Capsule Review: Thermaltake Level 10 M Gaming Mouseby Dustin Sklavos on December 21, 2012 5:37 AM EST
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Introducing the Thermaltake Level 10 M Gaming Mouse
Input peripherals can be an interesting subject to tackle in these tiny bite size reviews. It's difficult to quantify strict performance, an issue ameliorated somewhat by the fact that actual performance (dpi, etc.) can often take a distant backseat to user comfort and the software included. Comfort is a very subjective thing as well; a mouse that's enjoyable to use for one person may be incredibly uncomfortable or even downright painful for another. High performance gaming mice can complicate things, and mice like the Thermaltake Level 10 M even more so.
Picking up with Thermaltake's successful Level 10 branding, the Level 10 M is advertised as being from the same BMW subsidiary that helped design their striking Level 10 enclosure. This mouse is genuinely packed to the brim with features, sporting configurable lighting, adjustable height and angle, four DPI settings that can be toggled on the fly, and seven configurable buttons (not including the four axis DPI adjustment switch). It's an awful lot of mouse; is it the mouse for you?
Thermaltake wants you to know this is a premium product, and it's clearly been very heavily engineered above and beyond the engineering you typically expect to see in gaming peripherals. With an MSRP of $99, it had better be the best.
The Level 10 M features an aluminum base that folds up along the sides; the interior of the mouse is chiefly black matte plastic with a soft finish that's pleasant to the touch. On the left side of the surface, they've actually ventilated it to make sure your hand doesn't get clammy during long gaming sessions. The Razer mice I've used have always left my hand feeling exceptionally clammy, so this is a nice feature. And while the right mouse button is a bit thinner than the left, it bears mentioning that this design is essentially ambidextrous. Thermaltake includes two mouse buttons on both sides of the mouse; "A" and "B" are on the left side, and "C" and "D" are on the right. Only the DPI rocker is on the left side. While ambidextrous mouse designs aren't totally alien, southpaws will probably appreciate a gaming mouse that can cater to them.
Part of that stems from how adjustable the mouse actually is. With the included screwdriver, the user can raise and lower the palm rest of the mouse, as well as rotating it left and right. Yet one adjustment curiously missing is user-configurable weight. There are, however, four DPI settings that can be toggled between on the fly: 800dpi, 1600dpi, 3200dpi, and 5000dpi. These are also configurable in software, as is pretty much everything else.
Thermaltake has certainly pulled out all the stops in design, but how is the Level 10 M in practice?
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garypark - Friday, December 21, 2012 - linkIt seems to me that the comfort of a mouse is less subjective than it is simply individually variable depending on who is holding it. No maker of gloves would suggest that we all wear the same size, but does any maker of computer mice build "sized" mice? Having a mouse that is the correct size for you hand may be the single most important factor in the "subjective" impression of comfort.
DanNeely - Friday, December 21, 2012 - linkI've seen a few custom manufacturers who've sold customized mice in the past (not sure if they still do). I ran across them years ago searching for something left handed an ergonomic; but with sticker prices of several hundred dollars each they were extremely far from mainstream.
I don't see this changing until/unless 3d printing approaches cost/quality competitiveness with mass produced injection molding.
colonelciller - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link3D printed parts are brittle... they should not be compared to injection moulded parts
Cannyone - Friday, December 21, 2012 - linkI have this Thermaltake mouse and am using it now. But honestly I don't like it. The reason is that there are just too many buttons on the left side. This makes it far more difficult to pick up. The original BMW design this was taken from was different.
Sometimes simpler, as in fewer or even smaller buttons, is better. So why do all the new mice that hit the market now days have to come with 8, 10... 15 buttons? Is it just a marketing metric? Whatever the reason I wish some of these companies would at least take the time to build a prototype and let someone "use it" to see if its really functional.
versesuvius - Friday, December 21, 2012 - linkWhat a monster! Who would in his right mind buy this? Or actually use this? It is certain to cause blisters on more than a couple of spots on the hand.
MadAd - Friday, December 21, 2012 - linkI wouldnt game with that if it was the last mouse on the planet.
I have no idea why dont they actually confer with gamers, some of us have been gaming with these peripherals for decades now. I wish I could design my own, it wouldnt look like that for sure.
liffie420 - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - linkALL I have to say is the greatest mouse EVER is the Logitech Marble Trackman FX . Bought one in 1998 (14 years ago) and it still works like a beast. IT was expensive for the time $80 I think, but I would gladly drop $150 for a new one these days. If you havent heard of it look it up. IT is trackball but argubaly the greatest one ever invented. Ig you can get past the looks, give it 15 or 20 minutes and you will never want to use anything else.
DiHydro - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link"And then you get into missing features. On-the-fly DPI switching is grand, but the "DPI shift" functionality of some of Logitech's gaming mice and both of Corsair's is desperately missed. My G500 doesn't have it and I live without because the thing was designed before the concept even existed, but it's here now, and its absence in a brand new premium product is notable."
It would have been a sore mistake if they didn't include on-the-fly DPI switching. You mention that your G500 cannot, but my G5, and the MX518 which it is based off of have it. This is even without the Logitech setpoint software installed. Are you certain that the DPI button on your G500 doesn't switch your DPI settings between 400, 800, and 1600 for defaults?
jonjonjonj - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - linkfirst the bmw case and now this? two of the ugliest products i have ever seen. time i ditch that bmw engineering team. if 80-90% of people are right handed why design mice to be ambidextrous? let left handed people either suffer and use a right handed mouse or go buy a left handed mouse instead of ruining mice that right handed people use. yes i am left handed prejudice. left handed weirdos.
Evil_Sheep - Monday, December 24, 2012 - linkVery stoked that anandtech reviewed this mouse. I was all set to impulse buy this on boxing day but now having read this review I will make sure to try it out in person first. Despite what others have said in the comments, I think the 10M looks f*cking awesome and gives off the impression of a luxury vehicle or a high-end smartphone, which is more than can be said of most of its competition. You can criticize the price but look at the competition, eg the Logitech G700 at $100 comes across as extremely low-rent in comparison. There are plenty of high-end mice in the $80-120 range but none have the industrial design or craftsmanship of the 10M save the Corsair M60/90. If you're going to spend such an absurd amount of $ on an overpriced component, ditching the cheap plastic and rubber for high-end materials is the least that I expect.
I used to be a logitech fan but I have had so many of their mice die on me that I have almost given up on them. IMHO if you spend $50 on a mouse it should last more than 3yrs. MS mice also drive me crazy with their lack of scroll wheel detents which ironically windows also can't handle. And razers are all, to my hand, abnormally oversized. So the search continues....