When I’m looking for products to review I do the same thing I’m sure most of you do – I turn to Google. If it’s a product that’s been out a while the chances are that there a number of reviews, both professional and user which give you a flavor of the market and the product. I don’t read the reviews in detail but snippets are hard to avoid. The Mionix Castor Mouse has some of the best snippets I’ve seen and the DPI it could go up to – 10,000 was an eye catcher.
I reached out to Minox and they were nice enough to send me a unit to look at.
Lets get this out the way. This mouse screams build quality. It’s got arguably the best sensor on the market and almost more importantly feels solid and strong in the hand. The mouse is designed to be comfortable for what Mionix calls the three grip positions – palm, fingertip and claw. It does this by having indentations on both sides for thumb and pinkie finger and letting you rest your hand naturally. There are a total of six buttons. The standard left and right mouse button, a forward and back button near the thumb, the clickable scroll wheel and a single button just above the scroll wheel to cycle through 3 preset DPIs.
There are two LEDs, one under the scroll wheel and one under where the palm rests which are individually switchable and can be set to different colors or patterns of movement.
The skin of the mouse is covered in the now conventional almost rubber that feels warm and grippy and it is somewhat dimpled under the thumb and smooth over the rest of the mouse. The cord quite stiff (although it has noticeably loosened up in the two weeks I’ve used it) and covered in a braided protective surface for its two meter length.
The mouse is plug and play but to get the best out of it you need to install the software from Minox’s website. This lets you setup five presets for keys and sensitivity (although its not auto switching), lift off distance, run an assessment on your mouse mat, control click and scroll speed and control the LEDs.
It will also let you control nearly every aspect of the DPI and set for example different sensitivities on the x and y axis, change the offset on the axis and angle snapping. Finally it has a macro engine built in that includes delays, holds and gestures.
This level of customization and accuracy is actually quite intimidating when you first approach it. I’ve never used a mouse that can handle above about 8000 DPI and it took a little practice to build myself up. Being able to click through three settable levels of DPI is a bonus but it’s unfortunate that there’s no feedback – the only way to tell which DPI you are using is to move the mouse and see how fast the cursor reacts.
Included in the box: Mionix Castor Mouse, Mionix logo sticker, Quick Start Guide, software downloaded from website
Mionix is a Swedish firm formed by Peter Nygren in 2007 with the aim of specializing in gaming mice. They’ve expanded somewhat and now make a range of mice, a mechanical keyboard, mousemats, a headset and mice feet.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
The Castor is a take or leave it proposition. Many high end mice have changeable weighting or adjustable panels but the Castor’s only accessory is a set of feet which will let you reduce the friction between it and the mousemat.
The software is quite versatile and the only thing that it actively is missing is an ability to auto switch profiles which does limit it somewhat.
I played a number of different styles of game with the Castor and found it served my needs well particularly in games that could make use of its high twitch factor. I’m currently involved in playing through Far Cry Primal it’s working well there. Strategy games (Civ 5) were less able to make use of the high DPI but with their own profiles set to lower DPIs worked well.
Everyone seems to want to hold their mouse a different way and this classically can be split down into three types – palm, fingertip (tip) and claw. The Castor works well with all three types although I found myself leaning more towards using the fingertip grip when I usually am inclined to the palm grip. This does make sense if you consider that the fingertip grip tends to work best with the highest precision which is this mouse’s big selling point
The size of the mouse does favor larger hands but it is not so large as to exclude those with smaller hands. If you are left handed however you are going to be out of luck as this is right hander only with no left handed version.
At £60 the Castor falls into the upper bracket of mice costs but not among the most expensive. It was the most economic equivalently specced mouse. Add in the two year warranty in the EU and it becomes a reasonable looking purchase.
Sensor: PMW-3310 IR LED with adjustable lift off distance
DPI: 50 to 10,000
Tracking speed: Max 5.45m/second
Internal memory: 128kb for 5 presets
Internal processor: 32bit ARM
Polling rate: Adjustable to 1000Hz up to 1ms response time
Right hand optimised
Buttons: 6 programmable
LEDS: Two with controllable colour and pattern.
USB: 2.0 Plug and Play
Cable: 2m with braided reinforcement
Macro recording: Yes
Size: Max 122 x 70 x 40 mm
Weight: 93.8g without cable and 141.5 with cable
Warranty: Two year guarantee EU and 1 year US and Asia covering faulty components or manufacture.
The mouse is USB and requires a free USB 2 port and to get the best out of the sensor a decent consistently surfaced mouse mat.
Gaming mice in the last decade seem to have diversified into two camps. There’s the MMO players and productivity gurus who seem to want the most accessible buttons possible and the FPS shooters who want the most accuracy and are comfortable with a couple of extra buttons. There is some overlap with build quality, decent sensors and an ergonomically designed shape being important to everyone. The Castor falls firmly in the simple is best camp and handles well as a premium device.
Is this the mouse for everyone? No. But if you’re looking for a very well made and responsive mouse that is as accurate as you can get then this is the one for you. I wondered if the ability to go up to 10,000 DPI was a spec that looked impressive but wasn’t real world useful – for the right person it is useful. I’m going to be sticking with it as my daily driver Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Mionix Castor kindly provided by Mionix. This article was first published on the 3rd March 2016.