titleEvery time that I think they have done everything to a mouse, someone surprises me with something completely different or off the wall. Last year when we took a tour of Thermaltake’s US offices, they hinted that we would see a new exciting mouse that was a collaboration with BMW DesignworksUSA, much like the Level 10 case. A little over a year later, here I am finally getting a chance to take a look at that mouse, the Thermaltake Level 10 M. Being nothing like other mice that we have taken a look at, I’m not sure what to expect from the Level 10 M or its Avago ADNS-9800 sensor.

Product Name: Thermaltake Level 10 Mouse

Review Sample Provided by: Thermaltake

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Color

Diamond Black 
Iron White
Military Green
Blazing Red

DPI

8200

Sensor Type

Laser

No. of Buttons

7

No. of Macro Keys

11

No. of Game Profiles

5

Lighting Effect

Yes

Pause-Break Effect

Yes

Color Options

7

USB cable length

1.8m

Weight-In Design

No

Graphical UI

Yes

Industrial Rubber-Coating

Yes

Weight

185g

Gold-Platted USB

Yes

Dimension

147 x 67.5 x 38.8 mm



Packaging

The Level 10 M comes in white, Black, and Green currently with a red model coming soon, the model we asked for was green, simply because it’s a color we haven’t seen before. It was obvious as soon as we saw the packaging that we did get the green model that we asked for, the box itself was the color of the mouse, normally you would see the same box being used for all colors. The front has a picture of the Level 10 M in green, along with that there are 6 icons that represent key features of the mouse. Below that is a little comment about the mouse being designed in Germany, which caught me a little off guard considering they worked with BMW designworks USA. Around back the same six icons are featured, but this time each has a photo of the area of the mouse that it is referencing. There is a short section on the mission of the Level 10 Mouse and that’s it.

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When you pull off the outside sleeve, you are left with a box that is split up the middle with the quote “Born to be Seen” on the front. The two doors open up to the mouse being features in the middle. Although I love what they did, I think they could have dropped the outside sleeve all together and covered the mouse in a formed piece of plastic and let people who might see this on a shelf see the mouse itself.

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Inside the box you have the mouse, a carrying bag, an adjustment tool, and a packet with the software and documentation. In that same packet I was also surprised to find three actual post cards with the three current color offerings, now I just need to find someone to ship them out too.. Also do they still make stamps?

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Software

We went right to the Thermaltake website to make sure we had the most up to date version of the software when starting but noticed we are still running on version 1.00. Our first look and impression from the Level 10 M’s software was interesting. The software is much like what we have seen from the competition, but I will be completely honest, I was expecting something a little more. The Level 10 M has such a unique design, I was expecting something similar from the software, in fact the software didn’t really match the feel of the mouse to me.

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The software does offer 5 programmable profiles with each giving you the option to remap the buttons with macros, program launching functionality, along with the standard key/mouse button mapping. On top of that you can program the lighting for each profile to use any of 7 different colors. Although I normally don’t see the need to have a million color options, I was surprised that Thermaltake didn’t open up the options more than those 7 colors considering the lighting obviously supports full color spectrum.

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You can also program the DPI speeds for all four DPI adjustment levels per profile. That same page also gives you options for adjusting your double click speed, OS level curser speed and scroll speed adjustments, and even a setting for lift off distance. You have four polling rate options but the default is 1000Hz.

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Lastly, there is also battle mode. I was a little confused about this at first, but after playing with it I figured it out. When you put the Level 10 Mouse into battle mode in the software, every time you click it makes the lighting progress through its breathing slightly. This means if you don’t click much the lighting will stay off or on, wherever it’s currently at. This could have been a little more exciting, but it is an interesting feature that we don’t see on any other mice.

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Features

The Level 10 Mouse’s cord has a braided outside covering to protect the cord. I love that Thermaltake included a Velcro wire tie to keep the cord from being a mess all over your table. The USB plug is interesting also, for one it comes with an attached cover with the Thermaltake dragon logo. It also has an interesting hollowed out section that showed the braided cord going through the connector.

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One of the Level 10 M’s features is the entire base and sides are made out of one piece of aliminium, much like the Corsair mice that we recently took a look at. What is especially interesting about the base is that the section on the end extends out past where the rest of the mouse ends. There are feet on the mouse in five locations including on that extension, the largest feet being the front and back.

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The bottom plate of the mouse comes up on both sides to also hold all of the side buttons. Each side has two buttons, one large and one small dedicated for use. Each is labeled A-D with a fifth button on the left side. That Fifth button is actually a direction pad that switches between your profiles and also the DPI.

This view also shows the other key feature of the Level 10 Mouse, its floating top section. I will go into more detail on it later though.

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This is a great view of the Level 10 M’s two triggers and scroll wheel. The right trigger also houses the LEDs that show what DPI setting the mouse is currently set to. You can also see that the green coloring is split up by the black strip that houses the scroll wheel. They did things a little different here by including a recessed area around the scroll wheel to keep your finger from rubbing on the mouse itself while scrolling.

