|Thermaltake Level 10M Gaming Mouse|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 09 December 2012|
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Level 10M Mouse Final Thoughts
A pointing device is the most personal choice you can make in your computer hardware, given the options available. Since there's no "perfect pointing device", it follows that there's no one device that everyone will like.
The Thermaltake Level 10M Mouse is part of Thermaltake's "Tt eSports" lineup, which includes a mechanical keyboard, a headset, mouse pad, and other accessories. Like the original Level 10 case, it's the product of a design collaboration with BMW, and like the Level 10 case, it sacrifices some functionality on the altar of design. Most gaming mice have adopted a design wherein the top of the mouse bulges up to support your palm, and the sides of the mouse are contoured for your fingers and especially your thumb. The Level 10M mouse uses a slimmer, more "classical" design typically seen in non-gaming mice, and this simply didn't work as well for me as the more common gaming design.
The mouse is beautifully made, tracks perfectly, and you can feel the precision and quality with every button click. However, the placement of the buttons on the left side renders them too vulnerable to unintentional clicks, and the software suffers from a number of usability and documentation issues. The concept of storing the macro definitions in the mouse has its advantages, but having to manually switch macro profiles does not, especially when all you see on the screen is an uninformative "P3" (profile 3) when switching, instead of the name of the profile. After reviewing gaming keyboards whose drivers automatically load the macro definitions for a game when the game is launched, I wonder why I have to do this.
On the other hand, if you don't routinely play more than five games at any one time, you'll probably remember the macro definitions for your profiles.
Level 10M Gaming Mouse Conclusion
This is only the fourth product that Thermaltake has graced with the "Level 10" appellation. The first was the $800 Level 10 case, and the second two were lower-end (although still expensive) "Level 10 GT" cases. At an MSRP of $100, the Thermaltake Level 10M Gaming Mouse is very expensive for a wired mouse, especially considering that you can get the same tracking precision, macro features, and lighting effects in mice that cost $40 less, such as the ROCCAT Kone Pure Gaming Mouse. What you're paying for here are the BMW design and the very heavy duty construction.
Performance? With up to 8200DPI, perfect tracking, and high quality switches, the performance of the Level 10M mouse couldn't be any better...mechanically. It seems, though, that with the utility software, appearance was more important than function and documentation. I don't see why a software manual couldn't be included on the driver CD of a $100 mouse.
Appearance is a big win. While not as dramatic as the Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. mice, the Level 10M has the same sleek Bauhaus aesthetic as Thermaltake's Level 10 case. It will definitely stand out on your desk.
With a thick aluminum base, integrated strain relief, rubberized top deck, and some adjustability, the construction quality of this mouse is excellent.
Functionally, the mouse is hobbled by poorly-placed left side buttons and unintuitive software. With much less expensive competing mice offering the same features, I think Thermaltake could improve their product significantly with some software upgrading.
As for value: well, you're paying for that "Designed in Germany by BMW" thing. For $94.99 (Amazon / Newegg), this is a very expensive mouse, especially for a wired mouse. Granted, it's a lovely piece of kit, but since you can get functionally equivalent rodents for much less money, the value proposition here isn't good.
At the end of the day, this mouse sells on style and quality rather than function and value. If it's the kind of thing that gives you a special feeling when you see it sitting on your desk, or when you use it, then it might be worth it for you.
+ Beautiful BMW design
- Poor left side button placement
Final Score: 8.70 out of 10.
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