I spend a lot of time talking about the importance of mechanical keyboards, switch choices, and personal preference. This time, I’ll be discussing mice.
Whether it’s a wireless solution for those on the go, a set of tools for working at the office, or destroying enemies in video games, having the right mouse/keyboard combination can add value to your daily tasks.
Think of this type of pairing like a red wine to a steak, shoes to a suit, or movie to an evening; it’s entirely possible to just throw something together but getting it right can make all the difference.
When it comes to gaming there’s a few features gamers want; low latency, responsiveness, grip, and efficient operation. Having your tools operate quickly and efficiently may give you an advantage.
However, comfort is arguably one of the most important aspects. If you’re operating tools with poor posture, grip, or in discomfort then you won’t enjoy gaming for long periods of time.
And, despite the mouthful of a name, the Cooler Master MasterMouse MM520 and MM530, ticks all these boxes and then some.
MasterMouse MM520 and MM530, what’s the difference?
Depending on what games you play there’s two ways of gripping a mouse. The MM520 is the smaller, more compact mouse with the MM530 being longer with an extra button on top.
Each of these devices take inspiration from different mice and they both serve to be operated in different ways. You can see where the MM520 draws its inspiration from the left, and the MM530’s inspiration on the right.
The differences in design make these mice better suited for operating styles.
You see, with the MM520 being smaller, with a plump rear, it’s better orientated for claw grip users. That makes the MM530 poised for those who subscribe to the palm grip style of operation.
Palm grip is generally considered to be better suited for first person shooter (FPS) games while claw grip suits multiplayer online battle arenas(MOBA), and real-time strategy (RTS) games.
However, like switch choice, this all comes down to personal preference. For example, if you feel comfortable playing MOBAs with a palm grip, then you’ll likely find your performance will drop or you’ll be uncomfortable if you change to claw grip.
Besides catering to different grips, there a few other defining features.
Looking at the MM520 it’s easy to mistake it for a left handed mouse with the reverse swept back wing. Initial impressions made me question this design but over time this wing has grown on me. The rubber pad improves grip for my pinky finger, making it easier to move the entire mouse while gaming. That wing on the side is also incredibly comfortable for resting my ring finger on.
There’s 6 buttons on the MM520, as well as an LED strip at the bottom.
Turning out attention to the MM530, I note a much simpler less aesthetically pleasing design. It’s not ugly but it doesn’t look as nice as its sibling. There’s no wing but there’s an extra button at the top of the mouse that lights up, bringing the total number of buttons to 7. On each side of the MM530 you’ll also find grip pads.
Similarities between the MM520 and MM530
With the differences out of the way lets discuss what features these mice bring to the table.
RGB lighting is currently the in thing at the moment, with RGB lighting found on mice, keyboards, and now mousepads. The MasterMouse isn’t exempt. On each MasterMouse you’ll find three zones that light up, the scroll wheel, the bottom acrylic window or top buttons, and the light hexagon.
DPI sensitivity goes sky high, up to 12,000. Not that it’s something I need and most likely neither will most users but it’s nice to have. Omron switches that are rated to 20 million clicks, as well as a Pixart PMW3660 sensor make up the essential insides of the MasterMouse.
If you like the flashy logos and displaying brand insignia then you’ll enjoy each of these mice. On the bum of each mice, enclosed within the RGB hexagon of light, sits Cooler Master’s latest updated logo.
Looking at the bottom you’ll find that Pixart sensor as well as a set of skates to aid with movement.
But of all of these features my favourite is the plastic that each mouse is made of. Those of you that follow keyboard plastics may have a rough idea about the differences between PBT and ABS plastic.
ABS plastic is cheaper and easier to mould but the downsides is that it wears quicker and shines over time. While PBT is a little more costly, it wears slower than ABS and doesn’t shine. It is also generally more textured.
I am a big fan of PBT plastic. It feels much nicer to my fingers, and textured PBT does feel a little grittier but it also adds an element of grip to each key.
Not just hardware
Each MasterMouse is programmable from LED colours and modes to key shortcuts/macros, DPI sensitivity, and OS sensitivity.Basic but intuitive is a way to describe the software.
Programming shortcuts, like having a button launch explorer or control media is very straight forward. Macro programming can toggle delay between inputs and follows similar simplicity.
The buttons next to the mouse wheel enable TactiX. TactiX is a shortcut feature that changes the MasterMouse’s layer, enabling another set of preset functions. Think of it like pressing shift to access the secondary keys on the number row. Programming these functions is done via the software and can be saved to specific profiles for later use.
Plenty to love
In the hand this mouse feels good thanks to the PBT plastic. However, it’s not just that that make the MasterMouse such a nice mouse to use. Scrolling the scroll wheel is smooth, it’s made of nice rubber and the grooves are well defined.
Having grip pads on the side increases control when gaming but they also improve everyday use as well. I use my mouse quite a bit for photo editing in Photoshop and I’ve noted that quick DPI settings as well as improved moues control really helps.
Cycling light colours are bright and vibrant. Not bright enough to be too over powering or blinding but enough to enjoy when I take a peak every now and then.
What I don’t love
Where do I begin? I’m asking because I haven’t found glaringly obvious detractors that come to mind. There hasn’t been many, if any, times when I’ve said; “this could be easier”, “I don’t like this”, “or this could be better”.
My main gripe rests with the software and its function with the MasterMouse. I struggled when changing lighting profiles as a few profiles (“Multilayer” for example) would load for a second or just flat out not work. In time I expect this issue to be resolved with a firmware update but until then this is the only drawback affecting me.
I’ve spoken to Cooler Master and they’re addressing the issue. They’ve confirmed that a firmware solution will be available very soon. I will update here once I know more.
It’s only minor though as I enjoy the colour cycling, which makes me look at the MM520 every now and then for a pleasing light effect.
Though it doesn’t affect my use, 10% of the population are left in the dark with each MasterMouse.
That’s right, neither MasterMouse caters for lefties. Design shape and contouring fits right handed people, as well as the placement of the rubber pads. This unfortunately leaves some people in the dark.
Cooler Master’s MasterMouse or mice bring to the table quite the set of features. Daily operation feels nice, thanks to the skates, rubber pads, and PBT plastic adorning the outside.
Lighting set to colour cycle is calming and bright but not overpowering.
While the software side of things could do with a little work and lefties having to turn elsewhere, the MasterMouse is very easy to recommend.
Gaming wise I’ve not had any issues and in fact I think I’ve come to prefer using the MM520 over my Logitech G302. I find I have more control in Overwatch due to the rubber pads, textured plastic, and comfortable grip.
I’ve been using the MM520 for a bit over a week now, and looking back it’s hard to find faults. The time spent with this mouse has ingrained a level of satisfaction and comfort that I have yet to feel with other mice. Comparing to my previous gaming mice, it’s definitely the best and it’s now become my daily driver.
As to which MasterMouse to get, the MM520 or the MM530, that’s entirely up to your personal preference.
Considering the price of the MasterMouse and comparing it to the competition, you won’t regret getting one. Value and satisfaction far exceed the offerings from other mice on the market at the $50 USD price point.
Last update on 2018-05-28 at 15:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API