The Thermaltake Level 10 M in Practice

When I mentioned in the introduction that mouse comfort is a tricky thing, I very much meant it. Back when I reviewed the Logitech G600 MMO gaming mouse, I pointed out that while the mouse was too big for my dainty little hands, it would undoubtedly find fans elsewhere. I was right, too; a good friend of mine absolutely adores it, and another friend elected to pick one up after trying it out. So it's painfully clear that comfort is a very subjective thing.

With that said, I found the Level 10 M to be frankly unpleasant to use. Being able to adjust the height and rotation of the palm rest should alleviate some of the usability problems, but in practice I found myself having a couple of major issues with it.

The first issue is where Thermaltake's engineers placed the actuation points under the primary mouse buttons. When I use any mouse, I tend to use not my fingertips but the joint to click the buttons. On the Logitech and Corsair mice I've tested, this hasn't been an issue. Yet the Level 10 M is the first mouse I've used where I've had a real problem consistently clicking due to how I grip the mouse. The bottoms of the mouse buttons are slightly raised, and they're hinged to depress at the middle and top of the buttons. I may be a completely bizarre user, but I found this very uncomfortable.

The second issue is the placement of the side buttons. While the ones on the left side are easy enough to press with my thumb, the ones on the right side have too much resistance to reliably click them with my pinky. You have to push them in dead center for them to actuate; pushing them from any angle means they just stay in place. Southpaws will undoubtedly have the same problem if they switch the mouse orientation.

And then you get into missing features. On-the-fly DPI switching is grand, but the "DPI shift" functionality of some of Logitech's gaming mice and both of Corsair's is desperately missed. My G500 doesn't have it and I live without because the thing was designed before the concept even existed, but it's here now, and its absence in a brand new premium product is notable. Any game involving some kind of zoom or sniper scope (ranged weapons in MechWarrior Online like the ER PPC or Gauss Rifle, sniper rifles in Far Cry 3) benefits from that functionality.

Ultimately I just found the Level 10 M to be overengineered and awkward to grip. I use the Logitech G500 on my home machine and the Corsair M60 when I'm away, and they both fit me almost perfectly from the word "go."

The Level 10 M Software Conclusion: Short on Software, Short on Value
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  • DanNeely - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    ... what I really appreciate are mice actually designed for my hand as opposed to almost-symmetric designs. I have two left handed Razer Death Adder mice (one for home, one for work); and used Logitech's left handed model before that.

    I've never had a sweaty palm issue with one either; but my grip is fairly loose so there's never a been problem with blocked airflow preventing evaporation.
  • truprecht - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    Razer Death Adder left is the only mouse I'll ever buy for myself again.

    Aside from the physical comfort, it also defaults to the right button as the primary click button, meaning you don't have to reverse the mouse buttons in the control panel. Seems like a small thing, but a lot of games don't register the control panel setting, so you have to re-specify the primary button in the game controls. And even then, the primary button will apply to gameplay, but not to menu selection which cannot be switched using the control panel OR the in-game settings. (I'm talking to YOU Bethesda and 2K).
  • aguilpa1 - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    When my Replicator 2 comes in I will make me some real custom mouse bodies just for my hand.
  • WT - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    You may have it when you pry it from my cold dead hands. It certainly isn't the best at any one thing, but for $30 it cannot be beat (nor bought anymore, either).

    Good review as usual.Wish we had more reviews of a peripheral nature as well. Over-engineered and under functionalitied .. this Level 10 won't be joining my Level 10 GT case on my desk.
  • Tuffrabbit - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    The Logitech MX518 is still my favorite out of current mouse collection...
  • Impulses - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    Newegg had the G500 for $34 during Black Friday weekend... Hard to beat for that price, nearly bought two myself. :p
  • AVP - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    "It's difficult to quantify strict performance, an issue ameliorated somewhat by the fact that actual performance (dpi, etc.) can often take a distant backseat to user comfort and the software included."

    Are you kidding?

    No mention of what sensor this mouse uses? Acceleration? Angle snapping?


    Also your gallery is broken and you have five pictures of the mouse with no images or mention of the bottom or any suggestion of what type of surface it may or may not be best on.
  • ChronoReverse - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    A quick Google reveals that it's an Avago ADNS-9800 which still has minor acceleration.
  • BrightCandle - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    These basic objective measures are far important to report on than anything else. This isn't a review without actually talking about the flaws with the mouses tracking.
  • SodaAnt - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I'm getting page not found errors on the gallery on the "The Thermaltake Level 10 M in Practice" page. When I click through to see bigger pictures it says the gallery isn't found.

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