It's been a while since we've seen a new mouse from the gaming arm of Cooler Master, CM Storm.
Of course they have got things so right with the Sentinel and Xornet that massive changes aren't necessary. It does, however, raise the bar of expectations for their latest entry into the gaming mouse marketplace, the CM Storm Recon. It's not just the mouse products that lead us to anticipate something special from the Recon. Nearly every CM Storm product we've looked at has been a great combination of design, build quality and pricing.
Alongside the Recon we also have the Skorpion bungee to look at.
The Recon sits just between the aforementioned Sentinel and Xornet. Whilst the Sentinel is stuffed full of bells and whistles, and the Xornet is no frills, the Recon has lots of nice touches and decent hardware specifications, without anything feeling that it's there for the sake of it. An array of customisable buttons match up well with a good sensor and compact dimensions.
|DPI||800 - 4000|
|Tracking||60 Inches per second|
|Profiles/Macros||5 DPI profiles, 36 Macros|
The packaging is certainly eye-catching. Those bits of CGI in films where they skin a wireframe are so prevalent that you almost can visualise the mouse appearing before your eyes.
But you don't need to imagine, here it is in all it's ambidextrous glory. The CM Storm logo at the base, which lights up, is the only part which is an aesthetic rather than functional touch.
Behind the chunky scroll-wheel are the DPI/Profile adjustment buttons. The sensor puts out one of the most complicated patterns we've ever seen when you lift the mouse up off your pad. The teflon feet allow it to glide across any surface of choice.
The word we keep wishing to use is chunky. The Recon is definitely in the stubby and tall category. It allows all the buttons to be within easy reach. As you can see the Recon is ambidextrous, a trend we're pleased to see more of lately, so southpaws need not worry.
Up Close Skorpion
The side dish to today's main course is the Skorpion mouse bungee. With wired mice still ruling the roost in both cost and accuracy terms, a bungee allows the perfect blend of the freedom of a wireless mouse, whilst still retaining the pinpoint response of a wired rodent. The CM Storm Skorpion is aptly named too. Just look at it. What else could it be called.
When switching between profiles the whole mouse recolours to provide an 'at a glance' identifier. The default colours are bright and well saturated. Even if you don't change the profile it allows you to blend the Recon in with your colour-scheme of choice.
The Recon software has a nice small footprint and is very easy to use, with a wealth of options available to you. As well as regularly used options for each button (back/forward etc) you can assign anything from a single key to a complicated macro.
Each profile can have different colours for the three different zones so you can customise it to your taste. The Macro editor is everything we've come to expect from modern software with lots of tweaking available to make sure you get exactly the string you want, with the delay you desire.
The big question on everyone's lips is, have CM Storm continued their trend of excellence with the Recon?
Albeit with a slight qualification, the answer has to be yes.
It's hugely comfortable to use. The combination of a relatively short length and a real chunky quality to both the design and the buttons mean that you are guaranteed to hit the button you're trying for every single time, and can use it all day long without discomfort. This is aided by the grippy coating on the top surface of the Recon which, along with the smoother sides, allow you to keep it under control under even the most demanding conditions.
Speaking of the buttons the Omrom micro switches have a really satisfying tactile click to them. You're never left in any doubt about whether it's been activated, yet it's not a distracting noise. The chunkiness is against emphasised by that click which has none of the hollowness you sometimes experience in mice. Lighting is equally praiseworthy. As well as being bright and with well saturated hues, it makes glancing at which profile is currently in effect easy. It's not so bright that it distracts you from the action on screen, and that's not always a balance that's been easy to strike.
The software is excellent. A small download and equally small footprint, it's easy to use and setup the Recon to your liking. There are a lot of customisation options, from a robust macro suite to more simple tasks, the Recon software has you covered.
There are only a couple of small niggles. Firstly the cable isn't braided but is plain plastic. It's a small thing, but the marketplace is absolutely saturated with gaming mice at the £45 price point, so it's both worth noting and something we'd expect. The other issue is either a boon or a pain depending upon your point of view. The scroll-wheel is about the notchiest we've ever used. Naturally this allows you to change weapons (or similar actions) without fear that you'll accidentally change twice. However, unless you're particularly wealthy it's probably fair to say that most of us use a single mouse for all of our computer actions. The big click when scrolling makes moving through internet pages or big documents quite annoying. If you insist on doing it fast then it sounds like a playing card in bicycle spokes.
Finally the Skorpion. We understand that most of you will look at a mouse bungee and wonder what possible benefit it can have. We absolutely love them here at OC3D, as they allow you to utilise all the benefits of a wired mouse (no batteries, no interference, instant response), yet it feels as if you have a wireless mouse in your hand with the inherent benefits of the freedom and lack of cable snagging that a wireless one brings. The Skorpion is well made, weighty, and flexible. It's fantastic and if you haven't discovered the benefits a bungee can have we definitely recommend the CM Storm Skorpion.
As for the Recon, it's a fantastic gaming mouse. It's comfortable. The sensor is excellent. All the buttons and lighting are of a high quality, as is the software. The only fly in the ointment is roughness of that scroll wheel and simplicity of the cable. So you get a great mouse at a good price, but such is the white-hot competition at this pricepoint that we can only award it our Silver Award.
Thanks to CM Storm for supplying the Recon for review. Discuss our findings in the OC3D Forums.