Lighting on the Havoc is used for both looks and functionality, indicating the settings currently selected. You’ll need to associate which colors are bound to which profiles in the software, but seeing that the scroll wheel, logo and buttons are purple should tell you quickly that you’re on profile 3, for example. The LED indicator in the corner of the left-click button is a nice visual of which DPI level the mouse is set to, but I did find that certain angles are hard to see at a glance, since this is placed on the decline facing away from the user.
Cooler Master specifies the coating material as rubber paint, and that’s true for about 80% of the mouse. In fact, the left side of the Havoc is designed with a thicker rubber grip area for the thumb, texturized with thin fins that run vertically for the thumb. This “rubber paint” flows over to the top of the mouse, in the palm and left-right click areas with really no problems other than it likes to show finger grease.
The right-side of the mouse, however, is a straight glossy finish. I’m not a fan of this material finishing in general, as it so easily shows any sort of dust, debris, or grime. In this case it goes beyond looks. Functionally, the gloss finish makes maintaining a grip on the Havoc very difficult. Cooler Master markets the Havoc as a palm-grip style mouse. While the definition of grip styles vary, it’s generally accepted that the mouse is controlled by the “pinching” pressure between the thumb and the ring/pinky fingers on either side. Sure enough, using the Havoc my thumb is steady, but I’m constantly re-adjusting my ring and pinky finger as they are sliding on the glossy surface.
Otherwise, the Havoc is a generally comfortable mouse especially those with a larger hand, which may be an indirect goal of the mouse. As mentioned, previously the only mouse to feature the Avago 9800 sensor was the Sentinel II, which had a wide base but was actually fairly thin when it came to the finger/palm rest areas (the Inferno featured a Phillips Twin-Eye that maxed out at 4000 DPI).
Continuing with features that are large-hand-friendly, the Havoc is also similar to the Inferno with a wide scroll wheel. As opposed to the Sentinel II, and even some other models such as the Spawn or Xornet, both the Inferno and Havoc have a much wider wheel.
On the other hand, I would’ve liked to see either a larger middle button on the side, or just two larger buttons. The middle button (button 7 in the software) is great for push-to-talk binding, but with wider buttons to the north and south it’s susceptible to accidental presses. If you don’t change the default assignments, button 8 cycles profiles which may have different DPI settings per level. More than once I was thwarted in game when I suddenly dropped half my DPI.
The Havoc works well on a variety of surfaces, due in part to the sensor (aside from a few acceleration quarks if you’re switching surface types often) and also the fact that the perimeter of the mouse is almost all Teflon footing. Normally, these types of feet are in the corners of the mouse, run the length of the rear or something similar. The Inferno, for example, has two elongated oval pads in the left and right rear corners and a wide pad at the nose of the mouse. The Havoc features feet that run essentially the entire length of the mouse on the left and right hand sides, merging with a third that covers the rear of the mouse. While there isn’t footing uniquely for the nose of the Havoc, the top of the two side pads provide some coverage, leaving only a couple of inches naked.