Light-up dragon symbol or not, the GM41 does feel a little bland - but in all the areas which count, it's a performer. It's super-responsive, excellently weighted, easy to customise, and lasts a long time. If you need simple mousing with maximum accuracy, it's a great buy.
Lightweight and well balanced
Great battery life
Excellent resolution and latency
Limited button options
Somewhat jerky scroll wheel
Not (technically) ambidextrous
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The MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless announces itself pretty succinctly. It's the wire-free sequel to the already weight-cut wired GM41, and it's made for those clutch gaming moments where speed and accuracy count.
That's not exactly a revelation - there's a market full of wireless gaming mice out there - so this'll need to work hard to best them. It's in particular competition with the Razer Viper Ultimate, with which it shares a whole host of probably-not-coincidental design similarities and the exact same weight in the hand - though Razer's wireless mouse puts edge switches on either side, while this is left-only.
It's more expensive than its wired cousin, as if that's surprising, though the MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless isn't super-pricey for something with these specs. At $95 (£70, AU$129) it's on par with (or even slightly cheaper than) many competitors, though we struggled to find it on sale at that retail price - expect to pay a good chunk less.
It's not the cheapest, however. If you're on a budget, something like the SteelSeries Rival 3 offers very similar features for a lot less cash, albeit in a slightly heavier shell; the aforementioned Razer Viper Ultimate, now a couple of years old, may also be available at a similar price if you shop around, and might indeed prove to be the finer choice if you can snag it on a discount.
By merely calling this 'lightweight', it almost feels as if MSI is doing itself down a little. At a stated 74g (2.6oz, or an actual 75g according to our entirely unscientific scales) the MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless does weigh in a hair heavier than many honeycomb-cutout rivals and around 10g heavier than the wired version of this mouse. Nonetheless, it feels generously insubstantial - next to Logitech's already-airy G903, it's far easier to shift across the desk.
What weight it does carry is well balanced; there is, perhaps, a very slight front-heaviness, but pinching the lightly-siliconed diamond pattern edge panels at the natural mid-point doesn't cause it to slop forward or back. Turning the Clutch GM41 over side-to-side in one's hands actually highlights its cat-like insistence on landing on its feet, which is precisely what you'd want from a gaming mouse.
There's a tendency for weight reduced (and, to some extent, cost-reduced) mice to feel flimsy. That's not exactly true here. The main body of the GM41 is rock-solid and steady, but the top buttons could perhaps do with a little extra bracing. The right button, in particular, was a little rattly on our review model, and that's very unlikely to be the fault of the Omicron switch beneath.
There's not an abundance of extra buttons either, though you do get a pair of function switches on the left side, positioned in such a way that the Clutch GM41 remains mostly ambidextrous, at least as long as interested lefties are willing to get a little fancy with their ring finger. DPI control is underneath, on a recessed switch which also acts as a function key for tweaking the RGB palm lighting.
While you can plug a micro USB cable directly into the front of the Clutch GM41 to charge it while you use it (take note, Apple, please, enough is enough) you can also choose to charge it overnight via the included USB dock, to which it snaps with satisfying magnetic precision.
The charging dock also includes USB passthrough, which an attached sticker states is 'only for MSI Dongle using'. While, yes, it's a convenient place to put the tiny wireless dongle, you can pop that into any port - and other things will work in the dock's passthrough port too. Don't tell MSI we tried it.
So how does it mouse? Really well, provided you're the right person for this pointing device - and there's a chance you won't be. If you're really looking for a lightweight finger feel as well as a lightweight, er, weight, the heavier top button force might not be to your liking; we appreciate that it effectively prevents lazy-fingered accidental clicks, but the stiffness (particularly evident in claw hold) is at odds with the outrageous sensitivity of the sensor. And boy, is it sensitive.
An upgrade from the 16,000 DPI eye in the wired version of the Clutch GM41, the PixArt PAW-3370 can reach as high as 20,000 DPI. That's not the highest out there, with Logitech's newest HERO sensor boasting some 24K resolution, but it's still way beyond what even the twitchiest StarCraft pro might need. Since it connects to a 2.4GHz wireless dongle and polls at 1ms, this is about as fast, responsive and latency-free as a wireless mouse can get.
Predictably it can get a bit over-sensitive if you really push it, though you can of course dial things back if you're more of a sweep-your-arm mouser than a wrist-flicker. MSI's software is rudimentary and littered with spelling errors - and annoyingly doesn't seem to recognise that there are more potential mouse buttons beyond left, right and middle, forcing you to perform mental gymnastics if you want to remap the side pair for your favourite game - but it does work, and stores your settings on the mouse making it easy to stay familiar when jumping between machines.
The one thing we found really stifling was the scroll wheel, which travels quite a distance between notches and only registers movement as it drops into place at each notch. That, again, is a preference thing: if you're looking for a looser wheel, or one which will continue travel if you give it a good flick, this ain't it. On the plus side it's grippy, coated in silicone which replicates the texture of the side panels, and has a definite chunk to its notches.
We really couldn't find any off-key notes in the way the GM41 plays. Blasting through multiplayer Quake (the world's finest esport, no arguments please) we found it easy to dial in to and fully fast enough to blast ridiculous rocket shots; clicking through a few rounds of Dota 2 felt natural and unfussy. It does miss those extra macro buttons, particularly given the competition from, say, Logitech's more complex and versatile wireless mice, but if you're more used to raw simplicity in your right hand and everything else being left to the keyboard you'll be happy.
The battery is pretty extensive, with the extra 10 grams over the wired version getting you a stated 200 hours' portable power. We're not entirely sure how accurate that is, but after over a month of day-to-day use Ie had to charge it only twice, which is a pretty good metric, not hurt by the fact this drops into standby reasonably quickly, and wakes up seamlessly when moved.
So the MSI Clutch GM41 Lightweight Wireless is, in all respects, pretty good. Put it this way: we didn't love it to the point that it's in danger of ousting the Logitech G903 from our desk, but we wouldn't complain if we were forced to switch. As a simple, functional, reliable and comfortable gaming mouse, this does its job with aplomb.
Buy it if...
You're playing twitch games
While there is always going to be a die-hard contingent which swears by wired mice and only wired mice, those people are wrong. The 1ms polling rate and outrageous max DPI make the reaction times of the GM41 Wireless absolutely imperceptible from those of a wired mouse. Fight me.
You have a weak right arm
At around 2.6oz (74g), this is noticeably lighter than many of its competitors while losing none of their structural stability. Lengthy sessions are no problem, and it sits in the hand - in palm or claw grip - just fine.
You don't want to plug in
Yeah, yeah, it's a wireless mouse. But it's one which lasts and lasts, and charging (thanks to the magnetic dock) is no chore as long as you remember to put it in its place once you're done for the day.
Don't buy it if...
You need macros
MSI's software ain't great, and while you can (after some fighting) customise each of the five buttons, that's all you get. No side-to-side on the scroll wheel, no reprogrammable extras, just five - and for lefties, it might as well be three.
You're on a budget
It's not super-expensive, admittedly, but its position in the middle ground does highlight that this is a bit boring: there are cheaper mice which are functionally just as good, and a small amount of extra investment could get you a real winner.
You need something substantial
Lightweight is not the only way. Some prefer a heavier mouse which helps keep that right hand more grounded in the heat of the moment, and the remarkable lack of heft here might not suit every arm.
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