The humble mouse, unless you are a serious gamer, is often a neglected peripheral. People often buy a budget mouse that “just does the job”. I myself am one of these people. I thought a mouse is a mouse, right? Who needs high DPI and changeable weights, right? I was wrong. My eyes have truly been opened thanks to the CM Zero G.
The mouse is probably the most important peripheral on the computer and is probably the most used. Whilst you are sat at the computer, you most likely have your claws on one. Whether you are gaming, web browsing or looking at pictures of cats, it is important to have an ergonomic mouse in order to prevent long term injury. This means the mouse fits comfortably in the hand and causes no discomfort when using.
You may have heard of Coolermaster before but you may associate them with their great range of computer cases, power supplies and cooling products. CM Storm is a range of peripherals made by Coolermaster, specifically designed for gamers. They have products ranging from mice to headsets which have been designed and tailored with gamers directly in mind.
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Aesthetically, the mouse is very appealing. The Zero-G has a silver/grey cosmetic with black accents for the buttons and a black top cover. On the top of the device is a small OLED screen. This is used for displaying small logos or clan tags but also for displaying the current DPI setting. Around this OLED screen is a metal mesh, beneath which, sits a set of LED lights whose colour can be configured using the include software. There is an overall of 8 programmable buttons. These are the standard left and right click, forward and back buttons, middle mouse click, two below the scroll wheel and one above the scroll wheel. As standard, the two buttons below the scroll wheel allow you to adjust the mouse DPI on the fly whilst the button above the scroll wheel lets you switch between profiles. At the front of the mouse you find two more LED lights and a 2M long, braided USB cable. On the bottom of the device is a little door which can be removed to reveal 5, 4.5g weights which can individually be removed.
Under the hood
The Zero-G comes with a 5600 DPI – twin laser sensor giving it accuracy and precision on most surfaces. On board, the mouse features 128kb of internal memory. This is used for saving custom mouse profiles to the hardware itself. The advantage of this to some budget mice which also allow you to create user profiles is that it is stored on the mouse itself and not the software. This means that if you unplug the mouse and plug it into your friend’s computer, the profiles will still be there. Other specifications include a 1000Hz polling rate, 1ms response time and a max acceleration of 50G.
A good mouse is nothing without good software to support it. The Zero-G comes with Coolermaster’s own Sentinel software which has some very comprehensive features which allow you to completely customise the experience to exactly how you want it.
The program initially looks very daunting with its various sliders and buttons but it is very is to get the hang of. The software has a tabbed interface with the various different customisable options in tabs at the top. When you open the software you are greeted with the main controls tab. This is where you have control over things such as DPI adjustment and button assignment. To the right hand side you see the DPI sliders. This is so you can customise the increments at which the DPI is changed when you press the “DPI+” and “DPI-“buttons. To the left of the software is the area where you can assign custom functions to button presses and finally, at the bottom is the area where you can create up to four custom profiles with their own names and images which can be changed on the fly using the profile switch button.
On the next tab is the LED customisation. This tab allows you to control the colour and style of the front and top LEDs. You can choose from a range of colours or no lights at all in order to match the rest of your rig and set up. As well as colour, you can choose from 4 different styles. Full colour is when all the lights are constantly lit, breathing is when the lights softly dim and brighten, rapid fire means that the front LEDs blink between your selected colour and white as you begin to click rapidly and finally, you can completely disable the LEDs if you find them too distracting. Oh course, different colour lighting can be assigned to different profiles. You may also notice that just below the colour selection is an area which allows you to upload a logo photo. This is for applying pictures or clan tags to the OLED screen, a very nice feature indeed.
For more advanced users there is the “Storm Tactics” tab.
The “Macro” Tab.
And “Script” tab.
The other tabs are the “Library” tab which allows you to save and load scripts you have created and the “Support” tab for updating the software.
Whilst beginners may not have a clue what to do with these tabs, it is a nice addition for more advanced users who want to get the most out of their mouse.
I tested the mouse in normal desktop usage and gaming scenarios in order to get a feel for the mouse. Now for the past year I have been using the Microsoft Sidewinder mouse and don’t get me wrong, it is a very good budget mouse but having used this Zero-G mouse from CM Storm, it is going to be hard going back to it.
The ergonomic design of the Zero-G is very good as is leaps beyond anything I have ever used. The sturdy ABS plastic with a slightly rubberised texture is soft and comfortable in the hand. The mouse is specifically designed for right handers due to the placement of some of the buttons on thumb rest. If you are right handed, it feels comfortable and natural with no particular pressure points. The curvature of the Zero-G matches the contours of your hand if you prefer to use the “claw” hand. By focusing just on right handers, it has allowed Coolermaster to create the most comfortable experience for its customers. All the buttons are easy to reach in hectic gaming scenarios and are very comfortable to use. This is all great if you’re right handed but if you’re South Paw, like me, the experience will be polar opposite. A very uncomfortable experience and I would not recommend this mouse for you. It would be nice to see Coolermaster bring out a left handed variation of this mouse but I guess if the demographic isn’t large enough, it just isn’t feasible.
The ability to change the DPI setting on the fly is a feature you see quite often with mice in this price range and is a feature which is well implemented here. It is great in FPS games when you want a fast, high sensitive setting when running and gunning but want to change to a slow, more precise setting for sniping. I never felt any delay or lag from the Zero-G and was always accurate.
Not only is the Zero-G excellent in FPS games, it also performs well in strategy and MMO games due to its highly customisable set of macro keys. Whilst it is nothing close to the Razer “Naga”, it still delivers a comfortable experience with the amount of macro buttons the Zero-G provides.
Most of the buttons have a nice travel time and provide a satisfying click letting you know you have pressed the button. This is the case with all the buttons except the middle mouse button which felt rather “spongy” and was very easy to press as you rotated the wheel. Other than that, all of the buttons were well positioned and hard to accidentally press.
The mouse may initially feel bulky if you are used to something smaller but it is easy to get used to. The ability to change the weight is also a nice feature for customising your experience. It would be nice however if Coolermaster would include more weights so that you can add weight as opposed to only being able to reduce weight which is the standard configuration. The Zero-G is a good weight to begin with though so it isn’t a big issue.
I was very impressed with the amount of customisability with the Zero-G. It gives you all the tools you need to customise it exactly how you want it with some features you may not see on products in this price range, most notably the OLED screen. A feature I am sure that serious gamers will love at LAN parties. Others may just see the screen as a bit of a gimmick but I liked it.
In conclusion I was very impressed with the Zero-G. It has all the features you come to expect in this price range to make both an amateur and a pro feel right at home. Whilst there are some improvements that could be made which I have mentioned, Coolermaster have done nothing wrong with the Zero-G. Whether you are in the market for a new mouse or not, I definitely recommend you check out the CM Storm Sentinel Z3RO-G.