CM Storm CS-M Weapon of Choice M4-DM - By Alex Myers
As those of you reading this that follow the OC3D forums may know already (and if you don't, why not? Click here to join now!
Today the regulars are taking over this review! VB's excellent review will be a tough act to follow, but I'll try my very best to match his standard of penmanship. I'm going to be taking a look at another of Cooler Master's CM Storm gaming pads, the CS-M Weapon of Choice M4 DM. Let's see if it can follow in the footsteps of the flagship HS-M Battle Pad SSK.
I was a little surprised when I first saw the packaging of the mat. I was expecting some kind of clear plastic bag but what arrived was a mainly white cardboard box, almost a tube with a square profile. The packaging features red and black graphics and black text, with a small picture of the mat on one side and numerous specifications spread liberally around the box, without seeming too cluttered. There is a small swatch of the 'duramesh' cloth on the front, so in a retail situation a potential customer could feel the surface before making a decision.
The introduction text next to CM's performance ratings is a little hard to focus on as it is over a red halftone pattern on the side of the packet. Opening the box at the top reveals the mat rolled up tightly inside the box. Apart from the black text over red dots being a little difficult to read, the packaging is very professional, as to be expected from such a reputable company as Cooler Master.
First off I should say that my setup isn't quite typical of an average gaming situation. The main purpose of my PC is music production, with my desk being the center of my home studio. I have audio gear all around my desk, so space is at a premium. When I first found out I had the opportunity to test one of these pads out, one of the first questions I asked myself is 'will it fit?' I am glad to say that the mat does fit on my desk- barely. If you have a smaller setup, you may want to look at the specifications to see if the pad will actually fit on your desk. This pad measures 405x285mm and is 3mm thick.
According to the introduction on the side of the box (which I will say again, can be annoying to read), the pad 'offers a specialized heavy duty weave for high sensitivity players'. I find this feature quite attractive, as I prefer to game with a medium-high mouse sensitivity. The duramesh cloth is a refreshing change from using my bare desk.
I have previously owned and loved my 2 original Icemats; however being frosted glass they were picky with mice and very fragile. Compared to the old Icemats which both ended up broken, this mat seems near indestructible. Short of spilling a drink on it, a small desk fire or an accident with something sharp, I can't imagine being able to accidentally damage this pad in any way!
There are grayscale printed graphics on the surface; all of the FPS players out there will instantly recognize the outline of an M4 Carbine assault rifle prominently displayed above the Weapon of Choice text. CM Storm have chosen to give the mat a dirty, worn in appearance which looks quite dramatic and I really like it, although I'm sure this is down to personal preference.
The base of the pad is made of natural rubber and is extremely sticky, with a nice firm feel while still having some padding. It seems very well attached to the cloth top of the mat and I’m not at all worried about the integrity of the pad.
The cloth itself is quite interesting, it is coarsely woven and provides a nice tactile resistance if you put pressure on the mouse, good for careful control when you need it. With a lighter touch, my trusty old MX510 glides across the surface with a gentle 'whoosh' sound.
Without further ado, let’s get on to the part of the review you've all been waiting for!
Testing - well kind of!
I can't really think of an objective way to test this mat, so I'll just have to try to explain my experience using it for the past few days. I'm using a Logitech MX510 optical mouse, with the weight removed. I've been using this mouse for a few years now and it was given to me a long time ago by a friend when he upgraded to an MX518, so it's been well used.
The first thing I had to do when I got the mat on my desk was to take a knife to the stickers on the bottom of the mouse, which had peeled up and were catching on the weave of the surface. Once I'd got the old stickers off, using the mat became a pleasurable experience.
I'm not much of a gamer these days, but have been replaying the original Half-Life recently, with a little Counter-Strike: Source and Age of Chivalry (an excellent medieval themed multiplayer HL2 mod) in between Half-Life sessions. Gaming really has been really good fun for me this week thanks to this pad and I am sure it will only get better as I get more of a feel for the surface.
I have also had a pleasant experience with more mundane activities like web browsing and instant messaging. I normally run Firefox or whatever app I'm mainly using on one screen, and less important things like my media player, sidebar and Messenger on the other. This setup involves a fair bit of using the mouse if I'm browsing the net and having multiple conversations. The huge surface area of the pad is a massive bonus when it comes to navigating multiple monitors.
I haven't had a chance to work on much music since getting the mat, however when I do have Cubase or SONAR sprawled over both monitors I'm confident that I will be more comfortable than I would be just using the surface of my wooden desk. Just like browsing the web and Messenger across 2 screens, the surface area is a massive bonus here as well.
Over all, I've had a good experience reviewing the CS-M Weapon of Choice M4. What gaming surface works best for you will always be down to personal choice but I would definitely recommend this pad to any high sensitivity gamer with the desk space for it. Apart from the text black text over a red and white on one corner the packaging (I'm really just looking for faults here); I can't think of anything bad about this mat, provided you have the space for it!
Cooler Master have done a great job here with their CM Storm range, and while I'm not the biggest fan of their recent case designs (or near enough any recent cases come to think about it, I'm more of an old school ATCS fan), I certainly like where the brand is going and think they have a great product here!
- Feels really comfortable
- Works flawlessly
- Seemingly indestructible
- Looks absolutely great
- On the box the black text over a red halftone pattern on a white background is difficult to read. Black on red is hard to read anyway!
- Could be too big for some people's setups
Thanks to CM Storm and the Overclock3d team for letting me review the mouse mat, you can discuss this further in the the forums