Cooler Master Storm Spawn Gaming Mouse

Author
Logan King
Editor
Aron Schatz
Posted
March 1, 2011
Product Page
CM Storm Spawn
Manufacturer
Cooler Master
Views
53516
Cooler Master Storm Spawn Gaming Mouse
The CM Storm Spawn has great build quality and some innovative design features, but the existence of slightly older Inferno in the CM Storm product range really makes this mouse rather irrelevant, especially when they are prices so closely to each other. It is a good mouse, but it isn't better than the Inferno.

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Page 1
Introduction

These days, some might view optical mice as a kind of old-hat technology. They have been the de facto standard for mice for so long that it is hard to even find a traditional ball mouse still in use, so it may come as a surprise to see them going so strong despite the increasing proliferation of cheap laser mice. Cooler Master believes that there is still a demand for precision optical mice, and they designed the Spawn as the latest entry in their popular Storm brand of products.

We at ASE Labs were impressed with Cooler Master's earlier mouse, the »Inferno, but can the Spawn step out of the shadow of its predecessors and be impressive by its own merits?

About Cooler Master

Quote

OUR MISSION
Cooler Master was founded with the mission of providing the industry's best thermal solutions. Since its establishment a decade ago, the company has remained faithful to this mission, emerging as a world leader in products and services for companies dealing with devices where heat issues must be resolved.

In pursuing this mission, Cooler Master is absolutely committed to delivering solutions that precisely meet customer requirements for features, performance, and quality. Moreover, we strive to be a reliable long-term partner for our customers that they can truly depend on. Cooler Master aims to be the first and foremost name that comes to mind for companies around the world seeking thermal solutions, and seeks to build such a reputation through outstanding technology, sophisticated design, and superior service.

Cooler Master's current business encompasses a comprehensive lineup of thermal solutions for a full range of applications. Our products range from heat sinks and fans to component housing, chassis, and ducting for computers, industrial machinery, telecommunications equipment, and many other devices.

A critical component of Cooler Master's ability to successfully pursue its mission is an unstinting commitment to quality, as demonstrated by the ISO 9001 certification granted to its main manufacturing plant in Taiwan. We have also enforced ISO guidelines and is in the process of applying for ISO 9002 certification at its second and third plants, located in China. Cooler Master has also implemented a number of analytical and testing protocols to ensure top quality, including at subcontractors, to further ensure thorough quality control. Moreover, Cooler Master's dedication to quality extends beyond manufacturing to every aspect of its operation, including service.

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/contact.php?page_id=2


Packaging

Despite being designed for a somewhat lower target market than the Inferno, the Spawn shares a similar packaging design. The front of the box features the mouse pictured from an angle. Above is the CM Storm logo and the corner graphic shared by other CM Storm products. Below the mouse is a small features list, and the graphic for the mouse. One difference between this and the Inferno packaging is that the Inferno box was printed in a high-gloss style. The Spawn is a subdued matte instead.

Packaging Front


The rear of the box contains a more detailed list of features and specifications, almost exactly like the box on the Inferno.

Packaging Rear
Page 2
Packaging Continued

The thing we were most impressed with on the packaging for the Inferno was how the entire box opened up like old PC titles used to, giving off a full view of the mouse. And because of that, we are similarly impressed with the packaging for the Spawn, because it also has a similar door design.

Packaging Door


All of the features of the Inferno packaging is present on the packaging for the Spawn. The inner part of the door has a more detailed picture of the mouse with specific features highlighted. The mouse itself is surrounded by shrink-wrapped plastic which allows you to have a rough idea to how the mouse will fit in your hand.

There is only one major difference between the boxes of the two mice. We are happy to report that it is a good change. Below the area that the mouse is contained, there is a small section cut out of the cardboard liner. This groove wraps around to the bottom of the box and continues for about an inch. What this does is allow you to get your hand on the mouse with you wrist in a more natural position and gives you that much more of a feel for the shape of the mouse.

Specifications

  • 3500 DPI Optical Sensor
  • 32kb Sentinel-X Memory
  • 7 Programmable Buttons
  • 6400 FPS
  • 5.8 Megapixels/Second
  • Lift-off Distance of 2mm
  • 1000hz Polling / 1 ms Response Time
  • Right Hand Ergonomic-Claw Design
  • Omron Micro-Switches
  • Japanese-Made Ultra-Step Wheel Encoder
  • Gold-plated USB Connection
  • Anti-Drift Optical Control Center


For the most part, this stuff is identical or less-extensive versions of the features seen on the Inferno, but there are a few differences, like the claw design.

Marketing Summary

Quote

The Spawn gaming mouse is lightweight, ergonomically designed and forged with a reassuringly solid design. It is built for professional FPS gamers that prefer a claw grip.

Engineered to execute precise in-game tactics, Spawn comes loaded with an ultra high-performance 3500 DPI sensor that includes on-the-fly adjustment, an ultra-step wheel encoder – providing extremely accurate scrolling, and Japanese-made Omron micro-switches that are meant to endure up to five million clicks.

Presented in a eye-catching crimson red high-gloss finish, Spawn compliments a gamers setup by adding a truly breathtaking peripheral. Take part in the Spawn experience and pick one up today.


Package Contents

Removing everything from the box reveals the Spawn and a small product manual. The Spawn doesn't come with a software CD. Instead, it points you towards the Cooler Master website for the download.

