Endgame Gear XM1 Review
As with most other products and industries, the gaming mouse market goes in waves. These days it's all about the performance product. Gone are the days where companies are trying to market spaceship-looking designs complete with added weights and a bunch of extra buttons: stripped-down performance is the name of the game.
Endgame Gear is a German company that fully agrees with this design philosophy, as we can see by looking at their very first product. The XM1 enters the scene with some impressive specs: it's a lightweight mouse with a flawless sensor, pre-sorted switches, PTFE feet and their patented analogue technology which results in a response time of less than one millisecond. Is all of this enough to consider taking a look at this mouse or should you skip this one? Read our review to find out!
"The German-engineered XM1 combines a patented analogue switch contact algorithm with pre-sorted mechanical OMRON 50M switches. The result is an unparalleled switch response time of less than 1 millisecond."Endgame Gear, on their website
Endgame Gear XM1 - First Impressions
There's not really a whole lot to notice about the XM1 at first sight. It has no visible RGB strips, no crazy colors or coating, and the branding stays limited to the (pretty subtle looking) Endgame Gear logo on the back of the mouse.
Turning the mouse around gives away that it's not a regular office mouse; on the bottom you see the white PTFE feet along with DPI and polling rate indicator LEDs but aside from this the XM1 is as basic as it gets. That's not a bad thing: simplicity is key when it comes to this type of performance mouse.
The XM1 is a medium sized ambidextrous mouse (the overall feeling of the shape is similar to stuff like the Steelseries Sensei and Zowie S) that comes in at just 69 grams on my scale despite the fact that it doesn't have any holes in the shell. That's some impressive engineering, doubly so because it's also very sturdy, though more on that later on in the review.
There's not a lot to be found inside the box of the XM1. You get the mouse and a little card explaining how you can switch between different DPI and polling rate levels and that's it. That's okay since you don't really need anything else to start fragging but for a product that's this focused on competitive performance I would've liked to see some extra feet in the packaging.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
The XM1 is an ambidextrous mouse (it only has side buttons on the left though) with what I feel is a very nice design. It's pretty straightforward with no massive curves anywhere, though the flare out at the back combined with the fact that the actual grip portion of the mouse isn't as wide as a top view would suggest (the mouse curves inwards at the middle, with the top part staying wide to make it easier to pick up) gives it something of a 'formed' feeling that I really like.
It's all gradual with no sudden changes so while it's perhaps not the most neutral feeling ambi mouse in the world (the hump towards the back also enforces this) it's definitely a rather safe shape if you're asking me, provided you like a bit of a formed feeling.
The matte black coating is fine performance-wise; I had no grip issues under any circumstances but it does have a tendency to pick up oils and sweat easily. That's something of a pet peeve of mine and while I can't knock the mouse too hard for this since it doesn't exactly impact performance I obviously mention it since I know I'm not the only one who finds this annoying.
The feet, then. These are great. They're made out of pure PTFE so they glide extremely well. They're not the fastest stock feet I've seen recently but they are without a doubt among the best when it comes to consistency and feeling and I don't have any complaints here at all.
Buttons and scroll wheel
Endgame Gear uses the buttons on this mouse as one of the main points of focus for their marketing, so they better deliver. And they do, in all the ways that matter. When it comes to the overall feeling of the clicks the XM1 does great; there's little to no travel, almost no sideways play and both buttons actuate with a pleasantly crispy click.
The clicks in here are on the heavy side but that's not a problem for me as I am not a huge fan of extremely light mouse clicks anyway. Underneath the buttons you'll find pre-sorted Omron switches that are paired with a patented analogue switch contact to achieve a response time of less than 1 millisecond. In theory this should give you an advantage, as a shorter response time is obviously always better, but in practice I personally don't really notice this.
Good gaming mice already have response times that are way shorter than what the average human can notice so I doubt anyone will greatly benefit from this technology in actual games, but that doesn't mean that I don't applaud the innovation here. It's always important to keep pushing the industry forward and if Endgame Gear can deliver a mouse that responds faster than others without compromising on the feeling of the clicks and the lifespan of the switches then why not do it, right? It might only make a difference in theory, but it's still nice to see.