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I mentioned the floating design before. It is one of the features that Thermaltake talks about with the Level 10 mouse, it is both aesthetic and supposedly (until we try it) functional. The reason they say this is functional is because it should keep your hand cooler when gaming. They included the perforated section on one side that lets you look through the mouse at a Thermaltake logo, but the main reason this should keep your hand cooler is the same reason those of us in colder states see signs on bridges about them freezing first. The idea is that breathing room directly under should allow the heat to dissipate quicker.

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The floating top also has the additional side effect of allowing you to adjust a few settings for better comfort. Using the nut on the top of the mouse with the included tool you can adjust the height up and down. There is a second adjustment point on the right side of the mouse that tilts the top up to five degrees in both directions. The tilting is something we don’t normally see, but we have seen other mice like the Cyborg mice that allow adjustments. What I did find disappointing is that the tool for making those adjustments isn’t kept with the mouse; you have to store it in the bag they included with the mouse. The Cyborg mice have the tool mounted directly in the mouse itself and it is more convenient.  

A small side note, I love the two wires you can see that run under the mouse on the right side. Because the top section of the mouse basically floats, these two wires house a bunch of wires that go to the two triggers, the scroll wheels, and lighting. Another example of this floating design is that the braided mouse cord runs under the floating section into the box next to the side buttons before being hooked to anything. Normally a mouse cable would just go into the front of the mouse and vanish.

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Performance

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Level 10 Mouse going into our testing. With such an interesting shape and also the use fairly unfamiliar (we have only tested one other mouse with it) brought all kinds of questions for me. Let’s split the performance testing up into two sections, the overall mouse comfort and usability and then sensor performance.

Starting with the overall mouse usability, it took me a lot of use to even slightly get used to the shape of the Level 10 M. That included lots of time adjusting up and down and the tilt side to side. Frankly the biggest issue I ran intowas the one that I couldn’t get over. When I place my hand on the mouse, no matter how it is adjusted, my fingers are directly on the side buttons on both sides. As someone who lifts their mouse, this would mean I would press those buttons all of the time. This would send me to the previous website, turn my TV show or move back to the start, or in game it might mean tossing out a grenade when I least expected too. Because of this I ended up turning off two of the buttons. The same could be said for the placement of the DPI/profile toggle, my thumb was large enough to have me bumping myself to a new DPI mid game. This isn’t the first mouse that I have had this problem with, I pointed this same thing out on the M90 from Corsair for example, this time it just affected me even more. A LOT of people love the M90, so obviously what doesn’t work for me might not be an issue for you as well. But keep it in mind.

I loved the adjustable part of the mouse, adjusting all the way up helped with my large hands but did point out another issue with the design. The floating top wiggles side to side more than the 5 degree’s in adjustability that you are given. This means the mouse doesn’t feel solid when you use it, semi hard presses on the triggers will cause left and right tilting of the mouse. This was especially disappointing to me, I really like my mouse to feel solid. This happens both with the mouse adjusted down and up, but it is more noticeable when adjusted up high like I preferred. Here is a video of this.

I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons for the floating top section, other than for its kick ass styling, is to help keep your hand cooler. Although I understood the reasoning for it, I was a little skeptical as first. I was surprised to find out that it really does help keep your hand MUCH cooler. It’s almost like having infinite cold sides of your pillow while sleeping, something that I think everyone wishes for on a warm night.

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The Avago 9800 sensor that is in the Level 10 Mouse is a variation on the 9500 that I have loved in the Sensei/Xai, Logitech mice, and the Corsair mice. We did have a chance to take a look at the 9800 once before and I was extremely impressed with it. Because of that, it’s great to see that Thermaltake went with it as well. I tested the Level 10 Mouse for Z axis issues and put it through our normal tests including drawing circles in photoshop. I didn’t have any snap issues while doing this. The last test was to test for acceleration. On my hard mouse pad, I had no problems at all. When I busted out a soft mouse pad I did experience a SMALL about of acceleration, but nothing that should affect 99% of people (5% or less).  

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Overall and FV

After all of my testing, I came out a little torn. In some ways, I was a little disappointed. Although the Level 10 Mouse may work for some people, the combination of button placement and me lifting my mouse, I consistently had issues with pushing the side buttons. I loved the floating design as well, but wasn’t a fan of the wiggle room that that design gave the mouse. It’s a shame because I loved the way the sensor/mouse performed otherwise and I found the design to be very comfortable if I could find a proper place to put my thumb and pinky/ring fingers.

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Of course there is the other aspect to look at. This mouse literally looks like a work of art. Because it is so different from what we would normally see, I could see this hanging in an art display without a problem. I think that is where the problem comes from really. BMW Designworks and Thermaltake put together a mouse that looks amazing, but from the look of things. Changes after the initial design concept added the DPI/profile toggle and took away “thumb” room. Without a doubt though, if you want to get something completely different from everything else on the market, this is the mouse to go with.

fv2

 

 

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #28566 07 Dec 2012 22:38
A look at Thermaltake's latest high end mouse, its more than just a work of art!

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