VAXEE XE-S Wireless Review

Originally debuted as a more casual mouse that was aimed at productivity users as well as gamers, the VAXEE XE has made quite the journey. Back in February of last year, it was the first mouse in the brand’s lineup to go wireless and VAXEE seemed to let go of the productivity aspect. Today, we’re taking a look at the small version. This brings a couple of improvements and innovations (better sensor, changes to the buttons and internal shell design) over other wireless mice from VAXEE, so it’ll be interesting to see how this performs. Read our full VAXEE XE-S Wireless review to find out everything you need to know.

Also read: VAXEE XE Wireless Review

At A Glance


VAXEE XE-S Wireless

Used by 1 player ()
  • mindfreak
    mindfreak
Staff’s Choice

The VAXEE XE-S Wireless is VAXEE’s best mouse to date. Given the high standards that VAXEE have set for themselves, that also makes it one of the best gaming mice out there right now.

Pros

  • Main buttons feel great
  • Great build quality
  • Good shape
  • Great gaming performances

Cons

  • Battery life could be better
  • Expensive

First Impressions


Packaging

As is common for VAXEE, the packaging is kept to an absolute minimum. Inside the box of the VAXEE XE-S Wireless, you will find:

  • The mouse
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 4K receiver
  • QR code, leading to an online manual

I’ve said this in other VAXEE reviews so I won’t harp on about it every time, but I would love to see an actually printed quickstart guide with these mice. A set of spare feet would also be a nice to have at this price point.

The Mouse

All VAXEE mice get released in different colors nowadays. These colors are black, white, pink, yellow, blue, and orange. I received the white version for review, and I like how clean it looks. It’s not snow white, but rather an off-white, and that gives the mouse an interesting and contemporary aesthetic if you ask me. Having tried almost all of VAXEE’s available colorways, the white color is my personal favorite, closely followed by black.

Something that’s noticeable pretty much immediately is the weight. At 60 grams it’s absolutely not going to win any lightweight prizes in this day and age, but it’s evident that VAXEE is still making big steps in their journey to reduce the weight of their mice. In case you didn’t know: VAXEE has stated in the past that their target weight is 63 grams or less for their mice. Target hit.

One could argue that this isn’t ‘light enough’ but various manufacturers have recently mentioned that pros prefer (on average, of course) the weight of their mouse to be between 50-60 grams. This might change in the future, and there’ll always be outliers, but it’s interesting to see that pros don’t necessarily subscribe to the ‘lighter = better’ idea.

With all of that said: 60 grams for a wireless mouse is a very respectable weight in this day and age, so I can’t imagine anyone having a big issue with this.

Shape, Coating, and Mouse Feet


Shape

The VAXEE XE-S is the small version of the XE. That’s a mouse that was designed to appeal to a lot of different hand sizes and grip styles. The S version is the same, in a smaller package.

What you get here is a rather flat mouse with a centralized hump and a pretty noticeable widening at the back. This wide back does a great job at ‘locking in’ your palm. This makes for a mouse that, while small and nimble, has a much more locked-in feeling than similarly sized mice that don’t have this flare. Aside from the wider back portion, there are no noticeable curves to be found on the mouse. This is a neutral shape that will fit a lot of grip styles with ease.

I personally love the balance between the maneuverability of a small mouse and the more locked-in feeling of a larger mouse that you get thanks to the wider back section. For me (I have 18×10.5 cm hands and use a claw grip) this mouse feels better than the regular version, but this will of course vary from person to person.

Not all of VAXEE’s shapes are for me (that’s not a dig; that’s completely normal) but all of their designs are well thought out and logical. As far as shape design goes, VAXEE is definitely one of the best in the business right now.

Coating

VAXEE’s coating feel slightly chalky and I’ve expressed in past reviews that I’m not a huge fan of how they feel in my sweaty hands, but I can’t argue with the performance. The coating is grippy under any and all circumstances. There’s a reason VAXEE’s coating is often named as one of the best coatings in the business, so any issues I have with the coating are purely subjective.

Mouse Feet

The skates on VAXEE mice aren’t the fastest in the business, but I like that. I like to use a more controlling mouse setup, so feet like these fit the bill perfectly in that regard. If you like super slick feet, you might want to think about replacing these but otherwise they’re completely fine. The glide smoothly with no break-in time required, so there’s no scratchiness present.


Due to the safe shape, this mouse can work for all grip types. I see it as an ideal claw grip mouse, but thanks to the size it can definitely also work for fingertip grippers. The centralized and gradual hump makes it, in my opinion, a bit less suited for palm grippers unless you have smaller hands, but that’s just that: my opinion. This section is merely a guideline, not gospel.

Everyone has different preferences, so never take a reviewer’s ‘grip advice’ as a rule.

Buttons and Scroll Wheel


Buttons

If you ask me, one of the most exciting improvements that VAXEE have made can be found under the main buttons. If you’ve read any of my past VAXEE reviews, you’ll know that I pretty much always complained about the main buttons grinding from side to side after clicking. This is now completely gone, making for a much more pleasing overall experience.

In addition to this, both pre-and post travel are pretty much perfect. This makes the VAXEE XE-S Wireless have the best clicks of any VAXEE mouse I’ve tried so far.

When it comes to the overall click tensioning, these are in the middle of the pack. People who play games where you’re always having to spam clicks as fast as possible might find these to be a bit too heavy, but for someone who mainly plays (tactical) shooters they feel absolutely fantastic.

