Cooler Master is well known for their PC products, offering customers almost the whole package from cases, cooling and power to peripherals and last year they had a blast introducing a new product or two almost every month. Will Cooler Master be taking a break through 2017? Will they heck!
Today marks the release of two new products in the UK, the MasterMouse S and the MasterMouse Lite S, and we have the full fat version here being played with but is it any good? or will the worst case happen and CM start the year with a lemon? Let’s look through the specifications and get an idea of what the MasterMouse S is all about before we jump into the testing and see what we get for the release price of just £34.99.
The Cooler Master packaging clearly shows the top-down view of the mouse on a grey background. The name and corporate logo are clear as is the RGB insignia. It is labeled as an ambidextrous mouse.
The side of the box is also fairly simple, showing a life-sized image of the side view of the MasterMouse S along with its name and the company logo. With the opposite side showing limited information in multiple European languages.
Open the front cover and we can see the mouse itself held securely within the box inside a plastic shell. The inside cover shows limited specifications of the MasterMouse S as well as an introduction to the mouse and some of its features.
The rear view of the Cooler Master MasterMouse S is pretty bland when it’s not connected to a computer. It’s a very dark grey with the company name barely visible as it’s printed in black and unlike the majority of RGB peripherals Cooler Master decided not to illuminate their logo.
Top-down we get an idea of the proportions of the mouse, seeing the ambidextrous body and the buttons barely visible along the thumb side.
The side view of the mouse gives you a proper idea of the placement of those buttons and sadly they are lacking on the opposite side. For a truly ambidextrous mouse I would have expected those buttons to be mirrored otherwise using them becomes a bit of a challenge.
When you open the software you are greeted with the rather uninspiring grey screen with Key Assignment on the Main Control as the default window. At the bottom of the row there are the five profiles that can be set along with the optional picture that you can upload – something a little different to just numbering the profiles but of course they do that as well. We can see that there are six unique click button options in addition to the scroll up and scroll down of the mouse wheel that can be assigned to any function including macros, keyboards shortcuts and media controls among many more.
Next to Main Control we have the Macro window. Its nice to see that the MasterMouse S supports macros in their fullest form.
It is not just a list of defaults that are available, you are given the full ability to write your own keyboard macro including setting the timing between keystrokes.
Once written, the macros can be selected in the Key Assignment window just like any other assignment you choose to set.
The Library window is where you can store the profiles that you have created as a back-up on your computer; these are not the ones that get reloaded every time you plug in the mouse, you can save a number of profiles and transfer up to five of them to the mouse as you see fit. Not only does this give you an excellent backup library that you can export and import to as well, but also gives you the option of reorganising the order of your profiles in a simple and straightforward manner.
Next up we have Storm TX, or Storm Tactics, which I personally think is the crowning glory of this mouse. Here you select your activation button then use that button to create two-button combos. This gives you easy access to an extra five clicks and two scroll options turning your lightweight FPS mouse into the perfect RPG mouse. If the extra 5+2 combo buttons is not enough turn one of those extra buttons into a profile cycle button and get a fresh set of combo buttons for every profile.
RGB, also know as All The Pretty Colours! Yep, this Cooler Master gem has that too, with a few options to choose from in the selection boxes on the right from always on to cycling and more.
There are two zones for RGB and they can be controlled together or separately, not just different colours but even separate effects for each zone if that’s what tickles your fancy.
You can have up to four DPI options that you can cycle through – and again this is per profile if you want to use a different one for different games or tasks. You can find the DPI adjustment under the Sensor tab.
Lastly we come to the OS sensitivity – overall sensitivity boost or decrease that’s set in Windows rather than the Cooler Master software. Here you can also change the double-click speed and the button response time, handy if you want really fast clicks all the way down to 4ms.
Performance and Testing
There was a delay with the release of the MasterMouse S, in truth it should have been out before Christmas but that just gave me even longer to get used to it and give it a right thrashing, and it’s a good job too. I’m a fingertip with wrist rest as far as mouse grip goes and I’m too old to change that now, but the mouse is quite small and flat and especially light which really caused me some issues. I had to discard the rest and try to use claw or palm but I found that I was changing my grip back without realising until I tried to click a button, and the extra pressure of a simple click would move the pointer, not a huge problem at low DPI but dramatic when it was set higher. The problem was especially noticeable when I tried to use the thumb buttons as I would end up with the mouse twisting away under my fingers. Even when holding the mouse with a more stable grip style the mouse was still moving under my hand when using the thumb buttons as it was just too small for me to get a good grip of it. You might notice the evidence of this in the following jitter tests.
