CM Storms Latest Mouse & Mats Page: 1
CM Storm Mats/MiceIntroduction
 
CM Storm first graced our labs back in February, with their first attempt at creating a high end gamer's case - The Storm Sniper. Now, a few months on, they have a range of other products for us to take a look at, designed to improve your precision and accuracy in game.
 
CM Storm are the gaming arm of the legendary Cooler Master, and were founded just last year. However, with the help of Cooler Master they have already had a massive impact on the market, and have built up an impressive portfolio of products. Today we will be focusing on their latest Sentinel Advance gaming mouse, but will also be looking at 6 of their new gaming surfaces/mats.
 
Since we will be focusing on the Sentinel Advance mouse, I think it's about time we had a look at the specification:
 
Model Number: SGM-6000-KLLW1-GP
Available Colour:  Black and Grey
Material: Rubber Grip / ABS Plastic / Mesh Bezel / Metal Plate
Dimensions: (W) 83.5 X (H) 135 X (D) 40 mm (W) 3.3 X (H) 5.3 X (D) 1.6 inch
Net Weight:  161.5 g / 0.356 lb
Sensor:  5600 DPI Storm Tactical™ Twin-laser Sensor
X&Y Axis Configuration: Independent and programmable
Maximum Tracking Speed: 6.00 m/s 235 IPS
Maximum Acceleration: 50g
Polling Time: 1.0ms
Speed Measurement: Real-time
Dynamic Surface Adaptation: Tracks on all surfaces, ensures minimal lift-off distance
Onboard Memory:  64Kb
Form Factor: Right Hand Ergonomic
Button Assignment: 8
Illumination: IC controlled Illumination with 7 colours and variable lighting effects
DPI Display:  OLED
Weight System: Yes, 4.5g X 5 pcs
 
The spec that immediately catches your eye has the be the inclusion of an OLED screen. OLED screens have only just started to appear on the market, so to find one in a mouse is pretty impressive. The rest of the spec is equally high end, with a 5600dpi sensor, 64kb on-board memory and adjustable weights.     


CM Storms Latest Mouse & Mats Page: 2
Packaging and Appearance. 
 
The Sentinel came in a rectangular shaped box, with a large cut-out revealing the mouse, which is protected by a moulded sheet of plastic. The front contains a few details, but it's round the back that you find the in-depth product information. There is a full break down of the mouse's key features along with little images to illustrate what each feature relates to.
 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance packaging CM Storm Sentinel Advance packaging back
 
In the box we have; The mouse itself, a software disc and a Safeguard PCI plate. The CD is one of the mini CD affairs, but should work fine in most CD/DVD drives. The Safeguard plate is an interesting addition, with the plate allowing you to thread the mouse's cable through a spare PCI plate, stopping it from being stolen easily. The cable itself is bound up with a loop of wire, and is braided from start to finish, all the way to the gold connector on the end.  
 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance Packaging contents
 
The mouse has a number of key design features, which give it a fairly distinctive look. In front of the scroll wheel we have a button to change the mouse's profile, then 2 buttons behind which change the sensitivity/dpi. Behind the dpi buttons we can see the OLED screen, which is surrounded by a metal meshing. The mouse has the usual forward/back buttons on the right hand side, with a nice deep curve to support your thumb below. Apart from the mesh, the buttons and shell are largely plastic, which means mouse clicks are more on the click side rather than a quality clunk.
 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance Front CM Storm Sentinel Advance Back
 
Turning the mouse over reveals some sports-car like front scoops, which are used to channel the light onto your desk from the LED's hidden behind (more on that later). About 3 cms behind the scoops we have the laser, with a small door a further 3cm's or so behind that. Opening the door reveals 5 weight cartridges- all of them 4.5g in weight.
 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance underneath front CM Storm Sentinel Advance weights    
 
I think you'll agree that so far things look pretty impressive. Time to give the Sentinel a test run...     


