Let’s Talk About the XPG SLINGSHOT Gaming Mouse
The XPG SLINGSHOT is XPG’s first entry-level gaming mouse. It is a product that delivers gaming quality at a very accessible price point. But what makes this mouse special compared to other entry-level mice? There are so many on the market these days that it’s hard to decide which one is right for you. So we thought it would be useful to gamers to give them an inside look at our new gaming mouse. Thankfully, we were able to sit down with one the key team members that helped bring this product to market for another exclusive XPG GRIT product interview.
Jimmy Liao is the Head of Peripherals marketing at XPG. He plays a direct role in product development by coordinating with product managers to ensure that new products carry the features that end users care about. His contributions to the product development and release process are as important as that of any engineer. We thought he would be a great choice to help introduce the XPG SLINGSHOT.
1. What’s the intended market position of the XPG SLINGSHOT?
A: XPG SLINGSHOT is our first entry-level mouse. After three, or four depending on how you count the XPG ALPHA, higher-tier mice, we wanted to create a mouse for gamers that traditionally feel priced out of our peripherals products. So we focused on creating something impressive but at a more accessible price point than our previous mouse products. As this is our first attempt at entry-level peripherals, I’m not sure how the market will respond. But I think we created something worth talking about in this price category.
2. What was the design philosophy behind SLINGSHOT?
A: While we have admittedly not focused on it for every product like we should, XPG does have its own established design language for product development. Honestly, we seem to use it most with our mouse and chassis products. It’s called :Exoskeleton. With the SLINGSHOT, we made it a point of trying to implement that design language into the product at all stages of development. Personally, I think we did a great job of adhering to that product development philosophy with this specific product.
3. Tell us more about :Exoskeleton.
A: The underlying idea behind :Exoskeleton is to unify aesthetics with performance in a seamless way. It’s meant to be a perfect blending of form and function without sacrificing either. A difficult product philosophy to follow, if I’m being honest. Every company says they want to do both with every product, but so often sacrifices have to be made. And that goes both ways. Some companies put aesthetics first, often at the expense of performance. One company in particular, which I won’t name here, has built a very successful business using this product design philosophy. Other companies tend to sacrifice a product’s style for its substance. And rightly so. Most people would rather buy something that works well and looks average than the opposite. With :Exoskeleton, there is no valid way to sacrifice. You have to work to achieve both performance and quality outlook simultaneously.
4. Could you have made the SLINGSHOT even lighter?
A: The SLINGSHOT is ultra-lightweight. We got it down to 73g. Honestly, it’s the lightest mouse we’ve ever built. And we used the :Exoskeleton design language to do that. For example, the triangle cut outs on the outer casing allowed us to shave a lot of weight off the product, a little at a time. The cable we used is durable but much lighter than previous cables we’ve used for our mouse products as well. To answer your question, yes, I do believe we could have made it lighter. But we didn’t for two major reasons. The first is price. Each of those little triangle cut outs, for example, costs money. The more of them we made, the lighter the mouse, but also the more expensive. We had to find the sweet spot where the mouse was the weight we wanted without making the price too high in the process. But the other major part of the weight discussion was user feedback. Many players like a lighter mouse. Depending on the specific genres we’re talking about, I might go as far as saying most players like a lighter mouse. But it can’t be too light. There’s a point where a mouse can be too light and then people start to complain that it doesn’t provide enough grip and resistance. We don’t want people accidentally throwing the mouse like a Joy-Con controller. We hit what I believe is the ideal weight for a mouse in our target market.
5. Why did you choose to use the PMW 3360 optical sensor in this model?
A: The PMW 3360 is a great optical sensor for gaming mice. It has a DPI range from 400 – 12,000. This sensor allows us to include 6 DPI presets out of the box for instant user customization. It offers a maximum acceleration of 50 G and maximum speed of 250 IPS. For the price, it’s one of the best optical sensors you can buy. There are definitely more advanced sensors available in the market, but they’re also less cost effective. Using this sensor allowed us to deliver a gaming mouse that can seriously perform while keeping the cost down.
6. What types of games would you say the SLINGSHOT is best suited for?
A: Admittedly, SLINGSHOT doesn’t have the DPI range of our more expensive ALPHA gaming mouse. But it still provides competitive performance capability for most of the genres people who intentionally buy gaming mice play. Internally, we always say SLINGSHOT is best suited for FPS and MMORPG games. So we’re talking your standard esports titles like Apex Legends, Overwatch, or I guess Overwatch 2 now, COD, and so on. But you could also use it for titles like Final Fantasy 14, Elder Scrolls Online, and Black Desert Online. Honestly, I don’t think most people who buy entry-level peripherals will feel that this product under performs their standards. It really is a solid mouse.
7. Tell us about the software features SLINGSHOT’s XPG PRIME compatibility includes.
A: As we continue developing new products and improving XPG PRIME, we hope to eventually make every new product XPG PRIME compatible, where sensible. I’m really glad that we were able to add PRIME customization to our first entry-level mouse. We want gamers of all types to be able to join our product ecosystem. With XPG PRIME, you can customize the SLINGSHOT’s RGB lighting. Both the wheel and the XPG logo have RGB components available for lighting customization. You can also customize the two side buttons on the mouse. They default to forwards and backwards, but can be changed to whatever you want. Finally, you can customize up to 6 DPI presets, which can be shuffled with the DPI button under the wheel. You can quickly change your sensitivity for different games with the click of a button, once you’ve set them in PRIME. SLINGSHOT comes with 6 presets already loaded in.
8. Do you have other entry-level peripherals products to pair with XPG SLINGSHOT?
A: Yes. For starters, we have the XPG BATTLEGROUND L mousepad. This is a large dimension mousepad with an anti-slip rubber base, smooth microfiber material, and a binding stitch pattern on the outside to prevent surface peeling. We also have the XPG PRECOG S entry-level headset. It’s stylish, comfortable, and compatible with Windows Sonic for an immersive audio experience.
9. If you had to sum up the XPG SLINGSHOT in one word, what would it be and why?
A: I guess if I had to summarize the XPG SLINGSHOT in one word it would be balanced. By focusing on our :Exoskeleton design language, we were able to find the perfect middle ground between maximum performance, visual appeal, and a highly accessible price point. I think we did a great job of creating a product that gamers who don’t have a huge budget for a mouse can be happy with and be able to actually win the competitive games they play. Really that’s what’s most important for peripherals products. The ability for users to feel like they’re not limited from being able to achieve their goals as gamers. We’ve accomplished that here and kept the price down while doing it.
10. Are there plans for more entry-level peripherals from XPG in the future?
A: Currently, we only have 3 peripherals products on the way, including the XPG SLINGSHOT, that we’re calling entry-level. The reality is that these are test products in a big way. We took a risk in going outside our usual box to make them. If people like them and they sell well, then we’ll definitely make more peripherals products in this segment. But if we got it wrong and people don’t want products in this specific category from us then there’s a good chance we don’t make more of them. Only time will tell.
We hope you enjoyed this look behind the curtain of the XPG SLINGSHOT gaming mouse. Let us know if there are other products you’d like to see interviews about or if you have any additional questions about the SLINGSHOT in the comments. You can find out more about the XPG SLINGSHOT, and other peripherals from XPG, at xpg.com.