The Creative Fatal1ty 1010 mouse, named for Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, one of the most famous gamers in the country, offers a great set of features for hard-core cyberathletes. Given its relatively inexpensive price ($49.95), we're impressed with its interchangeable weight system and three sensitivity levels. Unfortunately, some elements of the design are a bit awkward--a critical flaw, considering that design is essential to any mouse. For a more comfortable (and more expensive) gaming mouse, check out the Logitech G5 Laser, which features a more extensive weighting system and a laser optical engine.
The all-black Fatal1ty 1010 is very stylish, with a glossy shell, curved matte buttons, and smooth rubber sides. Three buttons, instead of the typical two, run along the top, and a scrollwheel is tucked between the first and second buttons. A sensitivity switch conveniently placed below the scrollwheel selects one of three preset sensitivity levels and changes color each time you choose a different setting: green for 400 dots per inch (dpi), amber for 800dpi, and red for 1,600dpi. A glossy-red thumb button sits on the left side of the mouse. The included software, which allows you to customize all five of the buttons, took us a couple of attempts to install correctly.
The Fatal1ty 1010's most notable feature is its swappable weight system. The mouse comes with identical-looking weights marked 3.5, 11, and 26 grams; pressing the large, red circle in the middle of the mouse ejects the current weight so that you can quickly swap in another. We tested the weights and found them slightly off, weighing 4, 12, and 24 grams, respectively. We prefer the Fatal1ty 1010's top-loading system to the G5 Laser's bottom-loading one, but the G5 Laser offers greater customizability and a heavier maximum weight.
The Fatal1ty 1010 performed well in our tests, with no noticeable cursor lags or tracking errors. We appreciated the sensitivity button's convenient positioning and found the preprogrammed levels appropriate for most gaming situations. The top-loading weight system made swapping weights a breeze--it took only seconds, as long as the weight cartridges were within arm's reach.
We noticed, however, some subtle design flaws that kept the Creative Fatal1ty 1010 from becoming our favorite mouse. The thumb button takes a lot of pressure to click, and it's placed just a bit too far back on the mouse for effortless access. And though the mouse's third button is perfectly placed, it's so sensitive that we found ourselves clicking it accidentally when pressing the second button. We found the Creative Fatal1ty 1010's 5-foot-long cord just a bit short--we would have liked more slack while playing.
Creative backs the Fatal1ty 1010 mouse with an industry-standard one-year warranty. Creative's support Web site includes knowledge-base articles, drivers, and software updates as well as discussion forums and an e-mail form for tech support. A tech-support help line is also available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT.