CM Storm Sentinel Advance II Mouse review (w/ Speed RX Padz)


The gaming peripheral market is a hotly contested arena, with manufacturers such as Razer, Steelseries and Roccat all vying for sales. In 2009, CM Storm released the Sentinel Advance Laser Gaming Mouse which was formed around a state of the art (at the time) 5,600 resolution dpi sensor. It was in reality a very good product and it deservedly sold well.
Cooler Master are releasing their next flagship gaming mouse, The CM Storm Sentinel Advance II. This new product features a Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor which can be configured between a modest 200 dpi and an eye popping 8,200 dpi.
When it comes to adopting a mouse, I have to admit I am very hard to please. I tend to gravitate towards Steelseries products, generally because they seem to be shaped for larger hands. We have no shortage of mice in our offices, but I find the Steelseries Sensei is almost the perfect shape for my hand. It doesn’t matter how fancy the sensor is, if it feels uncomfortable I just won’t be using it.
Today we are also taking a look at the new CM Storm Speed RX surfaces. These are constructed from microscopic synthetic mesh for optimum precision.
CM Storm Sentinel Advance II Mouse Features:
  • 200 – 8200 DPI tracking resolution
  • 128 KB Sentinel-X TM Memory for profiles and macros
  • On the fly DPI adjustments (+/- 200 DPI)
  • As little as 1.5 mm lift-off distance
  • Up to 150 IPS – 3.8 m/s
  • 125 Hz – 1000 Hz USB rate fine-tuning
  • 5 profiles with 4 DPI setting each
  • 8 programmable buttons
  • 9 virtual buttons via button combinations
  • Right-hand Ergonomic Design
  • Customizable OLED logo
  • Customizable multi color LED light system
  • 5 x 4.5g weight fine-tuning system
The CM Storm Sentinel Advance II Mouse ships in an attractively designed box with the product highlighted in front of a firey background.
Specifications are listed on the back of the package. The box opens in a gatefold style presentation with the mouse protected behind a tough plastic fascia. The left side of the packaging details some of the specifications and key features of the mouse.
The bundle doesn’t include a software disc, however the company include an information leaflet with a direct link to the website to download the driver/software. This may seem slightly inconvenient, but it does ensure that the user will always end up with the newest version of the software. They also include a spare set of ‘glide’ panels. More on this shortly.
The mouse looks almost identical to the CM Storm Sentinel Advance, which isn’t a shocker. It is finished in a dark grey colour which is surprisingly reflective under light, although not as intense as the Steelseries Sensei. The buttons are all black which provides some contrast.
This is a strictly right handed product, so lefties need to look elsewhere. The two small buttons above the mouse wheel are used to increase or decrease the DPI. There is a little ridge on the left button so its easy to recognise without looking. The very top button can be used quickly to change the colours, although it can be changed to a different function in the software.
The CM Storm Sentinel Advance II mouse is equipped with eight programmable buttons. Unlike some other designs I have seen in recent months, they all seem well positioned, especially when relying on the right mouse button press, which can sometimes have other buttons close to it, causing problems in game.
The cable is high quality and braided for durability. The USB connector is gold plated.
Underneath, there is a compartment for the weighting system, which is comprised of 5 separate 4.5G weights. By default these are all installed and while real men might not have a problem, I found it was too heavy for 8-10 hours use a day. I removed two of the weights, leaving the bottom two in place (on the right and left side) with the central, top weight also in place.
It is important to remember not to remove them all from one side of the mouse otherwise it could lead to a weight ‘imbalance’ when being used.
The company include a spare set of glide strips which can be used to replace all four positions underneath the mouse. A nice touch we think, especially after a couple of years of heavy use, when they tend to look worse for wear.
We look at the lighting and dpi options later in the review.
Above, the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II Mouse (left), next to the Steelseries Sensei (middle) and the Cyborg Rat 3 (right). It is a relatively large mouse and will suit people with medium or large hands. Those people with small hands may want to look elsewhere.
Cooler Master also sent us a three way set of Speed RX Padz (notice the ‘Z’). These are marked L, M and S, for large, medium and small (shock, eh?).
The RX-L version is the biggest one on offer, measuring 450 mm x 350 mm x 5 mm. It ships in a very artistic hard cardboard box.
This is a very big mouse pad and will be ideally suited to a larger desk, and for those who like lower resolution tracking settings, with higher physical mouse movement. I found the Duracloth tracking to be excellent and the grip coating held well on the surface of our table.
Cooler Master say that the extra thick 5mm rubber center piece delivers better ergonomics and endurance. It certainly feels good under the wrist and the mouse movement is smooth, however we will need to wait a few months before we can comment on the endurance capabilities.
The RX- M is the middle size in the trio of pads we are reviewing today. It measures 320 mm x 270 mm x 5 mm. The box is identically styled to the L version, although it is physically smaller.
We feel the medium size will suit a larger percentage of desk sizes. It is big enough to offer plenty of room for tracking and feels just as good as the L version.
The RX- M is the baby size in the trio of pads we are reviewing today. It measures 250 mm x 210 mm x 5 mm. The box is identically styled to the other versions, although it seems almost pocket sized.
The small size will suit people who don’t have much room next to their keyboard. It doesn’t offer much room for tracking, but with a high sensitivity setting it actually is perfectly fine. The quality is identical between all three versions.
The image above, shows the three sizes resting on top of each other. I personally would opt for the medium size as it seems best suited for the widest audience.
The software for the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II Mouse is not supplied with the product. The latest version can be downloaded directly from the website. The driver can be installed into the operating system, or a ‘driverless’ execution’ can be used, which we detail below.
