When it comes to search for the best gaming mouse, what some require is optional for others. While the most hardcore gamers can search for a mouse sensor with the highest CPI counts, a braided cable, and a stack of programmable buttons, mainstream or casual gamers can do with a little less. MSI’s Clutch GM30 (available for $50-$60, at the time of writing) is not quite the entry-level model but saves costs with a lower CPI (counts per inch) count than some similarly priced rivals, as well as fewer buttons. This is our MSI Clutch GM30 Review.
MSI Clutch GM30 Review: Design
The MSI Clutch GM30 isn’t the lightest gaming mouse there is, especially if you compare it to the first-person shooter-focused ones that offer lightweight designs that make throwing over your best mouse pad a breeze. Instead, the Clutch GM30 has a little weight to it at 3.46 ounces (without the cable) compared to the Glorious Model D’s 2.4 ounces or even Razer’s DeathAdder V2 (2.9 ounces). However, it’s still on par with something like HyperX’s Pulsefire Raid (3.35 ounces). Highly competitive gamers looking for a lightweight design should look elsewhere, but many will appreciate the Clutch GM30’s substantive feel.
The matte black MSI Clutch GM30 measures 5.03 x 2.01 x 1.38-inches (LxWxH), which is quite standard (the Deathadder V is 5 x 2.43 x 1.68 inches). It’s the perfectly curved back (hello!) that made it fit perfectly in the palm of my hand that I almost feel that the mouse was made specifically for me. My palm made a home there like my cheek does a well-filled pillow.
MSI is aiming the Clutch GM30 at gamers with medium-sized hands using palm or claw grips. Both handles offer me long-term comfort and are easily accessible by the two programmable and polygonal buttons on the side of the Clutch GM30. Speaking of programmable buttons, there are a total of six buttons, including the left and right buttons, the scroll wheel, and the CPI button south of the scroll wheel. The CPI button lives in a small channel that is also an excellent place to rest your index finger during long scrolling sessions.
The sides of the mouse are also somewhat comfortable resting places, thanks to the double-sprayed soft rubber “dragon scale grips.” I’ve felt softer and more comfortable, but these spots are softer than the rest of the plastic mouse and have enough texture not to slip. Plus, the “scales” stiffness can help with the durability over the months (although I’ve only had the mouse for about 10 days).
Meanwhile, the thick scroll wheel, with aggressive band-like markings, has a forgetful feel that’s not as smooth or desirable as other mice I often use, such as the Cooler Master MM711 or even the non-tensioning Microsoft Wireless Mouse 4000. There were no problems with the stepped movement of the wheel. But for heavy scrolling, it would be nice to have the option to switch to a smooth sliding wheel, as can be seen in the more expensive Razer Basilisk V2 gaming mouse ($80 at the time of writing) or productivity-oriented Logitech MX Master 3 (about $100).
MSI Clutch GM30 Review: Comfort
The MSI Clutch GM30 offers RGB enthusiasts three independently controllable RGB zones (more in the Functions and Software section): the scroll wheel, the channel with the CPI button, and the Lucky Dragon logo that kisses the palm. It’s nice to have so many such things between the left and right buttons, where they usually remain visible. The mouse looks best with prismatic effects flowing down from the top of the scroll wheel to the dragon logo.
Unfortunately, the wire of the Clutch GM30 is not braided and looks just as vulnerable to damage as any other typical, standard cable. But at least the connector seems pretty solid with extra thick plastic and a gold plate on the inside. Moreover, the cable has a plastic housing to make sure that that part of the cable stays 4.8mm (0.19 inches) from the desktop. You can slide that rubber piece of cable up and down with a lot of effort.
After about 10 days of regular use of this mouse, I have noticed that a lot of dust collects in cracks at the bottom of the mouse, but you will rarely look at that. And if you do, the extra dragon will hopefully claim most of your attention.
Features and Software
The Clutch GM30 is supposed to work with MSI’s Dragon Center app to control functions such as RGB lighting and programmable buttons. However, the software would not install appropriately at the time of writing. I contacted MSI, who confirmed the problem. For the time being, this means that the mouse has limited customization options, including, unfortunately, the use of the six programmable buttons.
The RGB lighting of the pointer still wakes me up, but I don’t have easy control over its effects. Without software, you can control the lighting effects by holding down the CPI switch and one of the other buttons. You can still change the brightness (3 levels, plus off), switch lighting effects (9 modes, including steady, breathing, radar, and whirlpool, plus off) and change the speed, direction, or color. Of course, none of this is as seamless – or at all – without software.
MSI Clutch GM30 Review: Performance
The optical PixArt PAW3327 sensor of the MSI Clutch GM30 did well in the Nordlys-story of Battlefield V. Here is a sensor working with polling rates of 125, 250, 500, or a fast 1,000 Hz with 30G acceleration and a maximum tracking speed of 220 IPS. The CPI switch varied between 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200, or 6,200. It was easy to improve on the battlefield without stressing my index finger because I could quickly get the tip of my finger into the groove where it lives or, more efficiently, into the center of the index.
Other mice in this price range bring higher CPI counts (the DeathAdder V2 goes up to 20,000, and the PulseFire Raid goes up to 16,000). But I could easily do quick scans of the Norwegian battlefields and quickly stop to locate an enemy’s small helmet. The mouse also kept track of my most erratic movements, such as jerking my head about to find an enemy.
Another notable feature of gaming was the clickability of the Omron switches on the left and right buttons. They are supposed to be durable and last over 20 million clicks. In our tests, they offered a quick response that you wouldn’t see in other gaming mice, such as the Cooler Master MM711. During rapid-fire attacks, the two buttons felt as eager as I did to get into the action with audible, confident clicks to guide the MP40’s pops.
The scroll wheel offers a line-by-line movement and doesn’t move far, even with my most potent flicks. In games where I would scroll a lot, such as if I were to use it to spam a critical attack, it would get a little tiring. During gaming, it was easy to turn on one of the two angular buttons on the side because my thumb was usually on it, and they jumped out sharp. When I got my way, the front one would be a bit further back, so it would be just as easy to press as the back one.
The cable of the mouse never crashed while playing or working during my week and a half. It was deliberately raised 4.8mm, and the plastic housing made sure that, plus, I could slide that down to make sure the cable would never become a rut.
The MSI Clutch GM30 sells for $49.98 (£40/AU$78), bringing it up to the level of other mid-tier gaming mice, such as the Razer Basilisk Essential ($49.99/£40/AU$78) and the Corsair IronClaw RGB ($59.99/£48/AU$93).
MSI Clutch GM30 Review: Conclusion
The MSI Clutch GM30 is a winner when it comes to design. Despite the dragon emblem and RGB lighting, it looks tasteful. More importantly, it’s well-curved design, spirited Omron switches, textured side handles and easily accessible buttons make long-term use – whether gaming or working – not only comfortable but also enjoyable. Similarly, priced rivals like the HyperX Pulsefire Raid ($60) and Razer DeathAdder V2 ($70) bring with them higher CPI counts and more buttons. However, the average gamer will be able to navigate well with the MSI Clutch GM30.
For a palm/claw grip companion who will gravitate your hand towards an excellent looking RGB, the MSI Clutch GM30 is a great value choice.