Do you enjoy customizing your mouse? To have several commands literaly at hand, at your fingertips? Do you consider having seven or eight reprogrammable buttons to little? Then the CM Storm’s Inferno gaming-grade mouse is for you. The company released a eleven-button (nine of them reprogrammable) model with a huge scroll wheel and a comprehensive software that is capable of everything but making coffee. We were impressed with the choices the Inferno had to offer, pardon the hellish pun. As usual, we’ll begin exploring the physical aspects of the mouse than its configuration options and, finally, we’ll go to the best part: how it fared while gaming. To the test, then.
The first impression is amazing since the Inferno mouse features several buttons more than the usual gaming-grade models we’re all used to. Apart from the traditional side buttons (usually assigned to web browsing), there’s a special one near the thumb for the so-called Storm Tactics (more on that later). Above and to each side of the clicking buttons, there are two more options: a Rapid Fire button and a macro button. Below the scroll wheel you can find the two resolution buttons (up and down) and the one that changes the current user profile stored in the 128 KB internal memory. The final tally is eleven buttons at your fingertips. The speed of the double-sided scroll wheel can be reprogrammed (and also its function, naturally), but it doesn’t do sidescrolling.
Figure 1: The Inferno from above
The mouse has an ambidextrous ergonomic design but since it features three thumb buttons usage is geared towards right-handed users. The sides are covered in rubber and the plastic body alternates shiny areas and dull coverings. There are five LEDs to indicate the five resolution levels. The scroll wheel is also rubberized and covered with niches to provide a better grip. The palm rest features the Inferno logo, a stylized hellish flame.
There is no weighting system on the underside of the peripheral, just the 4.000 dpi twin sensor and three Teflon feet. The mouse also features the now standard cloth-wrapped cable and gold-coated USB plug.
[nextpage title=”Configuring the Inferno”]
The mouse comes with an installation CD with the configuration software. It’s perhaps the most comprehensive software of the kind we’ve ever seen, due to the choices the peripheral has to offer. It can be daunting at first, but it’s not so complicated to use. It’s possible to create three different profiles and the mouse comes with a pre-defined, non-reprogrammable basic profile called the CM Storm. The profiles are stored in the 128 KB internal memory, so you can change computers but it still retains your preferences. You can change the pointer speed, scroll wheel speed and button response time, and also, as we’ve said before, nine of the eleven buttons.
Figure 4: The configuration program
You can set five different dpi levels up to a maximum of 4,000 dpi per profile. Anyone who is familiar with our reviews knows that we advice to keep a lower setting for precision shooting in FPS games and MMORPG titles with several icons to close to click on. High values are good for slower weapons like tank cannons. The fun resides in discovering which setting is best for your gaming needs according to your particular style of play, the enemies you face and how you grip your mouse.
The Inferno’s biggest differential is the Storm Tactics feature. If you are a casual gamer that only likes to set your mouse buttons according to your weapon choices, we recommend that you avoid the feature altogether. It’s big boy’s turf: the system allows up to 32 extra mixes of commands, keys, macros and scripts, letting the mouse ready to perform combos, like evoking powers and abilities in some games and even some tasks in work-related software as Photoshop. To better grasp the notion, think of the Storm Tactics button as one of the function keys of the keyboard that, once hit with some other key, performs a special task. Although it’s hard to master such a vast array of options, the software is pretty straight forward when it comes down to recording macros.
As we see it, it’s worth your while checking out the Inferno’s extra possibilities, but in the simple button for button comparison, the mouse is ahead of its competition as it features more reprogrammable buttons. But maybe being so complete made the software lack in options for managing more profiles – in most gaming-grade mice, you can store about five different profiles, but the Inferno only allows the creation of three.
[nextpage title=”Playing with the Inferno”]
Playing with the Inferno it’s a different experience altogether when compared to other gaming-grade models due to the number of buttons involved. You have to get used to hit the Rapid Fire button – we had to change our usual grip to reach it with our index finger fast enough. The ring finger became responsible with hitting the macro button, which we configured to the “knife attack” in Modern Warfare 2 (we’ll explain why later on) and opening the inventory in World of Warcraft. Although the Inferno doesn’t go beyond 4,000 dpi, we didn’t feel the need for more resolution than that. But for those who are used to go beyond the 5,000 dpi mark, it might be an issue – which wasn’t our case.
Another detail that can influence your decision it’s the lack of a weighting system. In our (obviously) subjective analysis, we didn’t miss that feature: the Inferno had the perfect weight and size, sliding comfortably and with a precise response once we set the resolution to our liking.
The scroll wheel deserves a separate commentary: the idea of making a bigger one was good and the rubber indentations really enhanced the overall precision, but the scroll wheel is to hard to press down. That turned your virtual knife attack in Modern Warfare 2 way too slow, so we had to configure the macro button to use the knife. Changing the scroll speed is a good feature, but Cooler Master made the mistake of letting the scroll wheel be to hard. For us, it became an unusable programmable function – and the scroll wheel is very important to our gameplay style. For that, the Inferno didn’t become our newest official gaming-grade mouse.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]The main specifications for the Inferno mouse include:
- Technology: Laser
- Ambidextrous design, but indicated to right-handed users
- Number of Buttons: 11< /li>
- Assignable Functions: Nine of the 11 buttons
- Integrated Memory: 128 KB
- Connection: gold-plated USB plug
- Cloth-wrapped cord
- User Profiles: Three
- Tracking Resolution: up to 4,000 dpi (user selectable in fivestages)
- Maximum speed: 115 inches per second (2.92 m/s)
- Response time: 1 ms
- Dimensions: 3.16" x 5.3" x 1.6" (80 x 135 x 40 mm)
- Weight: 5.7 oz. (161.5 g)
- More information: https://www.cmstorm.com
- Average Price in the US*: USD 50.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
[nextpage title=”Conclusion”]Strong Points
- Vast array of reprogrammable buttons
- Comprehensive software with a high configuration capability
- Big scroll wheel with adjustable speed
- Few user profiles
- No horizontal scrolling
- The scroll wheel is too hard to be pressed down quickly
- Doesn’t reach high resolutions (over 4,000 dpi)
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