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i-Rocks Golem M20E: A Gaming Mouse, A Lightning Bug

I won’t lie; ever since the i-Rocks Golem M20E appeared at my doorstep, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to pull it out, photograph it, and play with it.

It’s a pretty weird mouse. But it can grow on you.

It’s big and bulky like a Razer Mamba TE. Parts of it are plasticy and cheap-looking, but other pieces have a higher-end feel, and the whole palm rest glows--in the light of day, it looks chrome-like, but with the lights off, it has the spirit of a lightning bug.

It’s tempting to see the oddball design and little-known Chinese brand name and scoff, but the i-Rocks Golem M20E has, on paper anyway, most of the right stuff.

For example, it has a tried-and-true Avago 9800 laser sensor and Omron switches, and the lighting is pretty, if off-kilter. Additionally, as I’ll discuss further down the page, the overall design in terms of button placement is just about ideal.

i-Rocks Golem M20E
SensorAvago 9800 Laser Sensor
ResolutionThree stages: 400, 800, 1,600 DPI
AmbidextrousYes
Polling Rate125, 500, 1,000 Hz
Onboard MemoryN/A
Buttons-Left and right -Left-side forward/back navigation-Right-side forward/back navigatoin-Click wheel
Programmable ButtonsNone to speak of (forward/back navigation buttons can be turned on or off)
SwitchesOmron
RGBYes
InterfaceUSB
Cable180 cm / 5.9 ft
Dimensions127 x 66.5 x 43.5 mm (LxDxH)
Weight140g
SoftwareNo
OS SupportWindows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10
Price$49.99

Design

According to the image on the box it came in, the i-Rocks Golem M20E can light up in rainbow stripes, but--and I am unafraid to admit this--I was sorely disappointed to find that it does not. Instead, you get a solid color that glows from the big palm rest, from under the scroll wheel, and around the sides. I-Rocks claims that these are RGB colors; it’s hard to dispute that claim if you set the color to cycle and watch the color float from blue to pink to orange to green and so on.

The glowing effect is actually rather impressive, although it would work much better if the rest of the mouse was less flashy; the soft glow effect up against a simpler, more classy chassis style would be ideal.

It appears to me that i-Rocks had in mind a flashy, premium-like look with the Golem M20E’s flashy silver finishes, but even from a distance, those pieces look a little cheap. The company does get points for the fact that the solid silver and translucent silver don’t look much different in broad daylight.

The left and right buttons are hard plastic with a soft-touch finish, and the (surprisingly comfortable) textured side grips are rubberized. Other than the cheap-looking nature of the chrome finish, I actually have no qualms about the materials--except for the fact that the Golem M20E’s chassis is made from at least four different materials.

I find that I personally often prefer a big-bodied mouse, so this M20E suits my preferences well, although at 140g it’s heftier than I like, and the button layout is mostly spot on (if you have about average-sized adult male hands).

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Because the Golem M20E is somewhat long, and girthy, it’s not ideal for claw-grippers. However, regardless whether I used a palm, fingertip or claw grip, the left-side navigation buttons were exactly where I wanted them to be. There are four total navigation buttons, two each on the left and right sides, and I could hit any them accurately and easily--with my thumb on the left side and the knuckle of my ring finger on the right. (With a fingertip grip, though, I found the right side buttons a little tougher, and certainly less comfortable, to click.)

I also found the click wheel lacking. It’s small, and it’s seated too deeply into the chassis. As a result, you’re limited in the physical distance you can roll the wheel backward, which is simply annoying. Worse, I found that the flesh of my index finger kept getting slightly pinched on backward rolls. It didn’t hurt by any means, but it was annoying. The slightly-nubbed and soft rubber finish is comfortable, but the size and seating issues don’t make up for it.

As an ambidextrous mouse, I expected the Golem M20E to have that same slightly awkward turned-in front angle grip that I’ve seen with the Razer Diamondback and Cougar 250M, but I had no such issues with this mouse. Kudos to i-Rocks on that successful design.

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What’s With All The Switches?

There are three large plastic feet under the Golem M20E, one across the front and two perpendicular to it, on the sides. If you flip the mouse over, you’ll see those feet, as well as a strange surprise: switches. So many switches.

There is no DPI switcher on the top of the mouse where you can adjust your settings on the fly. Instead, you can move a switch to 1,600, 800 or 400 DPI. It’s not terribly inconvenient, but it’s certainly less efficient than the alternative. You can adjust the polling rate (125 Hz, 500 Hz, 1,000 Hz) with a different switch.

You can set the color to off, on or cycle with another switch. Again, this design is odd. As the colors cycle, you can pick one by flipping the switch to “Lock.”

The switch jamboree is rounded out by a pair of switches that lock (or unlock) the navigation buttons. You can unlock both sides so the forward/back action works on both (I actually found that I often used the left-side forward and right-side back) or lock down one side or the other.

Quirky Can Be Good

Other than the plastic-looking chrome accents that give off a vibe of cheapness, there’s much to like about the i-Rocks Golem M20E. The lighting is clever, though definitely unorthodox, and the sensor i-Rocks used is one that the industry generally trusts. The design was, for me, just about ideal, including the fact that it doesn’t have that slightly awkward feel you often get with ambidextrous mice.

Putting physical switches on the bottom of the mouse for polling rate and DPI was a bizarre design choice, and if you need to make any adjustments on the fly, prepare to get fragged every time. However, considering how limited the options are, you probably won't be spending too much time flipping switches. 

Where the i-Rocks Golem M20E falls down is in its lack of adjustability. You get just three DPI choices (400, 800 or 1,600 DPI), which is a non-starter for many users, and there’s no configuration software attached to the device, so any settings must be changed physically on the mouse itself.

It’s a quirky mouse, and although there are certainly features missing, for what it is, at $50 you could do worse than this chrome-colored lightning bug of a gaming mouse.

Seth Colaner is the News Director for Tom's Hardware. Follow him on Twitter @SethColaner. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • Colin_10
    Anyone know where I can purchase one of these?
    Reply
  • scolaner
    Anyone know where I can purchase one of these?

    The link is in the spec chart: http://www.mwave.com/mwave/SKUSearch.asp?scriteria=AA78552&pagetitle=I-ROCKS%20M20E%20Illuminated%20Gaming%20Laser%20Mouse#.V0XPIZErJaT
    Reply