Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
It has been a while since I have looked at a mouse that looks more traditional in its shape and design. The Cooler Master MM831 is made up of a full plastic shell, with a mostly matte black finish around the whole enclosure. From the photo above, you can see the top is divided into two halves with one side for the buttons and the other for the rest of the back. Both of these halves on the top are made of PBT, which is a durable plastic. The difference is noticeable, as this thicker plastic is often found on premium keyboard keycaps. This should result in the surface being more able to stand up to wear and tear over time. It also should not develop any shine you might normally see in cheaper plastic materials like ABS. On the left side, we have a strip of rubber under the side buttons for better grip. This will, however, show your greasy thumb prints a bit. Otherwise, the rest of the surface is pretty resistant to fingerprints and other marks. As for lighting areas, the Cooler Master MM831 is covered with RGB magic, including a large U-ring that goes from one side of the mouse to the other. The scroll wheel area and the palm region have even more LEDs to illuminate your hand.
When it comes to dimensions, the Cooler Master MM831 measures in at 128.1mm in length, 67.4mm in width, and 43.4mm in height. The peak height is situated near the middle with a single smooth slope across the entire body. This makes the back end longer and more accustomed to larger hands. With these thicker plastics on the body, the MM831 weighs in at 123g without any cable attached. The weight is balanced to the middle, lining up with the sensor position at the bottom. Even so, this is still a hefty mouse with no adjustable weights, so keep this in mind. The mouse is made for right-handed users, as there is a right-hand thumb groove on the left side. Build quality is quite good with no flex in the plastic, and I really do admire the fact Cooler Master has chosen to use the durable PBT plastic on the surface for better durability.
This is a wireless mouse, but Cooler Master offers their hybrid solution that lets users keep gaming or working away while plugged in. Thus, a braided 1.8m cable if you want to operate in wired mode or need to charge and work. Unfortunately, we do not have their Ultraweave material here, which can be found on some other Cooler Master mice like their MM711. This means the cable included can catch on edges. One end of the cable is a USB Type-C cable to plug into the mouse, while the other is a standard USB Type-A plug with gold plating for a pretty look.
From the left side of the Cooler Master MM831, you can see all of the primary and secondary buttons. The main left and right buttons are separated from the back, but are connected to each other. They are concave in shape to let your fingers slide into the middle of the button. Underneath, primary Omron switches can be found with a rated lifespan of twenty million clicks. The button response is typical for Omron, which means they have a good tactile feel and weight. The scroll wheel is a notched wheel with an ALPS encoder. It is stuck firmly in place and does not wiggle about. A DPI switch is found near the scroll wheel which lets users cycle through the mouse sensitivity. By default, this rotates between five levels ranging from 400DPI to 32000DPI. This can also be changed through Cooler Master's software, as you will see later on. As for the side buttons, we have typical secondary keys with forward and back buttons located above the thumb rest. They are located out of the way of accidental presses without being too far to reach. They offer a decent amount of travel and have a slightly spongy bottoming out.
As we have mentioned, the Cooler Master MM831 is a wireless mouse. It supports wireless with its 2.4GHz USB dongle and Bluetooth 4.2 without the need for an adapter. If you remove the bottom shell, which is held on by magnets, you can see the slot inside where the USB adapter rests. Just to note, the adapter weighs about 2g. Without this dongle, you can still connect to your computer via Bluetooth and pair the mouse to your device. For all wireless operation, Cooler Master has packed an 800mAh battery inside. Battery life will vary between what wireless modes you are operating in, as well as if the LEDs are powered on or not, though Cooler Master has not offered estimates in terms of battery life. When operating over wireless using the USB dongle, I was able to get around thirty hours of operation with the lights turned off. When testing with LEDs on, I noticed my unit's lights would turn off partially through the day, even though the mouse was still functional and had enough energy to operate. Otherwise, we also have a better look at the lighting located near the palm. This shines brightly and is diffused by the Cooler Master logo on the PBT shell.
The bottom of the Cooler Master MM831 reveals the feet. These are made up of PTFE, which is commonly known as Teflon. These give the mouse a smooth glide. In the middle of the base is the sensor. This is the Pixart PAW3335, which is a high-performance sensor that is tailored to wireless mice. This sensor operates at a current of 1.7mA, compared to the PMW3389 at 21mA and the PMW3360 at 23.4mA. As such, this lower draw should result in better battery life. The PAW3335 tracks at speeds of 400 IPS with acceleration up to 40g, though it is not enabled by default. Polling rate is set to a minimum 1ms, or a maximum frequency of 1000Hz, and a maximum native resolution of 16000 DPI. The sensor is secured well as there is no rattle here.
Moving on, we also have a switch and a button that flank around the sensor. On the left side, we have a selector switch that lets you choose between the three operating modes: Bluetooth, wired, or wireless operation. If you choose to go to Bluetooth, you will need the button marked "Pair" on the other side, which lets you choose when to pair the mouse. Just to note, because this operates on Bluetooth, you can theoretically connect this to your phone or tablet for use on Android or iOS. Finally, at the top, you can see there is a divot and hole, which is where you can plug the USB Type-C connection for wired operation or charging. One thing that is not pictured at the bottom, though should be mentioned, is the fact the MM831 also supports Qi 1.2 wireless charging. This means you could use the MM831 with something like the GS750 headphone stand for charging purposes.
As of press time, the MM831 uses Cooler Master's MasterPlus software. It is the same piece of software you use with other recent Cooler Master products. You can download it from their website, which is a 66MB download. Using the software was overall a consistent experience, especially when compared to previous Cooler Master software. In addition, I ended up updating the firmware installed on this mouse during usage. Internally, Cooler Master has provided 4MB of internal memory to store all of these settings. There is also a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 processor to control everything. In order to access the utility with the MM831, you will need to physically plug the mouse in and change the operation mode to wired.
Most of the settings pages are the same as what we saw in the MM711 review, which is unsurprising considering they use the same software. As such, the first tab is for Buttons, where you can assign different actions for each button or scroll wheel action. You can enable mouse combinations, which let you add more actions when pressed in combination with the DPI cycle button. As we have seen from the sensor, the range above 16000DPI is supported by software only, as this is above the hardware specifications of the PAW3335. The Lighting tab lets you adjust the lighting on the MM831. This provides typical LED modes such as Static, Breathing, Color Cycle, and much more. You can also use them to indicate the current DPI setting with the "Indicator". As well, because of the large ring, you can also customize each section of the ring for a neat and personalized look. The Performance tab lets you change the five DPI sensitivity settings, USB polling rate, lift off distance, angle snapping, angle tuning, and other operating system specific settings. Thankfully, with recent revisions of MasterPlus, you can now enable or disable the number of DPI levels available. The Macros tab is where you create and record macros to be assigned to the mouse actions. Under Profiles, you can save up to five different profiles and settings. Finally, in the Wireless tab, there are a few settings specific to the MM831. This lets the mouse go to sleep after a period of inactivity. You can also adjust the LED brightness and turn off just the LED ring altogether if you want.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests