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Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse review

Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse review

Tt eSports Level 10M Mouse ReviewBefore I begin this review of the Tt eSports Level 10 M Gaming Mouse, let me admit this: I am unworthy of this $100 pointing device. My daily work is done using an Apple Magic Trackpad, and at night I use a cheap Logitech Marble Mouse trackball. Nothing in my casual gaming life is so precise or sensitive that it relies on the weight or sensor resolution of my input device.

That said, I can appreciate a finely crafted peripheral and the desire to own it. After all, I have a Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional2, shipped from Japan for around $300. I mean it’s a keyboard—what difference could a simplified keyset and Topre keyswitches make in my daily coding life? Well, my fingers do a happy dance all day long, so you just leave me and my exotic keyboard alone.

Specifications

You can get this from the the product website. But, here are the highlights:

  • 185g with cable, ~158g without (as weighed on my digital coffee scale)
  • 147 x 67.5 x 38.8mm
  • Available in Diamond Black, Iron White, or Military Green
  • Laser-Sensor Engine with 8200 DPI, adjustable by GUI to modify sensitivity level (default DPI setting: 800/1600/3200/5000)
  • GUI adjustable polling rate
  • 11 programmable command keys, with 128kb on-board memory for 5 different gaming profiles
  • Function-Lock mechanism to prevent accidental key commands
  • Lighting effects on 4 regions, with 7 color options
  • Air-Through ventilation system: Open Structure and Space
  • Intelligent X/Y axis to adjust the height and angle of the mouse.
  • Gold-Plated USB connector with rubber-coating finish

Packaging

The Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse arrives in a sleeved and well-built cardboard case reminiscent of high-end earphones.

Level 10 M Mouse - Box & Sleeve

The case is pulled from its sleeve with a plastic strip, and it opens with a pair of gate flaps sealed by a metallic sticker. The flaps reveal the device, tied down in a recessed compartment. The cord is folded away out of sight, offering a clean first impression.

Level 10 M Mouse - Mouse in Box

The compartment lifts away to reveal the rest of the trimmings. The cord is coiled, bound with a built-in Velcro cable wrap. There’s a neoprene bag for the mouse, with a drawstring and separate compartments for device and cord.

Level 10 M Mouse - Box Contents

Beneath the bag lies a cardboard envelope. Inside is found a warranty policy and a software disc. Additionally, there are three postcards advertising the mouse in different colors—you know, in case you want to brag about your sweet new gadget to snail-mail friends.

Also in the box is a metal hex key ensconced within a bit of plastic-sleeved foam. This last bit is nice, and reminds me of the maintenance kit that shipped with my Randolph Engineering aviator sunglasses.

Level 10 M Mouse - Box on my bookshelf

Except for the mouse and the bag and the tool, this will all go into the recycling bin. But, I’ll feel really bad about it and will leave the box on a bookshelf for contemplation until spring cleaning comes.

Fit and Finish

Level 10 M Mouse - Out of the box

The Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse feels like a $100 mouse designed by Germans. Or maybe Salarians—my overall impression of the design is: “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite mouse on the Citadel.” I know there’s an officially-branded Mass Effect 3 mouse, but this one actually looks the part.

Level 10 M Mouse - Left Side

In terms of aesthetics, the top of the mouse hovers above the base, exposing just a hint of innards through the gap. Visible are metallic red cables leading from the two buttons and click-wheel up front, down into a rubbery black box housing the rest of the electronics and other controls.

Level 10 M Mouse - Right side

The base of the mouse is a folded plate of aluminum, 1/16″ thick, with plastic strips to manage sliding friction. The cord is anchored to the device through an extension of the metal base, a decision that suggests durability. The top of the mouse is a curve of smooth plastic, with thickness matched closely to the aluminum plate. Both are attached at domed points, fore and aft.

The aft dome offers height and tilt adjustments for the top, using the included hex key tool. The height travel is limited to about 1/8″ (~3mm) and the tilt travel goes about 5 degrees from vertical to the right.

Level 10 M Mouse - Top down with cord

The 6′ USB cord is jacketed in fabric, with a built-in Velcro cable wrap and an attached rubber cap for the connector.

Almost nothing on this device flexes or creaks in a cheap way. The main exception is a 4-way hat: It wiggles alarmingly and is destined to someday snap right off after snagging on something in your go-bag. I guess that’s what the neoprene sack is meant to prevent.

