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Xtrfy M42 In-Depth Review: A Great Modular Mouse

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Xtrfy has recently released the M42, an ambidextrous mouse but unfortunately for left-handers, the side buttons are on the left side. It’s quite a dramatic difference from their first mouse, the M4, which was known for its aggressive non-modular ergonomic shape. 

I looked forward to testing the M42, the mouse set itself apart from the market due to the modular capability, you either use the low or high profile back shell included or if you have the gear you can 3D print your own. I am a fan of this approach as it gives the user a lot of customizability, it really allows you to personalise the mouse to your own needs, though initially I was worried this would cause drawbacks such as a drawback in build quality.

The M42 comes in 5 colours for now, which consists of: Black, White, Miami blue, Pink and Retro. I’ve been using the White M42 and the only difference should be the colour.

I’ve been using the M42 for about a month now and have been really getting to grips with it, there’s been some features that I’ve really enjoyed seeing such as: the customizability aspect where you can swap out the back shells. I’ve been one to like the idea of modding mice, so to see Xtrfy release a mouse where you can really personalise something was a big plus for me, especially as you can 3D print your own shells.

I’ve had a good time using the M42 and trying out the two different stock shapes, it’s been a top tier mouse to use and I’ll get into why in our review of the Xtrfy M42.

Our review has been split up to look at the different aspects of the M42, including features like how the switches feel, to how the interchangeable shells make a big difference to the shape, and then to more subtle features such as how the cable stress relief is angled upwards which can make a noticeable difference to cable drag. Xtrfy have packed quite a lot into the M42, this review will help you understand what they are, what they do and if this mouse is for you. Let’s get started!


Xtrfy M42 Specificaitons

Size LxWxH: 118mm x 63mm x 38mm
Weight: 60-62 grams with cable
Ambidextrous: Yes
Sensor: PixArt PMW3389
Cable: Xtrfy EZcord ®
Price: $59-$69
Feet: 100% White PTFE
Number of Buttons: 6
Warranty: 2 years
Stock wireless capability: None
Availability Amazon.com

Packaging

Xtrfy M42 Packaging 1
Xtrfy M42 Packaging 2
Xtrfy M42 Packaging Inside
Xtrfy M42 Packaging Box Contents

The M42 comes in a fairly standard box with a nice graphic on the outside. Inside the box, you’re greeted with the mouse propped up which looks clean, but accessory wise you get: replacement mouse skates, interchangeable back shell, Xtrfy themed keycaps, manual. I was very appreciative that they included replacement mouse skates, especially as I’m not the biggest fan of the stock cable so I’ll be paracording it at some point in the future, I think stock skates should be a standard with all mice nowadays and it’s nice to see Xtrfy keeping up with what the market wants in that aspect.


Sensor and Technical Details

The M42 comes equipped with the Pixart PMW3389, a top tier sensor and one of the best publicly available, sensors are really good nowadays but it’s always nice to have a technical advantage. The 3389 is able to go up to 16,000 CPI, as there is no software with this mouse, the way you change the CPI is with the button on the bottom, the steps available are: 400, 800, 1200, 1600, 3200, 4000, 7200 and finally, 16,000.

Personally, I haven’t had any complaints with how the sensor is implemented on the M42, the CPI variation has felt stable and accurate. Though, out of the box, the CPI variation isn’t great and you’ll need to head over to Xtrfy’s website to download the latest M42 firmware. Polling rate also feels stable from our testing and LOD feels great, I prefer lower LODs and the M42 is low enough for me. In the box, you get a sensor ring skate, these can actually help improve sensor performance so it is worth applying this. Though, it shouldn’t affect the feel of the glide when using the mouse.

All options are configured on the mouse, such as RGB, Polling rate and DPI. You can customise the RGB style and brightness via clicking multiple buttons at once.


Shape

The M42 has quite a recognisable shape, with the lower profile hump it feels more like it an FK2 but a tad lower, however on the higher profile it feels more similar to the S2 butt. In terms of size, I’d say the M42 is more of a medium small mouse, even more so with the lower profile hump. This means that one stock shape will be better for fingertip grip, and one shape will be more suited for claw grip. I’m not a fan of palm grip but when trying to palm this mouse, it doesn’t feel comfortable to me with my 19cm x 10cm hands, however if you have smaller hands it may be possible with the stock shapes. In terms of actual feel, the length of the mouse is nice, not long but not short. Very comfortable. The M1/M2 buttons are low profile but they do have comfort grooves in so they sort of angle upwards towards the front edge, I quite like the feel this provides. There’s not a lot of space between the thumb placement and side buttons but this means they’re very accessible and actually quite convenient.

In regard to specifics, the M42 has a typical right handed ambidextrous shape. The buttons are slightly concave and the shells have a honeycomb design all over, unfortunately the sides don’t have any filled in area, meaning the holes could potentially become annoying for some but with me they felt fine and usable.

Xtrfy have allowed customisation with the M42, meaning the user can 3D print their own shells to make a shape that fits their needs, I’m a massive fan of this approach as it really allows more personalisation and lets one try many different shapes with 1 mouse. I think if they offered more customisation such as hot swappable switches, that’d be even better. But what they’ve done already with the back shell is innovative and I’m all for it.


Stock Shells

Xtrfy M42 Stock Shell 1
Xtrfy M42 Stock Shell 2

Xtrfy M42 vs XM1r Shape Comparison


Xtrfy M42 vs Roccat Burst Pro Shape Comparison


Build Quality

The M42 feels solid pretty much all around, no concerning creaks on the sides or top but when you apply a large amount of force on the bottom, it induces some flex. You can change the DPI by squeezing the bottom, but to me bottom I don’t think bottom flex isn’t an issue, as it won’t affect me during real world usage. The mouse feels sturdy even though it has a honeycomb design, nice to see this here. There are also no rattles when shaking the mouse. With the replaceable shells, you may expect some sort of build quality issue here, however there are none yet, but I’m not sure how long this’ll hold up.


