Review - Mionix Castor Mouse with Longpad: French Fries Anyone?

Specs and Special Features


First of all, don’t let the name throw you off: the Mionix Castor French Fries mouse isn’t actually in the shape of a french fry, doesn’t look like a french fry, nor does it taste like a french fry (not that I would know what it tastes like… right?), it is just the fancy name for the bright yellow color it comes in.

The Castor comes in five different colors. I would love to tell you what colors they actually are, but being colorblind and having names such as “Frosting”, “Ice Cream”, “French Fries”, and “Shark Fin” don’t really help. The only color I can definitely tell you have they is yellow (French Fries), which I am reviewing today.

Key Features:

5000 native DPI optical sensor (PMW-3310) with adjustable DPI settings-
The Castor has the ability to go as high as 5000 dots per inch (DPI) and as low as 50 DPI. The DPI of a mouse is used to measure how sensitive the mouse is to movement. At a high DPI, such as 5000, even the slightest movement of the mouse will send your cursor flying across. At a low DPI, such as 50, you will have to move your mouse an incredible distance for your cursor to barely move at all. Depending on what you are using the mouse for, you will likely want to change the DPI. For instance, if you are playing a first person shooter and are zoomed in with a sniper rifle, you will probably want a lower DPI to help you aim more precise. If you are playing a game such as League of Legends you will probably want a higher DPI so you get good mouse reaction with relatively small movements. Everyone has their preference to which DPI they prefer, so it is good that the Castor has a range of 50 to 5000, although you’ll rarely find somebody that wants to go that high or low. Another great thing about the Castor is that you can define multiple DPI ranges and swap between them quickly with just a single click of the
mouse.

mionix-castor-mouse-with-longpad-review-social.jpg

6 fully programmable buttons-
Using the Mionix Hub, which can be downloaded from
mionix.net, you can program all 6 of the buttons found on the Castor. Out of the box the buttons come pretty standard with a left click, right click and middle click (plus wheel). Just below the wheel is another button which by default changes your DPI settings, if you have set it up to do so. By the thumb are two more buttons which default to forward and backward. You can program each button to do a variety of things: all of your standard clicks, media commands such as Play/Pause, keyboard shortcuts such as Copy and Paste, or you can change it to a single key command or a key sequence of up to 20 keystrokes. This gives you a bit of flexibility if there are certain keys/shortcuts you use frequently but don’t want to have to key them in manually.

In addition to allowing you to program the buttons or adjust the DPI, the Mionix Hub allows you to make a few other changes. You can adjust the angle snapping and angle tuning which will filter small deviations in movement, helping you to move your cursor across the screen in a straighter line. You can also adjust the polling rate to be anywhere between 125 Hz and 1000
Hz. The polling rate refers to how often the mouse will report its position to your computer. For instance if you have your Castor set to 125 Hz, the mouse will report its position to your computer every 8 milliseconds. If you have it set to 500 Hz, your mouse will report its position every 2 milliseconds and so on. Having a high polling rate can dramatically reduce the lag between when you move your mouse and when you see your cursor move on your monitor, but
it also means that it uses more CPU resources. While most gaming rigs should be able to handle it at 1000 Hz without a problem, it is something you will want to keep your eye on if your gaming rig is getting a bit old.

 Mionix Hub interface which allows you to program the buttons and adjust other settings

Mionix Hub interface which allows you to program the buttons and adjust other settings


Aesthetics and Build Quality


At first glance, the Castor French Fries looks great and perfectly matches the French Fry keycaps on my Mionix Wei keyboard and French Fries Long Pad.  Maybe it's because I'm colorblind, but I tend to like loud colors that stand out and this definitely doesn't disappoint me on that front. It feels like it is made with good materials and is built to last a long time.

While the Castor looks great and seems to be built to last, it leaves a lot to be desired comfort wise. Full disclosure here, I have really small hands (like I have to buy women's/kids gloves small) so it’s possible that it is comfortable for a person with average to large sized hands but I unfortunately can’t change my hand size just to use this mouse. The gap between the left and right buttons is so bad that my middle finger more naturally fits on the wheel with my ring finger on the right button which not only doesn’t feel good but can also increase the risk of carpal tunnel. That gap isn’t too big that my middle finger can't reach the right button but it is definitely an uncomfortable reach, especially for long periods of time.

In addition to my hand not naturally fitting on the correct buttons due to the size, I found that it was nearly impossible to only click one of the buttons on the side without also clicking the other unless I am holding the mouse at an unnatural angle. This could be the result of my hands being too small, the buttons being too close together or the buttons just clicking too easy, but no matter the reason it rendered the two side buttons virtually useless for me unless I wanted to click both buttons at the same time (which why would I?).

I haven’t completely forgotten about the Long Pad French Fries (of course with the bright yellow color, pictures of ice cream, french fries and hamburgers it is nearly impossible to forget) that I’m also supposed to be writing about which is marketed as both a mouse pad and a wrist pad. While it works fine as a wrist pad (not great but definitely not bad), I found its dimensions of 440 x 100 x 10 mm to not be adequate enough to function as a mouse pad. With my Castor set to 1000 DPI moving my cursor all the way across my screen made it so that the mouse was actually hanging off of the Long Pad because of how narrow it is. While I never had it completely fall off of the pad, it always had me hesitant to quickly move my mouse a long distance for fear of falling off, which isn’t good when you’re trying to play games (or do anything else for that matter).

Mionix Castor Mouse with longpad.jpg


What it could do better


I think that if the mouse was available in a smaller size, most if not all of my complaints with the Castor would be mitigated. The mouse itself isn’t necessarily too big, but the spacing between the left and the right buttons was just too much for me. If the mouse itself were to stay the same size, I think just making it a bit more compact to get those two buttons closer together would be a huge win. As for the buttons on the side, which were unusable for me, if there were to be more of a gap between the buttons, if the buttons were closer to the bottom of the mouse where my thumb easily reached, or if they were a little more difficult to press so I didn’t accidentally hit both at the same time I think that would make a huge difference as well.

For me, in order for the Long Pad to be effectively used as a mouse pad, it would need to be at least twice as wide as it currently is. I have no problems with it being used as a wrist pad though, especially when used with the Mionix Wei.

 You can see that my small hand doesn't naturally fit on the correct buttons

You can see that my small hand doesn't naturally fit on the correct buttons

Verdict


For me personally I would have a hard time paying the $70 + price tag for the Castor. While I loved the adjustable DPI settings, angle snapping and polling rate, the size and layout of the mouse basically turned a 6 button mouse into a 2 button mouse for me (and an uncomfortable one at that). I thought that the mouse was very responsive and I had great accuracy while using it after tailoring the settings in the Mionix Hub there are just unfortunately too many downsides for me to personally want to go out and buy it. If you have average to large size hands it might be worth a look, but I would definitely advice that you get your hands on one (literally) before spending the money on it.

I have no problem recommending the Long Pad if you want to add a bit of flair to your gaming rig, but I would not recommend that you use it as a mouse pad unless you play with a high DPI and therefore don't have to move your mouse much. I also wouldn’t recommend getting it if you are on a diet because looking at it makes me constantly feel hungry… Speaking of which, I’m going to go eat some ice cream and french fries now.

 

Mionix Castor Mouse French Fries (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Mionix Long Pad (Amazon Affiliate Link)

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