Even if you consider yourself on the bleeding edge of tech and gaming, you still probably don’t know of all the little companies popping up and making quality products. One such company is Mionix, a Swedish outfit started in 2007.
Today we have one of their mice and mouse pads on review to see how Swedish engineering stacks up.
The Mionix Propus 380
When you can buy a functional, custom printed mousepad for R50, it’s a hard pill to swallow when you find out that the Propus 380 is going to set you back R350.
Price aside, the Propus is something we wouldn’t expect a mousepad to be: it’s beautiful. Sadly, no-one in the office had enough skills with the camera to properly capture how great this looks. The surface, which is a a hard plastic that gives the entire pad a lot of rigidity, is a dark gunmetal grey that fades to black depending on the lighting. There is also a glimmer of silver speckling in the coating, and with a mouse on top of it, it’s exceptional.
It was passed around the office and everyone got solid tracking from their mouse, regardless of brand or sensor type. We mostly used the Propus in a portrait position, with our forearms resting on the hard service. It maintained comfort for hours, keeping us happy regardless of whether we were working or playing.
On the back of the mouse pad is a natural rubber that keeps the Propus from going anywhere. It also didn’t give off that horrid chemical smell that certain rubbers leave.
The Propus 380 caused a schism in the office. While everyone agreed that it was an exceptional surface for your mouse to glide on, not everyone could accept that price tag. If you want an extremely attractive home for your mouse, and don’t mind a bit of splurging, go ahead.
The Mionix Naos 8200
Now for the meat and potatoes of this review: the Naos 8200.
A quick tour around the mouse will reveal a distinctively right-handed design thanks to the body jutting out to provide rests for your thumb, ring finger and pinky. Above your thumb you’ll find two buttons as well as a segmented lighting zone. The two main buttons have an illuminated scroll wheel as well as two more buttons wedged between them. Around the palm area you’ll find the Mionix logo, and on the bottom there’s a laser sensor and four user-replaceable feet.
With the mouse under your hand you’ll be greeted by a rubber coating that Mionix claims is four layers thick. Although we could definitely feel the plastic under it, we will admit that this is one of the best rubber-coated surfaces we’ve ever felt. The rubber gives you just the right amount of grip to keep the mouse from slipping out of your hand, and it feels delightfully smooth and silky in your hand.
Unfortunately, because it is rubber, it will hold on to fingerprints like that’s its job. The mouse managed to resist them for about a week, but the print we left on the left click button eventually became part of the mouse. If you’re especially diligent with literal daily cleaning, you’ll be able to keep it spotless, but that’s a lot of work.
With four different lighting zones you’d expect something special from the six LEDs in the Naos, and unfortunately you’ll be a bit disappointed. Although they are RGB LEDs and you’ll (theoretically) be able to configure them in any of a range of 16.8 million colours, most colours come through washed out and dull. Particularly bad offenders are reds, oranges and yellows, which all come through as ugly shades of pink. We played around trying to get better reproduction and found that deep blues and greens came out best, but it all feels so hit and miss.
Needing to change the colours leads to the software, which is another mixed bag. Downloading the software is the first step and the first failure: not only is the downloaded file a compressed .rar archive, but it is hosted on a Dropbox server that occasionally doesn’t work.
Once inside you’ll find quite a lot to tinker around with over five profiles. Of particular note is the Surface Quality Analyser Tool, or S.Q.A.T. By frantically moving your mouse over a surface it will give you a rating of how well it acts as a mousepad by measuring how much data is lost. It’s not very accurate though, as the Naos 8200 and Propus 380 is only supposed to result in a score of 90, but gets a perfect 100.
The last option worth mentioning is the ability to choose what part of the mouse lights up, instead of the blanket on/off setting that you’ll usually find. Our favourite setting was having the sensitivity lights on the side remain on while the rest of the mouse was dark. This is a great addition, marred only by the lacklustre lights.
The rest of the software is functional and easy to use, with the last sticking point the terrible scaling you’ll find when you run it on a screen higher than 1 920×1 080. We captured all of the software’s screens for you to peruse below:
With those low points aside, the rest of the Naos is superb. Although there are no adjustable weights, and most of the weight in the mouse is centred towards the bottom of the body, it feels composed and controllable.
On the inside you’ll also find some serious hardware with a 32-bit ARM processor that runs at 72mhz, 128kb of built-in memory and an 8 200 DPI sensor. While you won’t really notice the processor, the included memory is a great addition. You can specify settings with a PC loaded with the software, and when you plug it into a new PC that doesn’t have the software, those same settings will still be there. This was a godsend when we were passing it around the office for opinions as well as using it between our office and home machines. The sensor gets to such a high DPI that only a tiny portion of people will care, but for everyone else you can be guaranteed buttery smooth tracking all of the time.
- 32bit ARM processor at 72mhz.
- Right handed design with full palm grip.
- Rubber coating.
- 7 programmable buttons.
- 3 step in-game DPI adjustment.
- 6 integrated LEDs in 4 colour zones.
- Up to 16.8 Million LED colour options.
- Multiple lighting effects.
- 128 kb built-in memory.
- Large PTFE mouse feet.
- Gold Plated, Full speed USB 2.0 connection with Plug and Play.
- 2m long braided cable.
- 8200 DPI gaming laser sensor.
- Max tracking speed 3.8 m/sec (150 ips).
- Max acceleration 30g.
- Data Format 16-bit both sensor and USB.
- Adjustable to1ms response time.
- Upto 120 00fps.
- 10.8 megapixel per second Image processing power.
Dimensions & Weight
- 130.84×84.72×38.67 mm
- Weight (without cable): 99 grams.
- Weight (with cable): 151 grams.
- R1 200.00
It’s always useful to go into reviews with low expectations, especially when you’re looking at products from such small companies. That being said, Mionix really impressed us. The Naos 8200 and Propus 380 did so many things masterfully that it would have been easy to think they are products from much older companies with far greater R&D budgets.
With the Naos 8200 retailing at R1 200 and the Propus 380 at R350 (both available through local etailer Raventech), you’ll certainly feel the pinch at the till. Even so, we still feel comfortable endorsing both mouse and mouse pad at these prices because they’re just so good, and definitely worth the cash.