Packaging Internals
Page 3
CM Storm Spawn

The Spawn has a nice red and black design. This design slots in nicely with the packaging and design of other CM Storm products, and it also happens to go along quite well with the design of ASE Labs! One thing that is sad to see MIA from the design of this mouse is the braided USB cable seen on the Inferno. Instead, the Spawn has the normal heavy-gauge USB cable which leads into the gold-plated USB connector.

CM Storm Spawn


Compared to the Inferno, the Spawn is notably shorter. It is about as wide as the Inferno, but the shorter length makes it look wider than it actually is. The mouse also sits a little lower and has less of a curve than the Inferno does.

Size Comparison


The most notable thing about the Spawn can be seen on the right side. Rather than having a groove molded into the mouse where your thumb would go, the Spawn has a groove on the right side for your ring finger to rest in. There is also a rubber panel for your pinky to rest on.

Spawn Right Profile


The left side of the mouse features a much more subtle groove for your thumb to rest on. It also has the same type of rubber grip as on the right side of the mouse. Above the rubber grip are the standard forward and back button.

Spawn Left Profile


Looking from the front, you can see the slight contour in the main buttons. You can also see the DPI adjustment buttons. There are unfortunately no lights on the Spawn to tell you what DPI setting the mouse is currently set to.

Spawn Front Profile


There isn't much to see on the bottom of the mouse. All that is there to see is the optical sensor and the friction pads.

Spawn Underside
Page 4
CM Storm Spawn Software

The software for the Spawn is basically the same in functionality and set up as that of the Inferno. The main difference is that everything on the Spawn is less extensive in customization than on the Inferno.

The Main Control tab changes the basic settings of the mouse. From that tab, you can change the button assignments, the scroll speed and other basic things.

Software Macro Tab


The Macro tab is basically identical in use to that of the Inferno, just with fewer buttons.

Software Main Tab


The final tab is the Custom tab, which controls the DPI settings, polling frequency and pointer speed.

Software Custom Tab


All told, the software is still pretty powerful and still simple to use, but the mouse itself is the reason that it doesn't have that much customization.
Page 5
Use

You can add as much extra functionality to a peripheral as you like, but all of that is useless if the peripheral is uncomfortable to use normally. You aren't going to worry about macros or DPI settings if you can't find comfort using basic mouse functions.

Spawn Top View


With that in mind, the Spawn is actually somewhat hard to peg. The design of the mouse is very well thought out, but it takes a long time for it to feel natural. In particular, the groove inserted into the right side of the mouse is a really neat idea once you get used to it. However, it does take a while to get used to it. The problem specifically lies in when you move the mouse.

When holding the mouse still, the shape of the mouse and how your hand fits around it feels fine. However, when you move the mouse around, there is a feeling at the back of your mind that something about the process is odd. It doesn't really feel uncomfortable, but it doesn't feel quite natural either. This feeling goes away after extended use, but it comes back somewhat every time you use a mouse with a more traditional design.

Spawn 3/4 View


There was one other niggling issue that popped up during our testing. The raised shape and position below the scroll wheel of the DPI buttons (the one for raising the DPI in particular) made accidental pressings while scrolling a common occurrence, especially when trying to "throw" the scroll wheel. Furthermore, the button for raising the DPI has a different shape than the one for lowering it. Rather than being a small trapezoid, the upper DPI button continues from its spot and wraps around the scroll wheel. While much more rare than pressing it when scrolling, there were occasions caused by this design where it would be hit accidentally simply when trying to use the normal mouse buttons.

Conclusion

The Cooler Master Storm Spawn is a great mouse. All of the buttons have a strong backing and just the right amount of resistance. The design is ergonomic and very comfortable once you get used to it. The software for the mouse is fairly powerful, and the mouse can be customized enough for the majority of uses. There are some minor issues with the design, but nothing that is really a deal breaker.

There is a problem with the mouse that is somewhat insurmountable, though, and that is the price. At a $50 MSRP, the Spawn represents a pretty good value as far as gaming mice go. As we go to press, the CM Storm Inferno is also available for around $50 (Amazon Link), and it MSRPs for only $10 more anyways. And at the end of the day, there really isn't much of anything that the Spawn does that the Inferno doesn't already do better, and the Inferno also does a lot more in addition.

There is always a danger in trying to introduce new products when you already have successful ones on the market, and the Cooler Master Storm Spawn just comes up short in the things it would need to do to differentiate itself. For that reason, we at ASE Labs cannot really recommend the CM Storm Spawn. However, if you are in the market for a good mouse, and the CM Storm Inferno doesn't appeal to you, the CM Storm Spawn is certainly worth a try.

ASE Publishing would like to thank Cooler Master for making this review possible.

Comments

images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4457m83.jpg Packaging Front images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4458m33.jpg Packaging Rear images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4459mf8.jpg Packaging Door images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4461l8k.jpg Article Preview images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4462m08.jpg Spawn Right Profile images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4463mgn.jpg Size Comparison images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4465ms3.jpg Size Comparison Profile images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4466mi3.jpg CM Storm Spawn images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4467mux.jpg Packaging Internals images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4468m1n.jpg Spawn Left Profile images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4469m2d.jpg Spawn Front Profile images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/15/4470m7d.jpg Spawn Underside images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/26/4501ly0.jpg Software Custom Tab images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/26/4502la5.jpg Software Main Tab images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/26/4503l2k.jpg Software Macro Tab images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/26/4504lwp.jpg Spawn 3/4 View images/siteimages/upload/2011/02/26/4505l7u.jpg Spawn Top View

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