MSI Clutch GM41 gaming mouse review
Quick verdict: MSI's first ultralight gaming mouse is fast and feels great in the hand, though its customisability leaves something to be desired.
- Super light while still feeling sturdy
- Textured grips are comfortable and improve control
- Solid tracking performance
- MSI customisation software needs work
- Changing DPI settings on the fly is more cumbersome than it should be
- Stiff cable can cause drag and resistance
MSI has plenty of experience with gaming mice, having released more than a dozen different models over the course of the last decade. There's been a sizeable gap in this portfolio, however, with no mice occupying the increasingly-popular ultralight space.
That changes with the MSI Clutch GM41. This lightweight wired gaming mouse expands MSI's reach to compete with the likes of the ROCCAT Burst Pro and Razer Viper Mini. How does it stack up against these well-established rivals? Let's take a look.
- Light yet resilient body
- Feels good in the hand
- Braided cable is too stiff
Weighing in at just 65g, the MSI Clutch GM41 is as light and fast as you'd expect from an ultralight gaming mouse. 65g is a smidge heavier than some of the honeycomb mice that have found popularity in recent times, but on the plus side, you don't have to worry about dirt, dust and other contaminants sneaking in through the holes and messing up the internal circuitry. I also prefer the smooth, enclosed design of the GM41 over the pock-marked appearance of a honeycomb mouse, but that's purely personal taste.
Despite its light frame, the GM41 feels satisfyingly solid. It doesn't buckle when subjected to a tight, adrenaline-fuelled grip, and the shell feels sturdy enough to survive considerable wear and tear over the course of its lifetime.
MSI has opted for an ambidextrous design with the Clutch GM41. Symmetrical curves accommodate both left- and right-handed gamers but, like a lot of mice, there are only thumb buttons on the left side. Hitting these with your left-hand pinkie or ring finger isn't particularly easy, especially in the thick of the action. For this reason, left-handed gamers will probably want to look elsewhere.
Nevertheless, the hourglass figure of the GM41 feels great in the hand. Each side of the mouse is coated in a ribbed texture that provides a firm grip, enhancing control over mouse movements. The concave curves support a comfortable thumb position that keeps your hand stable even as heat and intensity build over extended gaming sessions.
Above the left-side grip sit the two thumb buttons. They're a little on the slim side, but they protrude far enough out that they're easy to hit without much effort. They're well positioned, too, near enough to the default thumb position to allow for quick access without being so close as to invite accidental presses.
Rounding out the inputs is the scroll wheel. It's quite a bit smaller than most and features a grippy rubber surface that feels nice to the touch. There's no dedicated DPI button(s) below the wheel; instead, there's a single DPI profile button on the underside of the mouse.
While the GM41 sports a braided cable rather than a basic rubber one, it's actually worse than many cheaper alternatives. It's a lot stiffer than other braided cables, bunching up and bending in tight angles rather than draping smoothly across the surface below it. Without sufficient slack, it would occasionally catch on other objects or itself and push back against my mouse movements, forcing me to readjust my aim to compensate for the sudden resistance. Though infrequent, these moments were quite frustrating. I've never run into this issue with other mice before, either.
- Precise and reliable tracking
- OMRON switches are fast and responsive
- Scroll wheel is a step above the competition
Like other ultralight gaming mice, the GM41's slimmed-down frame aids its performance. Whipping it back and forth across the mousepad requires minimal effort, reducing stress on the arm and wrist over long gaming sessions. However, as I mentioned earlier, the stiff braided cable can bunch up on corners, edges and even itself, disrupting your aim with unpredictable bouts of resistance. When this occurred, it had a noticeable effect on my aiming accuracy in games. Targeting specific weak points on enemies and tracking fast-moving foes did not come as easily as normal, and I had to apply more force to my grip to compensate.
