CM Storm Sentinel Advance II ReviewManufacturer: Coolermaster
UK price (as reviewed): £39.34 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $59.99 (ex tax)
We run the risk of sounding a little bit too much like our parents here, but it boggles our mind a little that it’s been three years since we saw the original CM Storm Sentinel Advance - where on earth has the time gone? Given the age of the Sentinel Advance then, it’s not surprising that CM Storm has deemed it ripe for updating - enter the Sentinel Advance II.
If you’ve currently got an original Sentinel Advance and are now holding it up to the screen to check it against the images below, let us save you some time and tell you to not bother. Very little has changed in terms of the shape of the mouse. This is interesting as, while we didn’t actively dislike the shape of the Sentinel Advance, there are better shaped mice out there, so it’s intriguing that CM Storm has passed up an opportunity to refine the design.
This means that the mouse is still very long, which will suit those with large hands, or that favour a palm grip, but alienate those don’t. The materials on show are also identical, meaning that the Sentinel Advance II suffers from the same affliction that we identified with its predecessor - it looks quite boring. Maybe we’ve been spoilt by the machined aluminium chassis of the Corsair Vengeance M90, or the rubber grips of the CM Storm Inferno, but we simply don’t think that bog standard grey plastic cuts it when it comes to gaming mice any more.
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So what has changed with the Sentinel Advance II? Well, the headline adjustment is that it’s got a brand spanking new sensor - an Avago 9800 model takes the place of the Phillips Twin-eye that sits at the heart of the original Sentinel Advance. This brings with it a number of advantages.
First of these is a wider DPI range (200 - 8200 vs. 200 - 5600), which should mean that even the twitchiest of gamers can find a setting that they’re happy with. The new sensor can also track faster, being able to register movement at up to 150 inches per second rather than ‘just’ 115. This means that those of you that traverse your four foot wide mouse mats in a little under a second should now, finally, be catered for. Lift off distance has also been reduced from 2.5mm to 1.5mm, so you’re less likely to move the on screen cursor when repositioning your mouse.
Also new on the rodent is the TX Storm button, which in everyday use acts as the back button. Flick a switch in the downloadable software package however, and this button can be used in conjunction with other buttons to execute macros and scripts. This is a good idea for MMO enthusiasts, and arguably more tidy that the multiple button method of the Razer Naga. It’s a shame that you have to give up use of the handy back button to use this feature though - we’d prefer it to be a separate button, like in the Inferno.
To help you make use of the TX Storm button, the downloadable software package has been beefed up. The number of saveable macros has been upped from 18 to 60, while script support has been added, meaning habitual tinkerers should have a field day. The interface hasn’t been improved though, so it still looks like a military robot threw up on your screen every time you use it.
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We liked the original CM Storm Sentinel Advance, but times have moved on quickly in the world of gaming peripherals. As a result we were expecting more from the Sentinel Advance II than simply a sensor and software update. It’s still a competent pointing device, but it looks plain and drab in the face of more stylish competition.
Of course it's relatively cheap price could be used as an excuse here, but as your mouse is something you interact with a lot, we'd argue it's worth prioritizing quality over price. In essence then, the Sentinel Advance II is worth a look if you’ve got large hands, play a lot of MMOs and like it's styling, but if that’s not you, there are better options out there.