The mobile evolution continues. Leading manufacturers of gaming peripherals, one after another, release wireless gaming mice based on PixArt PAW 3335 and 3370 sensors. MSI took the Clutch GM41 mouse, which we already got acquainted with a couple of months ago, as the basis for its version of such a device. Wings were “attached” to her, more precisely: a detachable cable, an economical sensor, a wireless chip and a battery. Because of this, the overall weight increased slightly. And they gave in addition a docking station, for the convenience of charging. Let’s see in more detail what happened as a result.
|Model||MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless|
|Manufacturer’s site||Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless|
|Interface||Wired / Wireless (USB / 2.4GHz)|
|Type||Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)|
|Sensor model||PixArt PAW 3370|
|Permission, cpi||100 – 20 000|
|Number of buttons||5 buttons (left, middle, right, two side buttons)|
|Maximum acceleration, g||50|
|Lift-off height (LOD), mm||1–2|
|Maximum speed, m/s||10,16|
|USB port polling rate, Hz||125/250/500/1000|
|Frame rate, fps||Variable|
|Inner memory||+ (3 profiles)|
|Wireless receiver type||Nano receiver|
|Power, battery life||Built-in lithium battery, up to 55 hours with backlight, up to 80 hours at 2.4GHz without backlight, and up to 200 hours without backlight and Motion Sync|
|Protocol (GHz) / range (m) of wireless communication||2.4GHz up to 10m|
|Ability to change weight||–|
|Possibility to adjust the body shape||–|
|Cord length, m||2|
|Cable material||Nylon braid|
|Housing surface material||Plastic|
|Backlight||+ (RGB, 16.8M colors)|
|Illumination zones||Logo on the stern|
|Leg material||100% Teflon (PTFE)|
|Software||+ (MSI Dragon Center)|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||130,1 x 67 x 38,3|
|OS Compatibility||Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7|
|Additionally||Charging dock with receiver connectivity, Omron LMB and RMB switches with 60 million clicks MTBF|
|Average cost, UAH||2199 hryvnias|
Contents of delivery
The mouse is retailed in a simple black and white packaging. On the front there is an image of the device, a mention of the presence of a charging station and support for RGB lighting. And on the back, with pictures, the main advantages of the product and some of its technical characteristics are listed.
Under the outer cover is a more solid black cardboard box, lined inside with a soft filler that follows the shape of the devices. With such protection, the mouse will definitely survive most transport adversities.
The delivery set is self-sufficient. In addition to the mouse, there is a Micro-USB cable, a transmitter, a charging station and instructions. Only interchangeable legs are missing for complete happiness.
The body of the wireless mouse has not undergone any significant changes compared to the wired MSI Clutch GM41. This is a classic symmetrical shape with a medium back curve. The top panel is made of stain-resistant matte and smooth plastic. The LMB and RMB keys are made by separate panels that sit firmly and without play in their places. The main switches are Omron mechanisms with a MTBF of 60 million clicks. They work without free play, with a clear tactile feedback, medium effort and volume level. In my copy, the left button sounds louder, the right one is more muffled. The switch under the scroll wheel is quiet and slightly tighter than average when pressed. The case can make some creaking under strong pressure, but in general it is made quite solidly.
On the left sidewall there are two additional keys. They have a flat profile shape and slightly protrude from the body to the side. They have a small free play, pressing is soft, quiet and light in effort. The entire side panel is covered with a textured overlay with a relief shape in the form of three-dimensional triangles, quite tenacious and pleasant to the touch.
The Micro-USB jack for the cable is located in the recess at the bottom center. The scroll wheel is rubberized and has the same coating texture as the sidewalls. It rotates quietly, working out the fixation positions with a low crackle and tactile feedback.
The detachable mouse cable has a Micro-USB connector, is 2 meters long and is covered with a nylon braid. As in the fully wired version, it is made as hard as possible, with a pronounced memory effect. The manufacturer calls this technology FriXionFree and considers it an advantage. Fortunately, for a wireless mouse with a docking station, this is a small problem. But when connected to the mouse itself, the cord has to be bent as high as possible so that it does not touch the surface and does not rub against it, constantly maintaining an arcuate shape. To adjust the length of the cable, it has a reusable rubber tie. The contact pad of the USB connector is colored pink.
