvatures for the thumb, ring finger, and pinkie are set on the side where they belong -- it is hard to not to admit how comfortable this mouse is. This design makes it both usable and an excellent experience at the same time; with the added grip from the rubber coating, this makes the Mionix Naos 5000 one of the most comfortable mice I have used in a while. This comfort does not come without a small sacrifice though -- because this mouse has to accommodate the two fingers as mentioned and the pinkie, it is just a wee bit wider than the G500, and may be an issue if one dislikes the idea of a physically larger mouse. In no way is it too big or even too bulky in my opinion; I had no issue at all with the size and I don't think it is that large of an issue either because the Naos 5000 is designed for desktop use. This mouse is much more comfortable to use than the Logitech G500 in my opinion, due to the softer touch surface.
The target market for this mouse is obviously the gamer, and less so office users. However, this does not mean that the Mionix Naos 5000 is bad for day to day office or productivity usage. All I had to do for everyday usage was to lower its sensitivity, or in my case, change to a different profile, because who would honestly want to move a mouse around in Windows at 5040 dpi for office work, haha. In fact, I actually found it pretty good in this area. As far as gaming is concerned, I'm not going to say I instantly got tons of headshots and had a KD ratio of 100 or something, since it is certainly not a consistent objective measurement, but I did notice that the higher dpi did take some time to get used to. But after some mastering, it increased my reaction time, and made me an even better gamer if it was possible (I kid, I kid, but seriously though this mouse is pretty good in terms of gaming). With the 1000Hz polling rate and 1 ms rated response, the Mionix Naos was responsive and snappy. Speed was not an issue at all, and the mouse is very precise and sharp with no 'oil slick effects' or response time issues. At 5040 dpi, the mouse was still very precise and accurate, and it did not feel out of control at any point. The flexibility allowed great potential for precise gaming and graphics editing. I have experienced zero issues in tracking when using it over our test surfaces, including a bare desk in addition to the performance surfaces. Even the side buttons worked very well in their location on the Naos 5000. Overall, the mouse was responsive and snappy, and provided great tracking consistency on each and every one of them. Of course, with all laser sensors, it has inherent limitations on tracking reflective or transparent surfaces. Realistically this is the nature of all laser mice, and most users would not use a completely transparent glass table as a tracking surface directly anyway.
The Mionix Naos 5000 is overall an exemplary mouse, but has some room for further refinement! Starting from the clean and excellent packaging, minimalist design, overall comfort, to great build quality, the Mionix Naos 5000 is a very commendable product. The 128KB onboard memory for saving up to five separate profiles is an excellent touch, and we have certainly appreciated this feature when we first experienced a similar implementation on the Razer Copperhead back in 2006. Tracking sensitivity of up to 5040 dpi is a great addition to address the gaming market; that's not to mention that Mionix actually allows independent sensitivity on the X and Y axis as well! Gaming performance is very good, and its excellent comfort makes this mouse a viable choice for day-to-day usage. Tack that on with the excellent glide provided by the polytetrafluoroethylene feet, and we have an excellent mouse here! The software obtained from the Mionix website also features a very good profiling system. However, this mouse does not quite reach 'perfection' per se (Not that we expect any product to be absolutely perfect anyway, haha). The weight configuration system certainly has quite a bit of room for improvements. For one thing, the plastic lids are hard to pop out, and the weights are hard to put in. Secondly, the weights also only come in one size, and it would be nice to see some more precise customization options. It would also have been nice to have additional preset sensitivity steppings rather than being limited to the standard three. An inclusion of a separate hardware profile changer button would be highly appreciated, since having hardware profiles and not being able to change them without firing up the driver package makes it a lot less beneficial than it could be. When we look at the bigger picture, the Mionix Naos 5000 is overall a very good gaming mouse -- and should be taken as a serious consideration for any enthusiast looking for a high performance and comfortable mouse -- even with a street price of $99 at the time of publication!
Special thanks to Calle over at Mionix for making this review possible.
APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 7.2/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Mionix Naos 5000 is an exemplary gaming mouse that combines excellent build quality, great all round performance, and overall comfort.
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