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EVGA's Torq X5 and X10 mice reviewed

Rodentia evgae

What's the first product that comes to mind when you think "mouse?" For me, it's one of Logitech's G-series clickers. Others might name classics like Microsoft's IntelliMouse Explorer or Razer's DeathAdder. But we might be hearing EVGA's name from mouse fanatics soon, too. Yeah, that EVGA. Say hello to the company's Torq X10 (left) and X5 (right):

Why mice? I'm guessing EVGA has its eye on the burgeoning e-sports market. It's hard to show off a graphics card or power supply on camera at the International, but mice, keyboards, and headsets are much more visible—and personal—devices. Getting the EVGA brand in front of gamers through peripherals makes a lot of sense.

Brand visibility is all well and good, but input devices need to do more than look pretty. I've spent some quality time with the Torq X5 and X10 over the past couple of weeks to see if they're as functional as they are sleek. Let's take a closer look.

The new breed
The Torq X5 and X10 share a lot of features, but the X10 has a couple goodies the X5 lacks.

A screw at the back of the X10 allows the user to change the profile of the mouse from a flatter shape to a higher, more arched one. As a result, the X10 can accommodate a variety of grip styles. I can get a comfortable hold on the mouse with a palm, claw, or fingertip grip. The bump at the rear nestles nicely into my palm, and the matte surfaces and dimpled buttons feel like they'll offer good grip even under sweaty hands.

Although the X5 feels like a smaller mouse in the hand, it's actually larger than the X10 all around, at 4.6" long, 2.6" wide, and 1.5" tall. For comparison, the X10 measures 4.5" x 2.2" x 1.2". Despite the X5's extra size, I don't feel comfortable holding it in my palm—the front-to-back curve is too flat for me. A fingertip grip feels great, though.

The X5 trades the X10's matte, dimpled finish for a glossy white upper shell and rubbery, textured sides. The upper shell isn't as grippy as on the X10, but the pebbled sides feel even better than the smooth plastic body of its ritzier sibling.

Both designs are ambidextrous, with symmetrical shapes and pairs of function buttons on each side. Lefties, rejoice. Out of the box, the Torqs are configured for right-handed use, with the buttons under the right pinky finger disabled. This configuration can be reversed with the included software, which can also enable both sets of side buttons.

The Torq X10's top plate pops off to reveal silos for any two of six included tuning weights. At 4.3 ounces (121 grams) out of the box, the X10 is already pretty hefty for a mouse, so I didn't bother to add more bulk. If you prefer more weight, the X10 can be beefed up to 4.7 ounces (or 134 grams.) The X5 weighs in at a svelte 3.0 ounces (85 grams), despite its more generous dimensions, and it lacks provisions for weight adjustment.

Turning these mice on their backs reveals part of the reason for the X10's extra bulk: its solid metal baseplate. The X5's body, on the other hand, is 100% plastic. Each mouse sits on low-friction feet, and EVGA includes an extra set of adhesive sliders in the box. The non-stick surfaces are a little larger on the X10.

Each mouse's underbelly also has a button for cycling through five different onboard profiles. This location might seem a little strange, but it prevents gamers from accidentally changing profiles, which could lead to frustration and fumbling during critical moments. I've bumped the top-mounted profile button on my Logitech G502 before, so I'm OK with making the switching process more deliberate. Those who want to jump between profiles quickly might be disappointed, though.

What you can't see from the outside is the different sensor tech employed by each rodent. The Torq X10 uses an Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor that can resolve a nosebleed-inducing 8200 DPI, while the X5 taps a Pixart 3988 optical sensor that tops out at a slightly less stratospheric 6400 DPI.

Optical and laser sensors both track changes in position by monitoring the light reflected by a surface. Optical mice typically rely on an LED light source, while laser mice use, well, infrared lasers. Laser sensors tend to be capable of higher resolutions than their optical counterparts, as demonstrated by the X10's higher DPI spec. I didn't notice any difference in accuracy or tracking between the two mice.

The X10 supports five levels of on-the-fly DPI adjustment, and you can step up or down through those options. Only four DPI levels are available on the X5, and a single button cycles through them, which means you have to go through all the options to get back to the first one.

Differences aside, the X10 and X5 both feature clicky scroll wheels, Omron switches for the left and right mouse buttons, and customizable LED illumination. The X10 has one LED under the mouse wheel and one behind the EVGA logo, while the X5 relies on a single LED. Don't expect Corsair K70 RGB levels of customization here; EVGA's accompanying software, dubbed Unleash, only offers a handful of color options.

Unleash can be used to reassign button functions, adjust DPI settings, create macros, and change the operating system's mouse acceleration settings. Custom profiles are saved to one of five onboard slots. Each profile has room for up to 11 macros, and each macro can be saved to the host system and moved in and out of the mouse's internal memory using the management tab.

Macros are built by clicking the record button in the macro tab, pressing the desired sequence of keys or mouse buttons, and then ending the recording. The duration of each press and release can then be modified prior to saving. I tested the interface by creating a Save-for-Web macro for Photoshop and assigning it to one of the pinky buttons, which worked like a charm. Although I'm not a big macro user, the interface is fairly straightforward and easy to use.

For easy reference, here's a table of the key specifications.

  Torq X5 Torq X10
Dimensions (LxWxH) 4.64" x 2.55" x 1.53"
(117.9 x 64.8 x 38.9 mm)
4.50" x 2.25" x 1.25"
(114.3 x 57.1 x 31.8 mm)
Weight 3.0 oz (85 g) 4.3 oz (121 g)
Adjustable weight No Yes
Max DPI 6400 DPI 8200 DPI
Sensor type Optical (Pixart 3988) Laser (Avago ADNS-9800)
Switch type Omron Omron
Switch life 20 million actuations 20 million actuations
Programmable buttons 8 9
Max polling rate 1000Hz 1000Hz
Onboard profiles 5 5
DPI switching levels 4 5
Shape Ambidextrous Ambidextrous
Price $49.99 $64.99

At about $65, the Torq X10 sits comfortably in the middle of the range of gaming mice available at Newegg. For $75, EVGA also offers a version with a carbon-fiber veneer on some surfaces, appropriately called the X10 Carbon. Aside from that cosmetic difference, the X10 Carbon should be identical to the standard model. The X5's $50 street price reflects its more streamlined feature set.

Now that we've examined the Torq X5 and X10, let's see how well they work.