Paint Jitter Test
To start, we will be testing performance with the good old fashioned Paint Jitter test on the four default DPI settings; however you can customise the DPI levels and change the defaults using the software so this will simply give an idea of what you can expect should you choose to own a Cooler Master MasterMouse S. To portray how much jitter each setting has, the best method is to draw a series of lines and circles in MS paint.
400 DPI (X – 400 Y – 400)
At 400 DPI almost everything looks fairly neat and tidy. Control was certainly not the issue here but the low DPI meant that there was a massive amount of travel compared to what I’m comfortable with; as a result the long lines which cause the most travel were a touch on the wiggly side.
1200 DPI (X – 1200 Y – 1200)
At 1200 DPI the doodles get much better. There is still a bit of wiggle going on especially with the not-so-straight lines, but that has more to do with the artist that the tools. This is shown quite clearly in the left hand spiral, the bottom-left quarter has the same problem jitter through each concentric section that isn’t shown in the other three quarters.
I hate to admit publically but my handwriting skills are amazingly poor now (and were never really much good when I used a pen daily in school 20 years ago), even so there’s a lot more jitter happening than you would expect when seeing the rest of the doodle set.
4000 DPI (X – 4000 Y – 4000)
Now we have a massive jump to the next default setting, 4000DPI, and things are starting to look messy. Even the writing which at first glance looks pretty much OK by my standards displays problems with slight jitter and the difficulty joining up the ends of the zeroes.
7200 DPI (X – 7200 Y –7200)
We take another huge jump now to 7200 DPI which is the last of the defaults and the maximum setting for this mouse. Writing was ridiculously hard here, much more so than the evidence would suggest and indeed all doodles took more concentration that should ever be necessary for such a simple set of drawings. Even with my concentration levels off the charts and by taking my time it’s still a complete mess in comparison to the rest of the settings and proof enough that 7200 DPI is not the right choice for anyone doing detailed work or trying to aim as a sniper. Yep, anyone who’s used a gaming mouse for anything probably knew this anyway but here is the empirical proof.
Optimum DPI and usability testing
In a controlled environment, we ran the Cooler Master MasterMouse S through many tests to see how well it performed and this assisted with finding the optimum DPI for myself. There are plenty of tools available to help you select what DPI combines sensitivity with accuracy by statistically factoring in the way you use a mouse with the available DPI platforms on offer by said peripheral, in this case, a full spectrum of X and Y axis DPI adaptability. We are sure that by completing said tests you will be able to find something suitable for each and every user.
Changing your surface can in some cases give the same result as buying a new mouse. Depending on what the sensor sees will tell how much control and accuracy you get when using the mouse, especially at higher DPI settings. For the most part, I have been using an aluminium gaming surface but I also tried the Cooler Master MasterMouse S on a cloth mouse mat as well as the wood effect surface of my desk and found that aside from different friction results the accuracy didn’t seem to suffer at all.
Being able to doodle in MS paint is one thing but having worked out the optimum DPI setting (1800 as a personal preference) it was time for me to get on with some proper work – which meant loading up a game and seeing how the Cooler Master MasterMouse S performed as well as some more general use.
Gaming is what this mouse is designed for and so it stands to reason that this is where the MasterMouse S will shine, but does it? In a word. Yes! Let me elaborate… because the mouse is so very, very lightweight it’s lightning fast. There’s hardly any friction from the three pads on the bottom when used with my aluminium mouse pad but even though the feet aren’t the fastest I’ve used there’s no weight adding to that friction. You can zip across the screen in double time so it’s really reactive in games like LoL and Smite.
Even games where precision is a must you can set up two pairs of default DPI settings, fast and slow, and easily change between them for times when you need the speed and those times when it’s a hindrance (like scope use in any shooter). Sadly, if the force used to click a thumb button is going to move the mouse before the click registers then that shot you have been aiming for 5 seconds to make is going to become pot luck and any pot shot is going to become wishful thinking, and unless you are able to use a grip style that gives you a solid hold on the mouse then that’s precisely what you are going to be dealing with.
For me though, playing mostly RPGs where there are plenty of different skills and icons that need to be clicked and used, you might think that there’s nothing special about this mouse. You would be quite wrong. Enter Storm TX, or for those who skipped the software part of this review, combo buttons. Now, with only two bonus thumb buttons and a DPI switcher to see you might think that macros wouldn’t really play much part in this review, but what if one of the mouse buttons acted like a Fn button on a laptop, giving every other button on the mouse a secret alternative click function? That’s exactly what we have here; with those extra two-button combos we have plenty of extra click options.
To describe this function, let’s say you use the DPI button as the Storm Tactics button (you’re probably not going to want to change DPI anyway in an RPG). Now you have four remaining buttons, a wheel click, scroll up and scroll down that can all be used in combination with the Storm Tactics button in order to become a macro, keyboard click (up to three button combo including CTRL, Shift, Alt and Win) or Rapid Fire for mouse or keyboard. You could even choose to change the profile with another button so you have one profile for mounted, one for ranged attack, one for melee, one for healing and one for um…shopping? Yes, each of those five profiles has their own unique Storm Tactics combos too.
In short, this is a superb gaming mouse for RPGs, and pretty good for everything else.
Using the mouse daily for the past month has been a nightmare outside of games. Without the constant mouse action that you simply don’t get when typing an email or writing up a review I was going back to the old fingertip grip that is just wrong for this mouse. It is just too lightweight to cope with the extra pressure of me trying to press a button, especially if I was to use the thumb buttons. Even after a month of trying I only got close to mastering it by getting rid of my wrist rest, something I really didn’t want to do as I’m old and wrinkly and set in my ways.
Although Storm TX could be used to give added functionality in specific programs that you use a lot it is a bit wasted on workday tasks and loses its impact as the amazing feature that it is in gaming. As a result you are left with a fairly standard mouse that is only really useful if you are shopping with a specific grip style in mind, otherwise you might get it very wrong and things like Photoshop where precision is required become a repetitive task full of CRTL+Z; though you can at least add the undo shortcut to the mouse button in the Storm TX window.
Oh dear, now we come to that part of the review that totally splits the readership base. No, it doesn’t make the mouse faster, more precise or lighter so it’s not really a gaming function and has no place on a gaming mouse. However, it does make it look cool and a lot of gamers do like a bit of bling on their hardware. There are only 2 lighting zones on the Cooler Master MasterMouse S, those being the scroll wheel and a line under the mouse’s bottom. Both are RGB enabled and controlled together or separately by the LED section of the software. There’s a limited selection of lighting designs, the Stars one is pretty unique with one half of the routine being off or a block colour and the other half ‘twinkling’ on and off to represent the star itself however the remaining options have all been seen before.
And now we have the ‘Too long: Didn’t read’ section where I try to round up this review for those whose time is limited but still want to know what’s going on in the world. In brief, I have to say I didn’t like this mouse; it was one of the most challenging peripherals I’ve had to try to come to terms with simply because it’s so incredibly small and incredibly light compared to my everyday mouse. That said there’s nothing wrong with the mouse – in fact there are a good number of things right with it, I’m simply not the target user as it’s designed for a claw user from the ground up. A claw would be stable enough to negate all the little niggly problems I had that were based around its size and weight.
To list some of those things that it gets right we start with RGB. Whether you like it or not it’s not going away anytime soon and there’s enough to keep the average user entertained here. Then we have the fact that it’s a small and zippy mouse that in the right hands will feel almost weightless and won’t restrict the user at all. Then we have the fantastic feature of Storm TX (or Storm Tactics) which basically lets you set an alt button on the mouse which will give you 2-button combos whether you use that for extra macros, shortcuts, autofire or whatever, the software is pretty comprehensive. Build quality is spot on, just as you would expect with Cooler Master. They’ve been at this game long enough to know how to make a mouse and it shows where it counts. Lastly price; you might expect a gaming mouse of this calibre to cost in the region of £50 when you consider what you are buying, but the MSRP is only £34.99 and that’s before the price wars between online suppliers drop that down even further.
It’s not all good news though; the fairly rigid rubber cable is a bit of an odd duck. It looks good but if there are any obstacles on your desk that it hits then the rubber is strong enough to cause resistance. Indeed, it’s more resistance than the weight of the mouse could cope with, I spent a good five minutes procrastinating while using the bounce of the cable to cause the mouse to flick across the mat when I let go.
Another negative is the fact that they describe the mouse as ambidextrous. I appreciate that the body shape is totally symmetrical but the thumb buttons are not repeated on the right side of the mouse. I tried to give the mouse a shot with my left hand – and I’m not left handed so bear with me – and trying to use those two thumb buttons with either my third or little finger was next to impossible. In my mind, without the ability to use the thumb buttons with the left hand it’s not an ambidex mouse, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here either.
Regardless of the few negatives though this is a storming product and an excellent way to break into the new year. For the price of this mouse there is nothing that compares so without a doubt I bestow it the Value Award. In addition, and mainly due to the excellent supporting software with that Storm TX feature that tips the balance, the Cooler Master MasterMouse S earns itself the Play3r Gold Award. Well played Cooler Master and thank you for allowing us to review the MasterMouse S.
- Lightweight for maximum speed
- Well implemented RGB
- Great price point
- Excellent software support
- Small body makes it ideal for travelling.
- Only really suitable for Claw and Palm grip style users, size and weight works against it for fingertip users.
- Marketed as ambidextrous but button placement is not symmetrical and would be inconvenient for a left-handed user