Conclusion: Short on Software, Short on Value

People who buy high end peripherals (heck, high end kit in general) typically understand they're often on the poor side of the value curve. Granted these peripherals often tend to last a good long time and offer features and functionality garden variety hardware simply doesn't provide, but many users will look at a mouse with a $99 price tag and just go "what does that do that a $29 IntelliMouse can't?"

The Thermaltake Level 10 M is capable of doing quite a bit that a $29 IntelliMouse can't, as it turns out. Seven fully-configurable buttons, a configurable polling rate, and sensitivity that peaks at a healthy 8200dpi are all good reasons for someone to think twice about just sticking with a cheap mouse. The aluminum frame also feels incredibly sturdy, and the soft touch plastic with ventilation does feel good in the palm.

Unfortunately, even by premium gaming hardware standards, Thermaltake's Level 10 M comes up deficient in value. Configurable LED lighting is wonderful (my Alienware M17x R3 glows a delightful fuschia), but your mouse spends the majority of its useful life being covered by your hand. I know gamers who value adjustable weight, and those users aren't going to find it in the Level 10 M. Being able to adjust the grip is a cool idea and for some users may be a major selling point, but I'd rather have a mouse that just feels right out of the box.

The software is also unattractive and needlessly busy, having spent all of their skill points on style and maybe one on functionality. You can't configure the mouse to switch between profiles on the fly, the software itself can't do application detection, and there's no DPI shift functionality. These are features that other vendors typically have, and some have had for years.

For $99, the Thermaltake Level 10 M should be an absolute homerun. People who prefer to mouse left-handed may very well find it close to ideal regardless of its shortcomings, but unless you find the grip to be particularly pleasing, you may be better off with one of Thermaltake's more affordable and more intuitive mice, like the Black Element. Alternatively, I continue to recommend Corsair's M60, and Logitech's stellar-if-feature-light G500 can oftentimes be found for under $50.

Update 12-22-2012: You actually can switch profiles on the fly by pressing in the DPI switch; it's not the easiest thing to do without rocking it in any given direction, but it can be done. Unfortunately, this functionality isn't really exposed in the software, and you can't reassign other buttons to do it.

The Thermaltake Level 10 M in Practice
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  • jibz - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    If you want an adjustable mouse, it's both cheaper and way more adjustable. Plus it looks a lot better.
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I've been through about a dozen Saitek Cyborg R.A.T mice over the past couple years, while comfortable (To me) and packed with features they just keep breaking on me, thankfully it has decently long warranty.
    Mostly though it's the left mouse button or the laser that craps out.

    I would just want a mouse (A set of headphones would be good too!) that will last me years without breaking.
  • jibz - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    At some point, you might have to wonder if you're not part of the problem. A new mouse every 3 months seem excessive.

    Never had any problem with mine. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket! Just saying.
  • Zink - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    Newegg reviews seems to indicate they aren't durable.
  • The0ne - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    Saitek products are usually above average in terms of quality and materials. And while I am not familiar or used all their product lines the ones I have are well made. I even stocked up on their old PC controllers clearance them out. Great quality controllers that has lasted years for me.
  • jibz - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I'm mot saying they are durable. I don't have any problem with mine, but that's a single case. But 12 mice in 2 years? Come on!
  • Inteli - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    I had a RAT 7 and plan on getting another. mine lasted for almost a full year (new years to new years), except, of all things, the CABLE crapped out. It's probably because I wrapped it around. I had a few tracking issues here and there, but it was mostly just a matter of disconnecting and reconnecting the mouse. not a big issue. I think its pros outweigh its cons. This time i'm getting it in White! :D

    (It's plenty durable to me. I would have mine under warranty except it was my fault ;) )

    I am in complete agreement with the OP, though the Level 10 mouse I think tops the RAT in the "WTF Is that thing" department.
  • corpsegrind3r - Saturday, December 22, 2012 - link

    Nope, he's right, they do break. I spent around $90 on the R.A.T. 7 and the scroll wheel broke after 2 months of use. I google'd the issue and found that many people had the same problem. I gotta say it was a great mouse while it worked but I'll stay away from them because they have a history for breaking. Now I have the Logitech G9x. It's not the best fit for my hand by any means but at least I know it'll last for years.
  • gammonwalker - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    I can vouch for that... I recently had to retire my RAT7 after less than a year of use. The mouse would intermittently permanently track a direction (up and to the left) until I blew on the mouse's laser. While that could be simply related to dust or dirt, I've never ever had that happen on another mouse. It's obviously also not very helpful for gaming.

    A bit after that it would randomly stop reading the X-axis entirely until I unplugged and re-plugged it. That made for some amusing piloting complications in Planetside 2, where I would accidentally fly my craft directly into the ground trying to make a hard turn.

    When it did work it did work nicely, however no where near as good as my recent Deathadder 2013 edition. The lift-off control and precision on the mouse is fantastic.
  • Papaspud - Monday, December 24, 2012 - link

    The lasers are crap on these, mine didn't last 2 weeks before it started messing up.

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