CM Storm Havoc Mouse and Control-RX Surface Review
As we have so often said here at OC3D Towers, the mouse market is probably the tightest contested on of any PC related sector. For every fiver that you go up in price there is an overwhelming array of choices. It takes something very special to stand out amongst the herd. Whether it's brand loyalty a la Steelseries/Razer, a particular look like the Mad Catz RAT, or a sheer wealth of features like the Gigabyte Aivia, every mouse must have that certain something. The CM Storm Havoc has a heck of a lot going for it, but is just let down from taking all the spoils by a few niggling design choices.
In general the three primary elements that make a mouse attractive are the quality of the sensor, the comfort in use, and the customisation options. The Havoc has an incredible sensor. We've seen it before on a few mice we've reviewed and it remains as excellent here as it was there. It tracks smoothly and with a great degree of precision on almost any surface. Whether you're capable of extracting the most from 8200DPI that the Avago sensor is capable of delivering is another matter, but you certainly will run out of talent before the Havoc runs out of capability to deliver the goods.
Comfort is a slightly harder thing to explain. For 90% of the Havoc it's glorious. The top rubber coating is the perfect blend of soft and grippy, and the heavily textured thumb rest on the left hand side is equally suited to the task. Sadly the gloss right hand side lets the whole shebang down. A mouse needs to move both ways, and having one side be very shiny and slippery and the rest of it grippy ends up with a distinctly schizophrenic experience. It's a real shame because the Havoc is very comfortable to hold and fits your hand nicely. Although you can't change the weight it has just the right amount of heft for the average user. The buttons are lovely to depress as we've come to expect from Omron switches. Just leave the gloss black at home next time.
Finally the customisation is reasonable. The whole mouse changes colour when you switch between profiles, and although there are only 8 colours to choose from they are all represented well. The software is easy to use, the buttons are well located although the DPIs are perhaps a little too far back to hit regularly in the heat of battle. Snipers would be better having a separate profile for low DPI sniping. Speaking of profiles there is only a profile switch button, so in that scenario you would have to have alternating ones, because you can only cycle through them rather than between two. The macro editor is easy to use but without a spare button on the Havoc you're forced to lose a feature to apply it. You could stick with having macros on the DPI buttons, but they aren't readily hittable, so you'll have to choose between back and forward or the profile button.
The Control-RX Gaming Surface is excellent. It is so sticky, weighty and large that once in place it would be impossible to move it by accident, and pretty hard to do so deliberately. It's one of the most well-cushioned cloth pads we've ever tested and if, like some of us, you suffer with wrist pain during extended sessions is a big help. It's designed for low-DPI users, hence the size, but works beautifully on any sensor and at any resolution. If you have room for the sheer size of it then it's definitely worth investigating, although the apparent £20 price tag means we can only award it our OC3D Silver Award.
The Havoc itself ends up being less than the sum of its parts. The Avago sensor is probably the best on the market, we have nothing but positive things to say about the Omron switches, and the CM Storm Havoc software is easy on the eye and easy to use. However, with an expected street price of around £40 the market is stuffed with similar or better quality mice and the Havoc, lacking a button for the macros, fairly short of colour choices and the insane decision to have one side of it glossy means that these minor niggles become almost insurmountable. One any other product it would be about whether you could live with those little flaws. If you can then the Havoc is still very much worthy of a purchase. Personally we'd look for something with the sensor and switches in a better designed package, but those are so important that the CM Storm Havoc still scrapes in with a Silver Award.
CM Storm Control-RX Surface
CM Storm Havoc Gaming Mouse