CM Sentinel Advance II Mouse and RX Pad Review

BluePanda - 2012-04-21 19:40:13 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: June 5, 2012
Price: $59.99 & $19.99

Introduction:

Cooler Master is at it again…we’ve seen so much from them lately on the peripheral side with two new keyboards in just the last month! Today we are going to take a look at a couple products that have been circulating the market since mid-March. We will be getting personal with the Sentinel Advance II and one of CM’s speed RX mouse pads. Two products that cannot live without the other (and NO that does not mean you have to buy these two together) will be tested out and compared to some of my favorite mice and pads. I hope they can hold up to the task!

Some of you might recognize the Sentinel Advance name. This is because CM has really already released this mouse under a couple different names. The Sentinel Advance and the Sentinel Zero-G (I had the Zero-G Shattered Horizon edition) have both been released previously with pretty much the exact same outer body with a few inner changes for improvement. So if you had one in the past and loved it, this is likely just another birthing of the same thing with perhaps a subtle new feature. Either way, we’ll work this thing hard to see what it can do. It’s time we start taking a look at the mouse and pad.

Closer Look:

Taking a look at the mouse box, it is clear a lot of effort was put in to grab the consumer's attention at the store. To be honest, with a pretty high percentage of enthusiasts buying hardware and components online (other than those with a decent store locally), the packaging almost goes to waste. It’s fancy and fun to look at, but once I’ve ordered the product and it’s been delivered to my house, I just want to open it, not look at the features.

Anyway, the front of the box tells you right away what the difference is between this and the previous Sentinel mice – it has a "New Sensor". The mouse itself appears to be on fire, literally, and is glowing with ferocity. The back of the box lists a bunch of features, including the usual DPI limits as well as polling rates and even some on-mouse memory to recall profile settings rig-to-rig.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The box has one of those flip folds that gives you a nice plastic wrap version of the product to look at before you buy it. It lets you see the actual product rather than some super nice pictures of it; that shows Cooler Master’s high confidence in the product alone. You can even put your hand on the mouse to test out size and fit – I really like this opportunity when buying something. I almost wish you could test more products before buying them (becoming a reviewer has really changed the way I look and decide to buy things). More features are listed on the inside panel here – we’ll cover each one as we look closer at the mouse.

 

 

Before we tear open the box, my favorite task, let’s take a look at the Speed RX-L (large) pad that showed up with the mouse as well. The box is a simple rectangular box that contains the mouse pad rolled up neatly inside. The box shows red-printed military figurines on a black background with an actual picture of the mouse pad (with the Sentinel mouse on it) just off to the right. The Cooler Master logo fills the upper left corner while you get the CMSTORM logo to confirm authenticity.

 

Taking a look at each side of the box we get a little more information. The front of the box is as explained above, showing the product name and company name in bold. The next side of the box has a bit of an "introduction", giving a brief rationale for the Speed-RX's creation. It is a pad for optical gaming sensors to work just as well with high-end laser sensors, while providing "excellent tracking" and "speedy glide". It is a pad worthy of any mouse design – not just for a CM mouse.

Rolling the box over one more turn reveals nothing much more than the term "Gaming Mouse Pad" in more languages than I want to count. The last side of the box gives a list of features, in English, and a quick set of specifications to give you an idea for size; 460 x 350 x 5 mm. A texture square is glued to the box to give you a quick feel of what you are getting into.

 

 

 

I decided the little square of fabric was quite nifty and got a closer shot for you to look at. It’s like when you go to buy sheets and they have a little cut out window so you can feel the actual sheets themselves. I tend to always grab the package from the back – I hate thinking about all the people who’ve touched the little square (I guess it’s only a fraction of the entire sheet, but…). Anyway, that is beside the point, train back on track; the patch here is on the outside, it’s not actually the mouse pad (nor the same thickness), but it gives you the feel of the outer cloth layer. To me it doesn’t seem to be anything too special; I do find it a neat sales tactic, but I do digress.

Closer Look:

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

Software:

This software page has honestly got to be one of the longest software pages I’ve had to write for a peripheral item. The standard for a mouse or keyboard is a simple three, maybe four, tab program with a few options to change here and there. The CM Sentinel Advance II has a setup of seven pages to thumb through to hopefully tweak the mouse to exactly what you want. Let’s take a closer look at each of the pages below.

The first page shows the mouse with a fiery background and red mouse lighting. It looks like a lot is thrown in your face – so much going on. The bottom shows your personal four profiles and the default CM STORM Profile. There are three tabs down there to allow you to create/edit profiles and work a little profile management magic (allowing you to save specifics to your mouse for computer-to-computer use).

The left side allows you to assign the eight different buttons to your different options. So if you want to switch left click and right click to fool with the people who try to use your computer, go for it. The right side of the panel allows you to change DPI settings for four different levels. Each profile you set can cycle through four different options without switching profiles; a pretty nifty feature for adding in different DPI settings for different games without messing with anything else. You can even control the OS settings here. The double-click tester and settings are here as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next tab over allows us to control color options for the mouse. You can set the front lights that glow out the bottom of the mouse to a different color than the top of the mouse if you so choose or match them if you like. Unless you are in a dark-ish room, you probably won’t see the front lights too much glowing on your pad – but then again you usually don’t see what is glowing beneath your hand either. The right side of this tab also allows you to control when the LEDs are on. You can keep them on, turn them off completely, let them breathe or allow them to show on mouse click. There are lots of options here for those of you who feel the need to control everything.

This tab also allows you to add a custom logo to the mouse display. It comes stock with a CM Storm logo; I changed mine to a little panda, but like I mentioned before, you are limited to a black and white image at 32 x 32 pixel resolution. However, if you Google such images, you will find plenty of threads in which people have shared their creations, so unless you want to, you don’t have to make your own.