Tracking performance is more positive. The PixArt PMW 3389 optical sensor powering the GM41 tracks movements precisely, enabling spot-on accuracy in-game and out. While playing Cyber Hook, the sensor didn't miss a beat as I snapped my aim wildly in search of grapple-friendly surfaces to fling myself through space. Similarly, I had no issues nailing head shots in Destiny 2 and could easily keep demons fixed in my sights in DOOM Eternal.
Click performance is also solid. MSI has equipped the GM41 with OMRON switches, and they respond to pressure with satisfying resistance that delivers clear, unambiguous feedback while still allowing for rapid activation. They feel plenty resilient, too, hardy enough to endure relentless assaults from hammering fingers. MSI rates them for a lifespan of 60 million clicks, and that certainly seems achievable.
I can't neglect to mention the scroll wheel, either. Its firm resistance makes precise adjustments a cinch, but there's enough give to allow for fast scrolling when necessary. The textured surface of the wheel feels great, offering more grip than you get from most competing mice. This is especially helpful if your hand starts getting clammy from prolonged play.
- Dragon Center app comes with a lot of bloat
- Customisation options are less versatile than what most competitors offer
- Can't easily change DPI settings on the fly
Customisation is the weakest aspect of the Clutch GM41, and the blame largely lies at the feet of MSI's Dragon Center software. Unlike most rival apps, Dragon Center requires that you install a whole suite of components unrelated to peripheral configuration. This takes up considerably more hard drive space than other similar apps and is sure to frustrate folks who like to keep their PCs lean and free of bloat.
Once installed, Dragon Center offers fewer customisation options than most of its competitors. You can remap the left and right buttons, thumb buttons and scroll wheel click of the GM41, but the interface to do so is limited. Without recording custom macros, the only mappable functions available to you are other mouse buttons, a few different multimedia functions and DPI switching. Unlike the Razer Synapse or HyperX NGenuity apps, there are no simple shortcuts for controlling volume, booting specific apps or other useful system-level functions. You can get around this by recording and assigning a custom macro, but that's a much more convoluted process that shouldn't be necessary in a piece of modern gaming software.
Beyond the button mapping, there are very few configuration options available. You can adjust the polling rate of the optical sensor up to a maximum of 1,000Hz. You can toggle the optical sensor's lift-off distance between "low" and "high", which affects when the sensor starts and stops tracking movement once you've lifted the mouse off the mousepad. There's also support for angle snapping, which smooths out tracking when you're attempting to move the mouse in a straight line.
Lastly, there are the DPI tiers. You have five tiers to play with, each of which can be set anywhere between 100 DPI and 16,000 DPI. Because the GM41's DPI button is located on its underside, though, you have to lift the mouse up to switch between DPI tiers. This effectively nixes your ability to make quick, on-the-fly adjustments. There's no indicator light letting you know which DPI tier you're currently on, either. This can lead to confusion when cycling through the tiers, especially if the difference in sensitivity between tiers is relatively low.
The obligatory RGB on the GM41 takes the form of MSI's dragon logo, situated on the surface of the mouse where the palm rests. Customisation options are fairly minimal here, too, with only three lighting patterns available: static, rainbow and breathing pulse. It's adequate but undeniably lacking if you're used to the depth of customisation offered by most other big gaming brands these days.
There's also support for "Ambient Link", which synchronises lighting effects across multiple compatible MSI devices as well as Nanoleaf and Philips Hue smart products. There's a wider variety of lighting effects to choose from here, including the ability to sync with certain games so that in-game actions trigger different RGB patterns and effects. Only a handful of games are currently supported, however.
Should you buy the MSI Clutch GM41?
- Buy it if you're after a fast and comfortable ultralight gaming mouse at a reasonable price
- Don't buy it if you're looking for a wealth of customisation options
MSI's first venture into ultralight gaming mice is a success, albeit one with plenty of room to grow. The Clutch GM41 is swift, sturdy and comfortable, and it delivers solid performance across the board. It also suffers from an overly-stiff braided cable, bloated management software and a limited range of customisation options.
These shortcomings aren't enough to drag the GM41 down, though, making it worth a look if you're shopping for a high-performing ultralight gaming mouse at a budget-friendly price.