Mionix Castor Mouse Review
It’s time to hide the cheese here at pcG because it’s Mouse time again, the latest peripheral caught in our trap so to speak is the Mionix Castor Optical Gaming Mouse. This latest product from the Swedish company is a bare bones right handed ergonomic Gaming mouse with six programmable buttons. Also, the Mionix Castor features a grip friendly soft touch rubber coating, 3 step in-game DPI adjustment and 16.8 million LED colour options. The mouse also boasts a zero-Acceleration Sensor, up to 10,000DPI and Adjustable Lift Off Distance. The software for the Mionix Castor allows you to fully configure the mouse with up to five profiles, adjustable X and Y axis and a live record Macro manager. The customisable RGB manager allows you to apply effects like pulsating, blinking and breathing too. Well let’s see if all these features, not forgetting S.Q.A.T (Surface Quality Analyzer Tool) help the Castor slip its way up the ranks like its oily counterpart…
The Mionix Castor came to pcG in a small but strong rectangle box with black and white seeming to be the predominant colours. The front of the box features the product’s name and an image of the Mionix Castor with greenish illumination, the image of the mouse will be slightly lower on the new packaging I have been told.
The back of the box has a list of features for the Mionix Castor in eighteen (ED: wow I didn’t know there were so many!) different languages and also a list of the contents in four languages (these can be found below in the Specifications/Features section).
The top of the Mionix Castor box which shows off the two tone black and white colour features a loop of braided rope which could be used for carrying or even a mouse on a rope option (best not take in the shower though!) 🙂
The left side of the box features the quote “It’s all about the craftsmanship” in white text on the black background and “Mionix” against the white part of the packaging. As you can see in the the photo above the box does not close shut tightly once the sticker has been removed, this has also been resolved by Mionix and will have some sort of clasp or magnet to fix this on the final product.
The bottom of the box features three different bar codes, some copyright information and very little else.
The right side has an image of the mouse set against the black background with the Mionix Castor logo underneath. Also, here we can read a few of the features of the Mionix Castor such as Right-Hand Ergonomics, Zero-Acceleration Sensor and Aurora Multi-Colour Lighting.
Opening the box we find the Mionix Castor mouse itself which sits in a moulded cardboard tray. The opposite side of the box also has a moulded cardboard tray which means that the mouse sits very snug and free from movement when contained within. Embossed on the two trays are the words “It’s all about”… “The Craftsmanship” which is a nice touch. The part of the packaging which holds these two sides together feature the quote from the CEO of Mionix which reads “Congratulations! You have purchased a fine piece of Craftsmanship.” Mionix certainly want to get this point across that’s for sure… “Craftsmanship!” okay, got it! 😉
When you remove the right side tray which contains the mouse you see the 2m long braided and gold plated USB connection. Also, underneath the tray we find the generic Mionix Quick Start Guide & Warranty Information for Mice and a sheet of stickers to adorn your desk, PC or grandad’s car…
At the time of writing the Mionix Castor Optical Gaming Mouse is retailing on Amazon for approximately £60 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of Mionix
My first impression when I picked up the Mionix Castor was about how smooth and warm it felt, when I say warm I do not mean heat wise but warm as in a texture way. Mionix has made a point of ensuring us that the Castor has four layers of rubber coating which is why I must have got the very tactile feeling I did. The ergonomic design by Mionix has ensured that the mouse will suit any type of grip style. Whilst it suited my palm grip preference I also reconfigured the muscles and bones in my hand to check the other styles and this seemed to be fine as well (still went back to my palm grip preference though!). As I said earlier, this is a bare bones style Gaming mouse which means you will not find any unusual buttons, weight management or adjustability, so let’s hope that what we do have performs well!
Looking at the Mionix Castor from the left side you find the highly ergonomic textured rubber thumb cushion which has quite a bit of give and good grip. Also, we find the two thumb buttons which are placed perfectly and can be pressed easily by the front or back of my thumb.
The right side has a slight but well contoured ergonomic design and lets your two rightmost fingers rest in the position intended quite naturally.
Looking at the front of the Mionix Castor we have the attached 2m long braided which was a little stiff and retained the bends from the loop style packaging.
From the back of the Mionix Castor you can see the three plates that form the shape of the mouse which give it the right handed ergonomic design. Also, you can get a good view of the Mionix logo which of course will be illuminated when powered up.
Looking at the top we find the scroll wheel with its rubber tyre, the grooves on this are very well defined and give a good grip whilst rotating. Also, we have the contoured left and right buttons which certainly suited my palm grip. My fingertips seemed to lie in the exact position of the switches that lay underneath the left and right buttons giving me a feeling of precision already. Behind the scroll wheel lies the three step DPI adjustment button which we will find out more about during the Hardware Performance later.
