Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
For those who actually recall the original Level 10 M mouse from Thermaltake, they may also remember all the acclaim and praise the combined efforts of Thermaltake and BMW were very worthy of. The only issue for some users is that the Level 10 M needed to be constantly connected to your PC via the USB cable. So, either a mass amount of emails came in asking for this, or Thermaltake figured they could take on the likes of Logitech and many others that already offer very good wireless mice. Either way, it is a win-win situation for users; we now have more options in this slightly redesigned Level 10 M mouse.
In the last year or so, Thermaltake has really been stepping up in the peripherals market. Thermaltake has been following trends like making game themed devices, and they also are hard at work trying to produce original things as well. As we just saw with the Poseidon Z, Thermaltake isn't afraid to break the mold a touch just to stand out from the crowd on their own two feet. With this hybrid, they are sort of following other companies with the main idea, but this is yet another instance where Thermaltake goes above and beyond. The idea here is that if you are going to bother attempting such a device, and you want to sell them, you better do it right from the beginning, or don't even bother trying.
Today we are taking a look at the Thermaltake Level 10 M Hybrid. This mouse offers the options to run the mouse wirelessly if desired, or by using the provided cable, it can be used as a wired device as well. While using a lot of the features and benefits from the original Level 10 M, there are a few changes that have been made to make the Level 10 M Hybrid its own design. For those that liked the original, this will be right up your alley; for those not too familiar with that design, pay close attention as this may be the newest mouse to grace your desk.
The chart shows us that this mouse only comes in what is called Diamond Black, and is based on the 8200 DPI Avago ADNS A9800 laser sensor. It is designed to fit all of your gaming needs, and even can store 128KB of profiles, Macros, and lighting configurations. Built into this design, we get nine buttons to use over five profiles, and full on RGB color options for the pair of LEDs that offer effects when powered.
There is a 1.8 meter long cable to use to charge the mouse or use it in wired mode, but there is also a 1.8 meter USB extension cable included as well. If you plan to run this mouse in 5.8G wireless mode, it boasts a range of ten meters, so even use in an HTPC environment is covered. What is also nice is that there is fifteen hours of straight run time in wireless mode, and it only takes up to four hours to charge the Lithium Ion battery inside.
We do wish they would at least mention the switch types, or maybe even give us an idea of the sensors used, but in reality, all we can do is guess. The reason is that, even more so than the Level 10 M, the new Level 10 M Hybrid is a much tougher nut to crack. Fearing damage to the components, as well as the frame, from the little bit of disassembly we could do, we found we got nowhere close to the guts, and are not able to get images to verify the components used in this device. Judging by feel, they are close to the feel of Omron switches, but knowing Thermaltake like we do, they are likely Kailh switches. Even without exact details, that won't stop us from forming an opinion.
As we hunt for pricing and availability, we see that only a few locations are stocking this mouse currently, but it is still fairly fresh to the market as well. As we were on the Thermaltake eSports page, we find that they have set the MSRP at $109.99, and considering what we already know of this mouse, that pricing is on point against others in the market. We do suggest you do spend some time shopping around though, as we have seen them listed much cheaper than that too. So, great deals can already be had on the Level 10 M Hybrid, and deals always makes people smile when grabbing products that are fresh to the market.
Packaging, Accessories and Documentation
The Level 10 M Hybrid comes in some really bold packaging. With the typical red on black theme, the large widow to view the mouse leaves little room for detailed product information. However, we still get the product naming, the battle dragon logo, and there is still room for features and other little bits.
On the right side we see that this panel has been taken up with the "story of the Level 10". This covered all the way back to 2006 with the Level 10 chassis, and works its way to present day with this hybrid mouse.
At the back, we start off with the company and product naming, but below that is a rendering of the Level 10 M Hybrid with six main features being described and pointed to. The tiny text at the bottom explains that you should visit their website for more information.
The opposing side offered the story behind the name, whereas on this side, there is a story about the "design concept; Level 10 M mouse," or just how and why they do what they do with these mice.
The outer layer we just looked at is just a sleeve of cardboard. This leaves the much thicker inner box and the clear top to protect the mouse inside. They do a great job to make sure things arrive safely, and we even find the mouse zip-tied into the packaging, so it will not move around inside of the box.
Thermaltake eSports Level 10 M Hybrid Mouse
On the left side of the Level 10 M Hybrid we see there is a long nose to this mouse, but down the side we see the aluminium from the bottom frame extends upward to form the side of the mouse. On this section there is an A button, a B button, and one with a lightning bolt on it that is more like a D-pad than a button.
The heel of this design is well rounded, and it makes a palm grip very comfortable. There is an aluminum strip running slightly off center, and to either side are degrees marked out to let you know about the camber this design offers.
The right side of the mouse offers a finger rest made of plastic, with a rubberized coating applied –just like what is on the top surfaces. There is also a bit of wiring poking out near the back, and there is a large screw that will adjust the camber, or the lean right or left of the top.
At the front we find a large plastic cap that is connected to the mouse wiring, and all of it is supported by the lower frame.
After lifting things off of the aluminum bracket at the front, the plug comes out to expose the mini connection inside. For wireless mode, this is all you need, but to charge the device or run in wired mode, you will need the provided cable.
At the bottom, you can just see the battle dragon logo under the mesh that allows air to flow up under your hand. At the front, we see the left click button with an illuminated section, the heavily segmented scroll wheel in the aluminium stripe, and the right click button that also offers a DPI level indicator.
Under the Level 10 M Hybrid, we find they use five feet to float this mouse on the desktop. The bottom is constructed of one solid piece of aluminium, and on that they placed two stickers –one for their name, and the second around the sensor with more information on it.
Closing the distance a bit, we can now easily see the bind button to the left to connect the mouse and dongle (if it does not work out of the box like ours did). To the right is a tiny switch. This allows the user to shut the mouse off when not in use, or when inside the bag, so not to drain the Li-Ion battery.
Accessories and Documentation
Under the mouse there is plenty of room to pack in a few goodies into the box, and Thermaltake does not disappoint here. There is a padded cloth carry bag for the mouse and extras, and inside of that bag is where we find the 1.8 meter braided cable for the Level 10 M Hybrid. If you look closely at the end of the cable, you can see a wide cap to cover it, and this is also where the receiver is located.
The inside of the bag is lined to keep any scratches at bay, and the bag is big enough to carry the mouse, the wiring, the dongle, and still have some room left over for other small items you may want to travel with.
We also found this under the mouse, and it is simply a male to female USB extension cable. For those that must use a wire, we all know it can come up just a little short at times. This will allow you to route the wiring cleaner, and extend its range to 3.6 meters from the PC.
We also get this large and easy to use Allen wrench. The large end is knurled to make gripping it very easy, and it fits well in the adjustment screws.
In case you had forgotten, this wrench will allow you to set the camber of the mouse via the use of the screw we currently have the wrench in, or by using it on top of the mouse, you can adjust the heel height to better fit your hand.
On top of all the goodies that come along with this mouse, we also get a full assortment of paperwork. There is the quick install guide (which is well written), the warranty guide, and a white and a black battle dragon sticker to put anywhere you see fit.
Once installed, the software has quite a bit to offer. There is normal and battle modes for the way the lighting on the mouse works, inside of a much larger window showing all of the keys in case you want to reassign functionality. To the right, at the top, are five profiles to choose from, and below is where you can name, edit, load, offload, and save profiles, or link to a program.
Once you click on, say, the right button, we see a new menu. Here there are options for single key, default, macro, sensitivity, or disable in the first dropdown box. The second box will offer all of the basic mouse features for reassignment, and at the bottom, you can even assign keyboard strokes to a button.
The software here is very involved, and while offering all of the basic functionality, you can also edit things after the Macros is performed, add timing breaks, or set it to be a one-time only command, or spam the game.
Here we have the performance section where adjustments can be made to the preset DPI levels. Use the dropdown to select the level, then slide the slider bar to the desired level; it is that easy. There are also controls for LOD and polling rate at the bottom.
Lighting options are plentiful, but there are only two places to change the LEDs. The battle dragon does not glow this time, but the box on the left click, and the light under the scroll wheel can be changed to anything; the DPI indicator will always be red.
The Level 10 M Hybrid has been a pleasure to work with. Once everything was set to our liking, the software was installed and the firmware update was applied, this mouse was off to the races, and would do anything we asked of it smoothly and accurately. In case you missed it, make sure to grab the firmware update, as without it there is some tracking and LOD issues that the new firmware totally eradicates. The feel is a bit flat; it is easy to get used to, but anyone with small or medium sized hands may find this mouse tough to use. While this mouse is well thought out and designed so well that it is near impossible to take apart, length and button access is a serious consideration.
With as many profiles and buttons as there are in the Level 10 M Hybrid, aside from the basic functions of the mouse, there can be thirty plus other functions applied to this mouse, and all can be stored on the 128KB of onboard memory. Then, of course, profiles can be applied to programs, Macros can be added and edited as they need be, and the custom lighting can be made to go along with the theme of the PC, or whatever color of the RGB scale you wish to try. It is all there.
Speaking of the lighting, there is something to note here. When in wired mode, the lighting stays on full time, and has a breathing pattern to it. You can swap over to battle mode, and with each click of the mouse, the LEDs will then flash. However, when you are in wireless mode, the only time you see LED lighting is when the mouse is first clicked to awaken it from sleep, or when the DPI level is changed, otherwise the LEDs fade out quickly to save on the battery drain.
We saw the specs chart, and they show it takes up to four hours to charge the mouse, and that is true, as our longest charging session was 3.5 hours. Run time is based on constant usage of fifteen continuous hours. Our last charge has lasted us for days with photo editing, writing and editing, surfing the net, and even a bit of gaming here and there. That in itself is great, and this battery does seem to outlast our Logitech, but one thing is sorely missed on this mouse: a battery level indicator. Of course there is an icon in the software, but at the end of the day, who is going to look in software in the middle of a game to see if they have enough charge for another round, or three? To be honest though, this is the only thing we don't see any rhyme or reasoning to, and it is really the only fault to the entire design. And for that, we say "well done" to Thermaltake, their eSports team, and BMW; they are definitely continuing with the legend here in the Level 10 M Hybrid.
The pricing may have seemed a bit high at first to most that read this review, but now once we see everything we get in goodies, software, and with the comfort and ease of use this Level 10 M Hybrid is offering us, we feel they are justified asking over $100; down to the last penny. All of the design features work as intended to set the camber and ride height for your palm, and the usability of the overall design leaves us very little to complain about. This is another great addition to the Thermaltake eSports lineup, and is a product that is definitely up to snuff when it comes to Level 10 M products. The real question at this point is: Why you are still reading when you should be out shopping for one of your very own?
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