Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
Let us start with the keyboard, also known as the MB24. Overall in terms of design, the keyboard is as normal as it can be. The keyboard forms a sort of a stretched octagon, with two extra parts sticking out near the top. All of the sides also taper off to create a gem-like look, with the sides and top edges finished in a glossy black. The bottom edge is coated with a gritty matte finish to add a bit of texture. You can also see there are random edges traced in the bottom of the keyboard to add a bit of panache. The surface of the keyboard follows the similar gritty-like matte black, which is good at resisting fingerprints, but will still ultimately display oil stains from greasy or sweaty hands. Note to self: Please wash your hands with soap before using this keyboard. While there is nothing really revolutionary in terms of the aesthetics, I have to say it stands out from the other keyboard/mice combination packs. There are the flashy edges, literally and figuratively, to make this keyboard that much more. Otherwise, the layout of the keys is your standard QWERTY layout. As you also notice, the Enter key is half-sized, with the backslash key extending in its place. As I mentioned in my Tesoro Tizona G2N Elite and G2N-P Elite review, this is quite useful for programmers or other people that use '\' or '|', while not harming those with no use for this key.
When it comes to build, I have to say this keyboard is actually surprisingly heavier than I expected it to be. Now of course, you could look at the recently reviewed Func KB-460, and how it weighs in at just under 1.3kg, and how this keyboard is still more than 400 grams lighter, but this is still more than I expected for a membrane keyboard. Of course, weight does not necessarily play into sturdiness, but I can say the Cooler Master Storm Devastator MB24 holds up quite well. Finally, at the top of the keyboard is a fixed rubber USB 2.0 cable, measuring at around 179cm in length. It would be nice to see a braided cable as this helps by protecting the cable, but this omission is understandable, especially at this price point.
Taking a closer look at the keys, you might be wondering if the lighting in my photos have made the keys almost unreadable. I can assure you the photo is exactly what you would see in real life. Unfortunately, Cooler Master has made the lettering completely translucent, so light can pass through. This results in keys that are pretty much unreadable without the backlighting on. I remember when my dad first taught me how to type on a keyboard, he would lay a blanket on top of my hands and ask me to type what I saw on screens. This literally forced me to have to rely on my motor memory rather than taking a visual search for keys. With the MB24 today, you can teach your kids how to type without needing any blankets, because the keys are already quite hard to read. On a more serious note, I can understand why Cooler Master chose this, as it does allow the light to go through quite well, but it can be somewhat annoying if you are looking for less used keys, for example, the tilde. As you can see in the photo, above the function keys are the media keys, which include Stop, Play/Pause, Previous, and Next. On the other side above the Print Screen row of buttons are Volume Up and Volume Down. Rather than incorporating an Fn button to press in conjunction with a function key, this gives each of the media keys a dedicated place. This means one-handed use is still available for these media keys.
Flipping over the Cooler Master Storm Devastator MB24 over, we can see there is not much to point out. There are four rubber pads on the entire bottom. The two bottom rubber pads are octagonal in shape, while the top two pads are parallelograms. There are two kickstands on either side of the keyboard to allow users to tilt the keyboard a bit higher to their preference. The lift the back of the keyboard up by approximately 8mm. Unfortunately, the two kickstands are plastic only, and do not have any rubber coating to help grip the keyboard to the table. Luckily, during my testing, I never found the keyboard to shift around, and it stayed in place quite well. Both the weight and the grip on the table meant the Cooler Master Storm Devastator MB24 stayed in its rightful position.
Moving onto the Cooler Master Storm Devastator MS2K, we can see this mouse is quite a normal one. Going over the design, Cooler Master has taken very few inspirations from their past mice like the Cooler Master Storm Recon. Instead, the company has been more right-winged with the looks, resulting in a conservative design. The entire mouse top is lined with a hard matte plastic, and feels quite similar to the coating found on the keyboard keys. Therefore, the coating is not fully fingerprint resistant, and you will see your oil-stain marks, especially if you have been eating some greasy foods. The mouse surface is not the grippiest of feeling mice, but it still feels okay in the hands. One thing you might see is the lined pattern down the middle of the mouse, which matches the bottom pattern found on the keyboard. Stylistically, I think this mouse is decent, but the real style points come when the mouse is plugged in. Once the mouse is powered on, all the translucent parts you see will light up radiantly. This includes the bottom pattern found on the keyboard and the scroll wheel. The front area has three slits on the left and right side of where the cable plugs in, which also light up quite similarly to the brake lights of the McLaren MP4-12C. The whole lighting effects and design is quite intriguing and I quite like it, especially considering this is supposed to be a budget solution for a mouse. Cooler Master still is able to throw in some surprise while keeping your wallets full.
If you look at it as a whole, it looks like this mouse has been split in half with a middle valley where several buttons are located. Starting from the top we have the two standard buttons overhanging the front of the mouse. In the valley at the top is a scroll wheel. Underneath is a quick DPI switch setting, which toggles between 1000, 1600, and 2000 dpi. On the left side are two buttons at the side of the mouse, but I will go more into detail later. In terms of layout, this mouse is functionally good. This mouse is accommodating for both left and right-handed users, as the mouse is vertically symmetrical, with the exception of the left-sided buttons. Theoretically, the mouse is ambidextrous in shape, but because of the two buttons on the side of the mouse, it still is easier to use the MS2K with your right hand versus your left.
Pulling out my measuring tape, the Cooler Master Storm Devastator MS2K has dimensions of 119.1 mm x 64.6 mm x 25.6 mm (L x W x H). One thing I have noticed about this mouse is it is quite flat and long. While most mice try to conform to your hand with a larger back end to fit into your palm area, this tends to have less height. This means the MS2K pushes users towards more of a claw grip, where only the middle-to-back of your palm and your fingers rest on the mouse. Alternatively, the palm grip would be to rest your entire hand on the mouse while using it. You can try using the palm grip, but then your thumb may not be able to reach both the forward and back side buttons. Of course, mouse fit is based on person to person, so your mileage may vary. The only other thing I should note is the wire protruding out of the front of the mouse. Much like the MB24, this connection point is rubber and fixed to the device. The cord measures in a length of 179cm, exactly the same as the keyboard. It would be nice to see a braided wire as it can handle more friction, but this lacking feature is understandable.
From this point of view, we can see the front of the MS2K. As mentioned before, there are the two indented areas at the front of the mouse with three slits on both sides to create a brake light effect. The words "CM Storm" is located on the left mouse button. On an aside, one thing I noticed missing in both the keyboard and the mouse is the CM Storm logo. The small flame-like logo is often found in various locations, both subtle and obvious, on their other projects. Maybe this time it is so subtle it is actually hidden somewhere? Anyway, you can also see the overhanging of the left and right mouse buttons, as well as the forward and backward button on the left side. One thing I have not mentioned yet is the rubber grip located underneath the forward and back buttons. This grip can be found on both sides of the mouse, and provide your fingers a place to hold the mouse, as the rest of the surface is quite slippery. I am quite happy to see these well-placed grips, as they truly provide a better experience when using the mouse.
Underneath the buttons are a set of switches with no actual rating from Cooler Master. Fortunately, I can say the Cooler Master Storm Devastator keyboard and mouse both are under a two year warranty, which is the same warranty they give out to their more expensive mechanical keyboards. While I am not suggesting these two products of different price points have the same lifetime rating, it does mean Cooler Master has the same confidence in the Devastator as they do with their higher end keyboards. The scroll wheel is notched like most scroll wheels are, with the exception of Logitech's MicroGear scroll wheel, which is freer. However I quite prefer the notches, as it provides a tactile feedback to users.
As we did with the keyboard, turning the mouse onto its back reveals the underside of the MS2K. As you can see, there are four PFTE feet; also commonly known as Teflon. While this is the same Teflon that is made famous by cooking pans, we do not recommend you to cook with this mouse, unless you are roasting your opponents in a game. The MS2K has an Avago ADNS-3050 sensor internally. This is an entry-level gaming optical sensor, which offers resolutions up to 2000 dpi. This is also the same sensor found in the Cooler Master Storm Xornet, reviewed back in 2011 by Devin Chollak.
Normally this would be where I would look at the software that comes with the mouse, but unfortunately, the only thing customizable with the mouse is the DPI sensitivity. The jumps from 1000 to 1600 and from 1600 to 2000 are quite obvious on the screen, so it really is not necessary to make a redundant program just to tell users what DPI setting they are at. None of the side buttons are changeable either, so they will continually be the forward and back button. While Cooler Master could have easily added much more customization options and macros, this is not the purpose of the Cooler Master Storm Devastator, so these omissions are forgivable. Therefore, let us move onto our performance tests.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests