When it comes to free samples from manufacturers I normally only take the best; however with gaming mice I can’t seem to say no. I’m a self-proclaimed mouse fanatic. While I don’t claim to know everything about gaming mice, I do regularly test them out. This goes along with my obsession of FPS-genre games like Battlefield 4 where a gaming mouse actually feels like it can make a difference. And while skill does trump all, it’s good to know I have the right tools for success.
Each year, we update our list of what we think are the best FPS mice for gaming. It’s a list of not only what we think are the best gaming mice out there, but also, a vote of what everyone else thinks. As it is a mouse list for first-person shooters, gaming mice with flawed sensors are left out. In fact, other than build quality, the sensor is the part of the mouse I find to be most important. If you’re familiar with the topic, you know that even higher-end gaming mice often come with laser sensors that have built-in acceleration.
Flawless Optical Sensors are Now More Common:
For this reason as well as for better tracking on cloth mouse pads, I’ve been recommending for years that FPS gamers go with mice that have optical sensors and specifically, those sensors which are most accurate. Whether it’s my recommendation or that of many others, manufacturers have finally started to listen.
So, when Mionix approached me about reviewing their new Castor gaming mouse, I assumed that like their Avior 7000 model, it would have a flawless sensor. I was glad to see that it uses the same sensor as the Avior 7000, the Avago ADNS 3310. This is a sensor currently used in many popular gaming mice like the Zowie FK1 and EC Evo models, SteelSeries Rival, Roccat Kone, and Corsair M45 all of which are known for their high level of consistency and accuracy.
While the implementation of the sensor does vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, these seem to all have a solid foundation in the ADNS 3310. Now, I’ll take a look at the implementation of that sensor as well as some other cool features that Mionix has included with the Castor. Ultimately, we’ll see if it has a place on our shortlist of FPS gaming mice.
Mionix Castor vs Razer DeathAdder
While the Mionix Castor seems to be a great mouse in its own right, it seemed appropriate to compare it with its biggest competition, the Razer Deathadder. Not only does this allow us to analyze it vs the top of the market, it also gives many of our readers a point of comparison.
First of all the Castor is a right-handed mouse, so lefties are out of luck. That being said I’m glad that Mionix chose to go one way or the other with the Castor as I find ambidextrous mice to be slightly less comfortable. As shape is something difficult to describe, I’m going compare the Castor with a major competitor in the Razer DeathAdder in order to give you a good idea of what the Castor feels like.
While pictures here may not allow you to fully see the differences between these mice, you can always check out our YouTube video for additional insight. As you can see both mice are similar in length and width with the DeathAdder be ever so slightly longer. The bigger difference lies in the palm, finger, and thumb positioning.
The Deathadder’s thumb position is angled inward but level when compared to the bottom while the Castor’s thumb positioning starts higher at the top and then angles inward towards the bottom of the mouse. In addition, there’s a subtle pinky grip on the side that allows you to grip the mouse. In my opinion, this is better than the more pronounced finger slot Mionix placed on the Avior 7000.
When I first used the Castor I was a bit shocked at how much of a difference this made. Initially, it was even off-putting as I’d been so used to the Deathadder’s shape; however, as I used the mouse over the next week or so I realized I was getting more grip out of just about every position I put the mouse in. This includes the hybrid claw and fingertip grip I often use while playing FPS games.
On Mionix’s website, it says that this unique shape represents support for claw, fingertip, and palm grips. I’d have to agree with this statement; however, there are, of course, other unique shapes that cater better to these specific grips. Still, if you’re looking for a mouse that does all of these reasonably well, then the Castor is a good choice.
Another slight difference is the surface of the mouse itself. The thumb grip of the Castor is rubberized and extends to the top of the thumb buttons and outward while the Deathadder only goes partially to the side. Those who use a fingertip grip should favor the Castor in this instance for the additional traction while claw and palm users may not care one way or the other.
For surface, the best way that I can describe it is that the Deathadder has a smooth plastic feel while the Castor has a Velvet feel to it. This gives the Castor a feeling of quality beyond that of the DeathAdder, but ultimately in terms of performance means little.
The Mionix Castor does not come with a CD or DVD to install its software. Rather, you’re required to get it from the Mionix site. Once installed it gives you quite a bit of freedom to optimize the Castor in any way you see fit.
This includes adjustment of the LED lighting, multiple profiles with various macros and buttons programmed in, as well as sensor performance optimization which includes a surface analyzer, and lift distance and pointer speed adjustment.
To the right I’ve included a screenshot with a few of those options so you can get a better idea of all that the Castor is capable of.
Both the Castor and the DeathAdder have LED lighting, up to 10,000 DPI on-the-fly adjustment, and braided cables. All of this is to be expected when you pay $60 or more for a gaming mouse. For DPI adjustment, the Castor comes preprogrammed with an additional button below the scroll wheel while the Deathadder uses the scroll wheel button to adjust.
Both mice have what I would consider to be superior flawless sensors with the DeathAdder having the Avago ADNS s3988 and the Mionix Castor having the Avago ADNS 3310. After having played over 40 hours on this mouse, I can say with relative confidence that, to me, these were very similar in consistency and accuracy.
There are a lot of gaming mice out there that come with rubberized grips, braided cables, customized LED lighting, software for customization and Macros, as well as a slew of other features. The Mionix Castor does not have weight tuning; however, for this particular mouse, I wouldn’t want them. It’s weight allows for long gaming sessions and is ideal for many genres. For this reason, what gaming mouse you choose may come down to the shape and comfort of the mouse more than anything else.
Overall, I didn’t expect to come in recommending the Mionix for our top 5 for FPS gaming mice, but it won me over with its quality, customization, and shape. When we do our FPS gaming mouse poll for 2016, it’ll certainly make the cut. For now, I highly recommend it.