Techgage logo

GIGABYTE Force M9 ICE Wireless Mouse Review

Date: August 17, 2012
Author(s): J.D. Kane

GIGABYTE is an industry giant, offering a countless number of products in multiple categories. The Force M9 ICE is one of its latest wireless mice, and endowed with “gaming mouse” styling, it seems to promise much. As you might have guessed, we put one through its paces to see just what it can deliver.


GIGABYTE is one of the bona fide giants in the PC hardware marketplace, having one of the most diverse product lines in the industry. Although known primarily as a motherboard and graphics card solution provider, GIGABYTE also manufactures peripherals such as keyboards and mice.

Techgage recently received a package from GIGABYTE and inside were two of company’s latest peripherals. Today’s review will concentrate on just one, however: the Force M9 ICE, a “performance wireless mouse” as it’s being touted.

The Force M9 ICE is from GIGABYTE’s mobile line, and as such, it’s intended to augment or outright replace a laptop’s touchpad. That’s not to say that you can’t use it with your desktop PC, however; indeed, we used it on a desktop and ran it through many usage scenarios, from the ubiquitous (simple web browsing or moving the cursor to a new spreadsheet cell) to the demanding (gaming, particularly in first-person shooters).

Before we put the Force M9 ICE through the proverbial wringer, though, let’s have a good look at it.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

The Force M9 ICE is a right-handed wireless mouse, and predominantly black in color as so many PC components and peripherals nowadays are, it is a good-looking product.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

On both of the mouse’s flanks are satin silver-gray accent pieces which serve to visually break up the dark color scheme. Set within the silver-gray accent pieces are rubber grips. Towards the front of the mouse and inset in the left-side accent piece are four red LEDs which indicate the current DPI setting. Just behind the quartet of DPI LEDs are two thumb buttons. By default, the front button is a Page Forward button, and the rear is the Page Backward button. These two thumb buttons work the same no matter what Web browser is currently active, which is a neat convenience feature.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

Speaking of buttons, the Force M9 ICE has six. Namely, these are: The left and right button; the aforementioned pair of thumb buttons on the left side; the scroll wheel (aside from the scroll function you can also press down on it); and a fairly unique single button on the mouse’s right flank, just under the right button. By default this button is inactive; however, after you install the Force M9 ICE’s very lightweight (11.5MB) Sim software package you can make it do whatever you wish for it to do. There is also a DPI switch just behind the scroll wheel; rocking this forward increases the mouse’s resolution, while rocking it back decreases it.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

Underneath the mouse there are four details of interest. First is the battery compartment. It accommodates two AA batteries, which GIGABYTE very sensibly provides out of the box (my sample came with a pair of Duracells). Next is an off/on switch for the mouse. Third, the ICE Technology laser sensor emitter, which GIGABYTE claims enables the mouse to work on almost any surface, including glass. Finally, there is a storage compartment for the USB dongle.

Now that we’ve had a good look at the mouse itself, let’s shift our attention to the Sim software.


The Force M9 ICE works perfectly well with Windows out of the box, with all but the button on the mouse’s right-front flank functional as you would intuitively expect. Additionally, the mouse is limited to 1600 DPI if you don’t install the Sim software.

As mentioned earlier, Sim is very lightweight, so users who are reluctant to install typically bloated software associated with many peripherals should have no complaints.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

Basically, Sim has three main sections: Button, Scroll, and Pointer. Selecting a section allows you to designate specific functions relevant to that particular section.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

The Button section, quite obviously, is where you can assign what each button will do, including that neutered right flank button. Let’s say you wanted to have that button mute your PC’s audio output. You do that by moving your cursor to the Wheel Button’s drop down menu; this will reveal a bunch of selectable options for that button. Simply point your cursor to Mute, then click Apply. The right flank button will now mute your audio whenever you press it. Then click OK to close the Sim software.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

The Scroll section is where you can change the mouse’s Vertical Scroll and Free-Scroll speeds. There are two sliders arrayed horizontally on the page. To change either scroll speed property simply move and drag your cursor across the slider until you find the settings you like, then click Apply. As before, clicking OK will close Sim.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

The Pointer section deals with three settings: Pointer Speed, Snap to Default, and Pointer Trails. Pointer Speed is much like the Vertical/Free-Scroll Speed settings in that it is manipulated via a horizontal slider. Additionally, there is also a check box which would enable the Enhance Accurate Tracking feature. Just below the Pointer Speed slider is an on/off Snap to Default check box; by default this is left off. And below this is the Pointer Trails control, with an on/off check box for Enable Pointer Trails. By default, the box is unchecked. Enabling the check box, though, turns on Pointer Trails, and you can then lengthen or shorten them via the horizontal slider.

The Pointer section also displays the current DPI settings for the Force M9 ICE. The mouse has four DPI settings: 800/1200/1600/2000. As mentioned earlier, the maximum 2000 DPI setting is available only if you install Sim.

