Outside of CPUs, GPUs, motherboards, and storage, when it comes to Thermaltake, it is highly likely that they offer a solution or two to fit whatever your PC needs may be. That being said, with all of the hype surrounding their twentieth anniversary, and the introduction of the Level 20 series of gear, that it is time for those products to start making rounds to reviewers. Of course, the chassis came first to this lineup, but it appears that Thermaltake has also allowed peripherals to fall under this moniker as well.
Thermaltake has made a keyboard, a mouse, as well as a pair of mousepads, which is why we are here now, for the latter of the group. While we did look at something very similar from XPG, there are three significant differences in these pads. Thermaltake has decided to go with a conventional cloth top on their model, and have added the ability to use software for a more vast set of options for the included lighting. Lastly, Thermaltake offers a two-year warranty, versus the single year provided by XPG. These pads come in two sizes. One of them is of average size, while the one we have in hand is much larger, and will cover the majority of any desk used for gaming or computing.
Without any additional name to help to separate this mouse pad from the other products of the series, we have in our hands the Level 20 RGB Extended Gaming Mouse Pad. Going beyond the typical large pads we see on the market, Thermaltake has opted to add similar lighting to the edge of their mouse surface as we saw from XPG, where a fiber-optic style light delivery system is employed. However, rather than a few color choices, or a single pattern to admire, with iTAKE software involved, you are only limited by what you can come up with. Stick with us as we get up close and personal with it, see how it holds up to the daily grind, and see if the Thermaltake Level 20 RGB Gaming Mouse Pad is the right choice.
All sides of the packaging are matte black, which highlights things like the name of the company and the name of the product, as well as the full image of the mouse pad. It also helps to draw the eye to the right, where we find notations for TT SYNC, RGB PLUS, TT AI Voice Control, RAZER CHROMA, and ALEXA compatibility with various colors shown surrounding the mouse pad below it. As for the second side, we can see, it offers only the name of the mouse pad inside of the box.
Opposite of the box where we found only the name of the mouse pad, it only seems fitting to find the company name and the logo on this panel. On the back of the box, we see features shown around an image of the pad, with specs below it with requirements and contents of the box to the right. In the middle, we find eleven versions of a six-point features list, followed by company information, and the product stickers at the far right.
Along with the Level 20 RGB Extended Mouse pad, we also got some literature. Inside of the quick-installation guide, there is a preface, followed by a section of specifications, one on connectivity, one on package contents, three cautionary points, and ends with the technical specs. The booklet is multi-lingual, and each language gets two panels in the booklet. To the right is the paperwork covering what is an issue for Thermaltake to warranty and what is not. All the information you may need if a problem occurs can be found inside of it.
Laid out in the booth for images, it takes up quite a bit of space with its 900mm by 400mm dimensions! Yes, slightly smaller front to back than the XPG we just saw. However, we are positive that many may like the simple "TT" at the bottom rather than bright colors and huge graphics. Also, notice that the USB cable and its gold plated connection are firmly attached to the controller.
The cloth used on top of the pad is a tight weave material, but there are no mentions of specialized materials used. All the same, mice will have no issues reading the texture, and if there is, you may want to calibrate your mouse software, as doing so with ours raised the sensitivity quite a bit after doing so.
Backing the cloth top is gray foam, 4mm in thickness, which is pretty typical of what the market has moved towards. The chevron pattern is also something we see a lot and has worked well for keeping mouse pads of any size where you put them, not moving around the desk as you mouse over it.
The controller is mounted to the left edge, near the back of the pad, and the "TT" on top of it will glow to match the trim. Inside of the box is a pair of LEDs, which can be addressed via software, and with no button on the control box, it is the only way to do so. As the XPG had, Thermaltake also edges the pad with a clear plastic trim that carries the light and is sewn to the pad using thick nylon string, which looks a lot like fishing line.
After plugging in the USB cable, the Level 20 RGB comes to life, and while the colors were cycling, we grabbed an image. Out of the box, we like the cycling mode offered, and we also like the fact that the top and right edge are a different color than the left and bottom edges. Another great addition to the desks where users want something under all of their desktop peripherals!
While compatible with many versions of various software, iTAKE is the one designed specifically for the Level 20 RGB pad. In it, you can address up to six profiles, and they can be named, stored on the PC, and imported or exported into iTAKE. Lighting effects range from static and through pulse, blink, RGB Spectrum (the default mode), raindrop, music, and temperature. Each mode offers variables, too, such as color options, which can be changed on the right side, as well as speed, zone appropriation, and LED intensity.
Head to head against the recently reviewed XPG solution, Thermaltake has some wins and some losses. On the good side of things, we love the simplistic styling and limited branding, as many will gravitate to something like this. We also loved software control. Yes, it is another software needed, but the options of modes and the effects delivered does feel right when offering something labeled RGB. Even though small, we also like the "TT" that glows on the control box, which is marketing at its best, as in a dark room, you may not see the painted on the cloth in the bottom-right corner.
The losses, one is a big deal, while the other is a matter of perspective and available room. The latter has to do with the overall dimensions of the mouse pad, where the XPG is 20mm deeper from front to back. Not a deal killer, but it is something worth considering. The big deal, and had we seen the Thermaltake version before the XPG product, we would not have had the chance to express this, but XPGs use of CORDURA is a considerable advantage. While the feel of the cloth surface of the Level 20 RGB is no different than many of the mousepads you are used to, we got spoiled by the less restrictive, free movement of a mouse on the slick cloth.
Sadly there is one downside that cannot be sugar-coated or written in a perspective that would appeal to most users, and that is the cost. At this time, the only version out on the wild is the standard version of the Level 20 RGB Gaming Mouse pad, and for that version, we see a price on Amazon at $57.25 plus nearly another $11 to ship it here. Comparatively, it is half the width and a few inches shorter front to back. So when the Level 20 RGB Extended Gaming Mouse Pad does hit the shelves, we expect the price to be higher. However, the one place we did see an actual price for this pad was at the www.ttpremium.com address, where shockingly, it is listed at just $59.99, but once on retail shelves, this could change.
We find it hard to digest that for half the pad, you pay $2 less. Either one of them is drastically overpriced, or one is underpriced! We will have to wait and see. Only ten dollars separate the XPG and Thermaltake offerings, but it comes down to if you would rather so-so lighting options with an excellent new material used, or if you want something that will fit in the office better style-wise, has the standard cloth top, but trumps the lighting effects with iTAKE software. The choice is up to you, but even without the fancy covering to slide the mouse on, on our desk, The Level 20 RGB Extended Gaming Mouse Pad is what is staying on our desk until we plumb wear it out!
Chad's DDR4 Dual-Channel Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASRock X299 OCF
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7740X - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: LEPA NEOllusion - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Extreme Core
- Storage: Samsung XP941 256GB
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 - Buy from Amazon
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit - Buy from Amazon
- Software: CPU-Z 1.78.3 x64, Super Pi Mod 1.5XS, 7-Zip 16.04, AIDA64 Engineer 5.92.4300
The Bottom Line
While we question the pricing currently, we do have to say that Thermaltake does a terrific job of implementing this newer lighting system to a huge mouse pad. iTAKE, as well as other various forms of control, give you the most feature rich mouse pad of this size we have seen to date!