Tt eSports Level 10M Gaming Mouse ReviewManufacturer: Thermaltake
UK price (as reviewed): £91.32
US price (as reviewed): $99.99
It's been a while since we've had anything from Tt eSports, Thermaltake's gaming peripheral brand, here in the labs. Their Shock
headset didn't really do that much to impress us, but their gaming mouse, simply called the Black
, which we looked at early last year, was a solid performer if a little shy on features.
It looks like Thermaltake have gone back to the drawing board with the Level 10M, however, as the mouse is about as far away from the Black as is possible to be – its price, styling and features are radically different. At £90, the Level 10M is also an incredibly expensive mouse by any standards, and will need to do an awful lot for gamers to justify this price tag given that high performance mice such as the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II
retail for less than half of this price.
Click to enlarge - the Tt eSports Level 10M (left) and its early design process (right)
We have to say that the design of the Level 10M, a collaboration with BMW subsidiary DesignworksUSA
, is very unique. The exposed internals gives the mouse an aggressive look, but the sleek styling of the matte black top and aluminium foundation mean that it's not too bold. The ventilation holes which run through the mouse might seem gimmicky but they aren't a hindrance in use. The front of the mouse features a hole through which the USB cable is threaded, keeping it out of the way.
The weight of the Level 10M cannot be adjusted, so it's good that it's neither too hefty or a featherweight. Other physical customisations can be made, however, using the provided key. Rotating the top lock will adjust the rear height of the mouse up and down by up to 5mm, while the side one lock (pictured) will move this section left to right by up to 10 degrees.
Along with the usual three middle mouse buttons, you'll find the forward and back buttons on the left side, as well as two more buttons on the right side and a special “Z button” stick of the mouse's side. This Z stick is on an axis and can be toggled up, down, left and right. It can also be pressed in to switch between profiles on the fly, although doing so without toggling one of the directions can be tricky.
Click to enlarge - the bundled software (left) has numerous adjustable settings and the mouse can be physically adjusted too (right)
In terms of comfort, the Level 10M leaves a lot to be desired. The hump of the mouse where your palm rests feels unnatural, no matter what position you set it to. Instead of resting in natural grooves, your thumb and ring finger are left resting awkwardly on buttons that poke out or on solid aluminium, and there is nothing to stop your pinky from dragging across the mouse pad - not ideal in gaming situations.
The buttons, too, are not all that well placed. Pressing the back button, for example, is greatly hindered by the size of the Z stick. Likewise, the two buttons on the right side are difficult to press at all as your ringer finger rests too far forward and pinkies were simply not designed for clicking mice.
Despite these design irks, the bundled software is intuitive for the most part, and allows you to customise the mouse's function to a high degree, which is always pleasing. Five profiles can be stored on the mouse at any one time, and within each one you can customise the mouse LEDs between seven colours and a range of sensitivity and speed settings too.
Click to enlarge
Other than the profile switch button, all other 11 buttons can be assigned to anything from normal mouse functions to opening programs to recorded macros, enabling you to tailor the mouse to almost any need. Four different dpi settings between 50dpi and a frankly silly 8,200dpi can also be used with each profile (with X and Y sensitivity configurable independently), and between one and four LEDs on the right mouse button will light up to let you know which is currently in use, although we found that our middle finger blocked this from sight in use.
Like the £100 Razer Naga Epic
, the massive price tag of the Level 10M puts it at a very niche end of the mouse market, as £90 is simply way more money than most people are willing to put towards their humble desktop rodent. The simple fact is that high-quality, feature rich gaming mice can easily be found for less than £40.
The Level 10M looks the part thanks to the design and the materials used, and the degree to which you can fine tune it is admittedly excellent. However, comfort is an important factor with mice, and we couldn't see ourselves enjoying the impact long gaming sessions with the Level 10M would have on our hands. Even gamers with the dosh to spare would be better suited with a variety of well featured comfortable and cheaper alternatives.