Final Thoughts

On the surface, using a mouse is a very straight-forward affair. I mean, you put your hand on it, and you move it to move the cursor on the screen. You click on its buttons to enable certain functions. Simple, right?

I’m of the opinion, though, that using a mouse, like most other peripherals, is an exercise chock-full of subtleties and nuance. It’s a very individual kind of experience. Beyond the most universal and absolute aspect of using any kind of hardware – does it work the way it should? – a reviewer’s description of the experience of using that hardware tends to be unique to whoever is using it. What’s great for one user may not necessarily be so for another.

In terms of ergonomics, the Force M9 ICE is comfortable to use, especially if your hand is just the right size for it. It’s definitely one of the bigger wireless mice I’ve had my hands on. Speaking of hands, mine is just a little bit too big for the Force M9 ICE for me to deem it personally perfect, but it’s not a disastrous mismatch; it’s not like I have King Kong-sized mitts and I’m holding on to a pebble. I have to adapt my grip on it somewhat, but never to the point where it made my hand, fingers, or wrist hurt even after hours of use. The sticky rubber grips on its flanks feel lovely and reduce the chance of losing one’s grip on the mouse. Sans batteries, it is freakishly light; once you have the AA batteries installed, though, it feels satisfyingly meaty.

I also like its shape: Its sculpted side surfaces scream “gaming mouse” more than the typical, boring utilitarian mouse that looks more like a worn bar of soap. Most non-gaming mice that I’ve seen, even wireless models like the Force M9 ICE, are nondescript.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

Button placement is also mostly good. The two main buttons and the scroll lock button are right under your index and middle fingers, and the two thumb buttons are well-placed as well: Your thumb only has to reach up a few millimeters to press either one, and you won’t mistake the forward button from the rear one.

The only issue I would care to make a bit of a gripe about is the almost useless right flank button. To reach and press it with either your ring finger or your pinky, you have to shift your grip on the mouse. Someone with longer fingers or a more flexible right hand might manage it without shifting his/her grip on the mouse, but speaking for myself I’m glad that that particular button is not tied to any essential functions by default. You can completely do without that particular button and not miss it.

While button placement is mostly positive, the actual feel of the buttons is where I feel let down. Both the left and right buttons, the two most essential on any mouse, feel annoyingly vague. They are very light when you click them, but you’re never sure that your inputs are registering. The travel on both buttons is very short, the action very light. For a peripheral that depends so much on getting the tactile experience right, this is a hugely disappointing finding.

I feel that to ensure you’re clicking the buttons well enough to register the input, you have to be more forceful with your clicking than I’m intuitively used to. Repeated hard clicks can be tiring on the fingers over an extended period of time. It’s a peculiarity that’s thus far unique to this mouse. What makes things even more disappointing is that the rest of the buttons feel quite good to press, with the appropriate degree of resistance and good button travel. The scroll wheel, in particular, is noteworthy, with a very good balance between resistance and lightness of action.

GIGABYTE Force m9 ICE Wireless Mouse

The Force M9 ICE is good in everyday use. From the most mundane tasks to the more involved (gaming, specifically), it works fine. The max DPI setting of 2000 is good enough, even for FPS games. Also, the ability to change DPI settings on-the-fly is a boon (though this is hardly unique for mice these days).

I do have to report a strange phenomenon that occurred randomly on both my desktop and my laptop: Sometimes the cursor would either just freeze on the screen despite the fact I’m moving the mouse, or it would jump to a random position. This occurred on both machines, both with and without using the Sim software; the weird random behavior also did not discriminate as far as what surface the mouse was being used on. It also doesn’t matter what type of application you’re using. It happened while browsing the web; it happened while I was working on a writing project; it even happened while I was playing Crysis 2. A friend theorized that this might be due to the mouse’s laser sensor’s predictive properties being too aggressive. Personally, regardless of what the cause of the behavior is, it’s very weird and it’s very annoying.

The GIGABYTE Force M9 ICE has many things going for it. Priced at $49.99 on most e-retailers, it’s not too expensive. Though it’s placed in the company’s mobile mouse product line, it’s styled more like a gaming mouse, so laptop users who want a flashy mouse to replace their touchpads would see this is as a viable option. Moreover, the Sim software is functional and nothing more: You can’t accuse GIGABYTE of giving you unnecessary bloatware just to let you use its product, although you would need Sim to unlock all of the mouse’s capabilities.

Having said that, though, it just has a few too many flaws that prevent me from giving it a fully favorable review. I might be willing to forgive its bad button feel with the left and right click buttons, but I cannot do the same with the weird cursor position freeze/jump that occurs randomly. It’s likely a software-based issue, so that’s something GIGABYTE can work on. Or it could simply be a problem that exists just on my review sample. Whatever the case, it’s a serious flaw.



Discuss this article in our forums!

Have a comment you wish to make on this article? Recommendations? Criticism? Feel free to head over to our related thread and put your words to our virtual paper! There is no requirement to register in order to respond to these threads, but it sure doesn’t hurt!

Copyright © 2005-2019 Techgage Networks Inc. - All Rights Reserved.