CM Storm Recon Review
Today I will be looking at a new mouse from CM Storm, the gaming arm of Cooler Master. Here we have the CM Storm Recon an ambidextrous mouse with a 800DPI Avago 3090 sensor. This 9 button programmable mouse supports up to 5 Profiles and 36 Macros via the CM Storm Recon software and its on-board Memory. The Recon can also be further customised via various lighting effects, again via the CM Storm software.
The CM Storm Recon came well packaged in a smart predominantly black/red box with a lift up flap secured by Velcro. The front of the box features a large image of the Recon mouse along with both the Cooler Master and CM Storm logos. Also indicated just below the Recon name is the DPI settings supported by the Recon (800-4000 DPI). Features on the front of the box highlight the High Performance Avago Sensor, Grip coated Ambidextrous body, Onboard Memory – 5 Profiles 36 Macros and the Multi Color Mousewheel.
The back of the box lists a complete list of the Recon’s specifications, see below for more information.
Opening the flap at the front of the box allows you to see the Recon hiding within. The left side panel goes on to show further features of the mouse; DPI switching on the fly, multi-colour backlit mouse wheel, high performance sensor, the use of high grade Japanese Omron micro switches, super grip coating and 9 fully programmable buttons.
Once out of the box it’s easy to see the ambidextrous design of the CM Storm recon.
There’s not much in the box other than the mouse itself and a User Guide, but then what else do you need?
At the time of this review the CM Storm Recon is retailing for approximately £40 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of CM Storm
With the CM Storm Recon out of the box you can appreciate its simple ambidextrous design. The mouse is relatively small, especially in its length so should be good for Claw Grips/Fingertip Grips. As the mouse is ambidextrous in design the mouse features two thumb buttons on each side. I also noted that the cable is not braided which is a shame although the plastic used for its 1.8 metre length cable is of a good, soft and flexible quality.
Let’s take a tour around the CM Storm Recon…
Taking a look at the top of the mouse we can see the standard left and right buttons built into the top of the mouse. CM Storm also likes to point out that the switches used are the highest grade Japanese Omron micro switches! Between the two switches we find the mouse wheel and the DPI Up/Down buttons. Both of these illuminate and the colours can be changed within the CM Storm Recon software. The wheel seems a little stiff in operation in comparison to others that I have used but this also makes the action of working through the notches a little more positive, which is good. At the back of the mouse is an illuminated CM Storm logo, again the colour of this can be changed via software.
- Front / Back
There’s not too much to talk about when it comes to the front of the CM Storm Recon, although you can see how the DPI switches are recessed within the body of the mouse. In the image below you can also clearly see the plastic non braided cable used, although as noted earlier it has a relatively flexible feel to it.
There’s not much to talk about when it comes to the back either, other than the smart CM Storm logo, normally illuminated when in use.
- Sides (left & right)
Both sides of the Recon are identical as one would expect from an ambidextrous mouse, I guess! The thumb buttons are well placed (for me using a RHD Claw Grip), but due to the design the forward of the two thumb buttons is more awkward to reach as it’s not in-line with the other. Meaning that you have to reach forward and down a little to operate the button, although this is far from impossible, it feels just a little awkward.
On the underside of the CM Storm Recon you can see the 4000 DPI Avago sensor mounted centrally, with four glides around the edge of the mouse. No additional/spare glides are provided.
First impressions of the CM Storm Recon are good; it’s got a good sensor, plenty of buttons, is ambidextrous in design and with the CM Storm software is able to support up to 4 Profiles and 36 Macros. The mouse feels a little small and bulbous (especially at the rear), but that’s just because I’m not used to it at the moment. Let’s use it for a week or two first…
The CM Storm Recon connects via its 1.8 metre flexible cable and a single Gold-plated (well it looks like Gold!) USB connection.
At first I was under the impression that there was no Driver/Software supporting the CM Storm Recon as there was none included and there were no instructions to download any. But after reading about the various features of the mouse on the box, it was obvious that there should be…
Looking on the Recon page under Downloads & FAQS reveals that there is indeed software for the Recon and it can be downloaded here. This should be made more obvious via the Quick Start Guide as some users may be missing out.
Version 1.19 of the CM Storm Recon software was installed and no Firmware updates were available at the time of the review.
The CM Storm Recon was tested using my rig with a fresh installation of Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit (service pack 1) installed together with all the latest relevant drivers and software.
The Recon was tested using a Boogie Bug AimB.Pad “Extreme” XXL Gaming Mouse Surface (available here).
The following games were used to help in the evaluation of the CM Storm Recon:
- Blacklight Retribution
- Call of Duty Black Ops II
- XCOM Enemy Unknown
I really enjoy reviewing mice as they really are so important when it comes to PC Gaming, without a decent mouse you’re sure to find yourself nearer the bottom than the top of the leader-board. The CM Storm Recon could be considered a mid-range gaming mouse with a retail price of around £40, at that price it brings a fair bit to the party too…
At first the Recon seems a little small and bulbous for my liking but after a few hours of gaming it felt right at home in my right hand, using a Claw style of grip. Even after countless hours of Blacklight Retribution and Black Ops II the Recon remained extremely comfortable to use and I suffered very little discomfort. This is a very comfortable mouse to use for long periods of gameplay.
Although comfortable I did find that accessing the forward of the two thumb buttons somewhat awkward. This is because it’s a little far forward and down from the other button. For me this meant that I had to move my hand too far on the mouse to access it, meaning a degree of control would be lost, which is a shame. Then again this boils down to personal preference and the way in which you grip your mouse, of course.
The Recon is quiet light in the hand at only 106 grams making it feel quite light in operation. Overall the Recon tracked beautifully in all gaming tests, not once did I feel that the mouse was letting me down (of course on many occasion I let myself down!). Through simple Windows operations to complex fast Gaming (jump, spin & shoot) scenarios the Recon performed extremely well, seemingly as good as any mouse that I have tested thus far.
The mouse wheel is a little too heavy in its operation, for my liking, but works fine; better for it to be too heavy that too light as it prevents that accidental change of weapons during a frantic firefight.
The DPI buttons are well situated behind the mouse wheel and are easy to use; with the back button being slightly higher than the front, although they are a little close together.
As you can see from the image above the CM Storm Recon has various illuminated areas, the logo at the back of the mouse, the thumb wheel and the two DPI switches are all illuminated. By default there are 4 DPI settings these are fixed at 800, 1600, 3200 & 4000. Using the default CM Storm Profile the mouse illumination changes depending on the DPI setting selected, as follows:
The CM Storm Recon software needs to be downloaded, once installed it gives you access to the CM Storm Recon software where you can create/edit Macros, Profiles and change the lighting effects etc.
The main software is split across six tabs, these are outlined below.
- SOFTWARE (Buttons & Sensor)
The Buttons tab shows you the location of the 9 programmable buttons and allows you to assign various functions to those buttons. Such as Macro, Key press and Advanced where you can assign other functions such as DPI switching and Volume controls, the button can also be disabled should you wish. This is a useful feature for an ambidextrous mouse as it stops the buttons on the wrong side of the mouse being operated by accident.
The Sensor tab allows you to assign DPI settings, although there are only four to choose from (800, 1600, 3200 & 4000 DPI), which is a shame as it prevents you from fine tuning the mouse to your exact requirements. You can also change the Lift Off Distance (LOD), which defaults to 3 in a range of 1-5, the USB polling rate (default 1000) can also be altered here, but I would suggest that you leave it at the highest possible setting. In addition to this various OS related settings can be modified such as the OS Sensitivity and the OS Double Click Speed. Finally you can also adjust the button response time (250us – 32ms), I assumed that moving the slider to the left (faster) would be better, but I ran into problems while playing Black Ops II when set to the lowest setting, where button presses seemed to get lost! At the default setting though the Recon performed perfectly, so I left it alone!
- SOFTWARE (Glow & Macros)
The Glow tab allows you to play with the various lighting effect that the CM Storm Recon supports. Three different areas can be adjusted (Mouse Wheel LED1, DPI Buttons LED2 & CM Storm Logo LED3). Pretty much any colour can be selected by using the RGB sliders and surprisingly the colours on the mouse are even close to the colours on the screen, cool! There are also options for the LEDs that control whether they are continually on, flash or the Rapid Fire option that sees the LEDs put out a series of flashes each time a button is pressed. It would appear that as far as mouse lighting is concerned the CM Storm has most of it covered then.
The Macros tab predictably allows for the creation of custom Macros. Macros are easily created via the record function with the option to use various delays (up to 250ms) between actions. Macros can then be copied, edited (well sections can be removed and re-recorded) and deleted as you wish. The problem that I ran into is that the highest delay of 250ms is just not enough, as I couldn’t program my Blacklight Retribution Grenade throw as it requires a delay of around 750ms for an animation to complete, shame! This can be easily remedied via a software update and CM Storm are now aware of this potential issue.
- SOFTWARE (Profiles & Support)
The Profiles tab allows you to create countless Profiles (I gave up counting once I passed 50!), of which 4 Profiles (in addition to the default Profile) can be saved to the mouse. The Profiles can be named and the CM Storm software also allows for the inclusion of a small graphic per profile, which is a nice touch.
The support tab gives you a breakdown of the mouse Software, Firmware and Driver etc and also provides a link to the CM Storm Recon support pages.
I would have liked to have seen an option in the software to reset the mouse to its default settings as on occasions it would have been easier than having to delete certain things that I had created and would have also prevented me from trying to remember what the default settings were. I feel it’s always nice to have a clean sheet to start from sometimes…
The CM Storm Recon is actually the cheapest mouse that I have tested to date (I think!), it’s also one of the better mice that I have tested to date! Overall I have enjoyed my time with the Recon and it has helped me to numerous podium positions within Blacklight Retribution and Black Ops II and that probably tells you all you need to know; but I’ll give a little more detail…
The mouse came well packaged in a smart box, although no software was provided and no mention of software could be found, software does indeed exist and can be found here. The software itself works well and covers most of the normal requirements Profiles, Macros, DPI settings etc, the only thing missing for me was the selection of delays in the Macros tab are too small with the longest delay being only 250ms. Other than that the software works just fine and the inclusion of some lighting customisation is always welcome.
From a comfort point of view the CM Storm Recon is one of the most comfortable mice that I have tested, which did suprise me as at first I was unsure about it’s small size and slightly bulbous shape! The only downside from the shape of the mouse is the position of the forward of the two thumb buttons, this button seems a little difficult to reach as it’s both forward and down from the back button.
From a performance point of view, even though there are only 4 DPI settings to choose from which is a limitation, I cannot fault the tracking of the CM Storm Recon. Most of the time I used the 1600 DPI setting with some forays into the 3200 DPI setting while playing Black Ops II. Though I would be careful at setting the Button Response Time within the Recon software too low as this did seem to cause some issues for me in Black Ops II, the default setting was fine though.
Overall a very good mouse from Cooler Master and CM Storm, at a street price of around £40 at the time of this review it represents good value for money too. It may not have all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive mice, but it still got me to the top of many a leader-board!