CM Storms Latest Mouse & Mats Page: 3
Software and Setup
 
The Sentinel has 5 customisable profiles, which can be scrolled through using a button on the mouse. Each profile can have a certain lighting colour assigned to it, or you can have all the profiles stick to one colour. Here are the mouse's 5 default colours:
 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance Red CM Storm Sentinel Advance Blue 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance Green CM Storm Sentinel Advance Purple 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance White
 
The OLED screen is used for a number of purposes. When switching through profiles it tells you which profile is active , the current X and Y direction sensitivities and also displays a small logo of your choice. The default logo is the CM Storm logo, but with the aid of the software, you can upload your own to the mouse.
 
CM Storm Sentinel Advance OLED Screen  
 
Putting the bundled CD into your drive brings up a small menu with the choice of either installing the driver/software or running it off the disc. Once you have the software loaded up, you are greeted with the screen below. On the right we have sliders for adjusting the DPI levels, sensitivity, double click speed and button response. Down the bottom we have the ability to change the mouse's polling rate, and on the left we can assign different commands to each button. The degree to which you can adjust the settings on the mouse absolutely blew me away, I've never seen so many sliders and option boxes.
 
 
The colour control screen is pretty nifty, and allows you to change all the lighting settings. There is 8 colours to chose from, and the top/front can be coloured differently. You can also change when the lights come on, with the nifty option to make the lights 'breathe'. This screen also has the option to upload your clan logo, which would then be displayed on the OLED screen... Sweet.
 
 
The last screen worthy of note is the macro's screen. This lets you record key/mouse movements and then assign them to a button on the mouse, which could potentially be a massive time saver. Again, the options available here are absolutely insane, only a truly dedicated gamer would manage to use them all at once. You can view saved scripts and macro's from the library tab.
 
 
The software supplied with the mouse is absolutely mind blowing, I never imagined you could have so much customisation potential from a mouse. CM Storm certainly deserve respect for incorporating all these features, it must have taken quite some time. I think it's about time we put all these features to the test....      


CM Storms Latest Mouse & Mats Page: 4
Testing
 
Poll rate test:
This test involves a number of mouse movements whilst running an application called mouse rate checker to verify the polling rate achieved by the mouse. Although the program showed that the average polling rate of the mouse was below the 1ms quoted, the mouse did momentarily meet the rated speed, so it wasn't a total disaster.
 
 
    
 
Using the mouse:
As there's no benchmark or test to tell you if a mouse is good or not,  I used the mouse as my everyday work mouse. The precision I was able to achieve, along with the supreme comfort led to a pleasant experience and one that I would happily have everyday. 
 
Switching to gaming truly brought the mouse into its own, with all of its high end features really beginning to shine. The ability to just press a button and have your character buy a pre-recorded set of weapons, or perform a specific combat manoeuvre is pretty nice. But what if the macro's don't match the game or map you are playing? Then you simply change the profile, and engage in combat once more. The 5600dpi laser ensures that even the minutest of moves are recorded, aiding you in lining up the enemy right in the middle of your sights. The ability to adjust the DPI is also useful, although nothing new as far as gaming mice are concerned. 
 
Once again the comfort of the mouse was excellent, even after a good few hours of gaming my hand was still poised and ready for more. It's also worth noting that with the lights on the mouse pulsing away it looked like quite a demon sitting on my desk.
 
Conclusion
 
CM Storm really have come up trumps with the Sentinel Advance. Not only does it have premium features, but it also has premium software to back it up, allowing you to customise every little detail. The polling rate was a bit of a disappointment, but it was still far from slow and  perfectly acceptable. The omission of wireless isn't a big negative, as only the awesome Razer Mamba can avoid adding dreaded lag when using the technology, and does so with a rather hefty price tag.
 
Not only does the Sentinel perform well, but it also looks the part. Turning up to a LAN event and pulling out your sentinel will undoubtedly turn heads, with its multiple lighting options and superb OLED screen. Adding your clan logo or a manufacturer logo is a nice touch, which makes the mouse that little bit more personal. It's a bit of a shame you can't add text strings or logos that take up the whole screen, but you can't have everything.
 
Priced at £49.88 from Scan.co.uk the Sentinel is certainly up there cost wise with other high end mice, but it certainly justifies the cost with the wealth of features on offer. If you're looking for the ultimate gaming mouse, then you're search may well be over...
 
