XPG Alpha Wireless Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software

Normally, ergonomic mice are not necessarily designed to have attractive appearance, and some are even strange looking, but the XPG Alpha Wireless offers both a good feel and a great look. As an ergonomic mouse, there are a lot of round curves on it to make sure the mouse grip is comfortable. In order to add some gaming-esque style to the mouse, the Alpha Wireless is designed using the Exoskeleton Design Language, as XPG calls it. Particularly for this product, there are three straight lines originated from a center-located triangular DPI toggling button. These lines divide the top surface of XPG Alpha Wireless into three major sections: The left button, right button, and palm rest. In my opinion, the XPG Alpha Wireless is a really good-looking mouse. If you go to XPG's website and check the mouse section, you will notice there is both a wired and wireless version of XPG Alpha. Today’s review unit is the wireless variant, and it comes at a higher price compared to the wired one.

The color of the mouse is black. In my personal opinion, black is the best color to emphasize the shining RGB LED lighting effects. In terms of RGB implementation, both of the wired version and the wireless version have the same design, meaning they both have three RGB lighting zones. This feature is pretty different from the Thermaltake ARGENT M5 series, where the wireless version has less lights than the wired version to reduce its energy consumption. From the above picture, we can only see the illuminated company logo on the mouse. The other backlit areas are the scroll wheel, the triangular button, and of course, the front bottom. In this photo, you can only see the XPG logo at the back of the mouse. Later, we will see what the other areas look like when plugged in.

The XPG Alpha Wireless measures in at 128mm in length, 78mm in width, and 40mm in height. The size is big enough to be considered as a palm grip mouse. In fact, the ergonomic design of the XPG Alpha Wireless provides pretty good support to your palm resting on the back of the mouse. The above photo shows the mouse is asymmetrical and biased for right-hand users only. The bulge of the mouse is not the biggest, but it does provide good palm support. I will discuss the actual user experience of the XPG Alpha Wireless later. The XPG Alpha Wireless weighs about 98g, which is no featherweight like the Cooler Master MM731 at 60g, but lighter than older wireless mice like the SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless.

As a wireless mouse, it requires wireless transceivers for it to work. Of course, the mouse transceiver is inside of the device. There is also a wireless dongle for your computer. The wireless dongle is for the 2.4GHz radio band. If your computer has Bluetooth, then the wireless connection can be established without using the dongle. Bluetooth is more energy efficient than the proprietary 2.4GHz protocol, as it features longer battery lifetime per charge due to a lower polling rate. The estimated battery life is 60 hours. The XPG Alpha Wireless is equipped with a braided cable for wired connection and battery charging. The cable is lightweight and soft; therefore, I do not feel any extra dragging force caused by the wire when plugged in, but still not as good as a paracord cable. The cable is 1.8m in length. There is no rubber strap provided for the cable, so if you want to keep it untangled when you pull the cable out of your backpack for charging, you should not put it in the same pocket as other cables. This is a USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable, as the Type-C side plugs into the mouse. Also, the USB connector is not gold plated, but gold-plated connectors do not necessarily improve performance, so I think it is fine here.

The XPG Alpha Wireless features Omron switches rated for sixty million clicks each. Three of the most important buttons of the mouse, the two primary buttons and scroll wheel, are also well-designed on the XPG Alpha Wireless when it comes to texture and layout. The left and right buttons have the same plastic texture as the rest of body to maintain the consistency of the mouse in terms of color and texture. However, I would prefer to have some grippier texture as I feel like the mouse is a little bit too slippery overall. In terms of the physical layout of the buttons, the left click button is higher than the right click button due to the ergonomic structure. In the middle of the two click buttons is the scroll wheel. The scroll wheel looks and feels good. It also has good amount of grip thanks to the rubbery texture. Under the scroll wheel there is a triangular button for toggling settings of DPI. Each time the DPI is changed, the RGB LED on that button will flash, which looks pretty cool. On left side of the mouse, there are two buttons side-by-side for you to program to whatever you want using XPG's PRIME software. By default, those two buttons on the left side of the mouse are for forward and backward navigation. The size of the navigation buttons is pretty big so that users can easily locate them. Overall, this mouse just uses hard plastic everywhere such that it lacks grip, since it does not have any rubber or grip-enhanced surfaces.

The lighting on the XPG Alpha Wireless can emit 16.8 million different colors. Numerically speaking, by having 16.8 million choices of colors, you will have a different LED setting for 46,207 years if you change the color once a day. My point is, it is more than enough to allow you to have your favorite color settings, and it is expected with all modern gaming products. With the help of PRIME, the lighting effects can be set as Static, Color Cycle, Breathing, Reactive, Rainbow Wave, Ripple, or Meteor mode. Of course, you can also define different colors for each mode, which makes it really fancy in terms of its customization capabilities.

Flipping over the mouse, you will see another nice feature to it: Three sections of large Teflon feet. Teflon can significantly minimize the friction between contacting surfaces, which makes the movement of the mouse smooth. The area of each Teflon foot is large enough to provide good support and gliding performance. There is a PixArt PAW3335 optical sensor, which is specified for 16,000 DPI sensitivity. This is the same sensor found in the ASUS ROG Keris Wireless. 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 high-performance sensor may be better than that of a lower performance economy sensor. Combined with the maximum 1000 Hz polling rate, the XPG Alpha Wireless does its job as a gaming mouse.

In terms of weight balance, the XPG Alpha Wireless is centered roughly on the sensor, which is good for a gaming mouse. During use, I did not notice any sensor rattle. From the same view, we can also see a switch to toggle the wireless connections of this mouse. It allows the user to use either the wireless dongle for higher polling rates, or the Bluetooth for better energy efficiency. The user can also turn the wireless off completely by switching to "OFF". The 2.4GHz wireless dongle can be stored in a small chamber underneath the mouse. In above picture, you can see a small cover with latch for the dongle chamber.

The XPG Alpha Wireless is mostly plug-and-play. If you want to customize its settings, such as the ten buttons’ configuration, DPI level, polling rate, and color setting of the RGB LED lighting, the PRIME software is required. You can download it from the XPG's website easily, so there is no need for any physical discs. PRIME has lots of functions, but it looks intuitive in my opinion. The theme color is black with red accents and the whole interface is well-organized. You can have up to three profiles configured for different scenarios. All three profiles are labeled, so it is pretty straightforward to use. The data in the profile can be exported to the local drive of your computer. It is worth mentioning all configurations can be changed through the wireless connection and written to the internal memory of the mouse, so there is some lag time when saving settings to the mouse.

You can set the maximum DPI from 100 all the way to 16000 with a step size of 100 DPI. The mouse can memorize one setting of sensitivity, polling rate, angle snap option, and lift off distance per profile. By setting and using different profiles, the user can really optimize the settings based on different use cases. It is a bit strange that users cannot have multiple DPI settings per profile, as I feel like the sensitivity is the most common thing to cycle in a mouse. One other important feature of PRIME is to set the low battery alarm level and the power idle interval. The current version of software does not show the actual real time battery level, which I think is a must for a wireless mouse. Generally speaking, PRIME is reasonably capable, but there is still room for improvement in the future.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests
4. Conclusion