Introduction & Specifications
So it’s time once again to jump in to the peripherals mouse game with some new offerings from Cooler Master.
Cooler Master, the Taiwanese company, have been around since 1992 and have been making everything from the above mentioned mice (or mouses), to PSU’s, cases, headsets, and more. They’re obviously a well-known company in the computer and gaming market, and I’m pretty sure that most of you have heard of, if not even owned one of their products.
This time, we have our hands on their two new RGB gaming mice, the MM520 and the MM530. They are aimed at the mid-range market which is going in to competition with the likes of Corsair, Logitech, and Steelseries. They come featuring Omron switches rated for 20 million clicks and a PixArt 3360 sensor, which is one of the more popular sensors out there, more on that later.
Both mice have the same internals but differ in that they are both made for different grip types. The MM520 being designed for claw grip, and the MM530 for palm grip. As a side note, personally I use a claw grip so if the ergonomics work well I should prefer the MM520.
But first let’s take a look at the full spec sheet run down.
- Ergonomics: Claw (MM520) / Palm (MM530)
- Materials: Plastic/Rubber
- Sensor: PixArt 3360
- DPI(Max): 12000 (4 user defined levels)
- Switch Type: Omron (20 Million)
- Cable Length: 1.8m
- Inch Per Second: 150
- Acceleration: 30g
- Buttons: 6 (MM520) / 7 (MM530)
- LED: 16.7 Million colours
- Onboard Memory: 512kb
A Closer Look
Both mice come in well sized boxes, just a bit bigger than the mice themselves. On the front we have the pictures of the mice, with some Cooler Master branding, taken from their ‘Make it Yours’ line of products, as well as the names of the mice. We also get our first glimpse of the different ergonomics as I said above is for different mouse grips.
On the back of the boxes we get a few of the key points of the mice, with both differing only in the mention of the grip type, with the MM520 advertising being ideal for claw grip, and the MM530 just mentioning its ergonomic design and “perfect balance”.
Opening the door on the front of the boxes, and we are greeted with a pleasing display of the mice, and some more specifications, and information about them.
The MM520 details how it is the successor to the Spawn gaming mouse, and the MM530 the same but for the CM Storm Mizar.
Pulling everything out of the boxes we get the mice and a short but sweet manual which explains which buttons do what as well as some more specifications where we find that the mouse has 30g of acceleration, travel speed of 150 inch per second as well as 512kb of on-board memory. On-board memory is great as this means the firmware is able to be updated and that the mouse can also store lighting and DPI settings right inside. So taking your mouse to another machine doesn’t mean having to download the Cooler Master software.
The mouse also has a 1.8 metre attached cable. However, it is a little disappointing that the cables are not braided as this does add a nice feel and value to the cable, something which is often over looked.
Looking down at the mice, we see another way the mice differ, the MM520 only has one DPI button in-between the left and right click. Meaning you have to cycle though all the DPI settings to get to the one you want. The mouse can save 4 DPI presets, which is changed though the software. This is a bit of a nuisance for me, as personally I normally have my main DPI preset, and just below I have a lower one for when I’m sniping in a game. But with this mouse sadly that can’t be done. A minor gripe though.
Looking at the sides of the mice we get a closer look at the forward and back buttons. The buttons have a smooth finish on them and feel solid. I would have preferred a little texture, but that’s more of a personal preference.
On the MM530 we get texturised sides to help your thumb and ring finger grip the mouse which is useful when you’re a palm grip kind of person.
On the MM520 there is only grip on the right-hand side for your pinky finger, and the protruding rest for your ring finger. Both mice feel really comfortable in the hand, and they have easy control in fast paced games.
Talking a bit about the look and feel of the mice. Personally I like the look of the MM520 more, as in my mind it looks aggressive. The RGB on the mice is split into three separately controllable zones. On the MM530 this includes the CM logo, DPI up and down, and the mouse wheel. On the MM520 however, they have switched out the DPI lighting, for a more (in my mind) snazzy looking rim under where your palm sits.
