Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
From what we have seen from Thermaltake and their eSPORTS division lately, they have definitely proven themselves to be one of those companies that can stand the test of time, roll with the punches, and be an industry leader. Thermaltake is always trying to be on the cutting edge, and innovate that next big thing. Gone are the days of budget products hanging on shelves at local electronics stores with enough dust on them to choke a horse. Thermaltake has fully shed that image in our minds, and as we show you their latest peripheral to hit the desk for testing, they will prove their prowess once again.
Team DK has dished above average paint out to Thermaltake products, and has been a great influence in the shaping, layout, and feel of these gaming mice. Thermaltake has really produced some great gaming mice for gamers, by gamers. What we don't typically see in many gaming mice are enough options for left hand users, either dedicated, or ambidextrous. The mouse we are reviewing today is ambidextrous in design, and even as a right hand user, the feel is still great. Like the Level 10M, this mouse also offers the Air-Through Ventilation design, so long hours of gaming are much cooler, and it will be much harder to lose your grip on this mouse, with either hand.
Because the Air-Through Ventilation is such a huge influence on the overall design of this latest gaming mouse from Thermaltake, the name of the mouse is Ventus, reflecting the well ventilated design. The mouse also boasts a full gaming feature set. These features include three LED zones on the mouse, seven programmable buttons, five profiles, and software to take full control of the Ventus for any occasion. Along with the Ventus Ambidextrous Gaming mouse, we were also sent the Draconem aluminum mouse pad to test alongside the Ventus. So, after a couple of weeks on the desk, we are finally able to tell you exactly what the Ventus and Draconem bring to today's gamers.
We snipped the chart Thermaltake eSports offers on the Ventus to show you the product's features and specifications. We find that the Ventus is only available in black, but the entire surface does have a rubberized coating applied. It shows this is a laser sensor based mouse with a maximum of 5700DPI, as they are using the Avago ADNS A9500. There are seven buttons found on the mouse, and with five profiles, this is how they come to the 35 possible Macros figure. All Macros can be held on the 128kb of onboard memory. While RTS, FPS, and MOBA gaming is listed for the Ventus, this mouse would truly suffice in any situation. We mentioned the three zones of LED, but the options for those are red LEDs, or no LEDs. There is a 1.8 meter braided cable attached with a gold-plated USB 2.0 connection at the end. The Ventus also offers a weight system, and software. All of these features are packed into a mouse that is 125mm long, 65mm in width, and only 39mm tall.
The Draconem aluminum mouse pad is, of course, based on a cut slap of aluminum that is 2mm in thickness. The aluminum base features a brushed finish, and two usable surfaces, one on either side of the pad. The red and black surface is very aggressive in texture to provide superior accuracy for finite movements. On the reverse side is a black surface that is much smoother, which makes gliding across the Draconem much easier, and still offers a great deal of accuracy and sensitivity. Two other bonuses to this design is that the four corners offer removable covers that act as feet. If the Draconem decides it wants to move around during use, make sure to use the black rubber covers on the corners. The second bonus to this pad is that there is also a two piece cord bungee included in the box. So, not only do we get one of the biggest aluminum pads on the market, but it is also one of the most feature rich designs we have ever seen.
As we were writing this, we took the time to visit all the usual haunts to find listings for these products. However, when it comes to the Ventus and the Draconem, stock is not showing up for sale anywhere, and site search engines are coming up blank. We couldn't even locate a pre-order listing anywhere. Thankfully, Thermaltake always lists the MSRP of their products on their respective webpages, so you can cross reference before you add anything to the cart. On the Thermaltake Ventus product page, we saw that the Ventus mouse has an MSRP of only $49.99. As for the Draconem, it is a tad pricey in comparison to cloth mouse pads, but we feel the MSRP of $39.99 is more than fair for the quality and extras it offers.
Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation
The Ventus comes in some very vibrant packaging, showing tracers running across the honeycomb lattice behind the image of the Ventus in the middle. Along the bottom, we see mentions of the 5700 DPI cap, the Air-Through Ventilation, and the Ventus' ambidextrous design.
The front panel also opens to expose the mouse on the right, behind a layer of clear plastic that holds it in place. On the back of the cover, three images of the Ventus are given as features and functions are pointed out around it.
On the longer sides of the box, Thermaltake chose to simply go with the red dog bone shape that offers the company name to the left, the product name in the middle, and the Battle Dragon logo to the right, the latter of which is featured on every eSPORTS product.
The back uses diamond plate steel for the backdrop, and the Ventus naming tops this panel. There is one image of what the software looks like, and below that we are told to visit the website for more information.
