When it comes to PC gaming, there are a lot of different peripherals that can come into play. None of them are more important to me than the mouse, because that is my primary input device. Certainly for creating a more immersive experience, a great headset can be very important. A gaming keyboard can let you program in functions and assist in office use as well as in gaming. A mouse however, is the primary input for most PC games and having a fast, accurate one that is comfortable for hours of play is of the greatest importance to me.
To begin with, I want to point out that Mionix has crafted my absolute favourite mouse to date in the NAOS 8200. I am still using that beauty in my gaming and day-to-day activities and while the design is certainly unusual, it is also incredibly comfortable. The NAOS 8200 feels like it was made for my hand, and when one factors in the slick appearance, great button response and accurate movements, it will be a tall order for any mouse to unseat it as my personal favourite.
While the Castor makes a fair effort, it does not quite live up to those lofty standards. This is also a mouse meant for right-handed players, with a design that is distinctive (though not as much so as the form factor of the NAOS). There is some subtle curve and shape including a groove for your pinky and ring fingers to rest on it. Now, the NAOS is more of a palm-fitted mouse, which is my preferred method of play. Blame it on my hand being lazy, but I like to rest my palm on the top of the mouse and let my fingers worry about clicking and nothing else. The Castor was designed with versatility in mind as it can be used in a claw grip or fingertip method of play as well.
To that end, the Castor holds up nicely, because it really is versatile enough to support just about any type of grip style. I do wish the mouse itself was somewhat larger, as I have fairly big hands with long fingers. While I can use it with my palm resting on the top, my fingers tend to curl up slightly to rest at a comfortable position, forcing my palm up off of the mouse into an almost hybrid position. People with smaller hands likely will not have this issue (my son for example loves the shape and form factor of this mouse, but he is sixteen and his fingers are still almost a good knuckle length smaller than my own, the little pipsqueak). He also tends to use more of a fingertip style of play when he is madly clicking away at League of Legends, and he actually prefers the Castor to the NAOS. So this particular mouse will likely come down to a matter of personal preference.
As to the design of the mouse itself, there are several considerations that went into the design that show Mionix’s trademark crafting and attention to detail. The standard items are all here: six programmable buttons, three step live DPI changes, pretty LED colours and effects and a nice sturdy cable that should hold up to all kinds of movement. The finer details are what will likely stand out, such as the four layer rubber coating that makes the Castor soft to touch but still firm to use. The wide, notched scroll wheel that is easy to spin with your finger while never being so loose as to turn when you do not want it to. The aforementioned moulding for your furthest two fingers to rest comfortably. The textured, rubberised side panel just below the two thumb buttons to improve your grip.
These small details help to make this mouse stand out from most others on the market. The S.Q.A.T. technology I talked about in my NAOS review makes a return here as well. It is a small thing, but innovative all the same. That stands for Surface Quality Analyzer Tool, and it lets you get an idea what the best surface for your mouse is. If you have a couple of different mouse pads or surfaces you want to consider using, this tool gives you an idea of which one will track with the greatest precision when using this particular mouse. I have tested this on everything from a wooden table (a score of 30) to the fabric arm of my chair (a score of 60) to a large fabric gaming mat (a score of 80) to a Mionix gaming surface (rang in at 90).
The mouse itself moves instantly – no acceleration as it can support up to a ridiculous 10,000 DPI. At that setting, you are basically looking at a twitch sending the cursor flying across the screen. My son loves it – where as I run it at a more modest setting around 6,000 DPI myself. Not only can each button be assigned to any key or mouse command, but it can be configured to use macros as well. Additionally, the Castor has enough memory to support five different profiles, which is great since my son, daughter and I all use it in very different ways and switching profiles with the software is quick and easy.
The Mionix Castor continues the strong trend of Mionix PC peripherals at a reasonable price (clocking in around $US80). There are mice with higher DPI, more programmable buttons and flashier designs, but the Castor is a very complete package that holds up very well on all of these fronts. The biggest factor that will separate it for me from other mice is that while it is versatile, it is not quite as good for large hands using a palm style of play as a couple of other mice on the market (including at least one of Mionix’s own mice). To that end it scores at slightly less than perfect for my style of play, but depending on your own personal style it might hold up better (this has become my son’s favourite mouse).
– Nick H.