Scroll Wheel

The rubberized scroll wheel offers great grip. The individual steps when scrolling are clearly defined but easy enough to use for applications such as jumping. The wheel itself is on the quiet side when operating and the middle click is tensioned pretty much perfectly and actuates with a pleasing click.

This is a short section because there’s not much to say. The scroll wheel on recent VAXEE mice has always been pretty great, and that hasn’t changed with the VAXEE XE-S Wireless.

Side Buttons

The side buttons are crispy, have low pre- and post travel and -most importantly- don’t travel into the shell when clicking. I can be short here too: these are objectively good side buttons.

Build Quality


I personally have never had any complaints about VAXEE’s build quality. However, on some of their previous mice it was possible to actuate a side button by pressing hard on the shell. This, to some people, signals build quality issues. Whether you agree with that or not (I don’t; as long as you can’t accidentally actuate a side button when using the mouse normally I see no issue) is subjective, but it’s good to know that even this ‘problem’ has been fixed.

Despite being the lightest VAXEE mouse to date, the XE-S Wireless is also by far the most solid-feeling VAXEE mouse. There’s no shell flex or creaking when applying pressure. The mouse, quite simply, feels extremely solid and well-built.

When I’m shaking the mouse I can hear a very light rattle coming from near the scroll wheel, but this is not something that manifests itself in actual usage so for me it’s not a problem.

Sensor and Everyday Performance


Sensor

This XE-S Wireless introduces the 3950 in VAXEE’s mice. That’s the latest and greatest flagship sensor and it’s nice to see that VAXEE keeps their components up to date given the fact that they request premium prices for their mice. In reality I don’t think anyone will notice any difference between this sensor and the 3395 they used previously, though. Sensors have been flawless for years now, and the 3395 was also capable of reaching polling rates of 4000Hz like this one is.

With that said, this new sensor is implemented as it should. It performs perfectly fine at all polling rates, latency is very respectable, and the DPI deviation is well within acceptable margins. VAXEE have made the transition to higher polling rates with no issues, and it’s nice to see that all of their wireless mice come with a 4K dongle these days.

Note that you need a beefy PC and high refresh rate screen to even notice the differences in polling rates. If you don’t have that, it’s best to leave the mouse at 1000Hz to save on battery life. You can read more about high polling rates in mice and what they change in our dedicated article.

Configuring The Mouse

VAXEE’s mice are plug-and-play, so there’s no software available. People who like to create mouse macros and such should thus steer clear. Aside from that you can do everything you want on the mouse itself though.

In my review of the NP-01S Wireless, I mentioned that things were getting a bit confusing with the old bottom plate (which was made for 1000Hz mice) and luckily VAXEE have made some changes here. The new bottom plate now only has one button instead of three. The text on the plate has also been updated to say 2000Hz and 4000Hz. I like this simplified one-button approach. And, as an added bonus, going for one button instead of three also saves weight.

By holding the button, you can swap between different settings. There’s DPI, polling rate, and click debounce time. Once you’re at the setting you want to change, simply click the button to swap between presets. Other adjustments (LOD, MotionSync, …) can be made by pressing a variety of buttons at the same time. For this reason, I’d like VAXEE to include a little quickstart manual/card in the box. Yes, you can find everything you need to know online, but that’s a bit of a hassle compared to just reading an instruction card.

Battery Life

The battery life of the VAXEE XE-S is as follows:

  • 110 hours on 1000Hz in standard mode
  • 38 hours on 1000hz in competitive mode
  • 34 hours on 2000Hz (available in competitive mode only)
  • 30 hours on 4000Hz (available in competitive mode only)

If you’ve been following wireless mice, you’ll know that this isn’t fantastic. At standard mode, you can get 110 hours of game time. The competitive modes (which is what everyone who uses this mouse to game with should be using) leave something to be desired though. Even at 1000Hz, you’re getting ‘only’ 38 hours of battery life. This means that you’ll need to be charging the mouse quite often.

For those who are wondering: competitive mode is where all resources are going to the performance of the mouse rather than the battery life. Standard mode still performs absolutely fine, but given that this is a $150 gaming mouse with no productivity features I would assume that over 90% of users will be using it on competitive mode.

VAXEE XE-S Wireless Alternatives


An obvious alternative to the VAXEE XE-S is the larger VAXEE XE. That one’s bigger, but has the exact same shape and design ideas behind it. Aside from this, the HyperX Pulsefire Haste (2) can also be considered as an alternative with a similar hand feeling.

VAXEE XE-S Wireless Review – Conclusion


‘Continual improvement’ is VAXEE’s motto. Looking at this release (and prior releases, to be fair) I’d say that they live up to that. The VAXEE XE-S Wireless is VAXEE’s best mouse to date. Given the high standards that VAXEE have set for themselves, that also makes it one of the best gaming mice out there right now.

Sadly, all of this comes at a cost. VAXEE has increased the price by $10 now that they have included a 4KHz dongle. If I were to buy this mouse, it would cost me 169 euros (~180 dollars) with shipping included. Given the fact that you can’t find VAXEE mice in brick and mortar stores anywhere, that’s very steep. Whether it’s worth it or not depends on your own circumstances. But I personally do hope that we’ve reached the ceiling for mouse prices now.

With that aside: the VAXEE XE-S Wireless is a great mouse. It’s 4KHz compatible right out of the box, has great clicks, a great scroll wheel, and a super solid shell. Aside from the subpar battery life, there are little to no objective downsides. If you’re looking for a top tier competitive gaming mouse, this has to be on your list.

This product was received for free from the manufacturer and given to our reviewer to test and review. Brands and manufacturers have no editorial control over our reviews. For more information, check out our review FAQ.

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