CMStorm Sentinel Advance

09.04.2010
There are many products that enter our labs with an intention of being the best value for money products out there; products that want to balance price with features and performance. These products don’t knock you out with their performance but give you enough to leave you satisfied.Then there are products like the Cooler Master (CM) Storm Sentinel Advance Mouse, products that go all out with their performance and consequently come with a hefty price-tag too.The Sentinel Advance is a large mouse intended for use by the right-handed. It is an all-out performance mouse aimed primarily for use by gamers. And not just any gamer, this mouse is for gamers who want a great deal of customization and a lot of style.The Sentinel Advance’s design reminded me a lot of Dell’s Alienware line-up of gaming laptops (one of which ). It is a big black mouse, made up rubberized plastic with sharp lines defining its design. It is ergonomically designed and very comfortable to use and it fit into my hand quite perfectly. Apart from the regular left, right and middle (mouse wheel) buttons, the Sentinel Advance has five more buttons- one placed above the mouse wheel (that lets you browse profiles), two below it (that let you switch DPI settings on the fly) and two on the left just above where your thumb fits in (which serve as the forward/back buttons by default). The highlight of the design is an OLED display that shows your current DPI setting, Profile and Logo. More on these in a bit. Around the screen is a grill through which different hued LED lights shine through. The front of the mouse also has recesses in the lower section in which are set two LED bulbs making the mouse’s front resemble a car with headlights. The CM also has a pretty long cord that is made up of braided cloth. The mouse’s undercarriage hosts five 4.5g metal tablets that you can remove or retain according to how heavy you want it. Overall, the mouse’s build quality is solid.The bundle has a software CD that includes a tool to configure the mouse and as you can probably make out from the fifth picture on the left, Cooler Master hasn’t done a half-hearted job.

The software is very helpful as not only does it let you re-map every button on the mouse but also unlocks a whole host of capabilities. You can use the tool to save different button configurations to five different profiles that are saved directly to the mouse’s 64K memory chip. You can further change the colors of the LED lights and even upload custom-made logos in the form of black and white 32x32 bmp files, which will be displayed on the OLED screen. More advanced features include recording in-game mouse actions as macros, so that you can execute long or complicated combinations of commands with a single click or even creating your own script to enable the mouse to perform further actions.The Sentinel Advance isn’t just about features either; it is as powerful as a mouse can be. It uses dual laser sensors that are capable of 5600 DPI sensitivity. That’s right, in comparison the other gaming mouse I reviewed two months back –the offered a max of 1600 DPI. Also, while the Gigabyte was capable of a mere 128Hz polling rate (the speed at which the mouse transmits commands), the Cooler Master racks up that number to 1051Hz at peak. I played a whole gamut of games to test the Sentinel Advance. To check the maximum and minimum DPI settings, seemed like a good game. Playing as a sniper, 1100 DPI (the minimum you can go on this mouse) was ideal for precision, while 2600-3800 DPI were suitable for the more run and gun gameplay style of the Soldier class. I also played an action RPG- , an RTS- and a proper isometric RPG (that makes heavy use of the mouse buttons)- . In all cases, the mouse performed admirably and the DPI settings made sense (except for the 5600 maximum, which was a little too high for use even on a 22-inch monitor). The mouse buttons clicked solidly and there was no stickiness or over-rigidity. The middle mouse button also scrolled smoothly, although it takes a little effort to click.

In India, the Cooler Master Storm Sentinel Advance mouse will set you back by a cool Rs. 5,000. Like any other premium performance-oriented gadget, the Sentinel Advance is expensive. However, the degree to which the mouse can be customized and the high level of performance it brings to the table, make it an essential part of any serious gamer’s arsenal.