- Oct 24, 2007
Mionix NAOS 3200 High Performance Gaming Mouse
In recent years gaming mice have become extremely popular with mainstream, non gaming consumers as they usually combine great ergonomics with killer features. An AutoCAD or Photoshop user is just as likely to find benefits with these devices as any self styled gamer. As such, this niche is burgeoning with relative newcomers who all want a slice of the action. Some of these newcomers will bring bold and refreshing ideas to the table and thus will not only make it but take a slice of the pie away from more firmly entrenched competitors. Today we will be looking at one such newcomer named Mionix. While not exactly a household name to many, Mionix is making a break for dominance in the mid tier market with their new NAOS 3200 “High Performance” gaming mouse.
Packaging & Software
<p style="text-align: justify;"><a rel="nofollow" href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/Mionix/box.jpg" class="highslide" onclick="return hs.expand(this)"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/Mionix/box_sm.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 0 0 4px 15px; clear: both;"></a>Unlike some mice, such as the Alienware TactX Laser Gaming Mouse we reviewed recently, the NAOS 3200 comes in a simple and user friendly packaging container. While not flashy, the black box with its subdued colour scheme will make it stand out amongst the typical ultra flashy faire found on retail shelves. Unfortunately, the innards of this box don’t contain anything but the mouse itself; there are no accessories to speak of and Mionix didn’t even include a software installation CD. There is however a slip of paper included which directs you to their website for driver, software and multilingual manual downloads.
The downloaded software is actually quite intuitive and takes up next to no system resources while it is running as a background application. Unfortunately, the software’s svelte system footprint seems to be the result of excess pruning since some basic and crucial features have been left flapping the in wind.
To begin with, we should mention that the $60 NAOS doesn’t include onboard memory so there is no option to save preset profiles on the mouse itself. This isn’t a huge issue per se but considering most of the competition does indeed have this feature, its omission does need to be mentioned.
Consisting of the aptly named “Mouse Settings”, “Custom Settings”, “Macro Settings” and “Support” the four tab layout is easily one of the most straightforward we have seen in a while and it really does help guide first time users around the interface. The Mouse Settings section starts things off on the right foot by allowing for quick and easy button customization, scroll speed adjustment and other basic layout tweaks. It does remind us a lot of how Logitech does things which is a good thing in our books even though the overall feel of this section doesn’t quite have the polish of Setpoint.
While the Mouse Settings section is well done, the Custom Settings tab holds a litany of disappointment. The software that’s included with a true gaming-grade mouse should include a veritable bevy of features and tools for you to customize its look and functionality. The Mionix software doesn’t.
The lack of onboard memory could have been mitigated somewhat by a robust number of customization options but things fall on their face in short order indeed. One of the most basic items of any gaming mouse software is its ability to modify DPI settings to fit one’s needs but Mionix has severely limited their options. 3200, 1600 and 800 are the only DPI options available which is just staggeringly limited in our opinion. To assume such a small number of options will be enough for everyone seems incredibly shortsighted since three isn’t even enough for our casual usage needs let alone those of a hard core gamer. The LED settings aren’t all that great either since you get three colors to choose from which aren’t synced with DPI settings. If you don’t want the LED on, your only option is to turn it off completely for all three DPI levels. Forget about having two colours for the alternative DPI settings and setting the LED off for the one you plan on gaming with.
Things get back onto the positive side of the fence within the Macro Settings tab since the process for defining and applying macros is quite well done. Unfortunately, this process still falls well short of the one offered by other gaming mice such as the Gigabyte GMM8000X and the Cooler Master Storm Sentinel.
To wrap things up, the final tab is straightforward since it does exactly what its title suggests: it allows for software updates to be downloaded and gives basic information about the mouse and the software stack.
Our Experiences with the Mionix NAOS 3200
The overall ergonomic design of the NAOS 3200 certainly is interesting. It has obviously been designed for right handed users with a focus upon gaming enthusiasts who like to “palm” or grip the mouse with their entire hand. This means the overall design incorporates a well curved thumb rest area along with an integrated pinky and second last finger grip area molded directly into the mouse. Right handed people who grip their mouse in a standard fashion may like this design but it also excludes all left handed players along with a portion of the gaming populace as well. If you are serious about your gaming and do not find a palm grip comfortable, this is simply not the mouse for you. Interchangeable grips would have alleviated this issue but it would have also added to the overall cost of the NAOS as well.
