On my quest to discover the ultimate gaming mouse (and to fuel my unhealthy mouse addiction), I wanted to try out the unique shape and 2000hz polling rate that the Minos X5 mouse offers.
That alone with make this review unique because while other reviewers simply skimp over the 2000hz polling rate or have had the mice sent to them for review, I paid for it with my own money to see if it was truly worth the hype.
And then I tested it, a lot.
I went as far as modding the mouse, removing all the excess weight, tweaking all the options to see how far I could push the performance.
At the end of the day, I have to say… it’s a damn good mouse but it does have it’s shortcomings.
The Mouse Shape: Did Cougar Nail It?
Make no mistake, the Minos has a unique shape that is smaller than your average mouse. It also feels a little wider than usual which means you’ll be aiming with finger grip rather than a palm grip.
I personally believe this is the more accurate way of aiming and this mouse forces this aiming technique upon you (because there is no other way to hold it… unless you have TINY hands).
In practice, this is a good thing because once you get used to the shape, you’ll likely find that your gaming accuracy will improve. It took approximately 1 week of usage before I fully settled in and started to notice the improvements. Contrastingly, I was able to pick up the Logitech Wireless Pro mouse and I instantly felt comfortable with it.
(Side note/rant: most other “mouse reviewers” have mice sent to them and won’t even use a mouse for an entire week before producing a verdict. This might be fine if you’re reviewing a conventional mouse however for specialized mice that push the boundaries, this isn’t enough time to for them to fully appreciate it.)
While I did mention and notice that the odd shape forced me to aim in a different way, it ALSO caused a little pain in my ring finger (that’s the one next to your pinky) after long gaming sessions. The shape of the Minos X5 forces you to use your ring finger to control the sides of the mouse and while this is fine for an hour or so, after a while, the lack of a resting place for your ring finger results in a bit of rubbing & inflammation. At it’s peak, the pain was so bad that I had to switch back to the Rival 310 for a few days in order to let the ring finger heal.
And that’s when I noticed the difference with the polling rate…
2000Hz Polling Rate Using the PMW 3360 Sensor
Sometimes changes are immediately apparent. For example, going from 60hz to 144hz refresh rate on your monitor is light night and day. (If you don’t notice the difference, then you’re reading the wrong article.)
Some changes, such as the 2000hz polling rate, are more subtle… but are not to be discounted. As soon as I started using the mouse, I sensed it was extremely responsive. Was it the 2000hz rate? Or perhaps it was the new shape? I couldn’t tell at the time.
It’s only when I switched BACK to a ‘normal’ mouse (the Steelseries Rival 310… which is an amazing mouse) that I noticed how 1000hz felt sluggish in comparison with 2000hz.
While it might be hard to describe with words (I’ll try), it’s something you have to experience for yourself to understand.
You don’t notice it when you’re performing big movements because once the mouse starts moving, the responsiveness doesn’t matter. When you DO notice it is when you’re performing tiny micro-movements that require small adjustments.
The responsiveness of 2000hz enhanced my ability to make tiny corrections when I was aiming. For example, flick shots with Widowmaker in Overwatch (equivalent to railgun shots in Quake) or even tracking with the lightning gun in Quake (equivalent to tracking with Tracer in Overwatch).
These actions require a high level of micro-correction in order to land your shot and that’s where the responsiveness of the Cougar Minos X5 came into play. I dare you to get used to the mouse for a few weeks and then go back to an ‘older’ mouse. You’ll see what I mean.
Note: I believe that the faster the rest of your setup is, the more you’ll notice it. If you’re barely hitting 60 FPS, then it’s likely that the difference will be hard to notice. My test hardware comprised of an 8700k running at 5.1ghz, 3700mhz DDR4, a GTX 2080 TI and a 240hz ULMB monitor so most games ran at over 300 fps which helped make subtle changes more apparent. While at the time of writing this review, this is considered fairly powerful, in a few years we’re probably going to have bargain laptops or even cell phones outperforming this setup.
