Endgame Gear XM1r Review
Endgame Gear's XM1 line has been one of the most recommended symmetrical/claw grip mice of the past months, and that's interesting. It's not often that a company that hasn't released a mouse in the past knocks it out of the park on their first try, doubly so when they come out with an original shape design. Ever since the original XM1 was so well received by reviewers and enthusiasts alike, the German company has been working hard to implement the changes that their fans wanted to see.
After the release of the RGB version, which contained a number of improvements over the regular one but of course was heavier due to the added lights, we now get the XM1r. With a new sensor, new switches, new cord, hybrid skate design, improved side buttons and scroll button, and sensor and firmware improvements this should be the ultimate version of Endgame Gear's XM1 line. We've sent one over to our reviewer to find out if it really is.
"The XM1r is a refresh of the acclaimed Endgame Gear XM1 Gaming Mouse. With the inclusion of the new PixArt PAW3370 optical sensor and Kailh GM 8.0 switches, the XM1r has been designed with precision and style in mind."Endgame Gear
Endgame Gear XM1r - First Impressions
I will start with a small disclaimer: the mouse that I've been testing is not a production sample. It's very close though: the main difference is that the side buttons aren't the updated ones on my copy, and that there's no software for me to test as of yet. I will update the review accordingly once I get to test the software (and I will speak about the new features that are coming in the review itself) but just be aware of the fact that my copy is slightly different from the ones you'll be able to order.
With that out of the way we can go to my first impressions. To be honest, my real first impression was 'again?' This is the fourth version of this mouse that I'm reviewing, but I don't think that that's necessarily a bad thing. This company listens to its customers, and those customers asked for an RGB version (which they delivered some time ago) and have mentioned a couple of updates they'd like to see over the past few months. All of that culminates into this mouse, which is the new flagship XM1 and as such will replace the older versions. I know that some people will be a bit miffed: 'I just bought the XM1 and now they come out with a new version already?' is a comment I can basically already hear some people type, but I think that's the wrong way to look at it.
Tech moves at an astonishing pace, and consumers almost always find things they'd like to see changed with their favorite products as new technologies and parts emerge. Endgame Gear is a company that listens to its consumers. They released the RGB version, for example. I did not recommend that one unless you really wanted the RGB but it's evident that there were a lot of people out there who wanted it. The RGB version had some improvements over the regular version that I did want to see carried over to the normal XM1 though, and that's where we are now.
I look at this way of creating products a bit like I look at phones (I know it's not the exact same, don't get angry with me if you're a phone fan): you have to see if 'this year's updates' are worth it to you. Do you really want the new Kailh switches? Go for it! Do you absolutely love the new colorways? Yeah sure, get the new one! If you don't find any new features here that wow you though you don't have to buy this one. The fact that an updated version is now out doesn't make your 'old' mouse a useless brick all of a sudden. It just means that Endgame Gear is keeping up with the market and making sure that their flagship mouse is always up to date.
I apologize for the small rant, but I found myself thinking 'did they really need to bring out an updated version again' when they asked me if I wanted to review it so I thought I'd write down my opinion on the whole thing here.
No changes have been made to the shape of the XM1 at all. It's a medium sized ambidextrous mouse that looks rather 'egg shaped' from the top but actually is a lot more curved than you'd think, but more on that later. The most immediately noticeable changes have been made to the cable (which is now a bit stiffer and more durable, according to Endgame), the main buttons, the skates (you can choose between four small skates and two large ones) and the available 'colors'.
As mentioned before: the side buttons have also been updated but that wasn't the case yet on my review copy so I will not talk about those throughout the review.
Endgame Gear mice don't come with a lot of extras. There's no 'thank you so much for supporting us' note or whatever, nor are there stickers or other promotional materials in the box. That's fine with me, as you may know if you read my reviews regularly. What you may also know if you do that, is that I love it when a pair of replacement mouse feet is included in the box, and while that's not quite what they did here they are offering a second pair of gliders so that you can choose whether you want two large skates or four smaller ones. Love it.