On to the scroll wheel we go. It's a tiny bit too small for me personally but it does feel extremely nice to use. It scrolls smoothly and quietly and there's enough definition between the steps to accurately use it for things such as switching between spells or weapons or what have you. It could be a bit lighter to press if you're asking me but that's really just a minor nitpick.
Both side buttons are positioned nicely and they're easy to distinguish but they're not equal as far as the actual performance goes. The button closest to the top of the mouse feels fine. There's a bit of travel (both pre and post) but nothing extreme, but the other button tells a different story. It feels a bit wobbly and if you press it towards the back it travels into the shell quite a bit. Couple that with the fact that it doesn't feel quite as nice as its neighbor when actuating and you can imagine that I'm not a fan at all.
All in all the XM1 does a good job here. The main clicks are among the nicest feeling clicks I've experienced recently and it's cool to see that they achieved that while also bringing something new (the analogue switch) to the table. Aside from the back side button everything else feels up to par.
Quality and cable
This part of the review is where a lot of newer companies tend to show their lack of experience but the XM1 is remarkably well built. Tapping and shaking the mouse doesn't make any noise at all and squeezing the mouse also doesn't cause the shell to flex or creak. I'm really impressed with the build quality, even more so when you consider the fact that this mouse weighs only 69 grams.
Something odd that I noticed is that when I rotated the mouse (this isn't something that I usually test for; I caught this by accident) I can hear what I can only describe as some very small particles move around inside the shell. This is only audible when I hold the mouse right next to my ear so it's not annoying and obviously the mouse performs fine on all fronts so perhaps some plastic shavings or something like that got caught inside my copy. In any case: no harm done.
The cable, then. This is one of those rubber cables that just under a year ago would be considered one of the best in the business, but as it stands we've seen some great breakthroughs in the cable department over the past months and the reality is that this one isn't up to par with what competitors are offering. That doesn't mean that it's a bad cable though. If you put it in a decent bungee it's unlikely to offend you in any real way, but for a product that's this focused on competitive performance I would've loved to see a lighter paracord style cable. This cable is passable, even if only just.
Performance and sensor
Inside the Endgame Gear XM1 you'll encounter the 3389 sensor. That one is, as should reasonably be expected from any decent and recent gaming mouse, flawless in its performance. You'll experience no angle snapping or acceleration here and that's just the way it should be.
Endgame Gear does provide software for this product, but it's rudimentary at best. You can change the DPI of the different steps and also heighten the LOD by one millimeter but that's about it.
It's pretty obvious that this mouse was meant as a mostly plug and play peripheral since you can change the polling rate and DPI (it comes with the usual 400, 800, 1600, and 3200 DPI steps by default) on the device itself and that's fine with me.
Going for a basic mouse with no other features and focusing on competitive performance is a design choice like any other, and I personally don't need anything other than a way to change the DPI to my preferred 1600 on a gaming mouse so I don't feel like anything's lacking here. Do be wary that there's no way to record macros and what not in the software in case you're someone who's into that.
Due to the rather safe ambidextrous shape along with the middle of the road size of this mouse it can suit a wide variety of different grip styles.
If you're a palm gripper you might want to be careful; there is a bit of a hump to the design here but it probably won't be enough to fill your palm completely, unless your hands are on the smaller side.
I try to stay away from saying 'mouse X is good for grip Y and size Z' since everyone is different and preferences regarding size and shape vary wildly, but I can see this be an ideal mouse for a lot of claw grippers due to the support that the hump offers, and for fingertip grippers with larger hands. That said: I do encourage everyone to make their own conclusions on this front; use this part as a guideline but don't take it as anything definitive.
Conclusion & Recommendation
This is a really promising first attempt from Endgame Gear. As expected from a first release there are some kinks that need to be ironed out before it can really roll with the big boys but the potential is certainly there.
On top of being lightweight without having to resort to cutting holes in the shell it has a really pleasant and comfortable shape, great scroll wheel, great feet, and it innovates by bringing these sub-1ms response time clicks to the scene so the XM1 has a lot going for it. Sadly it's held back a bit by the cable and, to a lesser extent, the side buttons and coating (though I'd like to emphasize that the coating performs absolutely fine) so whether or not you like this one will depend on how important these factors are to you personally.
Nevertheless: this is a good gaming mouse and a more than worthy first attempt and I can't wait to see what Endgame Gear has in store for us in the future.