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CM Storm Sentinel Advance Gaming Mouse
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by Rob Williams on September 16, 2009 in Gaming Peripherals

Cooler Master has just released its first gaming mouse under the CM Storm branding, and it happens to be quite good. Targeting more serious gamers, there’s the ability for robust macros, all of which will be saved right on the mouse itself. To add to the cool-factor, there’s even color-varying LEDs and an OLED display.

Introduction

When Cooler Master contacted us a few weeks ago and asked us if we’d like to take their new gaming mouse for a spin, I was a little taken back. Here, CM, already with a slew of chassis’, cooling products, power supplies, notebook products and more, now have a gaming mouse? Well, despite it being their first such product (as far as I’m aware), it’s actually quite good.

A few months ago, Cooler Master unveiled a new brand: CM Storm. Essentially, if you have a CM Storm gaming product, it’s considered that, and not a Cooler Master product. The reasoning behind this comes down to marketing. With the company’s CM Storm chassis’ already on the market, the Scout and Sniper, and now this mouse, it’s obvious who their main focus is: hardcore gamers.

Bill took a look at both of those chassis’, and it became clear quick that they were targeted at gamers, and that gamers would be thrilled to own one. After all, Cooler Master went through the effort to implement LAN-party-specific features, such as a keyboard and mouse lock. So, they’re not just targeting gamers, but they seem to be doing their homework as well. Oh, and for what it’s worth, I have been using a CM Storm Sniper for the past few months and love it.

But okay… Cooler Master already knows how to create quality chassis’… we know this. But a gaming mouse is an entirely different ballgame. So is it be possible that the company could actually have their very-first gaming mouse win over gamers? From my experience with it so far, I’d have to say that yes, they certainly should attract some attention with this one.

Closer Look

In order for a gaming mouse to be even remotely considered by someone who has a real passion for gaming – especially fast-paced gaming – you need to have the right blend of features that makes sense to them. Given today’s top-end resolutions, the 5600 DPI sensor makes all the sense in the world, and so does the default 1000Hz polling rate.

I usually hate straight-posting specification lists since it seems like a cheap way to lengthen a page, but I feel inclined to do it here, given that it’s a gaming mouse and it’s far easier to sum up its worth in one fell-swoop. So, here it is:

    CM Storm Sentinel Advance Gaming Mouse

  • 5600 DPI Storm Tactical (TM) Twin-laser Sensor
  • 64KB Sentinel-X (TM) Memory
  • OLED DPI Management System
  • OLED Team Logo Personalization
  • 8 Programmable Buttons
  • Rapid Fire Tactical (TM) Mode
  • 1000Hz Polling/1ms Response Time
  • Max Speed of 235 inches Per Second
  • Max Acceleration 50G
  • 1mm Life-off Distance
  • Right-hand Ergonomic Design
  • Gold-plated USB Connector
  • 5 x 4.5g Adjustable Weight System
  • Full-Speed USB

Of all these features, the two that really make this mouse unique are both the 64KB on-board memory, and of course, the OLED display. We’ll touch on these more in our software section, but for now, let’s take a tour of the mouse and see how it’s designed.

The Sentinel Advance is a right-handed-only mouse, and it’s contoured to fit comfortably in your hand. Compared to most other mice I’ve used in recent memory, this one seems just a smidgen longer, but it could also be an illusion since the thumb rest isn’t quite as receded as on other mice.

In the above photo, you can see absolutely every button the mouse has. Aside from the obvious left and right mouse buttons, the three main alternate control buttons include the mouse wheel (by clicking and rolling) and also the two thumb buttons. The three buttons surrounding the wheel have only to do with the DPI and profile settings.

Thanks to the fact that the Sentinel Advance has some on-board memory to work with, there are a total of five profiles that the mouse can have, and each profile can have four sets of DPI settings (which of course are completely configurable). The button right above the mouse wheel controls the profiles, while the buttons below it control the various DPI settings for that profile. When in a game, you can quickly press either one to get the desired effect.

Similar to other gaming mice, this one allows you to customize the back-end weight to a certain degree. It includes a total of 22.5g worth of weights, and some or all can be removed depending on your preference. This, to me, has been nothing more than a gimmick, but hardcore gamers might see it a little differently. It would have been nice, though, that given the $69.99 price tag on the Sentinel Advance, that extra heavier weights would be included.

If you’ve read Bill’s review on the Sniper chassis, you might recognize this bracket. It’s designed for those who frequent LAN parties. It plugs into one of your available slots, obviously, and allows you to thread both your mouse and keyboard around, so that when you go move away from your machine, you don’t have to worry about lost peripherals. Unless of course, someone is really dedicated.

Finally, the Sentinel Advance comes complete with two areas that exude LED lighting – the absolute front and the top. Each can be configured with seven possible colors. Because the mouse targets serious gamers, and those on teams, it’s the hope that given the available color choices, you’ll be able to customize the mouse to match your team as close as possible. The OLED screen can also be customized to display your team’s logo.

In this long-exposure photo, the front is dark blue and the top is white. The color choices are none, red, green, dark blue, yellow, purple, light blue and white. You can also customize how the lighting functions. You can either leave it on all the time, or have it pulse. Or, for an even cooler effect, it you only light up when you click a mouse button.

With that tour out of the way, let’s go straight into a look at the software, and then wrap up with my usage notes and final thoughts.


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