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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  • 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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