Cats beware, this thing’s a beast
Mad Catz kindly supplied us with an M.M.O.7 gaming mouse for us to try out this week, and we’ve been putting it through its paces over the last few days. The M.M.O.7 is (as the name suggests) designed first and foremost for the complex demands of MMO games, but Mad Catz claim the multi-programmable features are useful in a wide variety of scenarios including the workplace, so we’ve been testing it with everything from extended Starcraft 2 sessions, frantic Borderlands 2 and Shootmania action, and web editing, image editing and word processing.
First of all this mouse is a thing of beauty. With sleek plastic coverings encasing the metal skeleton, bright (entirely customisable) lights coming out from plenty of different angles and a high quality finish on every button and the cable leading to your PC, it is a joyous thing to behold. I got a little carried away taking pictures of it to be honest. You can decide what colour you want the lights on the front to be, and the other lights all give you information about what sensitivity setting you have it on, whether the action locks are engaged, and which profile you’ve got it set to. Everything screams quality about this mouse, and for around £85 it really should. It blows away every mouse we’ve used before, including the similarly priced but comparatively cheap-feeling Razer Naga.
The feel of the mouse can be adjusted with a locking slider for the back portion, altered by simply squeezing a lever and sliding it out, you can change many of the other plates depending on the type of grip and the height of the mouse that you prefer, and then you can even remove some small weights from the centre of the mouse to change how it feels in your hand. All of these can make a huge difference and ensure that it will accommodate the majority of uses. It is a little larger than the average mouse, but for us that’s definitely a positive as it helps with precision when you can use your whole hand to guide it.
The sensor on the bottom of the mouse goes up to 6400DPI which is absolutely insane, but you can choose between four DPI settings that can be set to your requirements in the profile editor. This is really useful as for something like a FPS I prefer to have a slightly higher DPI than I do while I’m just browsing the web. It is irritating that you can only go one way through the settings, meaning quick alterations are difficult, but it’s nice to have the choice depending on what you’re using.
Surrounding the mouse are an array of 15 programmable buttons. They’re laid out in a more ergonomic way than the simple grid seen on the competitors, and by selecting different modes you can actually end up with 90 different macros programmed into the mouse. Handily the light colour scheme for the modes is purple, blue and red so I’ve currently got it set to my commands for Zerg, Protoss and Terran respectively for when I’m playing random on SC2. Four of the buttons are part of a selector switch (think like a tiny little 4-way joystick) that I thought would be difficult to use but came away pleasantly surprised. I’ve now started using that for a variety of different tasks, including ‘stock’ bits of code and html when I’m doing some editing or chat commands when I’m playing games. By using the macro editor you can program it to press the chat key, type a message and then press enter. Some games already come with this feature but it’s incredibly handy to be able to type ‘go go go’ or ‘rush incoming’ at a moments’ notice.
The little joystick also has an incredibly interesting feature that I’d personally never seen before. You can hold it in with your thumb, and the DPI of your mouse can drop dramatically (you can set how much in the profile editor). This is really useful for making tiny adjustments in image editing or for sniping in FPS games. That extra precision on command proved incredibly useful while I was playing Shootmania and needed to line up long shots whole moving quickly. All of the buttons near the thumb have been placed perfectly, and all are within easy reach after an hour or two of forcing yourself to use them.
Other features include the ‘action-lock’ buttons that work as if you were holding down the left or right mouse button. These work exactly as intended, and the side of the mouse you’re using it with changes colour to reflect this, but I’ve been hard pressed to find a situation where that’s easier than just holding the mouse button. There might be some specific uses for it (such as an autorun in an MMO) but we didn’t turn it on very often. There’s also a thumb-based scrollwheel which allows for lateral scrolling or any number of other selections. I used it to scroll through idle workers in SC2 and scroll horizontally in everything else. Being metal it feels solid and doesn’t slip of its own accord but it’s just loose enough that your thumb can move it without any real effort.
On the software side, everything else is incredibly simple to set-up, and if you’re using more than one Mad Catz product you can customise them all with the same menus and profiles. For the World of Warcraft players there’s a dedicated add-on that allows you to drag and drop spells and abilities to specific buttons on the mouse, with a neat visual representation to help you remember what ability is where. This is a really nice feature that I wish would be used in more games, but sadly customisable UIs are a dying breed in PC gaming it seems.
Overall this mouse does everything I could imagine anyone wanting a mouse to do. It’s not wireless, but gamers would tend to prefer a cable over latency. We’ve got the smart white version and with the lights toned down via the menu I wouldn’t be ashamed to use it in an office environment at all. Just like the Strike 5 keyboard we’ve been testing, the customisable buttons can be a massive boost to productivity if you use them well and while many mouses have tried the same trick with a plethora of inputs, the designers have actually got the ergonomics of this one right. It’s a tad expensive, but for something you’ll be using so often I’d say it’s definitely worth the investment. The only thing I could see putting people off is if they personally don’t like the feel of it, but there’s so much that can be changed I can’t imagine this would apply to all that many people. If you’re in the market for a mouse I don’t think you could go wrong with the M.M.O.7 – well built, beautiful and incredibly useful.