Functionality

The Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse offers 11 programmable buttons: Left & right; a middle click wheel; two more on each side; and finally a 4-way hat toward on the left.

Level 10 M Mouse - Purple, on my desk

There are several RGB LEDs, which can be customized using the software explained in the next section. The most functional of these lights form a bar meter on the right button, indicating the current DPI level for the device. This DPI level is selected with forward and back on the 4-way hat, by default.

Level 10 M Mouse - Green lights, Left side

I’ve never found that my hands get particularly warm or sweaty while mousing. But, in case that’s a problem, there’s a honeycomb grille under the left button that allows air to circulate through the open design. There’s no fan to cause air circulation, however.

I’ve read that avid mousers grip with claws, palms, and fingertips. In trying these various techniques, I found that the open design offers a lot of nice nooks and crannies for fingers. There’s no give to the aluminum base, though, so mashing your fingers against the sides might get uncomfortable after a few hours of gaming.

But, despite the mysterious “Function-Lock mechanism”, the side buttons and the 4-way hat seem too easy to trigger when clutching the sides of the mouse. And yet, some are rather hard to trigger on purpose. I’m guessing that this is just something to get used to.

Software

The Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse includes software for Windows, but it’s a mess: Part marketing presentation, part configuration tool, all clunky and sprinkled with typos. This does not feel like it should be part of a $100 mouse. Still, the features managed by the software are impressive.

A software disc is included in the box, but this contains an outdated version of everything. Your best bet is to visit the product site to download a firmware updater and fresh configuration software.

Level 10 M Mouse - GUI overview

At the top there’s a “?” button, but it sends me to a product spec page for a “THERON” gaming mouse. That’s not the mouse I have on hand. There’s an “R” button, which leads me to register some sort of social profile sign-up page but I don’t know why I’d want to do that.

Level 10 M Mouse - Macro GUI

Moving on to “Macro Key”, you can build timed sequences of keypresses and additional commands. The UI for composing and editing is cumbersome, but I got used to it after awhile.

Level 10 M Mouse - Key Assign GUI

To assign macros and commands to mouse buttons, click the corresponding parts of the hero image of the mouse and use “Key Assignment” buttons on the right. Well, except for the last two—those launch product marketing videos, for some reason. Oh, that’s why the software download was over 40MB.

Level 10 M Mouse - Light Color GUI

Under “Light Option”, you can choose from 7 colors for each of the 3 RGB LEDs illuminating the left mouse button, middle click wheel, and the Tt eSports dragon hiding under the ventilation grille. The DPI meter stays red, though. Colored lights are pretty.

In “Normal Mode”, the lights throb slowly; I’ve no idea why, and it leaves me vaguely unsettled. There’s also a ”Battle Mode”, wherein “the illumination effects will change according to the clicking frequency”. I’ve yet to intuit the relationship during use, but this may appeal to RTS gamers whose skill is measured in actions-per-minute. Seems like it might make your mouse look like it’s on fire when you are.

Level 10 M Mouse - Performance GUI

Under “Performance”, you can tweak various settings such as DPI sensitivity, polling frequency, double click speed, cursor speed, scroll speed, etc.

Under “Profile Management”, you can save all the above into named profiles. This confused me at first: Although there are numbered tabs for profiles across the top of the UI, you first have to save a named profile. Once you have a named profile, then you can assign it to a numbered tab.

Despite my initial confusion, this seems handy for building up a library of named profiles devoted to specific games. Then, the numbered tabs let you assemble a 5 profile load-out when it’s game time.

Level 10 M Mouse - Left Side DetailAssembling a profile load-out is important: The 4-way hat is also a tricksy 12th push-in button that cannot be reassigned. When you to push it, the mouse cycles though the numbered profile tabs. This is where the light color customization becomes a handy feature: The color scheme can indicate which profile is currently active. And, when installed, the software offers an on-screen display of changes to DPI sensitivity and profile selection.

But, you don’t need the software once you’ve assembled a profile load-out: Profiles are saved to 128kb of memory within the mouse itself. The mouse also acts as a USB HID keyboard, so your macros are executed in hardware as simulated keystrokes. Thus, you can leave the software behind and carry this mouse in its neoprene bag to another machine, and find all your customizations have come with you.

In fact, I was totally surprised to find that all the keystroke macros I’d configured under Windows just worked when I connected it to my Mac. No special Mac OS X drivers, the macros and profile switching all just worked. Of course some Windows-specific commands didn’t work, such as launching programs. But, no big deal.

Conclusion

The Tt eSports Level 10 M Mouse is nicely packaged and well-built. It has a few awkward points and comes with cruddy software—but, overall, this is a fine piece of hardware with clever embedded tricks that go far beyond most mice I’ve pushed around.

I really like the design and build quality of this mouse—it feels quite durable, except for that loose and protruding 4-way hat. The fabric-jacketed USB cord is generously long and the addition of a built-in cable wrap is a nice touch.

Since I’m a casual gamer, I can’t really speak very much to how this mouse might improve my performance. The weight is nice and substantial, but can’t be customized like a Logitech G9X. I found the side buttons and 4-way hat are hard to use when I want to, yet easy to hit on accident depending on grip. I can’t imagine myself using these buttons deftly and in the heat of the moment, neither for programmed commands nor for profile switching. This mystifies me, but might just be due to the clubs I have for hands.

The height and tilt adjustments for the top of the mouse are interesting, but I can’t honestly say I noticed much of a difference. These small changes seem not to matter much to my comfort or casual gaming experience, but your mileage may vary.

And, someday soon I’m going to lose the little included hex key, probably when I recycle the packaging and forget I left the tool in the box. (Just like what I did with the maintenance kit that came with my sunglasses.) A standard Allen wrench should work in a pinch. Though, it might have been nicer if these sorts of adjustments used built-in thumbscrews, like a Mad Catz R.A.T.9.

Icrontic Stamp of Approval artworkFinally, the software makes me yearn for the mouse control panels of yore from Logitech and Kensington. It’s kind of a point-and-click adventure to come up with the right set of interactions to program the device to your liking. But, thanks to the hardware in the device, this software is not crucial to its usage once you’ve gotten some profiles loaded into it. Again, that profiles are stored in memory inside the mouse, and that it executes macros in hardware that even work on a Mac is a really neat trick.

Overall, I’ll repeat my admission that I am unworthy of this $100 pointing device. Though there are other interesting options at this price point, some gamers may find it a nice luxury addition to the kit bag. I think it’s worthy of the Icrontic Stamp of Approval for being a product I’d recommend.

The tT eSports Level 10 M Mouse is available in three colors; curiously all three colors are different prices, and pricing is all over the map. White (as reviewed) is $79.99 (currently $69.99 with rebate on Newegg) or $95.85 at Amazon. The Military Green is $74.99 after rebate at Newegg and $96.82 at Amazon. The Diamond Black is $89.99 after rebate at Newegg and $88.07 at Amazon. Who knows.

Comments

  1. Dare
    Dare Seems interesting. After the failure of my second razer naga, in 2 years, I'm trying to find a proper new mouse. I will miss the numerous buttons though..
  2. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster That is by far the ugliest bit of computer hardware that I have ever seen. Someone needs to tell the engineers at TT that sometimes less is more.
  3. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ I think it's sexy. I want one so bad.
  4. lmorchard
    lmorchard Personally, I really like the looks. Kind of a skeletal deconstruction thing going on.

    The side buttons just bug the crap out of me. Rather than pushing straight in, they kind of hinge at the bottom and feel like they're going against the grain of my grip. Would have been better if they hinged at the top, so I could roll my thumb and pinkie down to press them. Instead, I have to kind of shift one of the side fingers down and then roll it up, which feels totally unnatural and hard to do in a hurry

    I'm half-tempted to try modding the thing with different buttons, but that would probably be a disaster.
  5. Cliff_Forster
    Cliff_Forster It's a unique design, that's for certain. That said, as a mater of personal taste I hate things that scream "GAMER!"

    Also, the "Air Through" design is going to be a burden to clean over time. You know how hard it is to get in between each crevice of a mouse to keep it nice and clean, that design is going to be a clean freaks nightmare.
  6. Tim
    Tim LogiTech MX518 FTW!
  7. dad
    dad in Battle LED mode the LEDs change from blue to green as you pound away on the mouse buttons. You are right about the software being poor quality
  8. Snarkasm

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