I’m a huge fan of KISS.
No, not the rock band. They’re cool, but there are tons more bands I love a lot more.
I’m talking about that nugget of wisdom. You know. “Keep it simple, stupid!”
Sometimes I think tech companies are far too concerned with getting as many bells and whistles on their products; believe it or not, some users would be perfectly happy with something less than an all-singing, all-dancing product.
My friend and fellow Techgage staffer Tom Roeder reviewed EVGA’s first-ever gaming mouse, the Torq X10, late last summer and loved it. He praised it for its quality components, build quality, and top-line features. To be honest, I thought hard about getting the Torq X10 Carbon because, well, I love carbon fiber as both a construction material and an aesthetic element. Tom’s thumbs up (the Torq X10 earned an Editor’s Choice designation from him) only sweetened the pot.
Alas, I decided not to get the Torq X10 Carbon.
So, imagine my surprise when Techgage High Chief Rob Williams first turned me on to EVGA’s expansion of its gaming mouse product line, then offered me the chance to review one of these new Torqs. EVGA then promptly sent me its Torq X5 for a Techgage test drive.
Let’s have a look at it, then.
It may not have the visual pop that the Torq X10 Carbon’s carbon fiber flanks have, but the Torq X5 is arguably a better looking mouse. For one thing, it’s very rare to see a gaming mouse that isn’t finished completely in matte black. The Torq X5 sports a half-matte black, half-pearl white color scheme. I must say that the pearl white touch is gorgeous to behold in person.
As an aside, I think EVGA has somehow got into my brain and found out what my favorite aesthetic details are. Carbon fiber and pearl white are two of my absolute favorites, to be perfectly honest; I still want to do a case re-paint in pearl white complemented with a carbon fiber-look interior, actually. To see two of EVGA’s gaming mice in these finishes has really ramped up my attraction for them.
The Torq X5 has LEDs inset in the flanks, just above the side buttons, as well as at the rear of the mouse for added visual bling. When used with the companion EVGA Unleash software, the mouse can display from among seven different color options for the LEDs.
Like its X10 sibling, the X5 is a symmetrical mouse. It has eight programmable buttons, including the left- and right-click buttons, four on the flanks (two on each side), the clickable mouse wheel, and a DPI switch. Just in front of the DPI switch is a row of three LED indicators for the currently-active DPI setting. Since it is a symmetrical mouse, it is ambidextrous; southpaws need not feel left out.
The beautiful thing about a symmetrical object is that profile views are mirror images of each other. This left profile view shows off the two flank buttons which are in easy reach of your right thumb as well as a textured plastic surface on the flank’s lower half. This textured surface is designed to augment your grip on the Torq X5.
Here’s a look at the Torq X5’s bottom. Most notable are the three PTFE feet, the plethora of bar codes, and the emitter for the Pixart 3988 optical sensor just south of dead center. Speaking of the Torq X5’s hardware guts, the mouse is equipped with Omron mechanical switches which have a 20 million click lifespan as well as a 32-bit ARM processor. The mouse is also capable of storing up to five settings profiles in-device, thanks to the 512K of onboard memory. Profile switching is accomplished by pushing the trapezoidal button inset on the mouse’s bottom surface.
The Torq X5’s cable is swathed in a braided sleeve and terminates in a USB 2.0 connector. The cable feels a little stiff, but it does convey an impression of durability and quality.
Not pictured is the Torq X5’s rather sparse accessories package. It includes some spare PTFE feet as well as a quick start pamphlet.
Now that we’ve had a complete visual tour of the Torq X5, let’s have a look at the EVGA Unleash software.
A Look at the Software
Because it is a USB device, the Torq X5 is plug-and-play; plug it in, wait a few seconds for Windows to detect it, and voila, you’ve got a functional mouse ready for action.
However, to truly get the most out of it, you should download and install the EVGA Unleash software.
After a quick download and system reboot, the EVGA Unleash is ready for use.
The GUI is beautiful to look at, well-organized, and is very intuitive to use. I really like the carbon fiber theme of the interface. The first section you see allows the user to assign functions to all eight of the Torq X5’s buttons, select the color of the mouse’s LED’s effects, and designate from between left-handed or right-handed mode (a unique setting I’ve not found on other gaming mouse software).
Moving on to the Advanced Settings section, we begin to see the more potent part of the software. The DPI subsection is where you set the Torq X5’s DPI settings. The software allows for good adjustment granularity, as the mouse’s sensitivity can go up or down by 50 DPI per step. Maximum DPI is 6400, by the way (the tach-style graphic goes up to 8200, which is the Torq X5L’s maximum DPI).
The OS subsection allows users access to controls for a plethora of in-OS mouse functions. Here you can enable/disable Angle Snapping and Mouse Acceleration and set Lift Height, OS Sensitivity, Mouse Scroll Speed, and Double Click Speed. You can also perform a Surface Calibration test for the mouse sensor.
