Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition Mouse
Swedish-based Mionix was founded in 2007 and is a producer of computer peripherals designed for enthusiasts, with an emphasis placed on craftsmanship and ergonomics. Manufacturer of the popular Naos and Castor series of mice, Mionix recently launched a lineup of products known as the GetFresh collection that is designed to help users give their setups a unique visual flair.
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Taking a break from the typical black colored peripherals and accessories we see pumped out by manufacturers left and right, Mionix has designed their GetFresh collection of peripherals and accessories around popular food items such as donuts, french fries and ice cream. I know, it sounds silly and is a bit hard to visualize, but Mionix has developed some visually appealing products that can bring a new aesthetic to a boring old PC setup. The lineup of Mionix Lifestyle products includes mouse pads, wrist rests, mice and more. While I am not sure that the market was clamoring for this radical change in peripheral design, I certainly don't see any problem with it and like the fact that Mionix has stepped out of the box with this stuff. Despite Mionix marketing their Lifestyle products with pictures of them perilously close to food items, I highly suggest that you do not eat donuts and nacho fries around your PC.
Taking a proven design and updating it a bit, the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition puts a visual spin on one of the most comfortable, well-built gaming mice in the industry. The original Castor came out a couple of years ago and quickly gained praise for its amazing shape and ergonomics, paired with consistent tracking performance thanks to the Pixart PMW 3310 sensor. The 2017 Mionix Castor refresh didn't just see Mionix update the popular mouse with new colors, Mionix has also improved click latency on the 2017 Castor, as it was an issue that plagued the original version of the mouse. Rather than emulating up to 10,000 DPI as they did with the original Castor, Mionix has set the DPI on the 2017 Castor to a reasonable maximum of 5,000, which will reduce processing latency. The original Castor was a fine mouse, Mionix knows that and wanted to tweak it a bit in an attempt to make it more appealing to a wider audience.
Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition Features
- 5000 native DPI optical sensor (PMW-3310)
- Adjustable DPI-settings in 50-steps
- 6 fully programmable buttons
- 128 kB built-in memory
- Soft touch coated surface
- Truly ergonomic design
- 93 Grams
- Compatible with Windows and MAC OS.
Mionix covers their mice with just a one year warranty in North America, while Europe gets two years due to their laws. Mionix doesn't have US offices to handle RMA requests, so if you buy Mionix products, be sure to do so through authorized dealers, like the official Mionix Store on Amazon
The Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition mouse ($59.00 shipped
) features a tried and true Pixart PMW-3310 optical sensor. The Pixart PMW3310 is an accurate sensor that works quite well, offering no acceleration or jitter in typical DPI ranges, but it is becoming quite outdated and has been overshadowed by the PMW3360 sensor, which is also from Pixart. The Pixart PMW-3360 has been available for quite some time now and offers latency and DPI/LOD improvements over the PMW3310. I am not sure why Mionix didn't update the Castor with the PMW3360 sensor, beyond it being a cost-saving measure. With that said, in actual use scenarios at the 700-1200 DPI range that I play at, it is hard for me to tell a difference between the PMW3310 that has been integrated into the Castor and the PMW3360 sensor that is integrated into various mice I've tested over the past year. Still, it is a shame that Mionix didn't outfit their latest mice with the PMW3360 sensor from Pixart, as all of the other major mouse manufacturers are doing this, or using variants of the PMW3360.
Since the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition and the other Mionix Lifestyle edition mice don't have any integrated LED lighting, they come in just bit lighter than the original Castor, which had RGB lighting zones at the logo and scroll wheel sections. The original Castor was already pretty lightweight, coming in at under 100 grams without the cable, but the new edition tilts the mouse even closer to 90 grams without the cable, making it very lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition Unboxing
The box of the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition continues the trend of unique packaging and presentation from Mionix. The front of the box simply has the pistachio-colored Castor Ice Cream in a top-down view with the Mionix logo obscuring the center of the mouse. The Castor model name is underneath the image of the mouse, with the tagline "for gamers and artists" underneath. I am used to seeing DPI specifications and other marketing on the front of mouse packaging, but Mionix has gone with a really simple approach for the front of the Castor Ice Cream box.
Mionix pokes a bit of fun at their competition and got a chuckle out of me by noting "Too Much DPI Optical and Zero Acceleration Sensor" on the side of the Castor Ice Cream box. Until now, I've never heard a company try to market a mouse as smooth, fresh and addictive, but Mionix is busy making mice with ice cream and french fries as inspiration, so I can't be too surprised by any of their marketing strategies.
Somebody once told me that if you have to ask if you're in, you're definitely not in. Here is a bit more of that cheeky marketing from these Swedes at Mionix on the side of the Castor Ice Cream Edition box.
