Hands-on review of the MSI Clutch GM31 Lightweight Ergonomic Wireless Gaming Mouse and Charging Dock

Last August, we reviewed the MSI Clutch GM41 Wired/Wireless Mouse, which offers ultra-fast charging, extended use on a single charge, and great performance, and rated it 9 out of 10 for gaming mice. Since that review, I’ve replaced the Logitech G502 weighted gaming mouse with the MSI Clutch GM41 mouse for several reasons. The MSI Clutch GM41 was exceptionally lighter than the Logitech G502 (without any weightiness), stayed smooth on most mousepad surfaces, was more precise on small movements (ideal for content creation), and offered a less cluttered mouse not only for gaming but also for everyday use.

When the company approached me to test the lightweight MSI Clutch GM31 Wireless Mouse, the latest in its wireless gaming series, which offers more outstanding performance than the GM41 variant, I welcomed the opportunity to test its performance and compare the two to see which offered a better experience overall.

MSI Clutch GM31 Lightweight Wireless Gaming Mouse and Charging Dock: Does the new generation outperform the old?

MSI confirms that consumers will love the design and specifications of the new Clutch GM31 gaming mouse, which offers a smaller form factor with different ergonomics. It uses the optical sensor found in the PIXART PAW-3311 mouse, and delivers up to 12,000 DPI. The microcontroller unit, or MCU, is a Nordic 52833 (nRF52833) SoC, made by Nordic Semiconductor, and offers Bluetooth Low Energy transmissions. The MSI Clutch GM41 has a polling rate of 1000Hz, with a battery life of up to 110 hours.

Speaking of performance, the maximum speed, or IPS, is 300, while the maximum acceleration is 35G. The new mouse weighs 73 grams, uses a 60M Omron switch and three different memory profiles, and comes with a charging base and a FixionFree Type-C to A cable. The Omron switch will allow the mouse to last up to 60+ million lifetimes. The size is 120mm x 64mm x 37mm, which is perfect for little hands. The mouse uses PURE PTFE skates for precision and high-speed movement, the same textured diamond grips, and a Mystic RGB lighting option, providing 16.8 million colors.

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Compared to the GM41, the design has changed from symmetrical to ergonomic but uses the same switches with only one milligram difference in weight. Battery life improved from the GM41, which provided 80 hours. The size and wire connection also changed, with a difference of ten dollars.

But what are we sacrificing? Well, the sensor is the PAW-3370 in the MSI Clutch GM41 Wireless/Wired Mouse, while the Clutch GM31 Wireless/Wired Mouse was chosen for the PAW-3311 sensor. When discussing mouse sensors, Pixart—the company that created the sensor for optical mice, including the two in this review—mentioned that the PAW3370 is ideal for “high speed, high precision, and high precision,” as the PAW3311 sensor uses “low power gaming modes for a gaming mouse application.” The PAW3370 sensor is ideal for wired gaming and offers the option of selectable 1- to 2-millimeter lift detection, but the PAW3311 offers “high-accuracy, high-speed motion detection, and accelerometers.” We get a faster reaction time and lower accuracy in a smaller package than a larger mouse. However, I can assure you that from experience, the response to both is negligible.

The other major sacrifice, which will only affect certain users, is size. The MSI Clutch GM31 gaming mouse is less than an inch long, but where you feel the change is in the mouse’s ergonomics. The predominantly curved feel towards the thumb is more comfortable, especially for long sessions of use. The GM31 is also a bit lightweight, but such a slight difference that I didn’t notice a difference between switching mice.

MSI’s software is the same, as you can control the lighting and effects of RGBs on the mouse and influence button layouts for specific games and DPI settings.

Image source: Jason R. Wilson, Wccftech.

Speaking of MSI’s software, I’ll be honest about my feelings on the matter. I don’t like MSI’s suite of apps, which I already referred to as “bloatware” in my review of the company’s GM41 Clutch mouse. It appears that most of the software provided in the collection is accessible to the manufacturers and designers of the various components and peripherals on the user’s system and can be best controlled by each. Whenever I activate anything from the Mystic Light and Gaming Gear apps, I run into conflicts with other apps or games. Is this MSI’s fault? No. It happens to everyone, and I can’t blame a company for wanting to let users have an easy and intuitive way in one simple place. However, everyone’s regimen is unique, and as far as software goes, everyone’s experience will be different.

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I have the same issues with AMD and NVIDIA GPU focused monitors. It just happens. Similar to clothing when you say, “One size fits most.” There will always be conflicts with drivers and multiple sources feeding into a single source.

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I really appreciate that MSI replaced the Micro USB port and mouse cable and replaced it with a USB Type C connection. The line is still braided, but this connection makes for more standard connections. I rarely use a mouse wirelessly, but it lasted about a week on a single charge. The reason I use the cable above to go wireless is because of interference. Sometimes the mouse doesn’t connect properly, but I’ve also tested this with other computer mice and opted for wired connection to all of my peripherals.

The dongle and charging stand are compatible with the MSI Clutch GM41 Mouse, but do not use the GM41 Charging Station with the GM31 Mouse as the two are not compatible. Charging time is super fast, with 90 minutes clocking in for 110 hours of use. It will give you enough energy in less time to get you back into your games, but only 50% more energy.

One difference between my review of the MSI Clutch GM41 wireless/wired gaming mouse and the newer Clutch GM31 mouse is that they both replaced the Logitech G502 Hero gaming mouse. MSI delivers the smoother feel and precision that gaming and content creation demand. The Logitech mouse felt like it wasn’t sliding across surfaces as nicely as the MSI brand and would slide more, which I attribute to its bulkiness. I’ve also removed the weights, and it’s still an issue. I sacrificed a lot of unused buttons on my Logitech mouse, which is also a bonus. Too many extra clicks on the Logitech mouse derailed the experience almost 100% of the time.

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In terms of features, this is a bit much when it comes to RGB customization. When discussing usage, it is much better, in my opinion, than the larger GM41, but for weight it was practically equal. I replaced my GM41 for its ergonomics and smaller size.

conclusion

Is the MSI Clutch GM31 Lightweight Wireless Mouse the new mouse for 2023? If you’re looking for a smaller form factor, more room on your desk for movement, and you’re looking for a highly interactive, lightweight mouse. At the same time, playing games and being precise while creating content is a great option, especially when looking at a weighted mouse. I recommend the wired option over the wireless one, so I don’t have to charge the mouse between gaming, working, and creating content. MSI’s suite of software might tempt some, but I’d only install the bare essentials because the rest tends to conflict depending on your hardware setup.

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The new MSI Clutch GM31 Lightweight Wireless Gaming Mouse and Charging Dock offers a smaller package with better ergonomics and longer charging life with upgraded charging base, cable and internals.

Positives
  • The smaller size gives more desk space to move the mouse around.
  • Better ergonomics allow for easier gripping, giving you better control during use.
  • The longer use before having to recharge is an absolute bonus.
cons
  • MSI software isn’t great all the time.
  • The sensors may not satisfy picky mouse users.

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