CM Storm do recommend that you disable the mouse controls in Windows control panel, including the ‘enhanced pointer precision’, ‘snap to’ and ‘mouse acceleration’. Therefore focusing entirely on the GUI software explained on this page.
The CM Storm software is very nicely designed, although it is a bit cluttered in my opinion. At least we can’t argue that there aren’t enough options! The first page is the ‘main control’ tab, which allows for various DPI settings, which can be uploaded to the mouse directly over USB. There is also an OS sensitivity option, OS double click speed and a button response time.
On this page, you can save and load up to 5 profiles along the bottom, which can be used to store a plethora of mouse settings. Many people like myself like a variety of slightly lower resolution settings for Adobe Photoshop, such as when using the bezier curves.
It is possible to adjust the X and Y resolution settings, which can prove useful. This software really does cover all bases and as always I found that anything over 3,200 dpi was overkill for my own personal tastes.
A super high resolution over 5,000 dpi may be fantastic for some ‘hair trigger’ expert gamers, but in the real world I find around 1,800 to 2,400 dpi to be spot on.
The maximum resolution setting of 8,200 dpi is so extreme that I even found my breathing could move the pointer ever so slightly on my 30 inch screen. It brings the term ‘incredible sensitivity’ to a whole new dimension. Regardless of whether you use 8,200 dpi or not, there is no doubting that the Sentinel Advance II has everything covered.
The Color Control tab offers a variety of customisable settings if you like playing with colour schemes. Those who hate lights, can completely disable them. An excellent option we feel.
The mouse looks fantastic when it is lit up. There are a variety of preset colours, and if you aren’t happy when you can add your own, as well as a custom OLED logo.
The Storm TX panel allows the end user to create custom, indepth key combinations. I didn’t spend a lot of time with this page, but it looks ideal for clan gamers.
It is possible to configure macro settings ‘with time’ added. It is also possible to set up a button for rapid fire and to even tell the colour scheme to flash under certain conditions. It all sounds like total overkill to me, but I am positive that younger gamers will have a field day setting everything up to suit their individual demands. It is possible to set up key combinations via a button.
CM Storm have included a dedicated panel strictly for support and to get information on the firmware version.
Above, are some custom settings I configured for the review. DPI Level 1 defaulted to 1,600 dpi, primarily because I like this setting when using Adobe Photoshop and drawing Bezier curves. DPI Level 2 I configured to 2,000 dpi which is generally the resolution I like for a multiple screen setup.
The other settings are higher, for specific games. I do find 5,400dpi to a be little ‘twitchy’ however, even when used on a top grade mat surface. 8,200dpi translates that every inch you move, the pointer will move 8200 pixels in your chosen direction. Twitch slightly and your in game character will give a good representation of taking a fit.
Using this mouse has been an absolute pleasure. As stated in the introduction, I am a huge believer in Steelseries products, and have used the XAI and then the SENSEI mice almost exclusively since they were released. The CM Storm Sentinel Advance II Mouse has just claimed the top spot now as my ‘go to’ mouse, on my everyday work PC. Not primarily because of the insane resolution capabilities but the body shape and tracking quality are first class.
If, like me, you spend most of your life on a computer then you will already be aware of the importance of buying the best quality mouse and keyboard. Thankfully, there are certainly no shortage of options in either category today. The Razer Black Widow Ultimate keyboard and the DAS keyboard get all my attention. Only because I am a sucker for the Cherry MX Blue switches.
Until today, my favourite mouse was the Steelseries Sensei which fit my hand perfectly and was used daily since it was released some time ago. I was actually beginning to doubt I could find a suitable replacement until CoolerMaster sent me the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II for review today.
I am ambidextrous, so while I write with my left hand, I can use the mouse with my right hand. Sadly purist lefties need not apply as the body shape is designed from the ground up for right handed use. The chassis shape is certainly suited to those people with larger hands, like myself. If you have dainty little hands then some of the Razer mice may be better suited.
Technically, The CM Storm Sentinel Advance II is stunning. No one will need more than 8,200 dpi, and in fact I would expect only a handful of people will be able to use this resolution when gaming, with any great success. If I was breathing heavily when using the mouse at this resolution, it could move slightly - this is sensitivity to the extreme. Additionally, I found that the choice of surface can emphasize this slightly too.
This mouse is extremely configurable, settings between 200 dpi and 8,200 dpi can be set via software with individually selectable X and Y axis DPI settings. There are also media and macro functions which can be easily configured via the dedicated software.
Between 1,600 dpi and 3,200 dpi is the most usable range in my own personal experience. I found 2,000 dpi to be a perfect fit for Windows use, and 3,200 dpi more useful when playing some first person shooters. Drawing smooth bezier curves in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop proved more successful between 1,600 dpi to 2,000 dpi.
The CM Storm software is fantastic even though I felt initially it looked too cluttered. The options are there for setting up macros, scripts and multiple profiles. I spent most of my time tuning the dpi settings and then saving them into the mouse for a variety of tasks. If more frivilous settings prove interesting, then there are no shortage of colour, LED logo and lighting tricks to be configured.
The mouse is due for release in the next couple of weeks, but we have been informed that the price will be around £50 inc vat when it hits the UK. At this price we have absolutely no hesitation recommending the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II. It is one the finest mice on the market.
We can also recommend the Speed RX Padz, as they partner well with the new Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor.
Pros:
  • beautiful, hitch free tracking.
  • built well.
  • weighted system.
  • full lighting system.
  • lighting system can be disabled.
  • fantastic software.
  • settings between 200 dpi and 8,200 dpi available.
  • spare set of glides supplied.
  • driverless.
  • Speed VX pads are a good partner.
Cons:
  • None.
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