Arctic M551 Gaming Laser Mouse

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
August 2, 2010
Manufacturer
Arctic Cooling
Product Page
M551
Views
29750
Arctic M551 Gaming Laser Mouse
The M551 misfires on the basics of the common mouse. Scroll wheel problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Look elsewhere for a good mouse.

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Page 1
Introduction

Arctic Cooling is treading on shark infested waters with their new input devices. While the »M571 and the »K381 are both good entries into the market, Arctic has a second gaming mouse called the M551. The M551 is a cheaper product than the M571. Even though they are from the same company, this product has a totally different feel. The M551 lacks in some very big areas for input devices.

About Arctic Cooling

Quote

Who we are?

ARCTIC COOLING is a privately owned company founded in 2001 with headquarters in Switzerland, offices in Hong Kong and the USA and production facilities in Asia. The ARCTIC COOLING team consists of international highly educated people with business, technical and communicational skills. The attitude to work is based on Swiss principles of innovative spirit and high standards of workmanship for which it is recognized internationally. This striving for excellence is integrated in all processes as a matter of course. ARCTIC COOLING´s core competencies are multifarious including systematic noise reduction,copper and aluminum heatsink development, customization of thermal solutions, as well as designing quiet fans. More recently quiet and cool PC Cases and Power Supplies have been developed.

What we do?

ARCTIC COOLING is a leader in creating thermal cooling solutions for personal computer systems that enable CPU (Central Processing Unit), GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) and PC case cooling whilst reducing the noise level. Increased heat generated by modern computer systems has overwhelmed most existing cooler manufacturers in their efforts to keep pace with the demands in terms of noise level and cooling. The noise pollution caused by today´s IT systems has increased, severely affecting productivity in open office environments. ARCTIC COOLING has been working closely with globally recognized companies such as Inno3D, ECS, Galaxy, Sapphire, Powercolor and ATI. Through these partnerships ARCTIC COOLING has been able to adapt to the changing market requirements and has quickly developed the optimal solutions. ARCTIC COOLING combines the Swiss art of engineering to realize innovative cooling ideas. Thanks to the low labor cost in Asia, ARCTIC COOLING has consistently produced innovative solutions which lead the market in price / performance. Cooling solutions are created from the demand of our customers. Due to the continuous product development at ARCTIC COOLING the demands of end-users will always be satisfied. As a result of the head-start ARCTIC COOLING has in knowing end-user´s requirements, manufacturing possibilities and ARCTIC COOLING´s strong R&D, ARCTIC´s products will continue to be market leaders in cooling solutions and provide assemblers, computer hardware distributors and IT-technicians with innovative, virtually silent, cost-effective cooling solutions for CPU, GPU and PC-case worldwide.

http://www.arctic-cooling.com/catalog/static_info.php?tid=ABOUT_US


Packaging

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Arctic Cooling has pretty specific coloring scheme. It almost looks like an Apple targeted product if it didn't have some dark hues on the box. Arctic likes to stick to monochromatic coloring.

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The back of the packaging lists the specifications and other information you may want to know before purchasing the M551.
Page 2
Specifications

  • Tracking Engine Laser
  • Connector USB
  • Typical power input 0.15 W
  • Cable 1.8 m Ø 2.8 mm
  • Dimensions 119 (L) x 80 (W) x 41 (H) mm
  • Weight 160 g
  • Laser engine for absolute accuracy - even on glass
  • Ultra-high sensitivity - 800 / 1600 / 2400 dpi
  • Ergonomic design maximizes comfort for a long game play
  • Smooth, low resistance movements by slick gliding feet
  • Back and forth thumb buttons for easy navigation
  • Coated cord eliminates line clustering


Marketing Summary

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The ARCTIC M551 has a resistant surface coating to protect the mouse from wearing out. This helps to maintain the mouse at top-notch quality from day-to-day use. This mouse operates with laser optical sensor; thus, it has ultra-high sensitivity levels that offers ideal precision and speed. The sensitivity levels can be adjusted from 800, 1,600 to 2,400 dpi by simply pressing the ‘dpi’ button. The current sensitivity level is displayed by a LED light on the mouse as well.

