E-Sports all over the world – and quite interestingly also in the Philippines – is getting quite a renaissance these days. Not only has there been new compelling & competitive games out there (like StarCraft II, Diablo III, League of Legends, etc.), there’s also been a much more up-to-date and affordable PC market (and distribution platforms) to support it. All these factors together have now brought out the competitive spirit in a lot of old and new PC gamers alike – something we would all definitely notice in recent PC gaming events and tournaments. This is why Cooler Master’s CM Storm have probably made the product we’ll be checking out in this review – the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II.
The Sentinel Advance II is currently the highest-end gaming mouse under the Taiwanese manufacturer’s gaming line, succeeding the original Sentinel Advance (which looks quite similar in design still). It’s a right handed, 8200 DPI mouse that is fairly significant in the hand – but that’s probably why you’d like it anyway. It has been designed for more dedicated gamers in the sense that it has a customizable OLED screen on the face of the device and the LED lights on top and front can be changed to suit your team’s colors and badges. Other than those unique features you have 5×4.5g weights on the rear to customize your handling preference; an impressive 1.5mm lift-off distance (prevents inaccuracy when you lift the mouse); on the fly DPI buttons; and of course the usual programmable buttons via a software driver. All these for a relatively affordable (estimated) price of PHP 2,499.
The front has headlights!
Design-wise, when the mouse is turned off (eg. isn’t plugged in) you’ll notice that it can be a little bland looking with the gray plastic that mostly covers the rear side of the mouse behind the top grille and OLED screen. But when you plug it in the grille comes alive with your chosen LED/Team colors and the OLED underneath will light up. (There’s also a front “headlight” looking LED.) You got an assortment of 8 programmable buttons: 2 on the side, 2 DPI buttons, left-right-middle mouse clicks, and a profile selector button on top of the mouse wheel. The latter of which can be set to change from the default CM Storm profile to up to 4 extra custom ones – each with its own custom OLED logo, lights, macros, and DPI settings. (Great for custom use in different types of games/genres.)
On the ergonomics side, we’ve noticed that its definitely a large mouse in the hand. While we wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing, it can take a little while to get used to – especially if you’re used to smaller mice. The device more than makes up for it though with special contours on the side for your thumb and ring finger for easier sliding. On the bottom near the rear, you’ll see a flap that covers 5 weights with 4.5g each. While the weight system addition is a good thing, we noticed that removing some of them makes the rear a lot lighter than the front – messing up the balance a little bit. If we could adjust the front-end weight as well, we would have preferred the system a lot more.
The bottom flap houses the 5×4.5g adjustable weight system
The Sentinel II performed admirably well on pretty much any games and applications we used it for – given that it’s a well rounded, and second generation top-end mouse. While the 8200 DPI seems a little overkill for our tastes, we’d rather have that extra high ceiling for possible use than having a mouse that caps out at a low DPI. We particularly appreciate the new 1.5mm LOD (lift off distance) a lot, which helps maintain your aim whenever you lift the mouse. Too often, lifting the mouse means your cursor will go in random directions, but not with a small LOD like the Sentinel II.
The software, if you choose to install it, lets you manage the custom settings on the device – giving you access to change the specific DPI stops for the mouse, change profile settings, and save and load macros / scripts for more specialized use. Of course, this is also where you will find the settings for changing the LED colors on profiles and the admittedly very cool-looking custom logo for your OLED screen. Everything is pretty well laid out and, despite the very red/black futuristic video-gamey feel of the interface, works well. The mouse is also designed to save these profiles in its memory so you can actually take it to a different computer and still maintain your preferences.
Overall the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II is a very compelling product that doesn’t really cost much. Perhaps the biggest selling point of this mouse is that its got all the prerequisites of a great gaming mouse (the weight system, high DPI, and low LOD) with all the extra bells and whistles that will make a mouse stand out. (like the custom lights and OLED screen) It’s a rather large design though and the gray plastic is quite bland if all the lights are off. However, when it comes down to it you’ll be hard pressed to find a mouse priced this low with a custom OLED screen and can do 8200DPI. That in itself makes it quite an easy recommendation.
We give the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II 4/5 Stars
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