The right side of the mouse has the same coverage along its entire length as the left sidewall.
There is nothing interesting on the rear of the mouse, except for the illuminated MSI dragon logo.
The MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless has an elongated, symmetrical mid-width shape with a slightly widened and rounded stern. It fits perfectly under the right hand with a large or medium-sized palm for any type of grip. Left-handers will also be able to comfortably use the device, provided that they do not need the side buttons. The mouse is 9 grams heavier compared to the wired version, but even 74 grams, organically distributed without distortion along the axes of symmetry, still feel quite light.
Based on the mouse, there have been a number of major changes. Only the two front Teflon legs remained intact. The back leg is now divided into three separate rounded parts and there is another oval glide around the centrally located sensor. Pixart PAW3370 is now used as a sensor instead of PMW3389. A little further behind it appeared a round recess with two contacts for connecting the docking station. By the way, a magnet is built-in exactly behind these connectors, so do not put the mouse on top of bank cards. To the right of the sensor is a power switch, and to the left is a button for switching the resolution level.
So connect directly to the mouse signal cable:
Interestingly, a wireless receiver is also placed here instead, if you want to take it with you.
The only RGB area on the mouse is the logo. It has little practical meaning, except for the case when you want to maximize battery consumption. However, the backlight can also have an informative function, showing the current charge level when the mouse is turned on, or indicating the current resolution level when switching.
The docking station is made of plastic and looks like a truncated and inclined cone. In the recess of the upper part there is a USB port, around which there is a sticker with a warning that only a native receiver is allowed to be inserted here. A magnet is hidden behind two spring-loaded contacts.
The cable connects to the charging station from the bottom inside. A C-shaped leg made of very tenacious rubber is glued around the perimeter of the base.
The receiver does not interfere with the installation of the mouse for charging. For some reason, a small logo in the form of a dragon is applied to the back of the case.
And this is what a mouse looks like on its pedestal:
The device keeps on charging quite confidently and you can put it there simply and without looking. To remove the mouse, just tilt it to either side.
Driverless MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless allows you to switch five levels of resolution by cycling the DPI button between 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 cpi (default). The combination of DPI with the right button controls the brightness of the backlight, together with the middle button switches the backlight modes, with the front side button changes the playback speed of the effect, and in combination with the back side button allows you to select the color of the glow (from eight basic colors).
Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless uses the complex and very cumbersome MSI Dragon Center software. If you do not have a significant number of components from this company in your system, then you should not even try to install this driver unless absolutely necessary. We will not consider it completely, but will only touch on those tabs that relate directly to the mouse setup. On the first basic tab of the device, the user can reassign the five main buttons. You can assign mouse commands, media commands, sensitivity controls, or macros to them. You can restore the default assignment, or disable the key completely.
The macro editor becomes available when you select macros from the override menu. You can record up to 30 macro sequences in total by assigning individual names to them. Each chain can contain up to 60 commands, which includes keystrokes and three main and two additional mouse buttons. Pressing and releasing a key is considered a separate action. Each action is assigned a specific delay time. To save all mouse settings, there are three separate profiles, which can also be named to your taste.
In the sensor settings, you can choose the polling frequency among 125, 250, 500 or 1000 Hz, the lift-off height (LOD) — low (1 mm) or high (2 mm), and also enable or disable motion smoothing, which in fact controls the angular cursor binding. An interesting parameter is Motion Sync. If you activate it, a warning will appear about increased power consumption, but the level of smoothing of the trajectory, according to the measurements, will become almost ideally low. Five individual sensitivity levels are adjustable from 100 to 20,000 cpi in 100 cpi increments. A little lower, quite accurately in percentage terms, the current battery level is shown.
The Mystic Light tab is responsible for lighting control. Here you can either customize the mouse individually, or synchronize its glow with other suitable components. You can turn off the backlight completely, choose color spectrum effects or ripple, make the backlight one permanent color, or customize it more specifically. Available settings include color, brightness, and effect playback speed.
