CM Havoc Gaming Mouse and QuickFire XT Mechanical Keyboard ReviewBluePanda -
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Cooler Master's CM Storm Havoc Gaming Mouse was definitely put through over a week of use and testing. During this time, it was used in everyday use, surfing the Internet, Photoshopping, and of course some gaming. As a mouse is personal to each and every individual, how it responds in these various tasks is important in different ways to everyone. A keyboard is much the same. As such, it is best to provide you the feedback from use rather than assigning made up numbers trying to compare one mouse or keyboard to another. It's pretty easy to distinguish the likes and dislikes of a mouse or keyboard through words rather than leaving it to you to decide what a 7 or 8 really means. No guessing game – here's what I liked, and here's what I hated.
- Processor: Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 4770K
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100
- Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming
- Memory: Patriot Viper 3 Series 2x8GB DDR3-2400
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 770
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Smart 750W
- Hard Drive: Corsair Force GT 240GB SSD
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
CM Havoc Gaming Mouse Results:
Alright, so I mentioned this mouse has a big butt…but really it's just me coming from a prior skinny bodied mouse. The grip at first feels a little unnatural; and for me being one to frequently switch mice for review, I've never had such an awkward first fit. I will say it only took one use to really get a feel for it and I never noticed a "weirdness" again. I partially blame the small mouse prior to its use. I used to be a big fan of the MX-510, which still resides as a backup in the closet. This mouse is a bit wider for sure, but not quite as long.
That gives you a real feel for the shape and size of this mouse, but on to actually using it. Every day; not a problem. The scroll wheel is uber solid and only scrolls when your finger says to. There's no accidental scroll sitting on the wheel and no annoying clicks – just a little noise when you rapid scroll a page or so (like you'd see/expect with any other mouse). At a reading paced scroll, it's rather quiet. Changing the buttons around a little to my preferred placement for IE Back/Forward made the mouse very comfortable to use and easy to navigate web pages as I would any ordinary day.
For work it's always a little harder to judge a mouse. For me "work" typically involves typing, so a keyboard takes the brunt of things there. For a mouse, I like to run myself through a few photos in Photoshop to see where it struggles. This mouse did great. It was easy to adjust DPI and sensitivity in different profiles to get what I needed. It was accurate enough and controlled to the point where it was easy to grab pixels I wanted without zooming into them until they are the size of the pointer. The mouse is just comfortable in general, so relaxing and getting work done can and do go in the same sentence in this case.
So it's not a real game, but the Cookie Clicker flash game all the forum nuts seemed to be hooked on for a bit was actually a motivation to really play with the software on this mouse. A game involving rapid clicking is perfect for setting up a macro to do it for you. In this case the "rapid fire" option was built in for setting a button to which lead me to an awesome cookie producer in no time.
Flash games, and speed clicking aside, the mouse did pretty well in tracking for game play. The button clicks are nice (not too soft, not too hard). The fit of the mouse to the hand became very comfortable despite my grown taste for skinny mice.
CM QuickFire XT Mechanical Keyboard Results:
A lot of times, any old keyboard will work on a day to basis as long as the keys all register and you can eventually get your thoughts onto the screen. I will admit there is a limit to this, as laptop chicklit keys drive me nuts – even when they all do their job. However, the XT from CM is nothing like chicklits and is well beyond just functioning. With the blue switches, I'm very happy typing an email to my boss, posting stupid things on the forums, or just dorking around with little flash games. The keys have a confident sound and feel to their click and reassure your mind of the press or the mis-press in some cases. It is a bit loud for a shared office and can annoy your buddies even if you aren't a heavy typer. Like I always recommend with mechs, I suggest the use of some rubber o-rings to quiet things down – it keeps the noise down, while leaving you with the same great feel. Anyway…for everyday use, if you know how to type, this keyboard is well above par.
On the working side of things, most of you know one of my key breaking points: num pad or no num pad. Well this one doesn't even have to go to battle as it has a fully incorporated num pad at my fingertips. Though it's not a defining characteristic of a good vs. no-good keyboard, it can make or break some of your working habits. For example, I complain a lot when there isn't one, as I work a lot with spreadsheets and prefer the num pad. That being said, when I'm writing code, I don’t care if I have a num pad or not. A lot comes down to the work you are doing. Otherwise it falls in the same category as everyday use. It's easy enough to use, though the media keys are a little hard to remember the FN key in a pinch. But essentially it's a fine keyboard for working – that is again if you don't share an office or have people that will be annoyed by the noise of your typing.
Gaming is always a completely different animal when it comes to keyboards compared to everyday use and working. Being able to type nicely and having a number pad doesn't matter as much when it comes to walking around with WASD, or picking up an item with E, or jumping quickly with the spacebar (or whatever your choice of keys may be). Sticky keys, wobbly keys, and keys that simply don't work are quick failures to gaming. Being able to dodge an enemy and jump on command are key in fast paced or even non-fast paced games – it's simply key (no pun intended) to get the reaction you expect from your input device. The CM Storm XT does things just perfectly. With the tactile response, you know what you pressed, when you pressed it, and you get the response on the screen immediately. The only time you don’t is when you may have broken something – though these keys seem to handle my rage poundings quite well. The red keycaps for gaming's WASD positions are a nice touch, though besides teaching a five year old how to use them, I have no real attraction to it other than looks. I don't look at a keyboard when I use it – hardly ever. I touch type and I guess you can say touch game as well – no need to look down. Besides some aesthetics for the office – the changed keys are just that: neat. Overall, I found no issues in gaming. I have been hitting Dragon Age again – and even as mad as Morigan makes me, I've had no problems getting around and getting what I need done – though I will agree this is more oriented toward mouse play. Nonetheless, I'm a picky person; you would know if the XT wasn't up to the challenge.