 

The STORM TX tab allows you to set mouse click combinations to perform different functions. For example, you can set a left click combined with a right click to assign any button to about anything. You can even set a single button to open IE or change DPI levels. The scrolling for these isn’t great, so when you open it up, realize there are more options than the two you see at first. However, you can set up some scripts to run as well – so the options are about endless if you view it that way. Even the scroll wheel can do much more than ever expected.

 

The fourth tab is the MACROS tab – you can set up all your usual macros here. You can save, load, copy, or delete the various ones you do set up. If you set up something super awesome, you can even share it with a buddy who has the same mouse; just send it to them and have them load it up. It’s pretty neat, but not per se my forte, unless just fooling around.

 

The SCRIPTS tab allows you to do exactly that – make scripts for the key setting. I don’t really have to explain this to those of you who care about creating scripts for key combos, so I won’t. It is pretty simple for those of you who haven’t played with such before – you can record actions to set up what you want it to do, set delays, and so much more. Check out a local geek thread here on OCC to ask for more help if you are looking to learn more about adding scripts.

 

The library tab keeps track of the scripts you’ve created or have collected from friends, as well as macros and things you have saved to your mouse directly. This allows you to choose what is saved to your mouse and delete the macros and scripts that didn’t work out in your favor. The best thing is it lets you take the settings with you if you will be going somewhere without your computer. Just take your mouse, install the little driver setup and you can download settings directly from your mouse!

 

The last tab is simplest of all of them, and also much more common to what you may have seen in past software settings for mice and keyboards; it’s the SUPPORT tab! From here you can check what version you are running to see if you need to update, as well as get a direct link to the online support page for more help. A nice list of instructions helps you narrow down what you are looking for and provides a way to deal with not finding what you were looking for.

Specifications:

 

Model:
SGM-6010-KLLW1
Available Color:
Gray
Form Factor:
Right Hand Ergonomic
Sensor:
Avago ADNS-9800 Laser Sensor
Programmable Buttons:
8
Onboard Memory:
128 KB
Polling Rate:
1000Hz/1ms
Velocity:
Up to 150 ips
Acceleration:
30g
Dimension
2 years

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

All information provided by: http://www.cmstorm.com/en/products/

Testing:

The CM Sentinel Advance II was put through a week of rigorous testing. During this time, it was closely examined regarding the following four traits: speed, comfort, precision, and customization.

A mouse is a key effort in any shooting game and just general working about your computer without using the keyboard for everything; however, as a mouse there really is no apparatus or methods for systematically testing it. Subjective commenting and critiquing on speed, comfort, precision, and customization will help you decide if you are ready for the Sentinel Advance II

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Mice:

 

 

Speed:

Speed is a major factor in using a mouse. If you can’t get from point A to point B in a reasonable time, you might be dead in your game or just simply frustrated with whatever you are working on. To rate speed, I used a scale of 1 to 10, with a score of 1 being representative of it just won’t move and a score of 10 being this mouse got ticketed for speeding.

 

Comfort:

If you are going to raid all night in your MMO of choice, you will need a comfortable mouse; something your hand can control without really knowing you are using a mouse. A scale of 1 to 10 was used to rate the comfort level of the mouse. A value of 1 means you might just want to use the keyboard to do everything, while a value of 10 says, without the mouse something is missing.

 

Precision:

Precision is a key element in making your every headshot. If the mouse is wandering or just not quite pointing where you feel it should be, then your skill almost doesn’t even matter. The mouse was rated from 1 to 10, with 1 meaning just give up and a score of 10 meaning it was meant to be.

 

Customization:

If your mouse doesn’t even have a scroll wheel, I cannot talk to you. However, if you are one of those people sitting here with only a left click, a right click, and a scroll wheel, well then we need to talk. I’m not saying your mouse needs to be as full of buttons as the Razer Naga, but having some extra buttons can really improve not only the way you move about menus, but also the way you get around in a game. Using a ranking from 1 to 10, a score of 1 goes to those of you with only one button (go Apple!) and a score of 10 goes to the mouse that can do everything!

 

 

The Sentinel Advance II wasn’t the award winning mouse I thought it might be. After playing with its older brother, the Sentinel Z3RO-G, it’s hard to really find a difference between the two. I know the sensor has changed, but overall it really looks and feels the same.

Conclusion:

Overall, I didn’t hate the mouse or the pad (though it’s hard to hate a mouse pad). The mouse was a little disappointing, as I’ve mentioned a hundred times over – it just didn’t have the novel effect I was looking for after being a reproduction of two mice prior. Not even the color changed on the body (from the Z3RO-G), and little overall was gained. It’s a pretty decent mouse overall, but even the Logitech series of mice change color with each number, even if the body doesn’t change. I won’t let that be what holds me back on the mouse. I didn’t care for the size much, but I was just happy the mouse worked when I plugged it in, even without drivers/software. The software just added a bonus, which is the way it should be. If you enjoyed the Sentinel Advance and are looking to replace it, this probably isn’t for you – you probably won’t notice too much of an "upgrade." However, if you’ve never experienced any CM Storm Sentinel, then this wouldn’t be a bad starting point. In the end, it’s a pretty nice mouse, but I wouldn’t call it much more than its mother – the Sentinel Advance – the II is really just marketing at its finest.

The Speed-RX was your typical cloth mouse pad – perhaps a little greater in size. There wasn’t anything really special about it other than being bigger. It was a nice mouse pad, but there definitely aren’t major pros or cons to talk about with it. It worked like any other. It’s cheap for its size and it’s taking up a home on my desk for now.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: