|Manufacturer: Cyber Snipa|
|Min OS X: Any Version Requires: USB Port|
In much the same way that computer users tend to adhere to Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, or one of the various Linux distributions, PC gamers have traditionally been split into three distinct camps: Logitech fanboys, Razer freaks, and Microsoft geeks. Beginning this year, Cyber Snipa hopes to break that deadlock by becoming a viable, fourth option.
Software: A Route to the PC Gaming Throne?Cyber Snipa is a subsidiary of Flexiglow, a popular supplier of OEM and retail gaming peripherals and accessories. Their latest product, the Stinger gaming mouse, is a right-handed, six-button design with on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment controls, an interchangeable weight system, and a 3200-dpi laser sensor. Clearly, a feature set of this magnitude this puts the Cyber Snipa Stinger on the level with its potential competitors--at least, from a "feature set" standpoint. One level of abstraction up, Cyber Snipa has included the Macro Manager, a somewhat clunky control panel for Windows XP and Vista that enables users to tune their mice in the usual ways: adjusting the acceleration curve, modifying the polling rate, storing key-bindings, and swapping the functionality of buttons. That's not all it can do, however. For starters, instead of limiting the user to a global data set containing one resolution, polling rate, and acceleration setting, the Macro Manager gives users the freedom to create up to four, color-coded configurations that are stored in the Stinger's memory and can be recalled at the touch of a button. In other words, if you like, you can use this feature to cycle through four DPI resolutions just like every other mouse, or you can use it to switch between four entirely different configurations that suit your favorite applications (or even family members).
Second, the Macro Manager supports (you guessed it) macros, and up to three colored-coded "modes." These modes, like the behavioral configurations before them, are stored in memory and can cycled by repeatedly clicking a dedicated button on the top of the mouse. While the ability to bind macros to keystrokes isn't exactly a groundbreaking technology, when you combine this functionality with the ability to cycle through modes at will, macros suddenly become a whole lot more useful. Instead of sacrificing a button or two for a bit of programming that only works with a specific application, modes allow you to fully customize your mouse while retaining the essential functionality that you require for normal, day-to-day activity. When this feature is combined with the ability to cycle through up to four behavioral configurations, it is clear that gamers that demand extreme customizability have found an ally in Cyber Snipa. All it not coming up roses, yet, for their software is currently a lot more chaotic than intuitive (the learning curve is about ten minutes long). Still, that will likely change with time.
Analyzing the Stinger's PunchHardware manufacturers usually don't fare too well when they begin building mice for the first time. We witnessed these teething issues recently in our review of the Saitek GM3200 gaming mouse, hence, we took extra caution when evaluating the Stinger. While we haven't yet had a chance to evaluate Cyber Snipa's two older mice, we are pleased to report that the Stinger is a great piece of machinery. Unlike many consumer-grade products, the Stinger doesn't rattle when shaken or flex when squeezed, and it exudes quality craftsmanship from every angle. Every seam is tight and aligned, the point where the cord meets the body of the mouse looks sturdy, and even the weight cartridge tucked away in the Stinger's body is cleanly cut from a thick block of rubber, not foam. When it comes to design, the Cyber Snipa team clearly has a level of maturity that belies their years. Thanks to an ergonomically-sculpted shape and smart material selection, the Stinger is a pleasure to use, and stays that way all day long. Every button has a light and nimble response, and for the first time ever, we've found a tilting scroll-wheel that's fast, easy-to-click, and doesn't break after a couple of weeks. Our only source of concern in terms of long-term durability is the adhesive on the red, rubberized grips. As of this writing, we've pounded the Stinger for several weeks and have not noticed any degradation; however, if significant problems arise later this year, Inside Mac Games will publish a news item containing its findings. As of this time, we see no cause for concern, and Cyber Snipa's one year warranty indicates that they are determined to back up their products with a solid guarantee of quality.