Brand: CM Storm
Price: £54 (at time of review)
Cooler Master continues to innovate and expand their horizons with a wide range of cooling options, system cases and even gaming peripherals. Recently we have covered the Mech Keyboard (insert link) and the Pulse R Headset. CM Storm is the gaming peripheral arm of the Cooler Master brand, producing high quality products that appeal to system builders and gamers alike. The Aluminium Gaming range compliments the excellent product line with quality manufacturing and design approach that has made Cooler Master one of the best companies in the world.
Today we take a look at the Reaper. It is designed to fit straight in with the Aluminium Gaming range, the Reaper is a purely gaming mouse with various additional buttons that can be customised, as well as the ability to change the mouse’s DPI settings and even program macros with the stand alone software that CM Storm have produces just for this mouse. So let us take a look at the Reaper’s Specifications
Design: Palm Design
Body: Plastic / Aluminium / Rubber
Sensor: Avago 9800
Switch: Omron 5 million clicks
Onboard Memory: 128k
Inch Per Second: 150
Max. Acceleration: 30g
LED color: White
Cable length: 1.8m/ 5.75 feet Braided cable
As you can see from the specifications, the Reaper is decided with all the key features we can expect from a gaming mouse. The Reaper uses the Avago 9800 Sensor which is possibly one of the best on the market right now and used in many popular gaming mice. The Reaper also has on board memory which is great if you move between systems and want to take you settings with you.
Moving on, let us take a look closer at the packaging.
The packaging is comprised of two separate sections, a card sleeve which slides over a lidded box. The front of the box has the Cooler master Logo, as well as the CM Storm logo and an image of the mouse itself, along with purple sparks which off set the mouse from the rest of the black used on the packaging.
The back of the box has more detailed information regarding key features of the mouse itself. The back of the box continues the black background that is used on the front as well as purple and white sparks which accentuates the mouse itself.
Like the Pulse-R the right hand side of the box which points you to the CM Storm website for further information, this is listed in various languages showing that this product is available world wide.
The left hand side of the box has information regarding customer support as well as addresses for their world wide offices.
The box underneath the sleeve is a simple and plain black box with printed logos for Cooler Master and CM Storm. Unlike the Pulse-R box, this is lidded and once removed you get to see the mouse itself.
With the lid removed we see the mouse is clearly on display. It is held in place with black tie wraps and in a moulded plastic packaging.
The first thing we are greeted with before we get out hands on the mouse is the instruction manual which has some basic information about the mouse itself, as well as instructions to download the CM Storm Reaper software. The manual carries the same sort of design as the front packaging with its colours and imagery.
As we can see from the image below, the mouse has an aluminium scroll wheel and five programmable buttons. The two under the scroll wheel are pre programmed for changing the mouses DPI, the two sides buttons are preset for forward and backward within a web browser and the larger clutch button is programmed to drop the mouses DPI for precision sniping – Precision sniping is something which has become quite popular with gaming mice quite recently.
Looking at the front of the mouse we see the aluminium scroll wheel as well as the left and right mouse buttons.
The aluminium plate is removable by removing a screw which is concealed by a rubber bung on the underside of the mouse (see the next image). Removing the plate allows you to customise it without risking any damage to the rest of the mouse.
Looking at the underside of the mouse, we can see the Avago optical sensor as well as Teflon feet used for smooth motion when used, as well as the rubber bung which conceals the aluminium plate screw.
The Reaper does not come supplied with any software in the box, but is easily accessible directly from the CM Storm website. Installing the software is a simple process.
The software uses a tab system for navigation the first tab we are greeted with is called ‘Main’, this where we can configure a simple profile and change what each button on the mouse does. Every button on the mouse is configurable which allows you to use a variety of options depending on your usage requirements.
The Advanced tab is where you can configure the four levels or stages of the mouse’s DPI, the X and Y axis of the Avago sensor as well as the report rate. We can also adjust the LED brightness as well as the LED mode.
The mouse LED has four modes, always on, always off, breathing and a rapid fire mode. Breathing is an automatic mode which changes the LED’s brightness from low to high constantly. The rapid fire mode makes the mouse LED rapidly turn on and off when a button is clicked. This is especially fast when using left and right click together. We can also adjust the mouse sensitivity within Windows, the double click speed and button response time.
The macro tab allows us to record various macros, with a maximum of 256 different key strokes and mouse clicks within a single macro. We can also adjust the timing of each key press, change the order in which they are made and you can even download macros from the internet. (Please note these macros are user made and CM Storm does not have any preconfigured macros)
In the profile tab we see that we can save four profiles to the mouse itself as well as have multiple profiles saved to the PC itself. This menu allows us to import and export profiles and save them to the Reaper’s on-board memory.
The library tab is designed to allow saving macros to the mouse itself and selecting a profile as well as well as a button to assign it too. As there are eight buttons on the mouse, we can assign a total of eight macros to the mouse.