The back of the Castor box takes a break from being quirky and unique to be boring and technical. While Mionix provides basic specifications for the Castor, you'll notice that a lot of potentially important information is missing from the box of the Castor Ice Cream. Users consider weight and dimensions of a gaming mouse to be important factors for purchase, but that information isn't available on the rear of the box of the Castor. Mionix outfitted the Castor with a PMW3310 optical sensor and Omron 20 Million Click main switches, both quality component selections that don't get any mention on the box. I know Mionix has a unique marketing approach for this mouse, but giving users basic specifications would be really helpful. I couldn't even find the weight and dimensions for the Castor on the Mionix Castor Ice Cream product page
, nor was the warranty information listed directly on the page.
Possibly the first product I've ever unpacked that ended up making me hungry, the Mionix Castor Ice Cream inner sleeve is lined with various graphics from the Get Fresh series from Mionix. We see ice cream bars, donuts, french fries and a shark fin. I am not sure who at Mionix was thinking of delicious snacks like french fries, donuts and ice cream and then suddenly thought of shark fin soup, but it certainly is weird.
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The Castor is shipped in a custom clamshell that perfectly encases and protects the mouse during shipment, with the cord going into a small cut out in the bottom portion of the clamshell and wrapped nicely underneath.
Mionix has stamped "The Craftsmanship" onto the bottom clamshell that the Castor Ice Cream Edition mouse ships in. The presentation here is really simplified and places a lot of attention on the mouse, which has a really cool looking, smooth, consistent color that reminds me a lot of Blue Moon Ice Cream.
Mionix includes a Quick Start/Warranty guide and a couple of Mionix stickers with the Castor Ice Cream Edition mouse.
The custom packaging that Mionix shipped the Castor Ice Cream Edition in was indicative of a high quality product, with Mionix ensuring the mouse was nestled properly in the package, with a simple, clean presentation mixed with a bit of creativity and humor. I do think that Mionix should focus a bit more on including more technical information on the packaging for the Castor Ice Cream Edition, along with the product page on the Mionix website, as pertinent information like weight and dimensions aren't readily available.
Let's take a closer look at the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition on the next page.
Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition - A Closer Look
Offering a really consistent rubber-like finish that is soft to the touch, with a very smooth feeling when running your fingers across it, the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition evokes a premium feel that few other mice can compete with. The light blue soft touch coating of the Castor Ice Cream doesn't pick up fingerprints during use and does a great job of rejecting dirt and dust, an issue the original Castor struggled with just a bit. Rather than an RGB logo, the Castor features a two-tone ice cream themed color scheme, with the logo a darker blue than the rest of the mouse.
The combination of materials that Mionix uses along with the ergonomic design of the Castor has always kept it rated in my top mouse category in terms of feels, but the click latency issues of the original were a let down that kept me from putting the mouse in my top category. Now that Mionix addressed the click latency issue, the Castor has become more viable for competitive gaming. Most people should be comfortable holding the Castor, as it measures in at 122.46 mm long, making it just shy of five inches from front to back. My hand measures 7 1/2" inches from the base of my palm to the tip of my middle finger and palm grip on the Castor felt great, with the tips of my fingers resting right towards the front of the buttons, without going over the front, but users with larger hands may run into issues.
The Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition has a pretty prominent mid section that tapers down in the rear palm area and towards the bottom while flowing outward as it moves up the mouse towards the front, which gives it a very substantial area to grip while allowing the fingers plenty of area to rest. The grip length, or side-to-side measurement of the Castor, is about 5 1/2", which gives an ample area to hold the mouse without making too wide that it becomes less nimble.
With a somewhat compact design with a focus on ergonomics for right handed users, the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition sports six buttons that are in familiar, typical locations. The side buttons of the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition have excellent placement that puts them right under my thumb, protruding enough that they can be pressed easily, while providing very crisp, consistent clicks. The side grip material of the Castor has a smooth feeling paired with excellent grip, without being so aggressive that it causes discomfort over the long term.
With a left side that slightly indents to allow for proper thumb placement within a comfortably textured side grip area and right side with unique ridges to rest your fingers on or hold when in claw or fingertip grip, the Mionix Castor lends itself pretty well to comfort along with allowing for a variety of grip styles, provided your hands aren't too large, in which case you may be limited to fingertip and claw grip with the Castor. The curved ridges do kind of force the position of your fingers more than a flat side would since your fingers will position into the grooves, but I found the Castor to be extremely comfortable.
The main buttons of the Castor Ice Cream Edition have a very crisp, refreshing click that is consistent across both buttons. The single-piece top shell design of the Castor prohibits the individual main buttons that have become common on so many gaming mice, but these main buttons feel great and have an excellent tactile response, with no issues of inconsistency or the plastics rubbing together during simultaneous button presses. The scroll wheel has a crisp click, while the scroll action is tactile, but just slightly muddier than I would like. Mionix has placed the DPI change button of the Castor in a clever location and it is easy to press, while providing enough resistance that I wasn't constantly changing my DPI on accident while playing games.
The bottom of the Castor Ice Cream Edition shows us that the Pixart 3310 has been balanced pretty well near the center of the mouse, which should ensure proper tracking without improper bias towards the front or rear during movement. There are two PTFE-coated mouse feat included on the Castor Ice Cream Edition, with each piece covering a substantial amount of area at both the front and rear of the mouse, providing proper balance and very smooth movement across both cloth and hard surface mouse pads. The mouse feet on the Castor Ice Cream Edition are easy to remove, as Mionix has included slots to slide a removal device like a small, flat screwdriver under the pads to pry them up without having to scratch the underside of the mouse.