From the back we see the CM logo where the palm sits and the light ring around the outside for its RGB lighting. An interesting point to make here is that only the ring around the outside of the logo actually lights up. Most companies would have slapped it up so the lighting is shown straight though, so that you, and everyone around you, would know who made the mouse. With these mice however this is not the case.
In my mind, the logo looks nice. Simply from the shape of it you can tell it’s a CM product, but it doesn’t shout it out. Even with a lit room “Cooler Master” is nearly the same shade of black as the rest of the mouse, just a bit glossier.
We also see again that light bar on the MM520 which is missing from the MM530.
From the front there isn’t much to say, the only notable thing here is the mouse wheel. It’s well implemented with the RGB in the mouse, and the plastic rubber that it is made of feels really good under the finger. It also has a good weight to it, and the texture makes sure you know how many notches you’re scrolling.
The Cooler Master software (available here) is a must have for anyone who wants to get the best experience out of their mouse. After installing the software you are greeted with the welcome screen which will list any Cooler Master devices you have plugged in. You will then need to download the software specific to your device. After that you can update the Firmware to the on-board memory, and you’re ready to go.
With regards to the software however, I would prefer if it didn’t need to download a separate program for the mouse, because the way it does it at the moment you’re pretty much running two bits of software, one for the mouse, and one to update the firmware and the software for the mouse.
Jumping in to the software for the mouse we are first shown the key assignment page, where you can remap all the buttons.
At the bottom of the window you also have your profile section buttons. Nice touch here is the ability to add your own image, which can make a profile for a certain game pop out that little bit more. Profiles are limited to five, but you can also import and back them up… useful for when you might be jumping on another PC.
Moving on to the next page and we are in to the TactiX settings. TactiX allows you to almost double the buttons on your mouse. By assigning a mouse button as a TactiX button, you simply hold down that button, and this then allows you to have secondary functions.
For example, on my mouse, I set the DPI up button as TactiX (which still works as a DPI up if you just click it instead of holding it down) and then I set my left and right mouse buttons to control my music by going to next track and previous track. The forward browser button was set by default as Change LED Mode.
Moving on again and we come to the LED page. Here we get to control our lighting. Sadly the three zones of the mouse can’t be controlled separately, but they are independent of each other.
The bottom right we have some premade lighting effects to choose from. These are Static, Customise, Stars, Colour Cycle, Breathing, Multilayer, Indicator and Turn Off. Static is where you just pick a colour. Customise, which allows you to click on the image on the left and pick which zones you would like lit, and it what colour. Stars is my personal favourite, it cycles through the three zones lighting them at random and making them fade in and out, and in there is also sky which does the same but as a blink. Colour Cycle fades through random colours on all the zones. Breathing is the staple of any LED effects. Multilayer, is where things get cool, it allows you to add different effects to different zones. For example, the scroll wheel could be set to cycle though colours, while the logo could be to to breathing and so on. Indicator shows you which DPI preset your mouse is in but sadly you can’t pick your own colours, and finally Turn Off does what it says on the tin.
Once you’re done playing with the LEDs, the next step will be setting up the sensitivity of your mouse. Here we get the four DPI levels on the mouse. A nice little extra is being able to set the X & Y axis to a different ratio to each other for each preset; this, for example, will allow you to zip from left to right across the screen while having less vertical movement on screen with the same hand movement, giving you horizontal speed as well as pin-point accuracy and control in vertical movements or vice-versa.
(Pro tip: When playing a mostly flat map in a shooter, turn down Y so you can get more detail on getting the headshots, while not being limited to turning around in a hurry.)
You can also let the mouse calibrate to what mouse mat you’re using. There is a list of CM Storm mousepads, but if you’re using another brand, you can add a new one too.
The final tab in the main control is the OS Sensitivity. It’s nice CM has included this in the software, as although the software doesn’t control these settings, it does relay them back to Windows. This saves you having to mess about in the minefield of Windows’ Control Panel.
The remaining two tabs are Macro & Library. Macro allows you to set macros on up on your mouse and keyboard, and also gives you control over the times between button presses, and Library is where you can import and export the profiles that you make.
