Hardware Review: Outstanding in design, but quite an effort to master. But the Level 10 M is still worth it.
Thermaltake’s getting a lot of traction out of its elite Level 10 brand, and by extension its fruitful design partnership with car-maker BMW. The original Level 10 case was a premium behemoth that turned case-design on its head, and with the new Level 10 M mouse from the tT eSports brand, Thermaltake is now looking to do the same to gaming peripherals.
Design-wise, the Level 10 M (gallery here) is both an impressive departure, and a clever reproduction. On the one hand, there are some amazing features straight out of the Cyborg RAT range, but very elegantly and uniquely realised. In terms of inspiration, though, there’s also a nod to Corsair’s own Vengeance line of mice; both the Vengeance and Level 10 M mice benefit hugely from a solid aluminium body, lending them great strength and durability, as well as solid heft in the palm.
All this is set off with a very good sensor. Coupled with the added weight in the Level 10, the sense of precision and control is pretty amazing; it just feels like something a German engineering team would put together!
It’s also very adaptable, thanks to two points of adjustment, letting users adjust the left-right tilt of the upper surface, and the height of the rear curve under the palm of your hand. There’s only millimeters of difference, mind, but it makes a world of difference, and can really help you get used to the level 10 M’s design.
Sadly, you do need help in that area. Ostensibly, the mouse is designed for right-handed gamers in terms of button size and light-placement, but of all the assymetrical mice I’ve tested, this is easily the most versatile for lefties. However, the secondary thumb buttons - two on either side - are placed right where a lot of gamers thumbs would naturally sit. Because of this, there really is only one way to grip the mouse - carefully holding onto an aluminium ridge above the buttons. It takes some getting used to, but I’d wager it’s totally worth it.
There’s some atrocious spelling (ironic, I know) in the included software, but it’s otherwise powerful - possibly too much so, as I nearly bricked the mouse playing around with lift-off settings! You can also play with the M’s lighting points, which are very artfully arranged to light up the hollow interior. The final cool touch is a small plastic cap that sits over the USB connector, and a cloth bag - great if you travel with your mouse a lot.