Thermaltake’s Tt eSports Level 10 M gaming mouse dares to be different. Different isn’t always good.
As described on the box, Tt eSports’ Level 10 M “…was elegantly created; an Avant garde of consumer product. The angles, the trims, the spacing, and overall view of the chassis were amazing and a revolution in terms of aesthetics and functionality.”
They got half of it right. The Level 10 M is certainly interesting to look at. But functionality and comfort prove to be a mixed bag. Form beat function into a coma, and it’s not waking up any time soon.
Features & Specifications
The Level 10 M has a brag-worthy list of features and specifications. Here’s the basic breakdown of features and technical specifications, courtesy of Thermaltake (with some added notes and additions by me).
- Colors: Diamond Black, Iron White, Military Green, Blazing Red
- Maximum DPI 50-8200DPI, adjustable in 50DPI settings
- Sensor: Laser
- Buttons: 7 total + 4-directional thumbstick
- Customizable LED lighting: 7 different colors that can be individually applied to 4 different areas of the mouse (Logo, scroll wheel, DPI indicator, left mouse button)
- Profiles: 5
- Macro-capable/programmable with customizable timing settings
- USB cable (1.8M)
- Soft touch ‘industrial’ rubber top, aluminum sides/underside
- Industrial Rubber-Coating
- Weight: 185g
- Dimension: 147 x 67.5 x 38.8 mm
- Adjustable form factor: Palm rest can be raised or lowered; right-side can be widened.
At 185g (6.5 ounces), the Level 10 M is a very heavy mouse. The sides and underside are aluminum, thus the Level 10 M one of the better gaming mice should you need to weaponize it in a zombie apocalypse.
One of the key features of the Level 10 M is that a portion of its palm rest is full of holes, which are intended to facilitate airflow and keep your hand cool. I can’t honestly say if the holes helped keep my hand cool, or if it was just a byproduct of the soft-touch rubber material used on the top of the mouse. At the very least I can say that I like the soft-touch construction, and I never got sweaty or tacky-feeling in my palm or fingertips.
The Level 10M also boasts something Tt eSports likes to call “3D Axis Steering”, which is an odd way to describe the ability raise or lower the palm rest or widen the right side to a slight degree. This has nothing to do with 3D or steering, but I appreciate the nod to the physical configuration features that Mad Catz has long championed in its peripherals. Unfortunately, the Level 10 M’s physical configurability is so slight as to be nearly useless.
After a considerable amount of time with the Level 10 M—primarily in Tribes: Ascend andBorderlands 2, along with day-to-day web surfing and the like, I can honestly say The Level 10 is certainly accurate and moves nicely.
Unfortunately, there’s just no getting around the fact that the Level 10 M isn’t very comfortable. It doesn’t conform to the contours of your hand, it feels like your resting your palm on an engine block. The aluminum sides and edges provide a rather cold, harsh resting place for your outer fingers. The right-side macro buttons are hard to reach and use—typically, the only good reason to put buttons on the right side of a mouse are to make it ambidextrous, and the Level 10 M is not an ambidextrous design.
In addition, the thumb buttons are overly sensitive, and I frequently pressed them accidentally—even just web surfing. And it’s difficult to pick up and re-center the Level 10 M on your mouse mat if the need arises. The Level 10 M is heavy (as stated earlier), it’s nigh-impossible to lift without pressing one or more of the side buttons—which can have any number of consequences in a game, your web browser, or any other application.
Add to the list one more gripe: I don’t like the scroll wheel. It’s too small, too narrow, and doesn’t offer the level of tactile response appropriate to gaming.
One feature of the Level 10 M that I do like is the on-screen display, which tells you when you’ve switched DPI levels or pressed a macro button. I also like being able to configure the LED lighting individually in 4 different sections of the mouse, even if it is a useless feature. I think the “Battle Mode”—a lighting mode you can activate that sets the LEDs to flash according to mouse activity—is also neat but useless.
I also like a couple of small touches the Level 10 M includes: the carrying bag, the cap for the USB connector, and even the built-in ‘cable management’ that extends the cable away from the front of the mouse similar to a built-in mouse bungee.
The Level 10 M ‘s software is also some of the better I’ve seen from Tt eSports; it’s intuitive and easy to use although it likes some of the polish typical of Logitech or Razer driver software.
Overall: 2/5 stars
I appreciate the attempt Tt eSports makes with the Level 10 M gaming mouse. They are at least trying to do something different and innovative, which is difficult to do in the realm of PC peripherals.
Unfortunately, the Level 10 M largely only succeeds as “mouse art” and form triumphs over function here. The bottom line is that you can get a lot better function from less “artistic” mice for the same (or less than) the Level 10 M’s $100 asking price.