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Thermaltake and the BMW Group subsidiary DreamworksUSA, have teamed up once again. This time they make a run at the computer peripheral realm. You may remember this same collaboration between Thermaltake and BMW back when the Level 10 series of products first began to emerge. The Thermaltake/BMW partnership continues to expand as does the Level 10 product offerings. All level 10 products tend to bring “out-of-the-ordinary” features, aesthetics, and some downright cool innovations not normally found in other run of the mill products. So, what has Thermaltake and BMW come up with for a gaming mouse? Let’s find out!
Specifications and Features
Here are the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse Specifications as provided by Thermaltake Tt eSports.
|Thermaltake Tt eSports Level 10 M Gaming Mouse Specifications|
|No. of Buttons||7|
|Game Genre||RTS, MMORPG|
|No. of Macro Keys||11|
|No. of Game Profiles||5|
|USB cable length||1.8m|
|Dimension||147 x 67.5 x 38.8 mm|
As you look at the features, I think you’ll have to agree the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse is very unique, both in features and appearance. All images and descriptions are courtesy of Theraltake Tt eSports.
Packaging and First Look
I received the black version of the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse, which naturally comes in a mostly black box. Each of the four different mouse color options are packaged with a color scheme to match. Below are images of how each color option is packaged. Images provided by Tt eSports.
While the various box colors may be different, the information printed on them remains the same. There is a nice vertical image of the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse on the box front, along with icon descriptions of the features. The back of the box box has the same feature images I listed above, along with a “Mission” statement regarding this offering. The box sides have a brief blurb about the story and design concept behind the Level 10 series of products.
The Level 10 M Gaming Mouse is housed in a box that slides out of the outer sleeve. The inner box opens by removing a sticker, which holds the dual-flap top closed. Resist the urge to grab a sharp device to cut the sticker because the top of the mouse is just below it. If you are not careful and your sharp cutting device penetrates into the box too far, you will scratch the top of the mouse. So, do as I did, and just pull the sticker off with your fingers. Once you open the two flaps, you’ll find the mouse sitting inside a folded cardboard bed. Lifting the bed out reveals the accessories below.
As far as the accessory pack goes, it’s definitely more items than I have seen packaged with a mouse before. Here is the list of what is included.
- Carrying Pouch
- Driver/Software CD
- Warranty Policy Pamphlet
- Adjusting Tool
- Three Post Cards
The enclosed tool is for adjusting the mouse to fit the form and feel of your hand; more on this later. If you like to brag to your friends via the mail, there are three included post cards that you can send to them. I think I’ll use one of them and mail an inquiry to Tt eSports asking why they included post cards, when perhaps a mouse pad might have been a better choice.
A Closer Look
As we move in for a closer look at the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse, we can see the overall rugged looking design; obviously, inspired by the association with BMW. The first thing I noticed was the excellent braiding job performed on the USB cable. Not only is the USB cable braided, it also has a protective cover for the plug end. At the point where the USB cable engages the mouse, there is an aluminum and plastic bracket to prevent an inadvertent tug on the cable from damaging the mouse. Nice touch there. The cable measures just a tad short of six feet in length.
On the top side of the mouse we find several items worth mentioning. There are air ventilation holes at the center-left area that are intended to keep your hand from sweating too bad. You can also see one of the lighting options while looking down through the holes. The illuminated scroll wheel has a nice grip applied to it, which will ensure a good, non-slip experience. There is a strip of four lights built into the right button, which allows for a quick visual inspection of where you have the DPI level settings. On the left button, we find another lighting feature in a rectangular shape. Towards the rear of the top area, we find the first of two adjusting screws that make up the 3D Steering Axle feature. By using the tool included in the accessory pack, you can use this adjustment screw to raise or lower the back end of the mouse for a more custom fit to your hand.
The bottom of the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse has two large and two small glide plates and the laser sensor. The DPI available settings for the laser sensor are 800, 1600, 3200, and 5000 by default. There is an option to set the DPI to 8200 through the software.
