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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • garypark - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    It seems to me that the comfort of a mouse is less subjective than it is simply individually variable depending on who is holding it. No maker of gloves would suggest that we all wear the same size, but does any maker of computer mice build "sized" mice? Having a mouse that is the correct size for you hand may be the single most important factor in the "subjective" impression of comfort.
  • DanNeely - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I've seen a few custom manufacturers who've sold customized mice in the past (not sure if they still do). I ran across them years ago searching for something left handed an ergonomic; but with sticker prices of several hundred dollars each they were extremely far from mainstream.

    I don't see this changing until/unless 3d printing approaches cost/quality competitiveness with mass produced injection molding.
  • colonelciller - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    3D printed parts are brittle... they should not be compared to injection moulded parts
  • Cannyone - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I have this Thermaltake mouse and am using it now. But honestly I don't like it. The reason is that there are just too many buttons on the left side. This makes it far more difficult to pick up. The original BMW design this was taken from was different.

    Sometimes simpler, as in fewer or even smaller buttons, is better. So why do all the new mice that hit the market now days have to come with 8, 10... 15 buttons? Is it just a marketing metric? Whatever the reason I wish some of these companies would at least take the time to build a prototype and let someone "use it" to see if its really functional.
  • versesuvius - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    What a monster! Who would in his right mind buy this? Or actually use this? It is certain to cause blisters on more than a couple of spots on the hand.
  • MadAd - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I wouldnt game with that if it was the last mouse on the planet.

    I have no idea why dont they actually confer with gamers, some of us have been gaming with these peripherals for decades now. I wish I could design my own, it wouldnt look like that for sure.
  • liffie420 - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    ALL I have to say is the greatest mouse EVER is the Logitech Marble Trackman FX . Bought one in 1998 (14 years ago) and it still works like a beast. IT was expensive for the time $80 I think, but I would gladly drop $150 for a new one these days. If you havent heard of it look it up. IT is trackball but argubaly the greatest one ever invented. Ig you can get past the looks, give it 15 or 20 minutes and you will never want to use anything else.
  • DiHydro - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    "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."

    It would have been a sore mistake if they didn't include on-the-fly DPI switching. You mention that your G500 cannot, but my G5, and the MX518 which it is based off of have it. This is even without the Logitech setpoint software installed. Are you certain that the DPI button on your G500 doesn't switch your DPI settings between 400, 800, and 1600 for defaults?
  • jonjonjonj - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - link

    first the bmw case and now this? two of the ugliest products i have ever seen. time i ditch that bmw engineering team. if 80-90% of people are right handed why design mice to be ambidextrous? let left handed people either suffer and use a right handed mouse or go buy a left handed mouse instead of ruining mice that right handed people use. yes i am left handed prejudice. left handed weirdos.
  • Evil_Sheep - Monday, December 24, 2012 - link

    Very stoked that anandtech reviewed this mouse. I was all set to impulse buy this on boxing day but now having read this review I will make sure to try it out in person first. Despite what others have said in the comments, I think the 10M looks f*cking awesome and gives off the impression of a luxury vehicle or a high-end smartphone, which is more than can be said of most of its competition. You can criticize the price but look at the competition, eg the Logitech G700 at $100 comes across as extremely low-rent in comparison. There are plenty of high-end mice in the $80-120 range but none have the industrial design or craftsmanship of the 10M save the Corsair M60/90. If you're going to spend such an absurd amount of $ on an overpriced component, ditching the cheap plastic and rubber for high-end materials is the least that I expect.

    I used to be a logitech fan but I have had so many of their mice die on me that I have almost given up on them. IMHO if you spend $50 on a mouse it should last more than 3yrs. MS mice also drive me crazy with their lack of scroll wheel detents which ironically windows also can't handle. And razers are all, to my hand, abnormally oversized. So the search continues....

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now