Performance & Testing
Both these mice have now been sat on my desk for coming up to 2 weeks as I write this, the first week I used the palm grip MM530, and then switched to my home turf claw grip style with the MM520.
I have the DPI settings pretty much the same as my main mouse as they use the same sensor, mostly using 3200, and switching down sometimes to 1600 and 1000. This mouse can go all the way up to 12000, but my hands aren’t steady enough for that.
Besides from web browsing and general app usage, the best way I find for testing mice is in more professional settings such as Photoshop, and Premier. I rarely use hotkeys in Adobe as I just can’t seem to remember them, so I rely on my mouse more than others might.
While using both these apps, these mice kept true and the sensor did a good job of keeping my movement precise and smooth. Every now and then I would drop the DPI so I could get some more accuracy.
My recent game of choice has been PlayerUnknown’s Battleground which gives the mouse a good work out, from quick close combat to long range sniping all the way through to just getting shot and killed out of nowhere.
Both mice were just as capable, but I did prefer the MM520 for comfort on long gaming sessions. My hands just feel a bit too big for the MM530 with my palm sitting on the back on to my mouse mat, or my fingers hanging over the edge. But I put this down to myself as I kept slipping back in to claw grip and the MM530 is not made for this.
I also threw in some League of Legends into the mix to really get my wrist moving, and again I prefer the MM520.
Well, after 2 weeks with these mice now, I’m fairly happy with the feedback I have got for you guys and girls. It’s not the longest time to spend on something you’ll most likely be using every day for 2 years or more, and although I can’t comment on the durability after a short length of time, I can say that the mice feel just as solid as they did the day I took them out of the box.
The PixArt 3360 sensor in both of these mice has done a solid job, I have to say. A lot of mice use this sensor or a slight variant of it, and it’s clear that it’s tried and tested many times over. Tracking only slipped up when a crumb got stuck in the sensor hole.
I have used the mouse on fabric and hard mouse mats, as well as wooden and glass tables. The sensor dealt with them all and I couldn’t find any surface the mouse wouldn’t track on, setting the pickup distance to high, the mouse was even usable on carpet, to the point where I spent a whole game of PUBG laid in front of the TV like I was 7 again.
Looking at the mice, I still stand by what I said; I do prefer the look of the MM520 with the more aggressive style. The MM530 just seems a little too rounded for me.
The RGB lighting is a nice feature with enough customisation ability for most people. Again I prefer the MM520 with its RGB bar under the palm rest. But both do work well in my view. Cooler Master managed to stay away from being too over the top the way that many mice go for.
I also like that comfort of the mice has come well before anything else was added. Nothing had been allowed to interfere with the ergonomics, a trap many mice makers fall in to.
I can’t say much more than that other than around 1 year ago I spent over £50 for a mouse with the same sensor and same features give or take.
This price is obviously the MSRP being fresh to the market and might go up and down depending on where you buy it, but from my testing, these mice are worth every penny. The amount you are getting for your money here is unreal. Sure you can buy RGB mice for £10 quid from some eBay or Amazon listing, but here you are getting the build quality, software features, sensor, and a mainstream brand name. Not to mention the mouse is under warranty for 2 years!
So if I hadn’t made myself clear in the previous sections, allow me to sum it up. I love the Cooler Master MM520. The mouse has decent build quality, is very comfortable to use for long periods of time, looks stunning in my eyes, has all the features a modern mouse should have with some little extras, and its £34.99.
As you might have noticed I didn’t mention the MM530 there. To me it’s like the wing man. He got me interested, and then introduced me to MM520. Now I’m not saying in any way that it’s less of a mouse. He’s just not ‘my type’. If you are a palm grip type of guy, let me introduce you to him, but if your claw grip type of guy, well I have just the mouse for you, the MM520.
Thanks to Cooler Master for sending us these mice to review. Enjoy the well-deserved Gold and Editor’s Choice Awards.
- Quality Sensor, and good tracking.
- Comfortable and well built feeling.
- Well implemented RGB lighting, with good level of customizability.
- Price is very competitive with other major brands.
- No weight system.
- Cable is not braided.