As we move to the aluminum sides of the Level 10 M Gaming mouse, we find a total of five programmable buttons. The large silver button on the left side is actually more like a joystick type switch. It has the ability to move up, down, forward, and back. By default, the switch positions are assigned to the DPI settings, and thus correspond with the series of lights on the top-right mouse button. All of the buttons can be customized through the software, which we will visit later. The second adjusting screw is located on the right side of the mouse. Again, using the included tool, you can adjust the left/right tilt up to 5 degrees in either direction.
Level 10 M Gaming Mouse Software
The Tt eSports website had an updated version of the software and a tool to update the firmware of the mouse. So, you’ll definitely want to get those installed before going too far. Once the software is opened, you will find everything needed to get the most from the Level 10 Gaming Mouse.
From the main screen you can select up to five profiles, once they are set up. The “Normal” and “Battle” buttons can affect the way the lighting reacts to mouse clicking. Setting this to “Normal” leaves the lighting set to the way you have programmed it, while the “Battle” option will make the lights change colors based on how fast the left click button is being operated.
The profile management section allows you to save all your custom settings and makes them accessible by simply clicking on one of the five profile buttons at the top of the window. The Level 10 Gaming Mouse software allows you to set up and record macros, which is a great feature for game specific movements.
The light options include the ability to set each of the three programmable lights to any color you wish. You can set all the lights to the same color or make each of the three a different color.
The performance area is where the cursor speed, scroll speed, double click speed, DPI, and polling rate settings are all located. As mentioned earlier, all the buttons on the mouse can be customized to perform just about any action required. From the main screen, you simply click on the button you want to customize, and then choose from the key assignment options on the right side of the screen. After doing this, a drop down window will appear with the available assignment options to choose from.
Below are some random pictures of the lighting effects set to different combinations.
It’s very difficult to describe the feel of a mouse with the written word. An item such as this really needs to be held in your own hand in order to get a true “feel” for it. For starters, however, I can tell you that the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse is larger than the average desktop mouse. I found the left click button to be a bit more sensitive than the right, but both have a definitive “click” sound and feel. The ability to adjust both the height and side angles allowed me to find the perfect level of comfort and ergonomics. When I first started using the mouse, I did have some inadvertent contact with the buttons on the left side; but once I had it adjusted properly to fit my hand, that problem pretty much disappeared.
The glide pads on the bottom of the mouse do a great job of providing a smooth ride as you navigate the mouse around. The laser sensor was able to work on every surface I had close by including a X Trac Pad, bare table top, and just for giggles, a white notepad. On-the-fly DPI settings are pretty cool to have at your disposal as well, although anything above 3200 is almost unusable unless the pointer speed is reduced. How you set the DPI and the pointer speed will be determined by the amount of precision you desire from the mouse.
Being that the Level 10 M is designed with the gamer in mind, I went ahead and played a couple quick levels of Battlefield 3. The gaming experience went off without a hitch with the session feeling like I was in control of all aspects. I set up a profile to check out how the button assignments worked during game play, and that also worked as intended. You can literally spend hours setting up the button commands, macros, and profiles to match them into your favorite games.
All and all, the gaming experience is exceptional. One thing I really liked about the overall usage of the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse was the ability to use it for non gaming sessions also. I set up a profile that matches my most common desktop actions and functions by programming different buttons to open a programs and often visited folders. Quite a time saver there! So, this mouse is definitely a viable solution for even non gaming environments.
Currently, the Level 10 M Gaming Mouse sells for $94.99 at Newegg, which puts it just a few dollars higher than other high end gaming mice. I think a few of the features this mouse offers justify the premium price. The 3D Axle adjustment feature makes the feel of the Level 10 M appealing to almost any user. If you are a gamer, the plethora of programmable options will allow you to fine tune the mouse to the games you play most often. Aesthetically, the Level 10 M looks great and the lighting effects make it look rather cool! Speaking of cool, the ventilation holes do a nice job of keeping the air moving around under your hand. The ventilation holes are not enough to completely stop sweating under demanding and intense game play, but a noticeable difference none the less. The Level 10 M Gaming Mouse is also a very viable option for day-to-day computer use, especially if you set up a profile or two for frequent tasks.
The end result is a very capable mouse that is not limited to just gaming. Versatility, great customization options, and tons of features all add up to an Overclockers stamp of approval!.
-Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)