Finally the last tab is the support section which simply directs us to the CM Storm website. It also states that the software is designed to automatically update the mouse with any firmware updates that may be produced in the future.
Having taken a good close look at the software lets move onto the performance section of this review.
Like the entire range of the Aluminium range, CM Storm have released the Reaper which has a silver plate that dominates the section where the palm of your hand would sit. This offsets the black rubber section quite nicely and compliments the LED placement CM Storm have chosen to use. The additional control of the LEDs is a nice touch and whilst they are quite bright they are far from over powering.
As with all modern mice, there is a scroll wheel and in this instance CM Storm have chosen to make the scroll wheel entirely from aluminium. To me the scroll wheel is quite an important feature and I found after several hours of us it could be quite tiresome using the Reaper as the scroll wheel is not the most comfortable to use. It has a slower movement than that of what I am used to. I spend a lot of time at my desk, whether I am gaming or browsing the ‘net so having a scroll wheel that is comfortable to use is essential.
The Avago 9800 optical sensor has been around for quite some time now. It is used in almost all gaming mice as it is possibly one of the best sensors around. The Avago 9800 is an off the shelf sensor and is engineered for accurate readings of mouse movement.
CM Storm also supplied me with a mouse pad for my testing of the Reaper. The Speed –RX S is designed for use with CM Storm gaming mice, but like all mouse pads it is usable with any mouse. The Reaper’s movement was smooth, the sensor was accurate and it kept up with the demand I put it under.
I used the mouse whilst I played on the Battlefield 4 Beta which came out during my testing. I was eager to see what changes had been made to the multiplayer portion of the game. Ignoring the games bugs and problems the mouse performed admirably.
Every bit of movement I made and every click I made was read accurately. I won’t profess to being a pro gamer, in fact I am about average and whilst having the right tools is essential, a small amount of skill is also needed. I used the mouse for several hours whilst I played the beta, and can say it did its job well.
Whilst I did not need any macros in Battlefield 4, I did change the way the side mouse buttons worked within game. I like to have easy access to gadgets and secondary weapons. For this, I changed the scroll wheel when clicked to change from primary to secondary weapons. The clutch button became a gadget deploy button, the two forward and back buttons became grenade and knife deployment.
This is the typical setup I have on my own personal mouse, and the Reaper was fully capable of reporting each action needed without batting an eye lid. The side mouse buttons had quite a satisfying action to them.
Initially I did question the button placement, and had took some time to adjust. This is purely because I was used to a particular mouse and the side buttons placement. I found that the Reapers side buttons worked well and once I had mapped them within the game itself they worked fantastically every time.
The same cannot be said for the two DPI buttons on the top of the mouse. To me these felt quite spongy, and let the rest of the mouse down. I will add that changing DPI on the fly worked extremely well with the buttons but I was not pleased with the overall action when depressed.
The shape of the mouse itself took some getting used too. I have a typical palm grip but the Reaper felt a little odd when I first started using it but this dissipated after using it for a while. The feel of the mouse became natural and quite comfortable to use.
It is that time again, let’s conclude this review. How does the mouse shape up?
The Reaper, the Mech and the Pulse-R where all designed alongside each other. This is evident from the imagery used on the aluminium plating and the overall designed and off-setting the black plastic with the aluminium plating was an excellent design choice.
When you are creating an appealing design, you have to match that design with internal components that live up to it. For this, CM Storm have used the current king of optical sensors – Avago 9800. The Avago 9800 has been used in almost every gaming mouse or precision mouse since it hit the market a few years ago and using this superior sensor makes perfect sense.
One of the unique features that this mouse has and in fact, all the products within this range is that it has the ability to be customised aesthetically. This is not apparent at first glance with the Reaper but from the closer look images you can see that the aluminium plate can be removed. This allows for customisation of all three products if the consumer wishes to do so and makes sense considering that CM Storm have been running a design competition recently in which the winner gets all three products with their custom design.
The switches used on the mouse are the typical Omron type and give audible click when pressed and depressed; as I said in the performance section, I found the DPI buttons slightly spongy. This could very well be an issue with the mouse that I reviewed but it isn’t necessarily something that would be on all of the Reaper mice.
At the time of this review, the Reaper is around the £54 mark. This drops it directly into an already large range of gaming mice but the pricing is the sweet spot in my opinion. Apart from the spongy DPI buttons I have nothing negative to say about the Reaper. It is an excellent gaming mouse, sitting in the correct price point and has quite a unique aluminium design unseen before on any other product from what I can tell. Even better than that is that this isn’t just a one off product but it is part of a set of three.
It is with that I am going to give the CM Storm Reaper our Editor’s choice award, it simply ticks all the right boxes for me.
With excellent performance and quality design, the CM Storm Reaper is an excellent choice when it comes to gaming mice. The Reaper also sits at a nice price point which is on par with most mice of it’s calibre and deservedly wins our editors choice award.