On the photo above I had already swapped out the 4 small feet that are on the mouse by default for the 2 bigger ones, just FYI.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
I apologize if parts of this review seem a bit 'copy and paste' if you've read my other reviews on the XM1 mice but it gets kind of hard to write different things about the same shape all the time.
As you can see on the photo to the right, the XM1r looks like one of those 'egg mice' without very many curves. Looks can deceive, however, and this becomes apparent once you grab the XM1r. The shell widens pretty substantially at the back (and a bit at the front), making this a lot more curved than you would initially give it credit for. That, combined with the fairly decent hump, has catapulted this shape to be one of the most recommended claw grip mice on the planet, and that's a reputation that it deserves. For me personally it just goes a bit too wide at the back, but aside from that this is a fantastic shape.
The mouse that I got to test came in the new 'Dark Frost' colorway, which is this semi-transparent matte shell. The coating is good: I and my semi-sweaty hands have absolutely no issues with the performance of it, and it also handles sweat and finger oils rather gracefully. It's not the best feeling coating I've ever used (it can get slightly greasy if I'm gaming for longer periods of time) but I wouldn't have any issues using this as my main mouse at all so as far as I'm concerned this coating is tip-top.
On the bottom you originally find four small feet, but there is room (and cutouts) for two larger ones as well. I almost immediately went with those, as I personally prefer the glide feeling of larger feet, but it's nice to see that neither set was treated as an afterthought. As you can see in the picture of the feet there are cutouts for both types, meaning that you don't have to awkwardly slap one set onto the bottom plate somewhere for it to work out.
As far as the glide goes these work great. I do have to note that I felt some scratchiness on the X axis if I put a lot of pressure on my mouse but it's not something that personally bothered me. Do take note of this if you're someone who uses a lot of downward force when swiping or aiming though. As with other XM1 mice these feet aren't the absolute fastest in the business, but I don't mind that as I am personally not a fan of super slick mouse feet. In a nutshell: these feel great, but on my copy I did notice some scratchiness when a lot of pressure was applied. Maybe they could round the edges a bit more.
Buttons and scroll wheel
Underneath the main buttons of the XM1r you will now find the Kailh 8.0 switches. These were selected because they offer a more consistent click quality than the Omron 50m switches that were found in the XM1 v1 and v2. I should say that the main switches in my sample unit have a higher actuation range than the ones that will be found in the production units but even with that added disclaimer I should say that I'm really pleased with how the buttons feel.
The main clickers produce a snappy and satisfying click when actuated and offer, for me at least, pretty much the perfect balance between lightness and heaviness as far as the required force to press them goes. I am absolutely not a switch aficionado (I don't ever swap switches in my mice for aftermarket ones, for example) but these should absolutely work for the vast majority of people, unless you prefer featherweight lightness in your switches.
As I've come to expect from Endgame Gear the actual buttons themselves are A grade as well. There's no side-, post- or pre travel to speak of here so the overall click quality is up there with the very best of the market.
I won't comment on the side buttons because, well, it'd be useless (you're getting different ones if you decide to buy this mouse) but supposedly these will be improved too, and if I go by what I am getting on this sample unit (a tiny bit of post travel, but nothing out of the ordinary) this will be a fine set of side buttons. Again, though: I can't know that, so consider this part 'unreviewed.'
The scroll wheel feels, as was the case with previous versions, pretty darn great too. It's quiet, but offers a decent amount of tactility and that combined with the rubber coating and texturing makes for a wheel that's easy to use and very consistent, both ingame and while browsing. What's a bit of an issue here (and I had this with the RGB version too) is that it feels extremely easy to click. With the RGB version I even accidentally clicked the wheel when I wanted to scroll until I got used to it, but this isn't a problem for me with the XM1r for some reason, making it one of the better wheels I've used in recent times.
All in all this is exactly what I expected: the people at Endgame Gear really know what they're doing and haven't managed to mess up an 'upgrade' before so this all feels great. It is a bit of a shame that I don't get to test the new side buttons though.
The sound test on the right in order: left click, right click, scrolling down, scrolling up, middle mouse button, mouse 4, mouse 5.
