First Impressions and Experience
The Level 10 M has striking features which are very futuristic yet rugged. The mouse appears to be very durably built, an impression that is reinforced by the amount of metal in the mouse. The entire base and lower sides of the mouse are crafted out of aluminum, as well as the metal strip that runs along the top of the mouse.
It appears that the upper housing of the mouse on either side of the middle strip is also likely aluminum but it has a nonslip coating that makes it difficult to ascertain the material. The right and left mouse buttons appear to be made from a high quality plastic and both use the same nonslip coating applied to the upper housing of the mouse.
The scroll wheel feels very solid and scrolls cleanly. It ticks at each ridge on the wheel while scrolling, but is otherwise free of any grit, creating a feeling that would have the user believe that it is attached only by a ball bearing. The mouse has three lighting zones, one as a square on the left click button, the other is the scroll wheel, and the last one is a Thermaltake logo that sits below the upper housing of the mouse, just under the grating on the left side of the mouse.
It also has four lights on the right click of the mouse that signify the four possible DPI presets. The USB cable of the mouse is braided, adding to the high quality feel of the mouse, and has a velcro strip to wrap up the cable for travel. The USB end itself has a cap that is attached to the cable, and covers the USB end when the mouse is unplugged.
Upon first using the mouse, it feels somewhat elongated and wide compared to other mice, though in reality it is comparable in size to a variety of others. This feeling does not make it uncomfortable, but it takes a bit of getting used to. We believe this feeling can be attributed to how flat and low the mouse is at its default height setting. We used the included hex key to raise the mouse to its highest setting in order to give it a ‘fuller’ feel in the palm, which gave it a more natural feel. The tilt of the mouse can also be adjusted to the right or left, though we left it sitting comfortably at its default setting in the middle.
The mouse has a total of four programmable macro buttons, in addition to an analog stick type button with four directions that can be programmed to macros as well as a press inwards function that cycles through mouse profiles. We found that the positioning of these buttons took a bit of getting used to, but felt quite natural once we adjusted to them. However, one problem for us was that the left side large button is too easy to press accidentally, and considering the default profile for the mouse has that button programmed to go ‘Back’ in a web browser, we found ourselves unwillingly reliving our immediate internet history. Because of this, as well as occasional accidental button presses of the other mouse buttons, we opted to disable all the buttons in the default profile.
The mouse itself uses a high precision laser sensor, allowing up to 8200 DPI with a polling rate of 1000 Hz. We opted to take advantage of this by cranking up the DPI to 8200, up from the default DPI profiles of 800, 1600, 3200, and 5000. This author is used to using a mouse set to either 5700 or 6000 DPI, making 8200 quite the step up. We found this to be an excellent experience, with the extra high sensitivity allowing us to fly all over the screen with just the tiniest flick of the wrist. Considering how cramped our desk space is, being able to do anything and everything without having to move the mouse outward in any direction by more than half an inch is extremely convenient and a welcome feature. We have become accustomed to the 8200 DPI sensor, and find even 6000 DPI to be sluggish and require wasted movement in comparison.
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