It’s getting harder to find the right gaming mouse, with minimalist, hyper-light esports mice crowding the market. Fantech has a new ultimate RGB gaming mouse, the HELIOS UX3, in the midst of a budget-product push that focuses on reasonable price yet not sacrificing the quality and performance.
It is a well-made piece of kit, particularly given its reasonable price, but a lack of distinguishing features can keep you from pushing to the front in a jam-packed area. It’s worth a look at the Fantech HELIOS UX3, but that’s about as good a recommendation as there are many, many mice in this field that nail the fundamentals.
This newest entry in the UX line of mice – bearing the HERO UX1 and HIVE UX2 promising predecessors – comes packed with an optical gaming sensor PIXART 3389 capable of up to 400 IPS, 50G acceleration, and 1000Hz polling rate. For FPS games, these specifications make the HELIOS UX3 a great weapon.
Minimalist, lightweight RGB design
Fantech didn’t reinvent the wheel with the HELIOS UX3. Its shape, except for a minor variation in specifications and wires, closely resembles that of its wireless counterpart, the HELIOS XD3. The HELIOS UX3 measures 120mm x 58mm x 38mm. It is relatively light, weighing only 69g, and if you use a bungee to remove the weight of the cable, the weight can even be optimized further for those that prefer an even lighter mouse.
On an ambidextrous chassis, this gaming mouse sports a six-button configuration. Unfortunately, since only the unit’s left side has buttons on it, the lefties would be disappointed. As the mouse is already symmetrical, this is a little confusing – putting thumb buttons on just one side seems like Fantech has gone out of his way to alienate left-handers here.
Apart from that disappointment, the mouse feels decent in hand, if a tad small. The claw and fingertip grips are the most comfortable here; the body is probably a little too cramped for the palm grip users and those with bigger hands.
That said, the positioning of the side buttons is ergonomically comfortable – absolutely within the range of the thumb when using the claw grip, but easy to prevent accidental clicking. Without fumbling for it, the DPI switch on top is also tiny enough to be out of the way.
For the price, the HELIOS UX3’s build quality is impressive. With a minimal rattle and no loose-feeling bits, the whole mouse is made of high-quality plastic and feels solid. The mouse wheel feels very secure, and there is just a small amount of side-to-side travel on the left and right keys.
Of course, without any kind of RGB backlighting, this wouldn’t be a mass-market gaming mouse. At the bottom of its case, the HELIOS UX3 had RGB backlighting also via the Fantech logo, as well as on the scroll wheel.
Outstanding Performance with PIXART 3389 gaming sensor
Overall, in multiple games, including Overwatch, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Stories, and World of Warcraft, the HELIOS UX3 performed well. It was an absolute pleasure to find that, at least for casual play, this gaming mouse (with the right mouse pad) is almost as lovely as any of the mid-range models from rival brands.
The gaming mouse also features the PIXART 3389 gaming optical sensor (similar to the UX1 sensor), a gaming sensor improvement over the PIXART 3335 wireless edition, and the PIXART 3360 gaming sensor from UX2. This sensor has a DPI capability of 400-16000 and a maximum velocity of up to 400 IPS. The sensor can handle up to 50G of acceleration.
Customizable lift-off distance (LOD)
The HELIOS UX3 has a lift-off sensor that can be controlled by the user via the software, enabling gamers to reliably decide when the sensor stops and starts tracking when the mouse is lifted off their mousepad. HELIOS UX3 loses nothing by providing the best tracking precision combined with an ideal low lift-off distance, unlike other gaming mice that have to decrease their tracking efficiency to attain a lower LOD.
When the mouse is picked up and placed down, this function prevents extra movement (something that often occurs in fast-paced or challenging multiplayer titles), thereby improving accuracy and ease of use.
The verdict: Fantech HELIOS UX3
There’s nothing to dislike about the Fantech HELIOS UX3 from a performance point of view. It provides the ability to track and customize the lift-off, making this mouse a top option when operating on a budget. It looks fantastic on paper; it has solid specs, and it certainly gives you a pretty good experience with the gaming mouse.
However, it’s also frustrating that the HELIOS UX3 is not really ambidextrous, especially when Fantech has already done most of the legwork in asymmetric design construction. Much of the way, the HELIOS UX3 was already there; why not add a few more thumb buttons on the right side?