PerformanceThe base performance of this mouse is, naturally, very good because it uses the Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor. This sensor, like its predecessor, the 9500, has a small amount of positive acceleration, which means that it overshoots compared to the distance it physically travels. This is not a major problem, but should be taken into consideration before going for any mouse with the sensor. The overall precision and tracking capabilities of the 9800-series sensor are very good, making it the best laser sensor on the market with a DPI of 5000+, which will greatly benefit those users that prefer very high sensitivity mice.
GamingGaming with the Level 10 M at low and medium sensitivities turned out to be troublesome because of its weight, position of the side buttons, and the shape of the thumb and pinky finger plate. The mouse is extremely heavy and does, as such, feel quite sluggish, even on the mat. Weight is a preference thing, but the weight of this mouse is way over the top for low to medium sensitivity gamers, even if you like heavy mice.
The shape and positioning of the side buttons does not help, since you regularly press them by accident while trying to lift the mouse off the mat. Even a mat with very low friction, like the SteelSeries 9HD or ModMyMachine SlamePad, makes the mouse feel slow, and your wrist fatigues easily. Once you lift the mouse off the mat, you will notice the very low lift-off distance typical to ADNS-9800 mice. It is, as mentioned in the driver suite section of this review, adjustable. Firmware version 1.0 exhibits the same Z-axis lift-off drift as with the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II. This problem was fixed by CM Storm with a firmware revision, and could, as such, be fixed with by Tt eSPORTS as well.
The palm plate is only really affixed to the back, where the adjustment mechanism is situated. At the front, it always has one degree of freedom, which enables a palm plate tilt. This unfortunately also makes the palm plate a bit unstable during gaming which is mostly a problem with fast paced FPS games, but it is a nuisance nonetheless. Whether you can live with it depends on your grip and how hard you tend to press the buttons; however, a good mouse should allow you to grip it in any way you please while still performing at its best. It is not a huge issue, but not one you would expect to be faced with in a high-end gaming mouse.
While side button placement is a bit annoying, their button mechanism is really good, and it is easy to tell the buttons apart due to the vast differences in size and feel between the four-way button at the back and down to the rubber-coated small button at the front. The scroll wheel's click mechanisms and the wheel itself are also of a very good quality.
The palm plate adjustment system is supposed to provide a more ergonomic experience; however, the weight it adds just makes for a somewhat painful gaming experience under normal circumstances. If you like really heavy mice and run extremely high sensitivity, this mouse might be good for you, but it is, in term of mass appeal, a bit of a miss.
This mouse is quite good for RPG gaming. The ergonomics could be better, but the amount of buttons make up for this deficit. Its main button mechanisms are good, and all of the buttons are usable while gaming—even the four-way button.
Desktop WorkFor desktop work, the mouse is quite pleasant. The primary buttons and scroll wheel work well, and the fine movement precision is definitely there. The precision is about the same as that of the Ozone Xenon and Zowie AM, and you can run a much higher sensitivity on the Level 10 M than on the two ADNS-3090 powered mice. The weight and ergonomics are not all bad for regular desktop work; however, having to lift the mouse immediately feels awkward.
The precision is nice in photo editing, and the sensor placement makes one-pixel moves possible, which is essential for precision work. The four-way button is interesting, and I am sure that a lot of CAD workers out there will find ways to put it to good use. Using it to manipulate an object's orientation is a no brainer, as it is almost like having a slightly augmented 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse integrated into the side. You would lack the twist, but the axis corresponds to what happens on the screen.