Cougar’s Choice Of Components: Cord, feet, buttons, mouse wheel.
The mouse feet were fine: Nothing special but on par with other manufacturers. I didn’t notice any resistance or scratching however they aren’t as good as the Finalmouse Air58 feet or the 3rd party Hyperglides feet. While the latter are amazing, the Minos X5 was just good.
The buttons were adequate as well. You won’t have any issues but there is nothing special about them either. The Minos X5 had perfectly average clicks comparable to other mices in the segment. Logitech and Finalmouse seem to have better mouse switches with more rewarding clicks.
The mouse cord was a little disappointing though. When compared to braided, paracord or even wireless (Logitech GPro / G502 Wireless) mice, the standard ‘old school’ rubber cord of the Minos produced a bit of resistance which was annoying. While this would have been fine a few years ago (when nearly ALL mice had rubber coating), other manufacturers have been pushing the envelope with regards to the feel (rather, the non-feel) of the cord.
For the ultimate mouse, I would personally replace the stock rubber USB cord with an aftermarket paracord.
The mouse wheel was average as well with adequate scrolling and clicks. Nothing special but nothing out of the ordinary either.
To sum of the Minos X5 experience, you’re getting an amazingly responsive mouse that will help you aim as well as you possibly can while everything else will be normal.
Finally, a manufacturer that gives you all the options that you want without forcing you to opt-in, register and set up a cloud account in order to use your mouse. Cougar’s software is among the best available, providing you with all the options you could ever want such as DPI adjustments (4 profiles), acceleration rate, lift off distance, polling rate, an amazingly intuitive macro editor, and configurable lighting without any bloatware.
You don’t have to scroll through a bunch of pages to change your DPI settings, you don’t have to confirm passwords to change the lighting, it’s just all there in a simple, lightweight software package you can download from their website.
Rant: While companies like Razer, Steelseries and Logitech are all trying to force you to register-to-configure your mouse, and Finalmouse decided it wasn’t even worth making software (f’it, they don’t need software!) Cougar is one of the few remaining companies that delivers everything up front without any strings attached.
- The most responsive mouse-to-date, combining the 3360 sensor with 2000hz polling rate.
- Small, finger-grip optimized shape with good grips that is optimized for aiming.
- The software is lightweight, highly configurable and intuitive. You don’t have to register and sign in online to configure your mouse! I wish every company had software like Cougar’s.
- The buttons are as average as they come. Chances are, you won’t notice or think about them.
- The mouse feet are average.
- The weight is average at 88-91g (depending on how you measure it with the cord adding weight to the scale or not). If you develop an addiction to mice, then you might find yourself drilling absurd holes and removing plastic in the mouse in order to drop another 5g of weight (as illustrated below).
- The shape can be uncomfortable for long gaming sessions. Think of this like a race car… it’s either good on the track or good on the street but rarely good at both. This mouse is a race car that performs amazingly well in games but isn’t ideal for long term desktop usage.
- With a mouse geared towards performance, I would have appreciated a better cord that didn’t have as much resistance.
Verdict of the review
The Cougar Minos X5 mouse is one of my favorite mouses because it focuses on performance first and makes compromises in all the right places (at least, from a pure gaming perspective). This mouse is slightly uncomfortable, has average buttons and isn’t trying to make a fashion statement with custom haikus.
However, it IS designed to help you win. And at the end of the day, that’s what I want. The sensor, 2000hz polling rate and shape create the most responsive mouse to date which results in better shots and higher (subjective) accuracy.
At the end of the day, I’d rather have bloody fingers and sore hands… and a victory. I can’t stand losing and the feeling of frustration is 100x worst than anything else I can imagine.
If you want a normal, comfortable, day-to-day mouse, this isn’t for you. The Rival 310 and Logitech G Wireless Pro are better choices for that. If you want to win at all cost and are willing to sacrifice (both a week of time to get used to the mouse and ever-lasting comfort), then this might be the perfect mouse for you.