Unless you were living under a rock the last couple of years, you had to have seen the Level 10 chassis by now. The original incarnation of the Level 10 was a collaboration between Thermaltake and BMW's DesignworksUSA to bring forth one of the most original cases to date. When it was released, it took the world by storm with its use of fine materials, out of the box thinking and designing that had never been done before. And who can deny the "elite factor" that comes from owning a piece of tech history like the Level 10 delivered.
Now that Thermaltake has the prosperous like of the Tt eSPORTS peripherals and various gear for gamers, they went back to their friends at DesignworksUSA with a simple request; we want a Level 10 mouse. Again the collaboration has been a huge success as they have delivered a mouse like no other I have seen outside of what the mouse is supposed to do for the user.
This time for the peripheral, they had to think a little different, as this was designed for the experience, much like how you would much more enjoy the trip to work in a high-end exotic than if you were given the choice of that or a Smart Car. While the cheaper version will get the job done, the experience is cheap feeling and hard on your body in the Smart, but once you allow the race inspired seat to support you as you slide the exotic around the corners, the whole level steps up a notch. That is what Thermaltake was going for with this mouse.
The Level 10M from Tt eSPORTS that we are going to be looking at today was delivered in Iron White, but there are three brothers to this - the Diamond Black, Blazing Red, and a Military Green version to fit any decor of these buyers. Likening the mouse to a car may seem a bit farfetched, but not as far as you would first think. Since the idea here is functionality and a higher level experience of use, considerations of form, fit, drivability, even adding adjustable suspension and camber to the Level 10M to ensure the most comfortable and customizable, high-end feel for each and every user.
With the Level 10M there is a lot to cover, so pay close attention as I try to cover it all and give you the lowdown on how this partnership worked for Thermaltake this time around.?
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
As I covered, the Level 10M comes in black, OD green, white, and red giving users the top three color choices in sports cars along with a military themed one as well, all of which are equally equipped. At the heart of them is the Avago ADNS9800 laser sensor that Thermaltake has set the DPI to start at 800 and tops out at 8200 DPI. Inside of the mouse near this laser sensor you will also find the USB 2.0 Sonin processing chip and a 128kb memory IC so that this mouse is plug-and-play with all of your personal settings on any PC you use.
There are a total of six normal buttons on the mouse with a Macro button and a Z key added to the sides. The base and sides of the Level 10M are comprised of a single piece of this aluminum, while the top is made from colored plastic components. The mouse arrives to your door with a weight of 185 grams and offers no weight adjustment. As for its size, it is a large mouse with a length of 147mm and a width of 67.5mm. The height will vary since that is adjustable, but the lowest setting is 38.8mm in height.
At this point I want to bring up the software to cover what else the Level 10 brings to the table. An elegant design only goes so far, the software and component choices have to carry the burden too. The software will allow you not only to have Macro support along with adjustments of all the normal things like DPI settings and LED colors, but this software allows you to keep 11 Macros, and five custom profiles and a list of others, right in the mouse. There is even a cool feature of an OSD to show you what you are doing with the mouse in real-time. There still is much more to cover than what the specifications chart displays, but I will wait for the images to show exactly what I mean, as I believe they really need the images to complement their descriptions.
I have seen various images of the Level 10M around, but I wasn't sure if they were even available a few weeks ago when I was seeing them. For me personally, I just got my Level 10M this week, so as I looked for the pricing I was quite shocked to see all of the locations currently offering these mice. With all my talk of elegance, BMW and DesignworksUSA, and from what I know of the original Level 10 chassis, pricing isn't going to be cheap. The reality of it is that it isn't really all that expensive to procure yours. On the lower end I see Nextwarehouse.com with the best price of $90.95, all inclusive. If you are a Newegg regular, expect to pay another $4.99 in shipping to get one there.
Now $100 is the top end for gaming mice, but I can assure you, no other mouse in this price range has what the Tt eSPORTS Level 10M delivers to its buyers.?
Part of that cost does go into some really nice packaging. On the outer sleeve, the front has an image of the Level 10M on the left with the caption "Born to Be Seen" above icons of six features found in this mouse.
The right side gives you the back story of what it means to carry the Level 10 naming of a product. It also makes the ties from the chassis from 2009 to this mouse in the present time.
On the back, just under all of the naming and Battle Dragon logo you get the same six features shown here. This time you have large images to go with the explanations to make more sense of it. Then it goes into the mission of the Level 10M and finishes with the Tt eSPORTS address to get more information about the Level 10M.
On the last side of the sleeve the design concept of the Level 10M is told. Here it states that they removed all the walls to bring an awesome product forward that gives each user the best experience aesthetically and functionally.
On the bottom of the inner packaging there is just a bit of information. There is a warning not to look into the laser as well as the Windows 7 readiness sticker.
Cutting a bit of tape at the top and bottom, off came the sleeve exposing this inner packaging. Just to keep it secret as long as possible; there is a seal that needs to be broken to gain access to the mouse inside. Be careful though, the mouse is exposed right under this sticker, so cut lightly.
Finally with the seal broken we are allowed in to see the Level 10M suspended from the back, just there to drool over. They also take the time to print the insides of the doors with hexagonal designs, a statement about it, and the six features of the Level 10M are shown.?
Tt eSPORTS Level 10M Gaming Mouse
Starting with the left side of the Level 10M you can see the aluminum from the bottom plate wraps up and supports the buttons on this side. The smaller "A" button is set to page forward while the large "B" button is the page back. The Z button allows you do go forward and back to select DPI, and depressing it changes the profiles.
The bottom of the mouse sits suspended above the base with the ability to allow the mouse to take on a pitch or a camber to either the right or the left. The mouse even displays the plus and minus five degrees this mouse can be moved to.
As the metallic colored plastic runs to the top of the heel of the Level 10M, there is a nut that allows for adjustment of the height of this entire plate. This will allow users to find the perfect pitch of the Level 10M to fit your specific gaming style.
The right side offers two buttons this time on the aluminum side plate. The larger "D" button and the smaller "C" button in front of it are the Macro keys.
Moving in a bit closer you can see the second adjustment point of the Level 10M. Here is where you twist the nut to adjust the camber to the right or the left. With the open concept in this design, there still needs to be communication from top to bottom, and doing so in this mouse, there are the pair of bright red cables to carry the signals.
At the front there is a protrusion that sticks out to hold the braided USB cable that has a black tip displaying the Battle Dragon. Behind that, free floating almost, is the front of the mouse with the blunt nosed right click, left click, and scroll wheel in the metallic stripe.
Behind the left click button there is hexagonal openings in the top of the mouse. This is to allow two things. Most importantly, it offers a way to ventilate the underside of your hand to keep it cooler during long use. The second reason is that they hide a cool LED under it.
One solid piece of aluminium is what the Level 10M supports itself with. In the center of it all is the eye of the laser with a pair of stickers covering many of the screws. Around the outside edges, you get a large, wide, front and back foot, and a pair of thin side feet to eliminate drag.
The Level 10M comes with 1.8 meters of black braided cabling that is bound with a Velcro wrap to keep it tidy. The gold plated USB 2.0 connection has a bold coloration and shape that makes it simple to spot on the I/O panel, and even has a cover cap to protect it for when you are on the go.?
Accessories and Documentation
The first thing I saw in the bottom of the box, under the Level 10M, was the carrying bag. The dual compartment bag with the battle dragon logo will draw tight and keep you from scratching the Level 10M when you are traveling.
One side of the pouch is just enough to securely hold the mouse in place. Then you bundle the wiring and slide that into the thinner side, so that not even its own wire will touch it to do any damage.
The silver folder at the top left is what all of this paperwork came inside of. Opening it gives you the driver disc, and the warranty information about the two years this is covered. You also get three post cards that you can send to your closest friends to spread the joy of your purchase.
Inside dense foam for the inner box, surrounded with a clear plastic sleeve is where you will locate the adjustment Allen tool.
The nut on top of the mouse accepts the tool to allow you to lift or lower the heel height of the mouse.
Then if you insert it into the side, you need to look at the arrows to see what direction you are angling the top, as it is reversed to get the angle you want.?
Inside the Level 10M
Even getting this far is somewhat of a feat in itself. Not only do you have to pull the exposed screws, there are some six or so that are hidden under the feet and the stickers. This shows you though that the mouse is supported with a pair of hubs to allow for the open air design of this mouse.
To peer into the bottom of the Level 10M all I had to do was remove the cover with the logo on it to see what is in there.
In here we can spot the Avago ADNS9800 laser sensor that will be tracking all of your movements from 800 DPI all the way up to 8200 DPI, if you can handle that speed accurately.
This is the same 8-bit microprocessor we saw sitting inside of the Theron. This Sonin chip is still more than capable of delivering the information to the PC without delay over the USB 2.0 signal.
This is where I threw in the towel and realized I may not want to go any further. In order to access the top half, not only do you have to disassemble the worm drive for the camber adjustment, but on the top of the mouse is the spring loaded screw for the height adjustment that requires the use of a set pin. If I couldn't get that back together, I would be done, so I cut my losses.
With the Level 10M now back in one piece, I went ahead and plugged it in to see the default profile offerings. In plug-and-play mode the DPI levels on the right click, the scroll wheel, and the boxed outline on the left click all illuminate with the glow of red LEDs.
Under the mesh that allows for convective cooling, there is a Battle Dragon logo that slowly pulses on and off under the mesh.
Above is one last look at the Level 10M just so you can soak it all in. Keep in mind, there are different colors in the five profiles that are preset, but each profile can be set to a mixture of one of seven colors, the box, the scroll wheel and the logo can all be different colors on the same profile, too.?
The software is much the same as it was for the Theron, just this time with the Level 10M naming at the top and the two images of the mouse at the bottom to highlight the keys to change their default functions or apply Macros to them. Across the top you have the five profiles you can set, as of now we are on the first one.
The mouse opens up in Normal mode, and when you click on the Battle mode it displays this message. As it states, in this mode the LEDs flack when the mouse is clicked. In normal mode the box and scroll wheel stay on and the logo pulses.
In the light option tab you see another view of the Level 10M, but this time you can select one of the three sections of LEDs to set. The DPI lights are always red, there is no changing that, but for the other three lit areas, they can be set to any combination of the seven colors on the right side. You can also turn them off entirely, but again the red DPI LEDs stay active.
In the Macros tab, you can add a new Macro, name it, select the key on the mouse it is executed with, and then record the macro that you want to apply. You also can use delayed timing in the Macros to allow for a program to open before the next command is given in the series.
In the performance tab you now can customize the Level 10M to your movements. You can customize the four DPI levels set to the Z key, change the double click speed, the curser speed, and the scroll speed. You can also adjust the Lift Off Distance of the laser and change the Polling Rate.
Since the Level 10M is designed with 128kb of onboard memory, it can not only keep track of the Macros and the Profiles, but you can also keep a stash of profiles for different uses. Then you can swap out this list into the standard five profiles to take with you on the go, so anywhere you are, you have access to all of your customizations, not just the fit and feel.
As an impulse buy, I would seriously consider the Level 10M in white, simply because it matches both the color scheme of my latest build and matches the Matias Tactile Pro3 I use day to day. The thing is, just because it matches isn't enough for most buyers at this price range.
Aesthetically I have never seen anything like this, and that to me is a good thing. Just when I thought I had seen just about everything you can do with a mouse, Tt eSPORTS puts the market on its ear, and delivers one of the most intensively thought out designs I think a mouse can offer. That's because the precision in which all of the components are tied together and the fact that they left absolutely no stone unturned with this design. The color combination of the white against the aluminum bottom and metallic stripe running its long length is just killer looking against a black mouse mat. Then you have to consider all the fine details like the red covered cabling, the adjustment nuts, the open air cooling design with the hexagonal cutouts backlit with the LED Battle Dragon; that is just over the top, but very cool to look at. From any angle while looking, or under your right hand, the Level 10M is really exquisite.
My time with the Level 10M has been somewhat short so that I could show you this product as soon as possible, but I did get ample time in various games and while editing images and doing my day to day routine. I have used this mouse exclusively on the Ladon pad, but as I typed that I also reached to track it on my cloth CM mat, and I notice very little difference, just that the Ladon allows the Level 10M to glide smoother, the tracking is the same. I do need to address that this is a longer mouse, and if you have small hands, the basic buttons on top will be fine, but you will find yourself having to readjust your hands to use the forward most side buttons. The Z-key on the left side is in a good placement, and even though I found myself tapping it downward on occasion, there isn't a default function set so I wasn't accidentally changing the DPI or the profiles on accident.
While $100 is a hard pill to swallow when considering this mouse, it is like no other on the market currently and would make a great gift for the guy who has everything and enjoys high-end toys. For users that fit this same mold, and like to have something that is surely a step above what everyone else is using, this is definitely the mouse for you. For those of you that may tend to be haters; yes you can get cheaper mice with similar functionality, but nothing near this sleek and elegant.
The fact that you are going to want to travel with this every time you use a PC after owning one is also eased by the handy carrying pouch. You know you are not going to damage this high-end piece of tech, as you whip it out, with the sound of angels coming from above, as you slide this masterpiece in mice out of the bag.