The final item in our look at three uniformly designed CM Storm products, the Aluminium range, is the Reaper Gaming Mouse.
So far we've discovered incredible build quality from the Mech Keyboard, and solid if unspectacular performance from the Pulse-R headset.
The Reaper Mouse has a lot more to live up to than the previous two reviews though. After all, the Mech keyboard was following some more mid-range models, and the CM Storm history with headsets has never been their star item. Mice, however, most certainly are the product that has consistently produced the goods.
Whether it's the Recon, Havoc, Sentinel or Xornet, the back catalogue of CM Storm mice is a parade of excellent products at great prices, and we've loved every one. Time to discover if the latest addition to this suite of mice hits it out the park.
If you're a connoisseur of gaming rodents you'll know that the main two parts of the Reaper are already spot on, with the outstanding Avago 9800 sensor married to the glorious Omron switches. In the same way that any mechanical keyboard worth its salt uses Cherry switches, so all the top end mice tend to use the Avago/Omron combination.
|Body||Plastic / Aluminum / Rubber|
|Switch||Omron 5 million clicks|
|Inch Per Second||150|
|Cable length||1.8m/ 5.75 feet Braided cable|
The packaging for the Reaper is eye-catching with the mouse dominating and a chrome logo aping the aluminium USP. At a glance one would assume that the Reaper has gone the opposite way from the white lighting of the Mech and Pulse-R, but as you'll see it's retained the white+aluminium design.
The mouse itself is a nice blend of soft rubber all over, with plastic buttons and the aluminium plate with the CM Storm logo. Underneath we just find two long feet and the Avago sensor. Simplicity.
Yes, this is a right-handed mouse. It has a gentle curve with a deeply recessed thumb portion. The left-hand side has the back and forward buttons that are found on nearly every mouse on earth, but in front of those is the 'clutch' button which can be used to lower the DPI for sniping. We saw a similar feature on the Corsair M60, and it's as welcome here. The right-hand side continues the soft rubber coating, which is lovely to see after the half grippy, half gloss affair that was the Havoc.
The scroll wheel is extremely solid, having a lovely weight to it in use, and plenty of grooves to keep it under control even in the most sweaty and heated battles.
A gentle tease, but Cooler Master need to sack their proof reader. Swtich indeed. It's the little things, guys.
As well as the main three reviews that we have for you today, CM Storm provided one of their Speed-RX surfaces, and it's a gem. Extremely thick and cushioning for your wrist, whilst having a very speedy surface suitable for both laser and optical sensors. Most thankfully of all though it's a very compact size, handy if you haven't got a desk the size of the Ark Royal.
Up Close and Software
The lighting for the Reaper is very nice indeed. We've seen some 'headlight' style lighting before, but never so stylishly executed. We really like the diagonal strip of white. It's not often we find an artistic touch we haven't seen before, so kudos to CM Storm's design team.
Sometimes manufacturers produce a feature and then completely forget to mention it to anyone. We were both confused and disappointed that the Reaper didn't have a removable aluminium cover, unlike the Mech and Pulse-R. The box mentions nothing, the included pamphlet doesn't, and even the PDF manual from their website negates to mention the USP. So we shall, having discovered it at the end of our testing. On the underside is a rubber grommet, deeply buried beneath that is a tiny crosshead screw, and that, along with some gentle persuasion, is enough to free the aluminium cover. It's good to know that you can take it off and add it to the pile of things to paint, should you so desire.
The software is a small download and, in a similar fashion to the Mech software, extremely easy to use. It's well laid out with everything where you'd expect it to be and enough tweaking options to keep everyone happy. It even automatically updates the Reaper when you make adjustments. Useful, although tinkerers should be aware so you don't accidentally overwrite a carefully constructed setup.
One of the downsides to reviewing a series of products such as the CM Storm Aluminium range is that, because each one leads to the next, sometimes you can have an initial opinion that proves not to be the case. Or perhaps you have expectations that aren't obviously met. For example, one of the things we really like about the Mech and the Pulse-R is that the combination of white lighting and aluminium looks excellent as standard, but because it's removable the potential for customisation is high. We all like to tune things to our own preferences, and being able to just take the aluminium off and spray it or powder coat it without worrying about masking or a complicated disassemble is a boon. So we were rather miffed that the Reaper didn't have this feature. It isn't mentioned in the blurb, or the manual, or on the box or.. anywhere. Thankfully once we'd finished testing the Reaper and so were more inclined to take it apart without the problem of a spring disappearing or forcing it apart, we discovered that a rubber grommet on the underside which led to a screw which enabled the removal of the metal plate.
If we didn't know that it was part of a series that had removable fascia then we'd never have looked for it, such is the poor job CM Storm have done in revealing this part of the Reaper or explaining how it's done. The manual was probably written by the same person who can't spell switch properly on the specification sheet.
With that out of the way the rest of the Reaper testing was a joy. For a start you have the Avago 9800 sensor. To say this is the current king of sensors is to almost understate things, such is its ubiquity. It's incredibly responsive, capable of dealing with anything from an armgasm swipe in anger to a gentle creeping of your crosshairs towards the target. The gentle creeping of crosshairs, or indeed a paintbrush, is made easier by the clutch button. We first saw this on the Corsair M60 and we're glad to see it reappear on a CM Storm product. Having the ability to lower the DPI of the mouse at a click is a real pleasure, and much simpler than swapping up and down profiles.
All of the buttons on the Reaper use the outstanding Omron switches too, so you get a reassuring click of quality and durability with every press. The scroll wheel is a hefty number, feeling like it's hewn from a solid piece of aluminium. It probably is. The lighting is nice and bright, whilst remaining unobtrusive and neutral enough to free your creativity should you want to paint the palm rest. The big low friction feet keep you in the game at all times, especially when combined with the Speed-RX mousepad, and the software is simple to use with a small footprint.
At around £54 the Reaper is right in the sweet spot for such a high specification mouse. The only downsides we can find are very minor indeed, namely the lack of clarity regarding the removal of the aluminium palm rest and the lack of any profile/DPI indicators. It's comfortable, well built, has the best switches and sensor on the market and comes at a great price. It's the best of the excellent 'Aluminium' triumvirate, which is high praise indeed. Unquestionably a Gold Award.
Thanks to CM Storm for supplying the Reaper and Speed-RX for today's review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.