Quality and cable
As I've come to expect from this company I had absolutely no issues with the overall build quality of this thing. It's built like a rock, with no shell flex or anything rattling on the inside at all. Even after reviewing all these different editions I am still impressed by the weight and overall build quality of the XM1, even more so because they don't need to cut holes in their shell to achieve this light weight.
The cable has seen a bit of a change. According to Endgame Gear they've now made it more durable which, if you know your cables, means that it'll be stiffer. When comparing this cord to the one that you get on the XM1 v2 it indeed feels a bit stiffer, but even so it's still one of the best cables on the market. It aces the old 'flexibility test' (whereby you move the cable all around and see if the mouse moves much) and some people would even argue that a tiny bit of added rigidity is a welcome addition to this cable, seeing as some had issues with the more flexible cable ending up underneath their mouse after an aggressive and large swipe.
In short: I have no complaints about this cable at all, and even though it feels slightly different from the original Flex Cord, this 2.0 version remains one of the best stock cables out there.
Performance and sensor
The switches aren't the only internal change that Endgame Gear have made: they've also gone for the new PAW3370 sensor on the inside. This, along with the firmware improvements that they've made, results in a package with a lower overall motion delay when compared to the original XM1.
I don't have any scientific equipment to test these 'behind the comma' differences in reaction speeds, so for me personally there's not a lot of difference between the actual ingame performance of the XM1r and the regular version. This might be different if you use an XM1 as your main mouse (and you're, as such, more accustomed to how it feels and performs after using it for hundreds of hours) but I have a really hard time believing that the average user will notice any perceptible difference.
Does that mean that no one should ever bother going for a different sensor? No, of course not. It always pays off to go for the best components available if you're planning on making the best product available, so don't mistake this section as me saying 'they shouldn't have bothered.'
As far as the software goes: this wasn't available when I was doing my testing so I can't get into it too much. Endgame Gear did tell me that it's going to have all the bells and whistles such as LoD adjustment, the ability to create macros, and so on, and on top of that you'll be able to separately tweak the X and Y sens, enable angle snapping, and what not. I will update this section once I've gotten to test the new software program.
As I mentioned earlier, the XM1 series has kind of made a name for itself as the ideal claw grip mouse. I agree. The shape seems to be tailormade for people who operate with a claw grip (or use a hybrid that's predominantly claw) but if you have larger hands you can definitely use this as a fingertip mouse, and it is also great as a palm mouse for people with smaller hands. Thanks to its safe shape (as long as you don't mind the wide tail end) this will suit a big variety of grip types, in other words.
As always I want to end this section with a disclaimer: no one knows what you like. I've seen people with huge hands using tiny mice, and I've seen people with smaller hands use large and heavy ergo mice for arena shooters. This whole shape/grip thing is subjective, so take what us reviewers write or say with a grain of salt. No one knows what mouse is perfect for you except you yourself. Do feel free to ask me any questions you might have though: I always reply to questions on my reviews.
Conclusion & Recommendation
One of the best wired mice on the market seems to have only gotten better. The XM1r incorporates a lot of suggestions that fans and reviewers have made, making it a great 'best of' version of their XM1 line. I'd say that, for me, these upgrades aren't enough to recommend anyone with an XM1 v2 (which was, and still is, a top tier mouse) to blindly go out and buy the r version but of course that's up to you: if you really want these new click switches, for example, then by all means go for it.
I said it in my review of the XM1 RGB: 'if it were up to me I'd bring over these upgrades [that were made to the RGB] to the regular edition as well and leave the XM1 line at that for now' and they sure listened to that first part. I of course don't know what the future holds, but I do truly hope that the people at Endgame Gear try to explore some other ideas now that they've pretty much perfected their XM1. The sensor that they've gone for draws less power than the 3389, so I hope we'll see a wireless version of the XM1 soon, for example. Or perhaps a mini version, which is something that a lot of people have been clamoring for as well.
Aside from that I'd love to see Endgame Gear come up with a new design. They've shown that they can make one of the very best wired gaming mice on the planet and they did so with an original shell design, so it'd be interesting to see what they can do with other shapes.
This mouse should be near the top of your list if you're looking for a reliable ambidextrous gaming mouse, and at the very top if you're using a (predominantly) claw grip.