The ARCTIC M551 also has the basic features that any computer user is looking for – backward and forward button on the side and the scrolling key on the mouse. All these features are targeted to serve users to surf and play online more conveniently. The quiet scrolling wheel gives highest comfort to users when they need to view slides, zoom in and out, and navigate content on computer screen.

http://www.arctic-cooling.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=82_88&mID=564


Package Contents

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The M551 comes with some literature and an Arctic Cooling case badge. This is pretty much the same setup as the M571 with the very minimal extras given. The mouse doesn't cost that much money, after all.
Page 3
M551

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Like the other Arctic input devices, the M551 comes in your choice of white or black. We have the white version in this review. This silver and white color scheme is the traditional colors of Arctic Cooling. Branding is important. You might not be thinking about it, but subjectively, it works.

top.jpg


The Arctic Cooling logo is placed on the top of the mouse so your palm hides it. As you can see, the mouse has some curves to it. This mouse will not be suitable for lefties, you'll have to find an ambidextrous type mouse. The mouse buttons are separated from the top plastic instead of all one smooth piece. To the back of the scroll wheel lays the DPI adjustment button. This works the same way as the M571. The scroll wheel is the subdued tick type without hard notches.

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The M551 is about as big as a standard size CD. This shot also highlights the back and forward buttons located above the thumb rest. The DPI settings are shown when the mouse is in use and will have an LED light at all times. The color depends on the DPI setting used. The size of the mouse is hard to gauge by pictures alone. You need to see it in person. Watch the attached video to see how it looks in action.

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The M551 contains no extra compartments or any other feature on the bottom. This is a laser based mouse so tracking is no problem. The M551 suffers from the same problems as the M571, though. The mouse has 5 feet for gliding on a surface and they offer minimal friction. The "L" in the model name denotes the color, not the tracking type.

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The right side of the mouse contains a finger wrest which was okay. Some people may not like how the wrest feels. It is important to test this before buying... On second thought, don't worry about it. Read the testing section to find out why. The finger wrest is more of a finger catch to make your finger not hit the surface. In this regard, it does work.

green.jpg blue.jpg red.jpg


There are three DPI settings for the M551. Each setting has a corresponding LED color. The slowest is green. This denote the 800 DPI setting. It is good for a standard speed for general computing. Blue denotes 1600 DPI. This is on the verge of being too fast to control. You do get used to this setting after some time and practice. The third setting is red which means "go." It is the fastest setting of 2400, too fast for most people, including us. Even in games, this seems extreme. Twitch game play gamers should rejoice, though.
Page 4
Use

Unlike the M571, this mouse feels cheap. I don't like mice that don't have much weight to it and this one feels like it would break just by using it since it is so light. The scroll wheel is another big problem. It has the cheap feel as well. One tick of the wheel does not correspond to a single scroll. Instead it has trouble recognizing if you scrolled the wheel or not. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it registers two scrolls. This is completely unacceptable in a mouse in this competitive market. We saw the M571 shine, but this product seems to lack the basics of a good design.

The M551 also suffers from the tracking problem off the surface. If you pick up the mouse, it will track pretty far off the mouse pad. This should be adjusted since most people pick up the mouse and put it in a different position often. Tracking that movement off the pad gets annoying. The DPI setting of 2400 is really too fast. We've said it before, we'll say it again. If you use 2400 DPI, please let us know. Settings of 400/800/1600 would be the best.



Continuing the series, Aron Schatz (myself) is the star of the show. Please give us some feedback on these videos. We welcome comments.

Conclusion

We'll make this short and sweet. If you are looking to buy an Arctic Cooling mouse right now, the M551 is not the one you're looking for. Instead, look to the M571 which is $5 more than the M551. Not only do you get a mouse with a quality feel, it also has more features and a better build quality. It is pretty surprising that the M551 gets basic things like the scroll wheel wrong. We will never recommend a mouse that gets things like this wrong.

Since Arctic has the M571, we bet the M551 will be relegated to giveaway status. The M571 just blows this mouse out of the water. Hopefully Arctic's next value mouse gets the basics right. In the meantime, the »M571 is still our recommended Arctic mouse.

ASE Labs would like to thank Arctic Cooling for making this review possible.

Comments

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