Looking at the underside of the Mionix Castor we can see that the ‘PMW – 3310 gaming grade IR-LED optical sensor’ sits directly in the centre of the mouse and is incorporated into the Mionix logo. There are two large PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) mouse feet which are positioned at the front and the back of the Mionix Castor. Apart from this we are again reminded that “It’s all about the craftsmanship”. 🙂
Overall the Mionix Castor feels well designed with a comfortable right handed ergonomic feel to it, I do feel though that even with the four layers of rubber coating it does feel a bit slippery in my hand, I will have to wait and see how this is during Gaming…
|The Mionix Castor simply connects by way of its Gold Plated USB plug found at the end of the 2m braided cable. From that point it’s just simple Plug ‘n Play!|
The Mionix Castor was tested using our Test Rig, a fresh installation of Windows 7 64Bit (service pack 1) was installed along with all appropriate Drivers. No software is supplied with the Mionix Castor but is required for full functionality. The Mionix Castor software can be downloaded (here) and version v1.28 was installed and used throughout testing.
The following games were used during testing:
At approximately £60 the Mionix Castor is bordering on the high end bracket of Gaming Mice and for this money there’s certainly a lot of choice available. It also depends of course on what sort of mouse you want, do you want a lot of extras such as more buttons, weight management and adustability, or something that is more simple and sleek looking… or maybe both? The Mionix Castor as I have said before is bare bones, stripped down and pure looking in my opinion, hopefully what we have is a fast, accurate and comfortable Gaming Mouse, let’s take a look shall we…
Well I am happy to say that the Mionix Castor PMW – 3310 gaming grade IR-LED optical sensor did what it needed to do and performed amazingly well during all Game testing. Of course the Mionix Castor is capable of up to 10,000 DPI but this is obviously a bit fast for me and I stuck to my preferred DPI setup of around 1600 – 2000 whilst testing. The tracking was always spot on whilst playing a slower paced game like Submerged and also in faster paced games such as Battlefield 4 or my new favorite Survarium (BETA). Once I got used to the more than accurate sensor it felt like I just needed to look where I was going to shoot and without much effort, or thought the Mionix Castor relayed my actions perfectly on screen. It did make my aiming way more accurate for now and later on when I get a better gun in Survarium (BETA) then I will be unstoppable (Yes ED, wait and see!). Mionix made a good choice when choosing this particular Optical sensor, I can see why it is the top choice of the world’s pro-gamers, Insomnia here I come, get my trophy ready! 😉
The Mionix Castor is a mouse designed for any grip style according to the manufacturer. I practised using the mouse with a fingertip and claw style grip and I was very happy with the feel and control, but, it was in the palm grip style that I felt most comfortable as that is my preferred choice. I mentioned earlier in the review that I thought the mouse was a little slippery and when I started gaming I did have a few moments where I felt the Castor slip out of my hand a little during sudden movements. To compensate for this I put a little bit more pressure with my two rightmost fingers on the right side of the mouse and since then I have not had any issues. Maybe I just have a weak little finger on my right hand due to years of under use, who knows!? The two buttons on the top of the mouse are very responsive and by the time I have thought about pressing them with my fingertips the action was already done accompanied by a slight and calm clicking sound.
I would have liked some sort of LED indicator on the Mionix Castor (ED: me too!) for the three different DPI levels though. I am not going to moan about lack of extra buttons, weights or adusjability as I feel the design and tracking of the mouse more than makes up for it. But, with only one non-illuminated button to scroll through the different DPI’s I did get a bit lost as to which one I was using at times. I do like to have a low DPI around 1600 and then two others around the 2000 mark, one being a little bit higher than the other. I felt that I had to keep cycling through all three of them multiple times to work out which of the two higher DPI’s was which. Instead I had to choose another route to solve this, in the “Mouse Settings” screen of the software I changed the DPI Roll button behind the Scroll Wheel to the “Profile Switch Roll” command. Then assigning a different DPI to each profile and a different colour for the illumination I was able to scroll through my DPI’s and be able to tell which was which during Gaming. A simple LED indicator in the first place would have solved this for me personally. 🙁
The v1.28 software for the Mionix Castor can be downloaded from the Drivers section at the Mionix website which can be found here. The file was originally a RAR (ED: damn I hate those things!) file which needed additional software to open but since I have started writing this review it has now changed to a ZIP file (ED will be pleased). The software is black and white by design and in keeping with the packaging but there are flourishes of colour where needed.
The first screen you are presented with is “Mouse Settings”, from here you can change the polling rate, double click speed, scroll speed and pointer acceleration. The main reason for you to come into this page of the software would be to change the configuration of the Mionix Castor’s buttons, assign a Macro, disable a button or set a profile up/down button as I did earlier for easier DPI control. Also, this screen is where you can set up five different profiles for the Mionix Castor.
The next screen is for “Sensor Performance”, in this area you can set up to three different DPI’s, change the pointer speed and also tweak the angle snapping. The best part of this screen is the “Surface Quality Analyzer Tool” which will analyze your mouse mat for surface recognition and give you a percentage out of 100. I tried this on my tabletop mouse mat and I got 90% Surface Recognition, when I tried it on my note pad I ended up getting 60% so at least you can see that it works (or even use a note pad during desperate times). Also, on this screen you will find a “Lift Distance” setting from low to high which you can test and even use in conjunction with the “Surface Quality Analyzer Tool”. This feature is very handy for all you in-game mouse lifters out there (you know who you are!).
Next we have the “Colour Settings” screen and this of course does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. You of course have the obligatory 16.8 million LED colour options, if you really want to find that special tone that reminds you of your favorite Autumn day that is. You can have a solid colour, colour shift, blinking, pulsating (annoying) or my preferred choice which was breathing. You can have separate colours for the Scroll Wheel and the Logo which I thought was a nice touch, it gives you that little bit extra fine tuning that can be missing from other Gaming mice.
The “Support” section of the Mionix Castor software links you to either “F.A.Q”, “Product Registration”, “Support” or “Downloads”. This page also shows your current firmware version (3.92) and software version (1.28).
The last screen in the Mionix Castor software that we need to talk about is for “Macro Settings”. This is pretty easy to navigate, simply click “New Macro” and set a title for it and then press “Start Record” and enter your keyboards commands and finish by pressing “Stop Record”. Mouse commands are supported by way of right clicking in the “Events” box bringing up a list of commands, from here you can enter your “Mouse Event” and then after you need to right click the same box and choose “Start Record After Event”, all done. Once you have saved your Macro then you can easily assign it to one of the (few) buttons on your Mionix Castor in the “Mouse Settings” screen.
Overall the software for the Mionix Castor is easy to navigate and well thought out, to be honest I did not like the black and white style of it when I first saw it but later warmed to it as I used it more. I will say again what I have said about other bare bones Gaming mice and that is; why have such a comprehensive Macro editor when you have only a select amount of buttons to play with! Also, why can I not have my scroll wheel one colour and the logo another, surely this is not too difficult (maybe it is, I don’t know!) to deliver is it? But if you put my two minor quibbles aside then you have all the tools you need to configure your Mionix Castor to the way you want and proceed to take over the world, I mean Gaming of course…
The Mionix Castor Optical Gaming Mouse has perfect tracking and an great ergonomic design to suit all right handed grip styles. For this price it is short on features but makes up for it with pure precision…
The Mionix Castor came to pcG in a small but sturdy box with a striking black and white design, also, featuring a little rope loop on the top for some reason! Once you open the packaging the attention to detail continues inside with moulded cardboard on each side keeping the Mouse snug and free from movement. Also there’s a generic Mionix Quick Start Guide & Warranty Information booklet for Mice and a sheet of stickers included. By the time you are finished unpacking the mouse you will certainly remember the word “Craftsmanship” as it seems to be everywhere you look. 😉
The Mionix Castor is a well designed ergonomic right handed Gaming mouse which is nice to touch if you are very tactile like me. You can see straight away that this is a bare bones stripped down Gaming mouse which gives you six buttons to play with and little else in the way of features. The “Supports all grip styles” tagline is warranted as I tried holding the mouse outside of my comfort zone grip of palm style and had no problems using it in a claw or fingertip fashion. I would have liked to see a LED DPI indicator on the Mionix Castor and I am not sure why this is not the norm nowadays, c’est la vie (that’s life).
I have reviewed other bare bones Gaming mice before and I have always left with the feeling that I should have had more features for my money. But, with the Mionix Castor I did not feel that way, yes I had minor quibbles about the DPI adjustment button and lack of DPI LED indicator, but I am still happy! The Mionix Castor performs beautifully whilst being well designed, that perfect tracking during Gaming and the slight clicking noise that comes from the two top buttons always makes me smile. Earlier in my review I mentioned the Mionix Castor felt slippy, but, it was not a problem with the mouse, it was with me! I changed the pressure on my two rightmost fingers and the problem was solved, the Mionix Castor made me adapt to it because it deserves it!
The Mionix castor is a damn fine Gaming mouse, but at Approximately £60 it is quite expensive, especially with its lack of features and DPI LED indicator. But it more than makes up for this with its suits any grip style ergonomic design and plush rubber finish. I just want to keep holding it…
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Many thanks to Mionix for providing this sample for review