Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
In the review of the Creative Sound BlasterX Vanguard K08, Aaron pointed out all the corners of the keyboard were cut off, leaving zero ninety degree corners on the edges. The design of the Siege M04 is consistent with the Vanguard K08. There are no ninety degree corners on the mouse. The front of the mouse is shaped like a spearhead, which is a nice gaming product feature. The color of the mouse is black. In my personal opinion, black is the best color if you want to emphasize your shining RGB lighting effects. Yes, this time we have RGB. From the above picture, we can see the RGB lighting is around the edge of the bottom of the mouse, and a little slope is there to help the lower level RGB to be more observable. In this photo, you can only see a little bit of the RGB strip at the back of the mouse. Later, we will see what the RGB looks like when plugged in. The "X" logo that represents the "Sound BlasterX" is located at the middle left of the mouse. Right now, the logo is not illuminated. It will shine when the mouse is plugged in.
The Sound BlasterX Siege M04 measures in at 135.6 mm in length, 67.65 mm in width, 43 mm in height, and weighs 143g. The size is big enough to be considered as a large palm grip mouse. In fact, the ergonomic design of the Siege M04 provides pretty good support for the palm to rest on the back of the mouse. The above photo shows the mouse is not symmetric, that is, on the right side there is a little bulge for the palm to rest on. The bulge of the mouse does not seem to be very big. This may cast doubt on the palm supporting performance. I will discuss the actual user experience of the product later, and see if the mouse can provide enough support to the user's hand or not. The mouse looks very elegant in my opinion though. Due to the non-symmetrical design, this product obviously targets right handed users. Left handed users may need to find another mouse to buy, haha.
As a wired mouse, the channel that allows the mouse and the computer to talk to each other is the USB cable. The Siege M04 is equipped with a braided cable. The cable is lightweight and soft, therefore I do not feel any extra dragging force caused by the wire. The mouse comes with a 2 m cable, so it can surely reach a distant computer, but you may have trouble storing the mouse since there is no Velcro strap, meaning the cable can easily tangle. The USB connector of the Siege M04 is not gold plated. It is well known the gold plated connector does not help you practically, it just looks good. In fact, when the mouse is plugged in, no one can tell if a connector is gold plated or not anyway.
The Sound BlasterX Siege M04 features high quality switches rated for fifty million clicks each. Three of the most important buttons of the mouse -- the left click button, right click button, and scroll wheel -- are also well designed on the Siege M04 in terms of texture and layout. The left and right buttons have the same gritty texture as the rest of body. This feature actually makes sense, since it maintains the consistency of the mouse in terms of color and texture. In the middle of the two buttons is the half-translucent rubber scroll wheel surrounded with a black rubber ring, LED backlit DPI indication bar area, and a three-level DPI cycle button underneath the scroll wheel. The small button is used to change the sensitivity. Each time the DPI is changed, the number of illuminated DPI indication bars and the lighting patterns of the mouse backlight on the bottom will also change. At the left side of the mouse, there is a programmable button, and you can easily program it to whatever you want it to do through the GUI. It is worth mentioning almost all the buttons on the Siege M04 have no ninety degree corners, which is consistent with the overall design of the mouse.
The LED strip on the bottom is RGB that can emit 16.8 million different colors. I would like to say by having 16.8 million choices of colors, you will be able to have a different LED setting for 46,207 years if you change the setting once a day. My point is, it is more than enough to allow you to have your favorite color settings. The fully customizable Aurora reactive RGB is definitely one of the major highlights of this mouse. With the help of the GUI, the lighting effects can be fully customized. By default, those two buttons on the left side of the mouse are for forward and backward navigation, which should not come as a surprise to you. The navigation buttons are pretty big, allowing the user to easily locate these buttons. Underneath the navigation buttons are textured grips. Without using the real rubber for grips, it is safe to say that the whole mouse is made out of plastic, which is great for weight reduction.
Flipping over the mouse, you will see another nice feature to it: four large Teflon feet. The Teflon feet can significantly minimize the friction between contacting surfaces, which makes the handling of the mouse smooth. The area of each Teflon foot is large enough to provide good support and gliding performance. Based on Creative's website, the sensor used is the PMW3360 infrared LED gaming grade sensor, which is specified for 12,000 DPI sensitivity. Exactly how they cracked it to 12,000 DPI is not something I know about, but it looks like it is more for marketing than anything else. People may not use the mouse at maximum sensitivity, but at lower and more common DPI settings, say 1000 DPI, the precision performance of a higher sensitivity sensor may be better than that of a lower sensitivity economy sensor. Combined with the maximum 1000 Hz polling rate, the Sound BlasterX Siege M04 should do its job as a gaming mouse.
The Sound BlasterX Siege M04 is mostly plug-and-play. If you want to customize the settings, such as the seven programmable buttons, DPI level, polling rate, and color setting of the RGB lighting, the downloadable software is required. You can download it from Creative’s website easily, so there is no need for any physical discs. The GUI has lots of functions, but it looks very intuitive in my opinion. My first impression of the GUI was the Nissan GT-R's multi-function display. The theme color is dark gray. The main menu is located at the top left of the interface. The GUI is pretty straightforward to use, as it is not rocket science. Basically, you do not need to spend a lot of time on figuring out how it works. Once you have chosen your settings, everything will be stored in the built-in memory of the mouse. It is worth noting that, if you do not want to mess your settings up, you can always go to the website to download the Sound BlasterX Siege M04 Experience Guide.
Remember we have the backlit DPI indicator bars in the middle of the left and right buttons? There are three bars associated with three DPI settings. The three-level DPI cycle button provides on-the-fly DPI switching. Of course, the DPI value of each level can be set in the GUI. Once all the settings are stored in the built-in memory of the mouse, users can switch among the three settings of DPI on-the-fly by pressing the DPI cycle button. Other important features such as lighting, macros, acceleration and deceleration, polling rate, lift-off distance, and the angle snapping can all be programmed in the GUI. Generally speaking, the provided software is reasonably powerful. You can basically customize everything on your mouse.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests