Nothing identifies a gaming peripheral more than a violent name. The Sades Axe is one of the clearest examples of such conventions yet – well, I doubt it’s a reference to the deodorant brand. I’ve never quite understood the need to try and make accessories sound like offensive weapons, but then I’m also pretty lukewarm on RGB lighting in my gaming kit, so maybe I’m just an old man yelling at clouds. The Axe is Chinese manufacturer Sades’ latest entry into the highly competitive gaming mouse market and promises a premium set of functions at a budget price point. So, with Axe in hand, I set out to test its mettle and really get to grips with it.
Aesthetically, the Axe is a nice blend of rounded and sharp edges, eschewing the overly angular approach that many gaming mice take. It looks and feels like a midpoint between the rounded regular mouse you’d use for daily surfing and the spiky deathbringer you’d bring out in the evenings for gaming. The result feels great in the hand, particularly for those of us who favour the palm grip over the claw (that sounds dirty written down like that).
The shape is complemented by a smooth matte finish and textured buttons – useful for setting that muscle memory for quick reactions. One word of caution, however, as the button placement and moulded grip makes this a very right-handed mouse and I couldn’t recommend it for you southpaws out there.
Under the bonnet (as it were) the specs of the Sades Axe are impressive – especially given the sub-£30 price point. The PMW3325 Optical Sensor offers a ridiculous 10,000DPI that’s more than sensitive enough for gaming, with 20G maximum acceleration and a maximum speed of 100 in/s. If, like me, you tend to glaze over a little when these stats are recited I can confirm that the end result is a mouse that feels brilliantly responsive and accurate. A DPI switch is located below the scroll wheel so you can easily switch between window managing and head-shotting.
The build quality of the Axe is impressive too. It is a sturdy little beast with a strong nylon braided cord and a gold-plated USB plug. It weighs in at a fairly hefty 108g and also comes with an extra 10.5g adjustable weight insert. This is a nice feature, although I found it plenty heavy enough without adding any extra. Buttons are sturdy but feel nice and responsive, which is obviously one of the most important aspects of a gaming mouse. It is the buttons that really show how much you’re getting for your money here.
Offering no fewer than 12 programmable buttons, the Axe is flexible enough to meet the needs of almost any gaming situation. I found the extra side buttons really useful in mapping functions such as reload or inventory that often require a risky slide away from WASD in FPSes, and even more essential in strategy and MMORPG games where things like spell slots or battle groups could be quickly accessed quickly with your thumb.
Unusually, even the DPI switches can be reprogrammed to offer a different specific function, and the onboard memory means that changes can be taken with you between computers. The accompanying software package is incredibly clean and user-friendly, staying away from some of the ‘elite gamerz’ excesses of some manufacturers. Multiple profiles make it easy to switch between FPS, RPG and work functions with a quick click in the software and the obligatory RGB lighting is configurable there too. This lighting is nicely minimalist too, aside from the glowing wolf logo which will spend most of its time covered up by your hand anyway.
My only negative experience with the Sades Axe was a small white sticker underneath that started to peel away and leave unsightly marks on my mousemat. I’d recommend removing that upfront.