CM Sentinel Advance II Mouse and RX Pad ReviewBluePanda -
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Enough boredom about the packaging, you will have a chance to look at it even closer when you decide whether or not this mouse and/or pad are for you. It’s time we get looking at what actually matters — the product itself. After opening up the box, you get a quick start guide with a rundown of features yet again, as well as some warranty information and a nice little note to tell you everything you need driver/software-wise can be found at www.cmstorm.com. It seems like fewer products are being shipped with individual CD drivers with such widespread access to the internet.
Now the mouse itself can be seen outside of the shiny plastic bubble it was packaged so safely in; it almost seems vulnerable in your hand. It really doesn’t look any different or feel any different from a Sentinel Advance or Sentinel Zero-G, if you’ve ever played with one. For those of you who haven’t heard or dealt with one before, it’s a rather large-ish mouse. It will fill your hand pretty well; it’s slightly larger than an MX-518 with a different shape. There is a large groove for your thumb to rest in with easy access to the forward and back buttons, even with small hands like mine. The top of the mouse has your usual left and right click with a scroll wheel. Two buttons below the scroll wheel are used for on-the-fly DPI setting changes and a small button above the wheel allows for quick profile switching. In general, it is a pretty good looking mouse with quite a few options to quickly change settings.
Looking at a few mug shots of the mouse, you can get a better idea of what the mouse really looks like. The left side of the mouse clearly shows a deep contour for your thumb – it is actually quite perfect for about any size hand. It’s quite comfortable for me, where as I am a person with rather small hands who generally can’t stand the larger mice. No matter how far forward or how far back your thumb will be, the rest is sufficiently long for supporting any sized hand.
The forward and back buttons are a little clicky, not in the Razer DeathAdder sense, but more like a clicky push button manner. It’s a short, loud, forced click; you know you’ve pressed it by feel and sound and will immediately expect a response on the screen from it.
The other side of the mouse just gives another angle of viewing — there are no buttons or features on this side to really talk about. You can notice the low profile height of the scroll wheel as well as where the DPI setting buttons sit. A braided cable is last to be eyeballed on the right to keep you from tangling up with the various wires hanging from your desk.
A few more shots give you a complete overview of the appearance of the mouse before being plugged in for testing. The vented holes on top allow for some LED lighting once plugged in – a few color shots are shown down below. The screen just below the DPI buttons also displays the current DPI on a blue and black screen. CM STORM can be read on the back right panel of the mouse to let others know what you’ve got; though personally I’d rather not have flashy branded products. The mouse is all finished off with a nice gold-plated USB weighted plug, ready to go.
After first plugging the mouse in, this is the default appearance of the mouse. The CM Storm default profile is set to 1600 DPI with a red illumination. You can see the CM logo on the little screen if you look hard enough. This logo can be changed to whatever you desire, as long as it is a black and white .bmp with a 32 x 32 pixel boundary. A variety of images can be found through the ever magical Google.
Changing the color of the mouse became the most exciting thing after realizing the options for a 32 x 32 pixel picture are limited and not so great looking. (I did find a small little Panda to run, but not that useful beneath my hand all the time). A variety of color options are available for the static or pulsating appearance, including the blue, green, baby blue, and red shown below. You will be able to see the software options later with four more options: off, yellow, pink, and white. Something to add to make it match your rig and be that little bit more personal – or to help keep profiles set in your mind.
Back to a top view, I wanted to show you the DPI settings that show up when you switch between profiles or profile DPI settings. You can vary the X and Y if you like using the software, but by default they match up. Here are two shots showing the minimum 200DPI and the crazy maximum 8200 DPI.
Every mouse has a set of feet or sliders to them that you either wear out or tear off over time. An extra set is enclosed with the mouse; if you can keep them somewhere you'll remember in a couple years, when they do come off, you have a quick free repair. It’s nice that CM includes them, but usually by the time I’ve killed the feet — the mouse needs a replacement as well.
The bottom of the mouse shows where the four different pads would sit, as well as a little compartment that houses weights. You’ve got five weights at 4.5g each, to narrow down the exact weight you want your mouse to be. Some of you like it light, some of you like it heavy; either way, you can change it by a whole 22.5 grams, so you should be happy — unless of course it isn’t heavy enough, in which case you like some seriously heavy mice. Overall, this mouse really gives you lots of options. The sensor here on the bottom is also the only thing that truly defines its difference from its past companions.
Back to the mouse pad again and we get to open up another box. This time it is not all that exciting, as a new mouse pad just doesn’t have the excitement of other products for some reason. I guess it is a product we all take for granted until we don’t have one. I know my glossy, glass desk would not be very supportive of anything but a trackball mouse these days.
Out of the box, it is your typical mouse pad. In thickness it is about two of your average superstore-branded mousepads stacked on top of each other. It’s a rather dense rubber, so it won’t be squishing a lot under your hand, but still soft enough for a nice wrist rest. It really is a pretty big mouse pad. Coming in at 450 x 350 mm, it is about the size and width of two motherboard boxes next to each other, cutting off a bit in either direction. It is going to take up some space. However, this is the LARGE pad; it does come in two smaller sizes, if you need such.
Laid out flat, the mouse pad looks like any other mousepad. It's simple in all black and doesn't add clutter to your desk — only a small CM Storm logo takes up the lower right corner of the pad (at least small relative to the pad). It is a little glossy looking if you get a look at it from just the right angle; though not an angle I could really grab with my camera. It does have a bit more of a "slick" feel than most cloth pads I've dealt with. I'm looking forward to seeing if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
I wanted to give you a good look at the edge of the pad. You can almost see the sheen I was talking about previously. It isn't really a glossy look, but it also isn't your flat black look most cloths put off. Angled down just a bit more and you can see the thickness of the pad as well. It's not overly thick, but it's not a stick-on mousepad either. There's enough there that it should last you a while if you do tend to wear pads down quickly.
Overall, the products pair well together. They look like a nice happy little couple sitting there together — a cat and mouse sort of way, like Tom and Jerry, one really can't have much fun without the other. Although I am disappointed to see such a similar body in the Sentinel Advance II, I'm hoping it really has the performance to make up for it. I can't really say it was that much of a hot item to not change the style a bit. Even the notable Logitech MX series changed color model to model — even though the same body style followed year after year. Anyway, it's a new mouse for me and a nice new mouse pad — let's see what this thing can do