When it came to the buttons and their layout, we were surprised to see that Mionix has opted for a very minimalist approach. You get your typical dual thumb (forward/back) buttons, main left and right button, a scroll wheel and two rather large buttons directly behind the wheel which in their default setup are for scrolling up/down through the three possible DPI modes. There are no dedicated macro buttons or any other special buttons to be found anywhere. If by some strange reason you want to actually use any of the macros you created you will have to assign it to one of the above-mentioned buttons so in all likelihood this will mean giving up the DPI changing abilities. Minimal options may be perfect for some people but the NAOS’ layout may leave others yearning for a few more buttons.
<p style="text-align: justify;"><a rel="nofollow" href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/Mionix/front.jpg" class="highslide" onclick="return hs.expand(this)"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/Mionix/front_sm.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 0 15px 4px 0; clear: both;"></a><a rel="nofollow" href="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/Mionix/buttons3.jpg" class="highslide" onclick="return hs.expand(this)"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Mouse/Mionix/buttons3_sm.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 0 15px 4px 0; clear: both;"></a>The NAOS 3200 does not include weight customization options either and since it is only a moderate 99 grams you may find it too light for certain tasks. This is another knock against this product as quite a few of its direct competitors do have some form of rudimentary weight customization system.
Also less than impressive is the optical sensor Mionix has opted for. For a mouse which costs as much as this one we have to admit that 3200 DPI is on the low end of the competitive spectrum. It should still be more than enough for most needs but once again nothing really stands out here to make this mouse a cut above any others on the market.
Mionix does market this as a gaming mouse and it is here that we had high hopes for it. Sadly, it failed to live up to our expectations in this field as well. To be fair, the large well designed Teflon feet do allow it to glide over most surfaces with absolute ease. However, on any surface that is less than perfect the NAOS 3200 doesn’t perform up to our expectations and even looses tracking precision from time to time. This is not acceptable in any modern peripheral let alone one marketed as a "high performance" one.
When it comes to the overall feel of the NAOS over prolonged periods of time our experience can be classified by one word: painful. This is actually the first mouse we have ever tested which proved to be impossible to hold in a semi-comfortable position. It was even passed around our usual group of friends who all reported the same experience. These ergonomic issues combined with the lack of macro button options and lack of weight customization made for easily downright frustrating experience.
While nearly everything we said above may sound negative in some way, there is quite a bit to like about the NAOS as well. Its cord is ultra long at just over six feet which makes for extremely easy routing in and around any desk. The rubberized surface finish is also one of the better ones we have come across since it provides excellent grip even when a gamer is sweating bullets.
The peripheral market truly is a dog eat dog world and Mionix waded into it feet first. As you can imagine, this was a massive risk on their part and in our opinion it didn’t exactly pay off this time. The NAOS 3200 had the potential to be an absolutely killer product but it simply fell short in many key categories.
While highly subjective, proper ergonomics are a must for any peripheral and that goes double for gaming mice. The NAOS left us scratching our heads in this category as well since everyone who used it complained about hand or wrist strain after less than an hour of usage. Now we’re sure there will be people out there who don’t have an issue with the NAOS’ ergonomics –hell, there may be some who love its oddball curvature- but we think it is highly uncomfortable.
Even if we don’t factor the comfort level (or lack thereof) into the equation, the NAOS 3200 is still a mouse without onboard memory that sports an extremely basic yet admittedly well designed driver / software stack. In addition, there aren’t any weight customizability options and its macro functions are severely curtailed by the number of buttons available. Considering the long list of similarly-priced products like the Cooler Master Inferno, Cyborg R.A.T 3 and even the newly-reduced Logitech G9x all have these abilities and then some, spending $60 on the NAOS 3200 is hard to justify.
Any peripheral review usually has a certain amount of subjectivity built into it and this one has been no different. For us this mouse didn’t live up to expectations but for others the NAOS’ unique shape could be absolutely perfect. If anything, this should be taken as a learning experience for Mionix since there is plenty here to build upon for their upcoming products.
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