by Jamie Fletcher on April 18, 2011 in Peripherals
Finding a good gaming mouse isn’t hard, but finding one that’s wireless is. Even high-end options suffer from a major flaw: poor battery life. GIGABYTE realizes this and made sure no one could say that about its Aivia M8600, which in our tests lasted an entire week in ‘gaming’ mode. Let’s see if that, and its other features, warrant the M8600’s $105 price.
Choosing a peripheral for a PC can be an extremely daunting task as there is a bewildering choice available at all price points with little-to-no objective testing. It ultimately comes down to "What are you looking for?". Anything over $50 would be considered upper-mainstream to high-end and at $105, the M8600 is definitely a high-end peripheral.
Wireless connectivity on a gaming peripheral does put a rather unusual strain on battery life due to excessive poll rates, high sensitivity, extended memory, macro support, flashy lights, quick response times… it all mounts up. If you look at the choice of wireless gaming mice, you’ll see that they’re all expensive and nearly all have abysmal battery life. 10-16 hours is hardly worthy of the title ‘wireless’, especially considering the 6-8 hour charging times.
So when the M8600 comes along with its 50+ hour battery life, I was a little skeptical. Well, that skepticism was unfounded and the battery life from this mouse really does live up to the 50+ hour statement. After fully charging the battery, I unplugged the cord and went on my merry way. With daily use in both productivity and gaming, it lasted a full week before the lights started to flash at me, indicating a very low battery level. This was with the mouse in full gaming response mode, 3400 DPI and 1000Hz poll rate.
A one week battery life may not seem like much when compared to something like the Marathon mouse by Logitech, sporting a 3 year life, but that makes use of two large AA batteries, aggressive power saving, slow response times, 125Hz poll rate and is limited to a max of 1000 DPI. This does go to show how much of a strain all these gaming-grade extras can put on a mouse.
So, from a wireless gaming-grade mouse, it has the longest battery life out there (that we’re aware of), and in that regard, it’s a damn good mouse. The buttons are very light and responsive, meaning minimal strain on the hand over long gaming sessions. The ambidextrous design will have some running for the hills, but generally, it’s quite a comfortable mouse, despite the sharp corners dotted around the place. The Phillips sensor yet again rears its ugly head, but with higher sensitivity settings, picking and placing is an infrequent action that is unlikely to throw your aim off to a significant extent.
What really lets the mouse down is the software, and this is very unfortunate. Nearly all button configuration changes and macro creation causes a 6 second cursor response delay, each and every time you change something as it’s saved to the mouse. The software is very easy to get lost in, too, due to the small check boxes hidden away and just the sheer over-powering and busy nature of the user interface.
Admittedly, you spend less time configuring the mouse than you do using it, but fine-tuning can become a problem when everything takes 6 seconds to complete. Generally, the software is easy to use, but the frequent delays and over-all style do detract from the experience.
The spare quick-change battery, dedicated charging dock, long battery life and the fact the mouse can be used in a wired fashion are all compelling reasons for purchase. The price is quite steep at $105, but for a wireless gaming mouse, this is fairly standard. If you can get past the software, this is an excellent mouse.
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