The M551 is a budget gaming mouse brought to you by Arctic Cooling. Can a company mostly known for cooling really make a decent gaming mouse? Find out after the break.
The Arctic Cooling M 551 at first glance is surprisingly similar to other gaming mice. It has the common 4 buttons plus mouse wheel input. Like almost every mouse made today, it uses an optical based sensor, though in the case of the M 551 it is an infrared laser. The M551 is light at 230 grams, and slides around nicely on most surfaces due to its 5 slick feet. The M 551 is also quite comfortable and fits nicely in my hand due to its ergonomic design. There are some ripples where your thumb would rest in order to increase grip.
The Arctic Cooling M 551 has multiple sensitivity settings. By pressing a button that is under the mouse wheel, you can switch between 800, 1600, and 2400 DPI. There are three lights along the lower left side of the mouse. The position and color of the lights tell you what mode the mouse is currently in. If the green light at the top is on, the mouse is running at 800, if it the middle blue light is on it is 1600, and the bottom red light is for 2400. Switching between the various modes is fairly easy as long as you are following the order 800,1600,2400,800. If you want to go down in sensitivity, you have to hit the button twice. This is not a huge deal, but is a little annoying since it does not register the second button press if you do it very quickly.
The Arctic Cooling M 551 is a wired mouse with a decently long cord, 1.8 meters. Installation and use is quick and simple since the M 551 only needs to be plugged into a USB slot. The customization options though are a bit lacking. The M 551 does not come with any software, so it can only be manipulated through your OS's mouse settings dialog. At first this bothered me, but it turns out that the Windows 7 mouse settings dialog is actually quite advanced and includes macros.
Sadly, the M 551 runs into some difficulty during its use. The mouse works fairly well on most surfaces, but at high speeds I experienced some problems. The mouse seemed to jump or briefly go in the wrong direction. It does require some fairly high speeds though, so it is unlikely to affect day to day use or even most game use. Additionally, I could not figure out what was causing the problem. It could have been my computer, my desk, the way I hold the mouse, or a defect in the specific mouse I was testing. Given this, it might not be a problem that other people experience at all. Given that I can't find widespread reports of similar problems and that It requires very fast mouse movement to experience, it isn't something I would worry overly much about. Except for this minor problem, I found the M 551 to be a good mouse, especially for the price.
[Arctic Cooling M 551] – $23.80