Coating

The M42 is ‘UV Coated’, on M1/M2 it feels a little slippery but as everywhere else has a honeycomb design, it causes the mouse to feel grippy and reduces any slipping. It feels like just a ‘good’ coating, nothing premium but doesn’t give me a cheap feel either. I don’t see any fingerprints after use either, so no real complaints here and it is good enough.


Feet & Glide

Xtrfy M42 Feet and Glide

M42 uses two white PTFE feet with a medium size, they feel pretty smooth but were a little scratchy at first. The feet have a good consistent glide on both the X and Y axis, meaning they’re consistent at the edges. The feet are also rounded and have a good thickness to them, could be a little thicker though, but I assume they won’t wear down quickly. The sensor ring skates included helps CPI stay consistent when pressure is applied on the mouse.


Cable

On the M42, the cable is thick and heavy, it also ‘holds its shape’ so you can get that floating effect with a bungee. I think a bungee with this cable is necessary for me, but I’d recommend you to buy a paracord if you want a lighter, more flexible cable. Xtrfy have gone for the more durable approach with their cable, which theoretically isn’t a bad thing, it means there’ll be less chance of any faults in your cable. The cable is more preference: some of you might like a thicker cable that holds its shape, and if you do, this cable will suit you very well. The cable is also angled upwards, this reduces some of that cable drag, it’s great to see this implemented here.


Buttons

The main buttons use Omron 20ms, they’re well tensioned and provide a fairly satisfying click, with good tactility and minimal hollowness. The clicks are fairly standard, it’s quite a safe choice and the average user will be more than happy. In terms of force, they require a light to medium amount of force to actuate. There is some horizontal play on the buttons, not noticeable in game though. The buttons also have some very slight comfort grooves, which should improve grip. There’s minimal pre/post-travel and they feel pretty responsive.

Side buttons have a little bit of pre travel but do have some post travel, once again I don’t notice it in game, and they feel snappy to use. With the larger hump, the MB4 feels awkward to reach so I wouldn’t mind the placement of the side buttons being a bit closer backwards, but grips can adjust with time. Overall side buttons are pretty good.

Scroll wheel feels good, the steps are well defined, yet the actual scrolling has a good smooth feeling. Sound wise, there’s not a lot when moving the wheel, but the steps are defined and easily noticeable. In terms of actuation force, it requires a medium amount of pressure which I like, makes the wheel feel sturdy and pretty strong. There’s no rattle and a low amount of play with the scroll wheel. The rubber has indentations but personally I can’t really feel them that well, however the rubber used is pretty grippy.

There’s a DPI and Polling rate button at the bottom of the mouse, I would’ve preferred the DPI button to be where the RGB button was instead. However, in reality you’re not going to be clicking these much, the placement of the RGB button doesn’t get in the way and I’ve never accidentally clicked it.


Aesthetics

Xtrfy M42 Aesthetics 1
Xtrfy M42 Aesthetics 2

The RGB on the M42 has three zones, the logo, the led strip and the scroll wheel. With the lighting button on top and certain key binds, you can change the brightness, the effect and the colour. The effects are: pulsing, single colour, rainbow, colour cycle when clicking, colour flicking, colour breath, colour revolve when clicking and as expected: RGB off. Personally, I’m not one to care too much about RGB but if you like it, the M42 offers a vibrant range of colours.


Conclusion

I think the Xtrfy M42 is one of the best releases in 2020, at least one of if not the most innovative release in terms of gaming mice. It sports some good features with a ‘good value for money’ price tag, just a few potential issues such as the cable and how well the build quality will hold up with the interchangeable shells. The holes are also on the larger side which may affect some people.

If you’re looking to try a medium to small-sized gaming mouse, like the idea of interchangeable shells, want a good value for money, then the Xtrfy M42 is definitely a mouse to consider. I recommend it if you like claw or fingertip, if you palm, I’d stay away unless you can 3D print your own backshells. I’d like to see Xtrfy sell shells separately in the future, so the average user can try more shapes. 

In regards to shapes, the higher profile back feels fairly similar to the Viper Mini or MM710 hump, but the smaller back feels more similar to the Zowie FK series and Steelseries sensei combined. If you plan on using the M42 with the higher back to claw, it may also be worth taking a look at mice such as the XM1 or Hati S, as they’re also both great mice for claw with a larger hump. If you plan on using the lower profile hump, there isn’t much else that feels that similar in the market that I have tried, so the lower back would just be a good choice for a grip that has a more fingertip style in it.

Unfortunately, the value for money is worsened if you’re going to get a replacement cable so in that regard, it becomes a more expensive mouse and doesn’t really sport that ‘good value for money’ anymore. I would like to see Xtrfy use a more flexible and light cable, but they’re going for the more durable approach, so they probably won’t change it here. I would also like to see them go even deeper in customizability and allow hot swappable switches, however this could bring up further complications and drive the price up even higher, so what they’ve already done is more than enough.

The Xtrfy M42 is a solid mouse overall and I recommend it, especially if what has been said in this review meets your needs.

Xtrfy M42 Positives:

  • Lightweight and strong build
  • Good stock mouse feet
  • Good value at $59-69
  • Customisable shape
  • Consistent clicks
  • Top tier sensor
  • Low click latency

Xtrfy M42 Drawbacks:

  • Stiff heavy cable
  • Potentially bothersome holes as they’re on the larger side
  • Value may be significantly worsened if you look to purchase a paracord
  • Constantly swapping shells may have negative effect on structure of mouse

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