The LED subsection is where users can make changes to the LED settings, including color, brightness levels, and behavior settings (always on, always off, breathing).
Under the Macro subsection you can record macro commands that you can execute on your Torq X5. You can save them either on the mouse itself or on the local machine.
The final subsection is for Profile Management. As with macro commands, you can store mouse profiles either locally on the Torq X5 or export them onto the host machine.
Now that we’ve had a tour of the EVGA Unleash software and its functions, let’s put the Torq X5 through its paces and see how it performs.
I tested the Torq X5 under various conditions, using it in gaming and non-gaming roles. The primary focus of the performance review will be on its ergonomics and functionality as well as some comments on its perceived quality of construction.
In terms of ergonomics, the Torq X5 is very good. I would say that its shape and dimensions almost dictate a claw-style grip on the mouse. It’s a bit too low for me to use a palm-style grip on it. Because of its very low weight, though, a claw-style grip is very effective. The Torq X5’s flanks have just enough texture to ensure that you won’t lose control of this mouse even if you’re guiding it with just your fingertips. I thought the smooth pearl white plastic surfaces would make the Torq X5 slippery, but they were never a problem.
Also enhancing this mouse’s ergonomics is the fine granularity of its DPI settings in the software. It’s very easy to set DPI levels for optimum precision. Both in FPS games and in non-gaming situations as well, you can switch from high DPI settings for large sweeping cursor movements to really fine and slow movements at lower DPI. The Torq X5 is very easy to use no matter what the scenario, and it’s clear that there is a very tight integration between design of the mouse hardware itself and the EVGA Unleash software.
This same tight integration means that the EVGA Unleash software transforms the Torq X5 from a basic user interface device into a potent gamer’s tool. You can certainly choose to not install EVGA Unleash; however, this would prevent you from using your Torq X5 and maximizing its capabilities. With EVGA Unleash you can do almost anything with your Torq X5. The only functions I wish the software could do by default is to allow two of the flank buttons to be set to “Home” and “End.” This would greatly speed up vertical scrolling on web pages, for one thing (this is great for going up and down Twitter, for example).
Nevertheless, the Torq X5’s functionality is excellent. The ability to customize its various settings to the degree that you can – as well as the ability to store settings and user profiles on the mouse itself, which means you can use this mouse on any system – means that this is one mouse that can do almost everything.
As far as the quality of construction and materials are concerned, the Torq X5’s light weight might make you think this is a fragile piece of kit. Once you have it in your hands, though, you’re immediately impressed with how solid it feels under your fingertips. Button presses for all the buttons are satisfying; they are firm but never hard, and you never feel like you’d accidentally press a button by mistake. The Torq X5’s chassis doesn’t creak or squeak at all, so EVGA’s plastics engineers specified a very light yet durable material. The fit and finish are also flawless – that pearl white looks as good as it might on a sports car or an electric guitar, and the cable sleeve just feels like it will never fray unless you really make a deliberate effort to destroy it.
Let’s finish this review up with some final thoughts.
I may not have bought the top-of-the-line Torq X10 Carbon, but I’m very happy that I didn’t. To be perfectly honest, while I do still love that it has carbon fiber on its flanks, it’s probably a bit too much mouse for me, with a price tag to match. It’s much like being infatuated with a super model like Alessandra Ambrosio: You’d think you’d really want to be with her, but you know it’ll be expensive, and you never really know for sure whether or not you and her would be a realistic match for each other.
The Torq X5, however, is different. EVGA prices it at $49.99, which means your chances of hooking up with one is far greater. I suppose it’s a lot like that super-pretty Newegg online personality I’ve got a real hard crush on: Maybe she’s not a super model and she’s much more like the gal next door, but you feel and think you’ve got a shot, and this just makes her even more interesting and attractive.
Truth be told, I’d be happy to pay a bit more for the Torq X5. It’s easily one of the best mice I’ve ever reviewed. It has no real weaknesses, plus it’s got features, functionality, and build quality that you’d typically find only in more expensive competitors.
EVGA called the right play in offering a simpler mouse for us folks who don’t really need everything that the range-topping Torq X10 (Carbon or not) has to give. But that’s not to say that the Torq X5 is somehow gimped; if anything, it’s a much leaner and meaner contender. All muscle and fat-free, it’s got everything you need, nothing you don’t want, and it won’t ever make your wallet scream.
I’m so high on this mouse, I may as well be in orbit.
- Great ergonomics – light, very comfortable to use (especially for claw-grippers).
- Very pretty – the pearl white is stunning!
- Super-functional – eight buttons are fully customizable.
- Superb software – intuitive, well-organized, easy to use.
- Solid build quality – strong despite lack of mass.
- Unbeatable value.
- Wish I could add one-touch rapid vertical scrolling functions in software (minor con).
- Can’t ask it out on a date (or ask that pretty Newegg online personality out on my behalf either).
EVGA Torque X5 Gaming Mouse