It’s been close to three years since we took a look at Cooler Master’s Sentinel Advance gaming mouse, and now, we have its successor to test out. We’re dealing with a much improved sensor, have more internal memory to fill, and finally get a Storm Tactics button to make use of, so let’s see if CM’s latest is worth your $60.
It sure doesn’t feel like it (to me), but it has been nearly three years since I took a look at Cooler Master’s Sentinel Advance gaming mouse, one of the first products to be released under the company’s then-new CM Storm sub-brand.
Thanks both to its features and comprehensive software, I felt the original Sentinel Advance was a good contender to the other gaming mice of the time, although I do recall the macro side of things being a little headache-inducing (literally). Will the Advance’s sequel remedy that and bring enough to the table to warrant your $60? That’s what we’re here to find out.
If you take a look at our review of the original Advance, you might be surprised to see that it looks… well, identical to the Advance II. I found the original to be pretty comfortable and didn’t have any qualm about its design, so I don’t fault Cooler Master for sticking to what works. So what is it that the Advance II introduces, then?
In a nutshell, the Advance II features an improved sensor, one that Cooler Master isn’t afraid to mention by name on its website. That’s the Avago ADNS-9800, capable of handling a DPI of up to 8000, and known to be a bit more stable than all other mice sensors on the market. A “TX” button (Storm Tactics) has also been added. Finding out exactly what that’s for on Cooler Master’s website is like finding a specific transistor on a CPU, but we’ll tackle it on the next page.
Another notable update is that the in-mouse memory has been given a boost to 128Kb, from 64Kb, allowing more macros to be kept on the mouse (it continues to baffle me why we can’t get even 1MB of memory in our gaming mice).
Despite the Advance II looking so much like the original, since it has been a while, we’ll take a quick tour and see just what it is the mouse offers.
Unfortunately for lefties, the Advance II is a right-handed mouse only. Hopefully Cooler Master will one of these days realize that left-handed people do in fact exist, because its line-up looks a little ridiculous without an ambidextrous model. For right-handed folks, the Advance II is contoured for ultimate comfort regardless of how you hold it.
With a closer look at the left thumb area, we can see the typical back and forward buttons that most gaming mice now have. On this mouse, however, the back button can be substituted for “Storm Tactics”. As mentioned before, we’ll get into details about what that is on the following page.
The opposite side of the mouse is rather clean, with little more than the CM Storm logo gracing the right-side of the mouse body. The below shot is our best look at the center of the mouse, which features LED lighting underneath the hole-plastered hood.
At the front of the mouse, we can see all of the buttons the Advance II has to offer, aside from the left thumb buttons. In addition to the scroll wheel being clickable (of course), there are DPI switches beneath it, and a profile switcher above it. Every button on the mouse can be reconfigured for any other function or key, except for the profile switcher (which is probably fine as it’s the hardest button to reach).
Underneath, a small door can be removed to reveal five 4.5 gram weights that can be removed if your goal is for a lighter mouse. I’ve personally never found a need to remove or reconfigure weights in gaming mice, but since the combined weight of the included weights here totals 22.5g, or roughly 20% of the entire mouse, you may find that removing them results in a more comfortable experience.
Up next, it’s time to see if the software bundled with the Advance II is less headache-inducing than the original.