The Good
+ 5600dpi
+ OLED Screen
+ Customisable lighting and Logo placement
+ On the fly adjustable dpi
+ Bundled software has a mind boggling array of options
+ Stormguard Security Bracket
 
The Mediocre
* A wireless version would be nice
 
The Bad
- Buttons could have a bit more of a quality click
    
 
 
CM Storm were kind enough to send Overclock3d a range of mouse pads to take a look at as well, so feel free take a look at them on the next few pages.           


CM Storms Latest Mouse & Mats Page: 5
CS-S Battle Pad H2
Size: 260 x 210 x 2 mm
 
First up we have the smallest mouse pad on the test, the CS-S Battle Pad H2. The H2 came in a rectangular box sporting an array of logos and information about the pad.  The pad is incredibly thin - just 2 mm - which is instantly noticeable and it feels a bit like a tissue it's so floppy. The top is a fine fabric and has the CM Storm logo in the bottom right. 
 
CS-S Battle Pad H2 front CM Storm CS-S Battle Pad H2 Close up 
 
    
CS-M WOC M4 DM
405 x 285 x3 mm
 
CM Storm have decided to go with a white theme for this mouse pad, with the majority of it being white. The pad is obviously aimed at M4 lovers, with a large image of the rifle dominating the mouse pad. The pad has a fairly course fabric, which helps to increase feel when moving your mouse around. On the bottom half we have all the text, with a graphic background adding a bit of excitement to what would have been a fairly plain pad.
 
CM Storm CS-M WOC M4 DM CS-M WOV M4 DM Pad close up
 
 
        
CS-M Weapon Of Choice AK DM
405 x 285 x 3 mm
 
With identical dimensions and similar names it is obvious that the AK DM is supposed to partner the M4 DM. Both aimed at lovers of particular rifles, this mat is dominated by the large AK rifle image. The fabric is also the same as the M4 mat, but this time CM Storm have gone for black as the main colour. The pad is also a lot more simplistic, with no real graphics or interesting design features- just a lot of black.
 
CM Storm CS-M WOC AK DM Pad CS-M WOC AK close up 
 
Head on over to the next page where we look at another 3...   


CM Storms Latest Mouse & Mats Page: 6
CS-M FPS Tactics DC
405 x 285 x5 mm
 
Getting away from the gun orientated designs we have the CS-M FPS Tactics DC. This is quite a simple pad with 5 key bits of gaming advice down the middle. The key ideas are along the lines of 'don't camp' and 'don't nade your mates'. The mat itself is constructed of a finer fabric, helping your mouse glide effortlessly across. I rather liked the font used for the  'Storm Tactics' branding in the bottom left.
 
CM Storm CS-M FPS Tactics Pad CM Storm CS-M Tactics DC close up 
 
CS-X Battle Pad DP
444 x 355 x5 mm 
 
The CS-X Battle Pad DP is a pad that really means business. Massive dimensions of 444x355mm make this an absolute beast, it will make almost any desk look small, and an arm extension almost a necessity. CM Storm have kept the pad fairly plain, giving it the 'I mean business' look. A small CM Storm logo located at the bottom left is the only graphic present on the soft, incredibly smooth fabric.
 
CM Storm CS-X Battle Pad DP Pad CS-X Battle Pad DP close up 
 
HS-M Battle Pad SSK
350 x 260 x 4 mm
 
The HS-M Battle Pad SSK is the only 'Hard top' mouse pad on review today. The top is constructed with a special 'PP/Alloy layered compound', which is designed to offer 'maximum tracking' and a 'speedy glide'. I'm not going to argue with this either, as my mouse felt like it was on ice, skating across the pad with virtually no effort what so ever. Aesthetically, we have a large CM Storm logo taking up the left of the pad with a small logo and branding on the bottom right.
 
CM Storm HS-M Battle Pad SSK HS-M Battle Pad SSK close up
 
That concludes the mouse pads for now, however, we are sending the mats to some of our forum members so check back in the coming weeks for some real user views on CM Storms new range of mouse mats.
     
Overclock3d would like to thank CM Storm for all the items looked at and reviewed today, discuss this review, and many others in our forum, here.