FUNC MS-3 Gaming Mouse Review
Today’s gaming peripheral market includes a dizzying array of mice, each one with its own features but very few of them will cause jaded enthusiasts to stand up and take notice. The FUNC MS-3 is different. It is a unique mouse that represents thousands of development hours, a rigorous beta testing phase and no small amount of fine tuning.
When the MS-3 first showed up in a news story back in January, we were intrigued to say the least since FUNC’s gaming surfaces are universally respected for their quality and longevity. Hardware Canucks’ own branded mousepads are designed and fabricated by FUNC. So with 13 years of excellence under their belts, it was high time for them to finally pair an in-house mouse design with their surfaces. The MS-3 fixes this oversight as it intends to live up to FUNC’s motto of ‘Functionality. Perfected’ alongside the MS-3’s own unique motto of ‘Advantage. Perfected.’
Since this is supposed to be a premium gaming mouse, FUNC has priced it accordingly. At $60 the MS-3 goes toe to toe against Logitech’s new G600, the Razer Naga, Corsair’s Vengeance and Cooler Master’s Storm Sentinel. That’s some heady competition for a company designing their first mouse but from all indications, FUNC has taken their time in an effort to design something special here.
On cursory glance the MS-3 certainly doesn’t follow in the ergonomic footsteps of most ‘gaming’ mice available today. Instead of a heavily modified ambidextrous chassis shape -which most companies use as the foundation for their ergonomics - FUNC has taken the road less traveled. The MS-3’s seemingly bulky design actually flies in the face of early PR images which showed a mouse that looked quite typical, albeit with a matte black surface with orange accents. This isn’t a bad thing but for anyone who wants a compact peripheral, other options will likely be more suitable.
In its current form, the MS-3 is meant solely for right-handed users who prefer to use a full hand, completely supported grip. It uses an extremely wide shape with well-defined pinkie, ring finger and thumb rests for an effortless grip. This does make for a rather large footprint that is ill suited to claw or even some finger grip styles but the unique shape will allow medium to large size hands to rest comfortably and control the action with very little grip pressure. Anyone with smaller hands will likely find the MS-3 to be quite uncomfortable and cumbersome due to its defined indents and secondary buttons being set at predetermined intervals.
Throughout our testing we noticed the rubberized texture which is so well implemented make this mouse a dirt and lint magnet. If you are fastidious and obsess over keeping your peripherals neat and tidy looking, the MS-3 may annoy you to no end but it is easily cleaned.
The FUNC MS-3 is festooned with 10 nearly perfectly positioned buttons. Among the other buttons are the typical DPI up/down selectors which allow for fast sensor sensitivity adjustment. We doubt many will want to use the MS-3’s Avago ADNS 9500 sensor in either its minimum setting of 90 DPI or its maximum of 5670, but there are three preconfigured DPI settings which can be activated with a simple touch. We did find ourselves wishing FUNC had opted to include more than a trio of options by default but the InstantAim button makes up for this shortcoming.
The profile selector button allows access to the customized button maps stored in the MS-3’s 512KB of onboard memory and is located within striking distance of your middle finger. With just a minor movement, changing profiles will be fast and efficient. Also on the positive side the integrated LEDs which show which profile is active are customizable and can display a wide array of colors, including our personal choice of ‘black’ or off.
The ‘InstantAim’ small circular button enables an ultra low sensitivity DPI setting and is located in a perfect position where it can be enabled with your thumb. When it is released the sensor sensitivity goes back to the original preset level. Unfortunately, it is quite stiff and a bit hard to trigger but this is likely to avoid accidental presses during gaming sessions.
It is also worth nothing that FUNC has equipped the MS-3 with high end OMRON switches. In practical terms these mechanical switches should last a lifetime and in all likelihood the sensor or USB cable will fail long before any of the buttons do. The only noteworthy issue with these buttons is the aforementioned stiffness and they will likely take a number of uses before ‘breaking in’. The short travel distance may also be disconcerting to some users who are more accustomed to long throw switches typically found in most mice, but most will quickly grow accustomed to their unique operating characteristics.
Rounding the MS-3’s hardware features are four large ultra low friction feet and a gold plated 2 meter USB 2.0 cable. While the merit of gold plated ports is rather dubious, the 2 meter cable comes with a tight and well designed braid. In addition, FUNC has done away with the replacement feet included by many of their direct competitors or any other accessories for that matter.
While FUNC did get the ergonomics portion of their equation right, they did miss one crucial step: weight customization. Unlike nearly every mouse in its price bracket, the MS-3 doesn’t include any weight customization features which is unfortunate since it only weighs a mere 127 grams. Due to this focus on featherweight construction, true accuracy can be difficult to attain in games that don’t require lightning quick reflexes. Even a simple hatch with cut-outs for small 2 to 5 gram weights would have taken the MS-3 to an entirely new level. Thankfully, the ergonomics and software customization can compensate for this issue if you spend the time and effort finding the right balance of tracking speed versus precision.
Backstopping these well thought out hardware features is a software stack which belies the fact that this is FUNC’s first effort at creating a ‘gaming’ mouse. While this is a plug and play mouse which doesn’t require you to install the software, not doing so would be a mistake since many of the MS-3’s advanced abilities can be accessed lie within.
Simply put, FUNC has created one of the best peripheral customization programs we’ve come across. All the available features are clearly labeled, the layout is fairly intuitive and every item can be seen without having to click through multiple areas. With it, even novices should have very little difficulty in customizing their MS-3 to better meet their needs.
The only minor gripe we have with FUNC’s software is the slightly primitive macro creation system which is a bit limited in its scope. Each macro can only be 20 actions deep and there are no prebuilt actions included with the macro editor.
FUNC’s firs touting into the gaming mouse market clearly shows their dedication to providing enthusiasts with a well-rounded product. The MS-3 may not be unique in its ergonomics, features, specifications or even software, but the sum is greater than its parts. When taken as a whole this mouse is one of the few that doesn’t exhibit any glaring issues and provides an excellent platform for veterans and novices alike. It is an extremely good, if lightweight, wired gaming peripheral with a well thought out and executed design. If you have are looking for a large yet extremely comfortable and highly capable mouse, the MS-3 deserves serious consideration.
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