We've said before that we were waiting on future iterations of Cooler Masters efforts in the gaming mouse space to see if the company was really dedicated to cracking the market. And lo and behold, Cooler Master delivers its latest point-and-clicker, the Inferno. Oddly, it both improves on everything we loved about the Storm mouse, while still managing to have much the same niggles that held the Storm back from greatness.
First up, the design of the Inferno is a vast improvement. It's an almost symmetrical shape that manages to perfectly fit both right and left hands - amazing! It's matte black, with an array of metallic grills at the front, and more buttons than you can literally poke fingers at. There's a total of 11 all up, and nine of them are programmable. Topping things off is a good length of cloth-wrapped USB cable.
This is where the Inferno really starts to shine. Fire up the included software, and you're almost flooded with options. You can tune the sensor for desktop or serious gaming use, set up three whole profiles of settings (whether for different gaming environments, or for different people), record and tweak macros and scripts, and play around with pretty much every facet of the mouse. There are five programmable DPI settings that can be set for X and Y axes, real depth in the programming of the buttons - including the becoming ubiquitous rapid-fire function - and even the ability to change the lighting.
It's a tweaker's dream, and we found there simply wasn't time in our review cycle to really get to grips with it. Spend a weekend getting things just right and we daresay you can make of this mouse exactly what you want - even if you switch between vastly different game types, like strategy and FPS.
In terms of performance, it's just as solid. Though a touch heavier than we'd normally like, the Inferno actually delivered quicker run-throughs of the CoD4 killhouse level. Switching DPI is dead easy, and can be done up and down, rather than cycling every setting. You can even change DPI on the fly with the mouse wheel for tighter control without resorting to Inferno software. It's comfy, concise, and the only thing that annoys is the still uneven nature of the mouse 'feet'. A slight bump in the slick feet meant the entire mouse rocked around a central point - we could get used it to it, but it's going to lead to uneven wear eventually.
The Inferno's a vast improvement from Cooler Master, and well worth investing in. It's not going to knock off our fave mouse - Microsoft's excellent X8 - but at $65 the Inferno's a sound investment.