CM Storm - Real User Reviews Page: 1
Forum members take over!
 
Overclock3d isn’t just a truthful and honest review website, we also have a very popular forum with a 16,500 strong member base. There is a very wide variety of characters that regularly use the forum that not only gives the thread topics a variety of opinion but quite often conjures up some heated debates. Registration is quick and easy and also gives you access to many of our great competitions. 
 
We recently reviewed some of CM Storms new range of mouse mats and the amazing Sentinal mouse which can be seen here. We decided to try something different and have sent 5 of the mats out to a selection of our members for some ‘real user’ thoughts and opinions. Each member has their own individual requirements which we hope you will be able to find something to relate to.
 
Bryan Waters - HS-M Battle Pad SSK
 
Alex Myers – CS-M WOC M4 DM
 
Peter Stoba - CS-X Battle Pad DP
 
Connor McNeill – CS-M Weapon of Choice AK47
 
Jarad Parker - CS-S battle pad H2
 
Thanks to everyone for volunteering to help with the review and with out further adieu lets move on to what our guys think of CM Storms new range of gaming surfaces. You can discuss this with the Motley crew in our forums.


CM Storm - Real User Reviews Page: 2
CM Storm HS-M Battle Pad SSK - By Bryan Waters
 
Introduction
 
With the recent release of the CM Storm Sentinel Advance mouse, recently reviewed here at OC3D with glowing praise, CM Storm have also released many gaming surfaces to ally to this. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to review the HS-M Battle Pad SSK. Does it live up the brilliance of the Sentinel Advance?
 
Packaging
 
Battle Pad BoxThe first thing you notice is the packaging. CM Storm have gone for a black and red theme, which suits the rest of their product range, and have taken the bold and laudable step of not only putting ratings on the front of the box so that the average person in a retail environment would be aware of it's qualities, but also to not fall into the usual manufacturer trap of saying it does everything brilliantly, rather they are aware they have a large range of surfaces covering a variety of specialist tasks.
 
As you can see from the image to the right, this mat is particularly durable, speedy and good with laser tracking mice, but not so good with general optical mice or control. As someone who hasn't yet managed to get his hands on a Sentinel Advance I'm still using a plain optical mouse so it will be very interesting to see how it performs.
 
 
The Gaming Surface Itself
 
One of the first things that strikes you looking at the mat is how thin it is. It's amazingly thin. At only 4mm high there certainly wont be an issue with it digging into your wrist or causing RSI/cramp and other afflictions that affect those of us who use their computers for long stretches at a time. At 350mm wide, and 260mm deep, there is a lot of real estate for even the most insensitive of mice without it taking up vast swathes of your desk. I'm currently using a very small temporary desk and I had no trouble at all in fitting it on in a usable position.  Numbers are all well and good, but a picture paints a thousand words.
 
pic  2  3
 
The mat is black, adorned with the CM Storm logo in a gun metal grey. However the coating is such that it changes with the light reflecting upon it. As you can see from the picture above on the right, from the users angle it is very unobtrusive, something that I enjoy immensely. It matches the CM Storm Sniper almost perfectly in its stealthy nature. The coating on the mat is tough but slightly flexible. It's warm to the touch unlike other hard gaming surfaces, and the little flex that is in it allows it to adhere to slightly uneven surfaces well. The back is coated with a very fine cross-hatched rubber that should even out the bumps and ensure that it grips to the most shiny of surfaces. However, more on its adherence properties later, how is it to use?
 
 
Using the HSM-Battle Pad SSK
 
I have been testing this mat with my old wireless Microsoft 5000 which is probably long past it's MTBF and so will provide a very good test of how this high-end mat will perform with a low-end mouse. If it's impressive with this, then with a pukka gaming mouse it certainly will deliver. So let's have a quick run through the software I used. I decided that it is important to only use that software you are exceptionally familiar with. Anyone who has rearranged their bookmarks will know how good the body is at muscle memory, and I wanted to be certain that I had an accurate baseline rather than just take a gaming surface and use it for gaming.
 
I'm a huge user of Adobe Photoshop, so that was my first port of call. As you'll remember from the start of this review this mat is more designed for speed than control so if it's going to come undone, it'll come undone straight away here. It didn't. At all. Many times I've read people describing a surface as "gliding on ice" and I scoffed. But I can think of no better analogy here. This mat is so smooth, and so fast, that it's like taking a teflon sled down a bobsleigh run. So brilliant is it's tracking that I had to turn the sensitivity on my mouse down, because suddenly I could get from one side of the screen to the other quickly and accurately. In fact the most impressive element was that this mind-blowing speed and lack of friction at no point felt out of control. It took a minute or two of adjustment and then I was flying. Masks became easier and more accurate. Pin-point corrections went from a couple of tries and some frustration to first time, every time. Best of all was because it's easier to do everything, because you only need to do things once, because the mat is so frictionless even with my shabby old mouse, I could use it for hours without once feeling tired or aching.
 
If this mat isn't designed for control and yet delivered, then my gosh I had to fire up a game or two to try this with. Once again out came my favourite game of all-time, Company of Heroes. Whilst it's slightly slower paced than the Command and Conquer series, the small unit count means every click counts and speed and accuracy are more important, because you haven't got the backup of enormous numbers. The HS-M Battle Pad SSK was a revelation. If I was impressed by it in the gentile Photoshop, then its gaming performance is truly special. Selecting an exact unit in the midst of a firefight was crisp. Moving from one side of the screen to the other quickly, when trying to use a pincer movement for example, took noticeably less time than before so complex tactics became less of a risk because I was no longer worried about my mouse sticking, or being not quite where I hoped the pointer would be. My casualties fell, my kills rose. Even the Brutal AI started to be steamrollered.
 
Of course I know my audience, so finally I had to load a FPS up. After all, these surfaces are mainly designed for the headshot crowd, and I didn't want to disappoint. The old faithful Unreal Tournament 2004 was brought back to life and many a deathmatch later I can report that, like with COH and PS, this is clearly the weapon of choice. By no means am I a frag-junkie. I don't pretend to be even partly good at this genre, and yet even I could hold my own against some tough opponents. Especially impressive was the how quickly I could 'acquire and fire' at targets whilst leaping around like a sugar-filled toddler, and how even at maximum zoom the sniper rifle and lightning guns became a joy to use. In fact it was so much fun I found myself going from the gung-ho type of player to the stealthy "one shot one kill" type.
 
 
Performance under pressure
 
72 degrees of grip
If there is one thing I was concerned about prior to testing it was that the hard surface of the mat wouldn't deal with the moisture that accumulates during a heated gaming session, and that the thin nature of the mat in general would lead to it moving around the desk. Both of these things are a total non-factor. Following an afternoons frantic Company of Heroes activity there wasn't a smear of moisture to be seen on the surface, and at no point did the accuracy of my mouse suffer.
 
The grip from the cross-hatched rubber base was incredible. The mat didn't budge even the tiniest bit. It reached a point where I was actually trying to get it to move and failing every time. This amazing sticky potential got me to wondering exactly how much friction the base provides, so with the aid of the measuring tool in Photoshop, and my glamorous assistant, I set to finding out. The left hand line is vertical, the right hand line follows the angle of the board that my assistant is holding and Photoshop the measures the difference between the two. In this case, as you can see from the a:18.7° in the toolbar, the mat defies gravity up to 71.3° off of the vertical. More than enough grip to ensure that it wont budge, at all, in the least.
 
Conclusion
 
Stunning. CM Storm have produced a product that instantly renders every other gaming surface redundant.
 
I've long been one of those people who will gladly spend money on hardware, but scrimps a bit on the actual things you use such as mouse mats, keyboards, mice etc. No longer. The HS-M Battle Pad SSK is phenomenally friction free, accurate, durable, sticks to anything, thin, big enough for detail work but small enough to not take up your whole desk. It looks wonderful with its black finish and gun metal logo. It can improve even the most knackered old mouse and has left me gob-smacked that £20 will buy you such an improvement in every aspect of using your computer.To class this as a 10/10 product is doing it a disservice.
 
If it is this staggeringly impressive with my old mouse, I can only dream of how truly epic it would be when coupled to a CM Storm Sentinel Advance. Dear CM Storm....
 
The Good
- Absolutely everything. It is faultless.
 
The Mediocre
- Nothing.
 
The Bad
-Nil. Nada. Zip.
 
 
This review would not have been possible with out the OC3D team yet again pushing the boundaries, so a big thanks to them and CM Storm for allowing me to write this for you. Please tell me what you think in our forums.


CM Storm - Real User Reviews Page: 3
CM Storm CS-M Weapon of Choice M4-DM - By Alex Myers
 
Introduction
 
As those of you reading this that follow the OC3D forums may know already (and if you don't, why not?  Click here to join now! Today the regulars are taking over this review! VB's excellent review will be a tough act to follow, but I'll try my very best to match his standard of penmanship. I'm going to be taking a look at another of Cooler Master's CM Storm gaming pads, the CS-M Weapon of Choice M4 DM. Let's see if it can follow in the footsteps of the flagship HS-M Battle Pad SSK.
 
Packaging
 
I was a little surprised when I first saw the packaging of the mat. I was expecting some kind of clear plastic bag but what arrived was a mainly white cardboard box, almost a tube with a square profile. The packaging features red and black graphics and black text, with a small picture of the mat on one side and numerous specifications spread liberally around the box, without seeming too cluttered. There is a small swatch of the 'duramesh' cloth on the front, so in a retail situation a potential customer could feel the surface before making a decision.
 
The introduction text next to CM's performance ratings is a little hard to focus on as it is over a red halftone pattern on the side of the packet. Opening the box at the top reveals the mat rolled up tightly inside the box. Apart from the black text over red dots being a little difficult to read, the packaging is very professional, as to be expected from such a reputable company as Cooler Master.
 
Packaging
 
First Impressions
 
First off I should say that my setup isn't quite typical of an average gaming situation. The main purpose of my PC is music production, with my desk being the center of my home studio. I have audio gear all around my desk, so space is at a premium. When I first found out I had the opportunity to test one of these pads out, one of the first questions I asked myself is 'will it fit?' I am glad to say that the mat does fit on my desk- barely. If you have a smaller setup, you may want to look at the specifications to see if the pad will actually fit on your desk. This pad measures 405x285mm and is 3mm thick.
According to the introduction on the side of the box (which I will say again, can be annoying to read), the pad 'offers a specialized heavy duty weave for high sensitivity players'. I find this feature quite attractive, as I prefer to game with a medium-high mouse sensitivity. The duramesh cloth is a refreshing change from using my bare desk.
 
Close Up
 
I have previously owned and loved my 2 original Icemats; however being frosted glass they were picky with mice and very fragile. Compared to the old Icemats which both ended up broken, this mat seems near indestructible. Short of spilling a drink on it, a small desk fire or an accident with something sharp, I can't imagine being able to accidentally damage this pad in any way!
 
There are grayscale printed graphics on the surface; all of the FPS players out there will instantly recognize the outline of an M4 Carbine assault rifle prominently displayed above the Weapon of Choice text. CM Storm have chosen to give the mat a dirty, worn in appearance which looks quite dramatic and I really like it, although I'm sure this is down to personal preference.
The base of the pad is made of natural rubber and is extremely sticky, with a nice firm feel while still having some padding. It seems very well attached to the cloth top of the mat and I’m not at all worried about the integrity of the pad.
 
The cloth itself is quite interesting, it is coarsely woven and provides a nice tactile resistance if you put pressure on the mouse, good for careful control when you need it. With a lighter touch, my trusty old MX510 glides across the surface with a gentle 'whoosh' sound.
 
Without further ado, let’s get on to the part of the review you've all been waiting for!
 
 
Testing - well kind of!
 
I can't really think of an objective way to test this mat, so I'll just have to try to explain my experience using it for the past few days. I'm using a Logitech MX510 optical mouse, with the weight removed. I've been using this mouse for a few years now and it was given to me a long time ago by a friend when he upgraded to an MX518, so it's been well used.
 
The first thing I had to do when I got the mat on my desk was to take a knife to the stickers on the bottom of the mouse, which had peeled up and were catching on the weave of the surface. Once I'd got the old stickers off, using the mat became a pleasurable experience.
 
I'm not much of a gamer these days, but have been replaying the original Half-Life recently, with a little Counter-Strike: Source and Age of Chivalry (an excellent medieval themed multiplayer HL2 mod) in between Half-Life sessions. Gaming really has been really good fun for me this week thanks to this pad and I am sure it will only get better as I get more of a feel for the surface.
 
My Set Up
 
I have also had a pleasant experience with more mundane activities like web browsing and instant messaging. I normally run Firefox or whatever app I'm mainly using on one screen, and less important things like my media player, sidebar and Messenger on the other. This setup involves a fair bit of using the mouse if I'm browsing the net and having multiple conversations. The huge surface area of the pad is a massive bonus when it comes to navigating multiple monitors.
I haven't had a chance to work on much music since getting the mat, however when I do have Cubase or SONAR sprawled over both monitors I'm confident that I will be more comfortable than I would be just using the surface of my wooden desk. Just like browsing the web and Messenger across 2 screens, the surface area is a massive bonus here as well.
 
 
Conclusion
 
Over all, I've had a good experience reviewing the CS-M Weapon of Choice M4. What gaming surface works best for you will always be down to personal choice but I would definitely recommend this pad to any high sensitivity gamer with the desk space for it. Apart from the text black text over a red and white on one corner the packaging (I'm really just looking for faults here); I can't think of anything bad about this mat, provided you have the space for it!
 
Cooler Master have done a great job here with their CM Storm range, and while I'm not the biggest fan of their recent case designs (or near enough any recent cases come to think about it, I'm more of an old school ATCS fan), I certainly like where the brand is going and think they have a great product here!
 
The Good
- Feels really comfortable
- Works flawlessly
- Seemingly indestructible
- Looks absolutely great
 
The Mediocre
- On the box the black text over a red halftone pattern on a white background is difficult to read. Black on red is hard to read anyway!
- Could be too big for some people's setups
 
The Bad
- Nothing!!
 
 
Thanks to CM Storm and the Overclock3d team for letting me review the mouse mat, you can discuss this further in the the forums.


CM Storm - Real User Reviews Page: 4
CS-X Battle Pad DP - By Peter Stoba
 
Introduction
 
Today we will be taking a look at the CM Storm CS-X Battle Pad DP, a mouse mat from the gaming subsidiary of the legendary Cooler Master. CM Storm say the CS-X Battle Pad is engineered especially for professionals who demand deadly accuracy and control. We'll see how much of a difference a good mouse mat makes compared to a low quality alternative. When it comes down to precision tasks, such as CAD and graphic design, or gaming, whether it be FPS or an MMO, a good mouse mat can either make or break your performance. The perfect levels of grip and friction can provide you that little bit more precision, which could gain you that all-important last head shot. So, let's not waste any more time and take a closer look at the mat itself.
 
A Closer Look
 
The CS-X Battle Pad comes in a relatively compact, yet long, box which features the trademark dark colour scheme that is found on their other products. The first side of the box features the name of the pad, the CM Storm logo and a sample of the material, really handy for those browsing for a mat in traditional brick and mortar stores. This shows that CM Storm believe in the quality of their own products and aren't afraid to show it off.
 
Packaging
 
Moving around to the next side we get to an introduction to the mat itself and also the rating system that is used on all of the CM Storm mouse mats. This system allows you to easily compares all of the mats and see what is best for control, speed, tracking, durability, laser and optical performance. The CS-X Battle Pad DP is clearly an all round good performer, scoring highly in all areas.
 
Finally, we have a list of features and specifications, again, quite helpful to compare the mats against others. The mouse mat itself is rolled up inside the box, alone, although I can't really think of anything you could bundle with a mouse mat. The mat oozes quality from the second you take it out of the box. Made from a specially heat treated, fine weaved cloth with a 100% natural rubber base, to provide the smoothest of surfaces and the maximum amount of grip. At 5mm it's the perfect thickness, not too thin that it causes your wrist to ache and not too thick that it becomes awkward to use.
 
Testing
 
To test the CS-X Battle Pad, I used it for general usage and also some gaming over the course of a few days, with my Logitech G9 gaming mouse and compared it to my Everglade Titan Minimat. Going about my daily business, browsing the internet, I found that the Battle Pad allowed me to move less. The 'Duracloth Plus' surface allows the mouse to move more freely whilst still retaining control over your movements, meaning I had to move my wrist less to navigate around pages, which will help over longer periods of time. I also found that the Battle Pad stays where you put it. It doesn't move. My other mouse mat would slip around with very little force, the Battle Pad stays wherever you want it, regardless of how much force you apply.
 
With the mat Battle Pad DP clearly excelling for general usage, I decided to test what it was made for - gaming! I fired up good old Counter Strike Source, hopped on a server and instantly I could feel the difference. The mouse moved alot easier across the surface allowing more accuracy and a generally more responsive feel to the game. The mouse felt as though it was literally gliding across the surface, something I've never experienced before. The larger physical size of the mat also helped during gaming as it meant my hand didn't come off the sides during frantic-fragging sessions. All of this combined to improve my gaming performance and make me a much better player, improving my kill to death ratio significantly.
 
Conclusion
 
Overall the CS-X Battle Pad DP is an absolutely excellent product. It is everything you could ever want from a mouse mat and more. It performs well and is comfortable to use for prolonged periods of time, unlike some other mats on the market. The Battle Pad DP is the largest is the largest mouse mat available from CM Storm, if your desk can accommodate it, it's fantastic, you'll never find your hands slipping off the sides again. It is available to purchase online for around £14, which is a bargain for such a solid performing and largely proportioned surface.
 
Good
- Size (444 x 355 x 5mm)
- Plain and simple design
- Durable
- Price
 
Mediocre
- Size, it may be too big for some desks.
- Simple design may not suit all users
 
Bad
- Nothing whatsoever.
 
 
Big thanks to CM Storm and all the OC3D team. You can discuss this further in our forums.


CM Storm - Real User Reviews Page: 5
CS-M Weapon of Choice AK47 - by Connor McNeill
 
Introduction
 
The CS-M Weapon of Choice AK47 professional-grade gaming surface offers a specialized heavy duty weave for high sensitivity players. Engineered for pinpoint precision, the boosted tracking response makes even the smallest mouse movements count. The aggressive non-slip 100% natural rubber base makes thorough contact with most desktop materials, ensuring that your gaming surface stays firmly in place in the heat of battle. To top things off, the iconic graphics send a decisive message to your fellow gamers that you mean business and won't give up in difficult situations.

Features:

Your weapon of choice - AK47
Specialized heavy duty weave for high sensitivity mouse control
Engineered for pinpoint precision and highly responsive tracking
 
Ok guys, here we have today the Coolermaster Storm Weapon of choice AK-DM Mousemat, one of the new range of coolermaster gaming surfaces.
 
Packaging
 
As you can see from the above picture the packaging is black and red; has a nice attractive design to make it stand out on the shelf, and comes with most of the necessary information, such as dimensions, material and some information as to what type of mat it is. One feature is also a snippet of material meant to replicate the product inside the packaging. Having had the mat out and tested, the material used on the box is definitely of a lower quality than that of the mat. Also noted on the box is Coolermaster own opinions of what this mat can do. While they may give a comparison to other mats in this particular review, I cannot help but feel they do not give a fair comparison to other mats available from other vendors.
 
Closer Look 
 
Now in the picture we get a nice view of the mat itself, which is large in dimension It is just the right size, even for those of us who enjoy lower sensitivity. Another thing about the mat is the nice relevant print on it. I like the outline of the gun as it suggests it’s for first person shooters, a strong aspect of this mats design.
 
I have a few negative points though, the edges of the mat are not seamed, it’s like they have just used a standard blade to cut the material, and I cannot help but feel this will impact on the longevity of the mat, and be prone to fraying. Also not the slight curve on one edge of the mat, this was like this out of box, so I think Coolermaster may want to considering wrapping the mat around a piece of cylindrical cardboard before packing the mat in the box to stop this happening.
 
Testing
 
The mat was tested across multiple applications, including some mammoth WoW / Counter-strike sessions. The WoW session was tested over 4 days, ranging from some simple daily quests to full blown raids. Seeing as raids can take up to 4 hours to complete, a comfortable surface for your wrist to rest on is just a basic necessity and this where the mat begins to falter. The material it is made from is not simply thick enough to provide any form of rest for your wrist, so you begin to feel some discomfort after around an hour of play, picture this situation 4 hours in and you the idea, a wrist rest is definitely a required add-on.
 
Testing
 
This mat is great for Counter-strike or most FPS games. I myself play with very low sensitivity, so having more room to swing the diamondback around was great. Not once did I find myself wishing for more space. You will definitely notice the difference between it and say the wooden surface of a desk (or the edge of a sofa Jim XD).
 
For application based tests I decided to use Photoshop, and this mat makes a world of difference when it comes to these applications. The extra control this mat allows you makes placing objects, rendering images, and even something as adding a shadow or a gradient that much easier, and you can achieve the exact movement you want to achieve, using the grip of the mat as a brake on the mouse, for me personally ensuring I never went too far. Again this is good for a short term image, but I can imagine for people like web designers the ergonomics of this mat catching them up again after a long editing session.
The mat itself being made from duramesh has in my opinion, the correct balance of grip and slide, those used to some of the harder plastic mats will defiantly feel the difference, as the grip adds that element of control to the mouse that you just don’t get from the average desk surface.
 
Conclusion
 
So there we have it, the CS-M Weapon of choice AKDM. I would recommend it onto any person who plays any movement intensive games, like CS:S or COD4. But for people like me who also spend allot of time with slower paced applications/games, the mat cannot provide enough support compared to other mats. I do like this mat, and therefore have no trouble recommending it, albeit with a wrist rest.
 
The Good
- Nice Material
- Large
- Price
- Nice print
 
Mediocre
- Finish of mat edges
 
Cons
- Ergonomics may not be up to long term use
 
 
Thanks to CM Storm and the OC3D Team for giving me the chance to write this review, please come and tell me what you think in our forums.


CM Storm - Real User Reviews Page: 6
CS-S battle pad H2 by Jarad Parker
 
The CS-S is in no way a large mouse mat but this is only a problem if you use an extremely slow pointer speed, it would fit perfectly on a small to average sized desk area and look good doing so.
 
Jarads Set Up
 
Over the past few days I've used the CS-S with my Logitec MX-518 with Photoshop CS4, Google Sketchup, Counter strike 1.6 & source, COD 4 and mercenaries 2: World in Flames to name but a few.
 
All in all it performed excellently, with no issues like running off the side of the mat due to size or of it moving in a hectic fire fight, if your moving from a different type of mouse mat like an Ice mat you might need to tweak your settings slightly, as for me it felt very different to what i was used to with my old mat.
 
The Mat
 
The quality of the CS-S is very good, A rubber base with the the black fabric top gives it a nice smooth finish, and makes a good surface for both your mouse and hand. Since I received it I've used it around 6-7 hours a day average and i haven't had any problems or discomfort with it.
 
All in all if any one asked me to recommend a mouse mat this would be top of the list, its been great to use and has even got me a few more kills in COD4 that i probably wouldn't have got before.
 
 
Good:
- The price
- The quality
- The size for small work areas
- The looks
 
Mediocre:
- Might be a bit small if you use a slow mouse setting.
 
Bad:
- None
 
 
 
You can discuss my review futher in the forums.