Ergonomics and testing
The MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless was tested on a plain black Mionix Alioth M fabric mat. The receiver was placed up to 30 cm away from the device, next to the mat. The first impression of the mouse is that it is easy to connect and use. Plug-and-play in its purest form. Light, strong and well-balanced body with the right dimensions and weight, pleasant and dirt-resistant coating of the top panel, tenacious sidewalls and almost complete absence of squeaks and backlashes. The main and secondary buttons work as they should, scrolling is clear and moderately quiet. The glide is smooth, without delay and with a medium level of inertia. The only thing keeping the GM41 from successfully passing the “rattle test” is a slightly dangling power switch. But most importantly, there is no more wire that interferes with the movements of the device. It is unlikely that anyone would want to use this mouse with a direct cable connection and without a charging station.
By the way, a few words about the docking station. It turned out to be extremely successful — stable (thanks to a tenacious rubber leg), easy to use and does not take up much space. The mouse is very easy to put on and take off from this stand, almost to the touch. A full charge from a dry state will take no more than 1.5 hours, so just sometimes leaving the device at the station for a while, you don’t have to worry that the mouse will suddenly run out of power.
The main use case for the MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless is to operate wirelessly via a 2.4GHz receiver. For this part, this device is doing well. The mouse is instantly detected when connected wirelessly, works without delays and lags, never turns off completely and has almost imperceptible inputs and outputs to sleep mode, with no visible drag on the cursor. In order for the device to “wake up”, it is enough to move it slightly or press any button (pressing is necessarily registered by the system).
In terms of autonomy, the manufacturer claims 55 hours with backlight and 80 hours without it. In addition, on the box you can read about 200 hours of «normal» use, but what this means is almost unknown. According to our measurements, the backlight and Motion Sync mode significantly affect battery consumption. It is likely that lowering the polling rate below 1000 Hz would greatly extend the operating time from a single charge, but it is unlikely that someone will do this with a gaming mouse. So, in the all-inclusive mode, the mouse lasted 53 hours of continuous use, which is almost in line with the officially declared parameters. For a hardcore player, this is 3 to 5 days of full immersion in the game. With the backlight turned off, but with Motion Sync activated (the optimal mode, from my point of view), the battery lasted for 116 hours of use. This is actually two weeks of 8 hours a day. With a huge level of anti-aliasing, without Motion Sync and backlighting, the mouse lasted 215 hours. And it’s been almost a month for 7-8 hours a day. In other words, even taking into account battery wear in the future, a gaming mouse has a significant margin of autonomy. Especially when compared to what devices in this class could offer a couple of years ago. And in many respects this is the merit of a new economical (without compromise with performance) sensor.
As before, the weak point of MSI peripherals is its Dragon Center software. It is large in volume, demanding on resources, and a significant part of it does not concern mouse settings at all. We hope that someday the company will pay attention to this point and create at least an alternative simplified driver for their keyboards and mice.
The MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless adopts the new PixArt PAW3370 optical gaming sensor with built-in infrared illumination. It is a more economical version of the reference PMW3360 in terms of energy consumption, which is not inferior to it in all other respects. The native resolution is 19000 cpi, the high maximum speed and acceptable acceleration will definitely not allow even the sharpest players to break the cursor. There are no parasitic manifestations in the work, the separation height can be safely set to a minimum, if the quality of the playing surface allows it. The only caveat is related to the Motion Sync parameter — it is better to keep it on in order to achieve a minimum level of anti-aliasing in the gaming application of the device.
The MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless is a surprisingly successful wireless gaming mouse. First of all, because there is practically nothing superfluous in it (with the exception of the backlight). But there is an excellent energy-efficient sensor, a decent margin of autonomy, a light, strong and comfortable body, good switches and scrolling. All the necessary parameters of wireless operation, in particular wireless delays and timers for the transition between the active and passive states of the sensor, are tuned close to ideal. And the presence of a simple but thoughtful charging station makes the process of replenishing the charge as convenient as it is possible in principle.
There are no significant shortcomings in the device. The bulky MSI Dragon Center software has already been mentioned several times. A stiff cable is needed only to connect the docking station and, in comparison with the wired version of the mouse, is no longer a problem at all.
An important point in the overall assessment of the MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless is its humane cost — the lowest in the class of similar devices with a docking station as of the time of this review. That is why we can recommend it to those who are looking for a high-quality and durable wireless mouse with modern hardware and a built-in battery.