This side follows with what we found on the opposing panel. Here they use more of that bold red to attract the eye.
On the inside of the box, we find some paperwork, and a carrying bag underneath the lower black section of the inner packaging. To keep the mouse in place, there is a form fitted plastic cover that also wraps around the lower section; this also allowed our Ventus to arrive without a scratch on it.
In the envelope found at the top left of this image, we found the quick installation guide, along with the warranty information, and a pair of Battle Dragon stickers.
There is also this padded cloth, red Battle Dragon emblazoned, travel bag for the Ventus. This allows you to keep the mouse well protect when on vacation, or just during your travels to a buddies house.
The cloth bag is lined inside and out, although the material inside is much fuzzier than the tightly woven outside. With the Ventus and the cabling wrapped up inside, we find everything is comfortable and well protected.
Tt eSPORTS Ventus Ambidextrous Laser Gaming Mouse
The Ventus is composed of four major sections, of which, we are looking at the left side component. The left side curves around the top to meet the left click button, and has a single button in front of the large opening that allows for convective air flow through the mouse.
As we look at the heel, we can see all four components in play at once. The left side curves around at the bottom to meet the lowest section as is runs under the heel of the Ventus. It then curves around, and back upward as the right side carries the body line.
Further up on the heel section of the Ventus, we also have this open area of large honeycomb shaped holes that allows for the Air-Through concept, and a view of the Battle Dragon under it.
The right side of the mouse is a mirror image of the opposing side. Again, there is only a single button on the side, but since this is an ambidextrous design, we fully expected to see that.
The front of the Ventus sports two full width buttons, the left one has a honeycomb shaped illuminated section on it. Under the buttons, the Ventus makes a gentle sweeping curve downward and back, as the braided USB cable is mounted dead center.
Between the two main buttons, there is a heavily segmented metal scroll wheel that has a rubber trim ring in the middle to give solid weapons switches. Behind that wheel, the first hexagonal button swaps through the five profiles, while the second runs through four DPI levels.
Under the Ventus, we see they even applied a pattern to the plastic before adding the sticker around the eye, and two wide PTFE feet, one in front, and one aft. There is also a door that opens with the Tt eSPORTS name on it.
Under the cover is a thin layer of foam to help keep the trio of 4.5 gram weights from clicking on the cover. They set in a triangular rubber insert that will keep the weights firmly in one place.
The braided cable that extends from the front of the mouse comes bundled in a Velcro strap. This is very beneficial for when you want to tidy it back up for travel. We see the cable terminates with a gold-plated connection in an easily recognizable cover.
Inside the Ventus
With a fair bit of work involved in hunting down two hidden screws, we were finally able to break the Ventus down into its four major components, and get a look at what is inside.
As we start off, we find that Tt eSPORTS is using the five-million click lifespan version of the Omron D2FC-F-7N. Since the Omron is the most used switch in any mouse, they may as well go with the best.
We can now see the left side button (or the default page back button) is backed with a HC branded switch. This does require slightly more pressure to activate than the Omron switches up front.
The black pad style switches used for the profile, DPI buttons, and under the scroll wheel, all activate easily, and are the most audible switches on the Ventus.
After removing the upper tan PCB, we are able to get a view of the sensor in charge of tracking what you want the Ventus to do. Here we find the Avago ADNS A9500, which is a very good sensor, it just does not offer the range the 9800 offers.
Tt eSPORTS has chosen to go with the SoNiX SN8F2288F6 MCU as the eight-bit CMOS style MCU for the Ventus communications. This is also what gives us the 128kb of onboard memory.
After adding the top layer PCB back to the lower section of the Ventus, as we round the last side of the interior, we can see that both the HC switch and the Omron switch match to those we found on the other side of this ambidextrous mouse.
Now that it's all back together and connected to the PC, we see the Ventus has come to life. As for the lighting, all three sections can be individually illuminated or turned off, and by default, the Battle Dragon is in a breathing or pulsing mode.
After grabbing and downloading the driver, we installed it, and opened it up to find this. Across the top you select which profile to adjust first, and then move to the main body to reassign keys on the left, or name and assign programs to the profile in use on the right.
After clicking on any of the boxes to assign the keys, this window pops up. It allows you to set the type of use, like standard functions, or Macros and such, and even allows you to pick from a list of predefined mouse functions. This also offers the option to add keyboard controls to your buttons as well.
As for programming the Macros, simply click the box on the main page to get the manager window. Here you can do everything from creating and naming new Macros to importing and exporting old ones. It also offers all the delays and abilities needed for more complex combinations.
If you click on the Performance box on the main window, this is what you are able to address. Since there are four DPI levels, you simply select which of them you are setting at the top. You can then adjust the slider to anything between 100 and 5700 DPI, whatever fits your needs. There is the ability to offset the axis control, changed the LOD, and even address the polling rates.
After clicking on the last box, the Lighting Option box, we are given this smaller window. Here, each of the zones can be turned on or off. The honeycomb at the front and the scroll wheel will stay solid when illuminated, but the Battle Dragon will always pulse on and off if illumination is enabled there.
Draconem Aluminum Gaming Mouse Pad
The Draconem aluminum mouse pad comes in a pretty heavy duty cardboard box that is well adorned with the pattern on the box matching that of the pad in the image slightly left of center. Along the bottom, we see icons denoting the Draconem's aluminum base, the bungee, and the dual surfaces.
Around the back, we see the bungee has a channel to hold the mouse wiring. We also see the red pattern of the high-control side, and the all black, low-friction side. To the right there is a bit of a specifications chart, a features list, and a note to visit the site for more information.
Inside the box, we find the Draconem wrapped in plastic, and firmly held in the box with dense foam at both ends. We also found a cardboard box holding the rest of the goodies.
Inside of that box, we found the warranty information, along with four bits made of black rubber. At the top we have the base to the bungee, and the bit to the right plugs into it, and then it slides over the edge of the pad. The other two pieces are extra corner caps, just in case any get lost or damaged.
First we look at the high-control side of the Draconem. Here, the texture on the plastic section is rough, and really intensifies the accuracy of the Ventus. The only aluminum visible is the edge and about three-eighths if an inch around the plastic. We also see that the pad already comes with rubber "feet" at the four corners.
Flipping the Draconem over is easy enough; this side is a bit smoother than the other side, and does allow the Ventus to slide very easily across the pad. Even though the texture is reduced, this side of the Draconem still makes the Ventus much more responsive than a foam and cloth mat does.
We decided to flip the pad over once again, and this time we have assembled the cable bungee and slid it over the back edge of the Draconem. So, not only do you get a very precise pair of surfaces to use, but with the included bungee, the cabling is tended and out of your way as well.
To get a much better perspective of the area that the Draconem offers, we went ahead and ran the wiring through the bungee and set the Ventus on it. Due to the increased sensitivity that this pad offers, we guarantee you won't find yourself lifting or running off the edges.
Starting off with the Ventus, it is one of the first ambidextrous mice we have used that doesn't really feel ambidextrous. With the rounded sides, the flatter top, and the button layout, you never really feel like you are missing anything. Of course, wings to keep your fingers off the mouse pad are always nice, but that element usually doesn't make it into such a design.
We found the laser sensor and its 5700 DPI range more than sufficient in our testing, and in reality, we cannot control a mouse with 8200 DPI set anyways. The lighting aspect may be simple in its options, but the illuminated sections are well placed, and do look nice when active. The ability of this mouse once the software is installed is very good as well, as it caters to everything today's gamers need in their weapon of choice.
The Draconem really shocked us. There is the slight issue of the aluminum edges being very sharp, but for the accuracy, and the heightened sensitivity it provides, this mouse pad is truly awesome. The Draconem makes the Ventus so accurate on either side of it, that we found ourselves with very little need to go past 1600 DPI for most of our time using it. On a cloth top pad, the Ventus did not slide nearly as nice, and we had to keep turning the DPI up to compensate for a sluggish and almost unresponsive experience. Considering there is the mouse bungee option to use as well, Tt eSPORTS has delivered us a mouse pad that will change the way we view any other pad offered to us later on.
Now, all we have left to cover is the pricing. What we really like about this whole setup, is that you can have both the Ventus and the Draconem for under $100. Just to refresh, the MSRP of the Ventus is set to $49.99, and on its own that is a tremendous deal for what is delivered. The Draconem is pricey for a mouse pad, but after everything we have seen it do for a mouse, the $39.99 investment is worth every penny, and will honestly make you never want another cloth top pad again.
As a combination to take to the multiplayer world of gaming, Tt eSPORTS has raised the bar very high, and made it very tough for the rest of the competition to catch up to these sorts of products.
|Quality including Design and Build||92%|
|Bundle and Packaging||96%|
|Value for Money||98%|
The Bottom Line: For an ambidextrous design, the Ventus is worth every penny Tt eSports is asking of it. As for the Draconem, it is the best mouse pad we have ever tested - it comes with a bungee, and is also worth the investment for the superb feel and accuracy it offers.
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