Gigabyte Aivia Krypton, Tt eSports Volos/Theron
Gigabyte Aivia Krypton
Gigabyte may not come to mind when thinking about gaming peripherals, but they are certainly not one to forget if judging by our first impressions of the Gigabyte Aivia Krypton.
Aside from what we class as a killer looking design, this mouse has the features to back it up. With fairly aggressive lines, LED lighting and a sleek logo we can't see this design disappointing too many people.
Out of the box this mouse weighs only 110g (without the cable or tuning weights), which felt a little light and unbalanced, especially on the front end. But that's no issue thanks to the included weights, as you can add up to 39g in increments of 1.8 or 5.3grams. We added 14.2g with the two heavier 5.3g weights towards the front and didn't experience any cramping after a straight four hour gaming session. Size is nearly spot on for our liking, with the Aivia Krypton measuring up at 128mm long x 67mm wide x 41.5mm tall.
We should mention this unit comes with probably the best designed box and accessories package out of all the products we've tested here, with the weight adjustment case an impressive little addition. The dual chassis adds another layer of customization that may help some. We enjoyed trying the speed chassis (abrasion-free ceramic feet) when used with all the weights.
There's not much to fault with the Krypton. With no sweaty palms or cramping, the only issue is that you may have a problem reaching the odd-shaped buttons on both the left and right sides toward the front if you have small to medium sized hands.
While we're discussing negatives, we'd like to point out that the scroll wheel's feedback is a little disappointing. It just seems to be a little too spongy after using Logitech or SteelSeries mice. The rest of the buttons are balanced well between the fine line of too easy to press or too firm, with all being well within reach of my fingers. On-the-fly DPI switching is easy with both up and down available on the same button in the center of the mouse.
With an Avago ADNS-9800 and up to 8200 DPI, the Aivia Krypton felt appropriately responsive in any game we played. Combine its easy-to-use software with on-board profile storage as well as sensitivity, wheel, profile, report rate, hand mode settings, and Gigabyte sits among the best for customization.
For macro fiends, Gigabyte's Ghost software allows up to 70 of them -- far more than we can use as avid gamers, so kudos to anyone who needs that many! Of course, LED customization is also provided, with enough choices (up to 10) for the profile lights on the sides as well as some brightness settings. The downside currently is that the software doesn't support Windows 8.
Gigabyte also provides a great Aivia Krypton gaming mat to complete the experience. While it isn't the largest mat we've seen by far, it certainly commands some presence on the desk at 425mm long x 287mm wide x 6mm thick -- of this, about 9cm is lost to the rubber edging. They also had the sense to use both sides: the 'precision' side uses relatively standard fabric while the 'speed' side is topped with slick PVC.
Tt eSports Volos ColourShift
Tt eSports' first contender is a heavyweight with aesthetics that may divide shoppers more than any other model in this roundup. If nothing else, while it may be ugly to some, it's interesting to see new designs like this -- especially if they're relatively functional and affordable ($70 in this case).
At 153g, it seems a little excessive to add tuning weights, which can push that figure to 175.5g with five 4.5g pieces. While we would almost class this as a bodybuilder's mouse on those specs alone, it actually doesn't feel too bad in use thanks to quality PTFE glide pads and a balanced body. At 129mm long x 79mm wide x 43mm tall, the Volos' dimensions seem to work very well with its weight, and its contoured lines feel natural over long periods.
Equipped with fourteen buttons, we were pleasantly surprised that most are easy to reach and have nice feedback. The blue and orange buttons on the left side are a bit too far for claw grips, but the right side buttons can be reached fine and work quite well in this stance.
For palm grip users with average to large hands, all of the buttons can be used well, though some are still a little more awkward than others. Overall, the packaging and presentation are good, coming with stickers, a warranty card and a handy travel case.
Funnily, the manual mentions a CD that is not included, but most people should be fine getting the software off the company's site. We had a little trouble during installation and although it wasn't a major issue, Thermaltake should provide better support online.
After overcoming the minor setback, we were greeted with a well-presented interface to personalize as many as 10 profiles (all custom color-matched on the mouse) to manage your advanced macros (with easy delay settings etc.), lift control, polling rates and the usual basics.
Tt eSports Theron
Tt eSports' next entrant is lighter on the wallet, but not so much on features. For $60, the Theron seems like it has a strong chance of making the top of our recommendations.
At 124mm long x 74mm wide x 40mm tall, the device sits just right for a claw grip, but it does seem a little light at around 105g. That, of course, is without the cable or any of the five 4.5g tuning weights -- three of which we added for the best balance.
The addition of 'ridges' on the main left and right buttons gives an extra sense of control that we like and when combined with the matte rubberized finish it's no sweat to maintain an iron grip.
Although you could learn to deal with the polling rate and profile switches on the bottom, we found them inconvenient. Eight buttons are present with all being reasonably accessible, though the DPI up/down buttons could be a little further up to save some time, especially in fast-paced shooters. Five LED colors appear on six spots to match your profile selection so you don't have to guess which one you're using.
We've had some issues with the 'ridge' side buttons on some other mice, but these offer just enough resistance to avoid accidental clicks yet remain light enough trigger easily.
As with Tt eSports' website, the company's software is lacking a little support, but once set up you have the power to use both normal and 'response/battle' modes with the LED lights, up to 40 macros with delays, DPI adjustment as well as the other normal settings. All told, Tt eSports' gaming mice are a welcomed addition to the roundup and with some minor improvements to a few areas we think the company could easily top future roundups.