The Mionix Castor comes with a six foot long braided cable that matches the color of the mouse, all the way down to the USB connector, which has a Mionix logo, though no gold plated connector. I normally don't like braided cables on mice, as they tend to fray and snag, but Mionix is using a really thin, lightweight cable that has a nice coating that doesn't grab or snag on my desk so much. There is a rubber reinforcement for the cable where it enters the mouse to prevent long term wear. With a mouse bungee installed, the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition cable is really easy to manage, which allowed the mouse to be used in a really smooth fashion.
Mionix Hub Software
The Mionix Hub software is required to adjust settings such as DPI, macros and lift off distance for the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition and is available for download directly from the Mionix Website for both Windows and MAC OS
. For this review, we downloaded version 1.5 of the Mionix Hub software, which clocked in at 40.5 MB. The Castor Ice Cream was shipped with the latest firmware version, v0.16, which was verified by the Hub software.
There was a bit of confusion on my part during the initial installation, because Mionix lists two versions of firmware and software for the Castor on their site. This is because Mionix hasn't done a good job of separating the older model Castor from the new one in the download section and they are listed together, so it is unclear which version of software or firmware a user should get for their particular Castor.
The Mionix Hub software worked well, with the buttons section allowing each of the buttons on the Castor to be reassigned to different functions, including recorded macros. The performance section of the Mionix Hub was laid out in an easy to use fashion and allowed for multiple DPI levels to be set for toggling, along with adjusting lift off distance and angle snapping. The default lift off distance of the Mionix Castor was perfect for me, but it is nice to see them include the ability to adjust this setting with Mionix Hub. The Mionix Hub quantified gaming section was an interesting area, as it provided information that a lot of users may find interesting, such as the current speed the mouse is traveling at.
Mionix Castor Ice Cream In Use
Playing games like PUBG and Battlefield 4 with the Mionix Castor was an enjoyable experience, as the mouse tracked well while providing a very comfortable surface to rest my hand on. I never noticed any issues with button consistency and felt very confident while using the Castor Ice Cream Edition, as it had a reassuring feel paired with responsive performance. I didn't notice any issues with tracking and while the Pixart 3310 may be aging, at the 1200 DPI that I play games at, it seemed to be as accurate as any of the mice I've tested over the past year. Click latency was fine on the Castor Ice Cream, with my average on The Human Benchmark coming in at 189 MS, right on par with the fastest mice I've tested.
With excellent ergonomics, an amazing feel and solid build quality that all lend themselves to a solid day to day experience, along with pulling off duty as a solid competitive gaming mouse, the Mionix Castor Ice Cream truly impressed me. Let's wrap up this review and see how the Castor stacks up with some of my current top mice on the next page.
Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition - Stylish and Capable
Just like the original Castor, the Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition is one of the best mice on the market in terms of how it feels in the hand. Now that Mionix improved click latency and processing time on the mouse, it is more responsive than previous iterations and felt great during gaming sessions and day to day use. Everything on the Mionix Castor felt smooth and the mouse has a total premium look and feel to it. The Mionix Hub software worked very well, though I do miss the surface calibration tool available in the previous Castor software that allowed you to see how well the mouse worked with your particular mouse pad.
It is time for Mionix to update the Castor with the Pixart PMW3360 sensor so that it can compete realistically with mice like the Logitech G703, SteelSeries Rival 310 and Zowie EC2-B, all of which use the Pixart 3360 or a variant of it. I feel like Mionix has had two years to update the Castor and that they half-stepped the evolution of the product and didn't give gamers the best possible mouse they could. The lack of available detailed information on the mouse, like the weight, dimensions and more, was a bit of a let down, as it seems like Mionix is going for surface appeal and style, but forgetting the basics.
My favorite wired mice right now are the Zowie EC2-B ($69.99 at Amazon
) and SteelSeries Rival 310 ($53.93 at Amazon
), both of which the Mionix Castor Ice Cream ($59.00 at Amazon
) compares well to, with the EC2-B and Rival 310 being more suitable for competitive gamers due to superior sensor in use. Compared to any of the mice I've tested, the Castor simply takes the cake when it comes to the in-hand feel and comfort over time, so if those are important to you, the Castor definitely deserves your consideration. Mionix has had a great mouse in the Castor for a couple of years and the improvements they made on the latest editions as part of the Get Fresh series are definitely welcome, I just feel like a Pixart 3360 sensor would have put this mouse into top contender territory, rather than having me wonder why Mionix left the Castor behind.
Legit Bottom Line: The Mionix Castor Ice Cream Edition is an extremely comfortable, visually appealing mouse that offers excellent tactile response, but Mionix outfitted it with an aging Pixart 3310 sensor while all of the current top mice are using the Pixart 3360 or variants of it.