Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Azurues Review
By: Jeremy To
May 20, 2011
Azurues. The word boggles the mind. No, it is not the famous BitTorrent program where individuals use to violate copyright laws. No, it is not the Dendrobates Azureus, the poison dart frog residing in central Brazil. No, it is not Windows Azure, the service platform. Heck, it isn't even referring to the Latin work "Azure", which refers to a specific blue-cyan color. So what the heck is Azurues? Well, after doing a quick Google search, I have absolutely no idea. It seems that Thermaltake's sub-brand Tt eSPORTS decided to flip the "eu" at the end of Azureus to make Azurues. See the difference? According to the all-knowing internet, the only thing that takes the name Azurues is the Tt eSPORTS Azurues. So what is this mouse based off of? It is not blue, it has no hind-legs for jumping, and it is not poisonous. So let's just assume it is only the new first-person-shooter battle-ready mouse from Tt eSPORTS. Out of all the mice from Tt eSPORTS, this one is quite the mystery. Not just in its name; but also its performance. It does not feature all the multiple functions and huge button arrays found on common RTS mice. It only features what is important when aiming for the head; right click, left click, and scroll wheel. Okay, we're done, that is all I have to say for this mouse -- tune in next week... just kidding! As simple as this mouse seems, there is quite a lot to cover. So without further adieu, let's read on!
Today's review unit came to us among a large bundle of Thermaltake products. Among them were of course the Tt eSPORTS Azurues, and one other unit from Thermaltake's Tt eSPORTS brand, the Tt eSPORTS Black Element, which is scheduled to be reviewed over the next few weeks by my colleague Preston. Much like most of the Thermaltake products we have reviewed in the past, this one was sent to our Calgary office via UPS Standard from the usual friendly southern Californian neighbor.
As you know, the Tt eSPORTS brand follows a different all-around style from Thermaltake. In this case, I am referring to the retail packaging. Much like the other peripherals seen in Thermaltake's Tt eSPORTS brand, the Azurues retail packaging also takes on the very attractive red-black box theme nicely. As seen above, the Azurues is planted into the middle of the box surrounded with the studded sheet metal design, giving it the 'battle-ready' atmosphere Thermaltake focused on making. Unlike the more refined Mercedes-AMG logo similarities found on the Tt eSPORTS Black reviewed by Preston back in February, the Azurues branding follows a more jagged and splattered look to it. This is possibly characteristic of the fact that the Azurues is the first-person-shooter focused mouse in the eSPORTS brand. To the right of the Azurues letters, Thermaltake has decided to place the WCG (World Cyber Games) 2010 logo here, flaunting the fact the Tt eSPORTS brand was the major brand during last year's series. Under the Azurues branding, we can see the all-powerful Tt eSPORTS "Challenge is the Game" slogan. Utilizing the flap design on all of their mice, we can open it up to see a display of the mouse itself inside the packaging. Lastly, flipping over the box, a more detailed features and specifications list is provided in several languages.
The retail packaging uses a fairly conventional design that opens via the top flap. Once opened, the entire unit and all its accessories can be slid out easily. Accompanying the Azurues, you will find the standard set of components, including the travel bag, owner's manual, and warranty booklet. Also found inside, which is different from other Tt eSPORTS mice, is a transparent cross-hair decal. The main purpose for this decal is not to stylishly decorate your chassis or peripherals, but to actually use it to increase your performance when playing first-person-shooters. How? Well, when you are walking around with a sniper rifle in Counter Strike, you could technically "no-scope" someone by using the transparent decal as a relative aiming guide without an in-game cross-hair. So to use the decal, simply spice up the center of your monitor, and you are good to go. Let's just hope you do not have a problem with having a cross-hair on your monitor for the rest of its life.
Before we move on, let's briefly look at the features and specifications of the mouse, as obtained from the retail packaging and the manufacturer's website:
- First-Person-Shooter: Extreme battle machine optical gaming mouse for first-Person-Shooter game.
- 1600 dpi Optical Engine: Up to 1600 dpi optical engine with 400/800 dpi switchable to provide superb gaming movement.
- Full Speed USB: Gaming mouse with performing gaming capability.
- Weight-in Design: Weight-in design to get a perfect hand feeling for mouse movement.
- Low Friction Movement: Provides low friction movement for mouse on most surface.
- Rubber Coating Finished: Teflon feet provides rubber coating finished to enhance hand grip for rapidly gaming movement.
- Braided Cable: Braided cable to prevent tangle wire and provide extra flexibility.
- Pause-break Lighting System: Pause-break lighting system to engage to gaming atmosphere.
- Interface: USB
- Operational systems: Windows 7/Vista/XP
- Number of buttons: 3
- Sensor engine: 1600 dpi
- Sensor Type: Optical
- Cable length: 1.8m braided
- Body dimension (LxWxH): 130x70x30mm
The Tt eSPORTS Azurues utilizes the popular braided USB cable. Common in the mid to high performance mouse market, braided cables are a great addition to any mouse over the more conventional plastic cable. The braided cable is generally more durable and flexible, with other benefits such as exhibiting lower friction over surfaces, and less prone to being tangled.
The color theme of the Thermaltake eSPORTS Azurues follows the all-around trendy black contrast with the cloudy-white mouse wheel and Tt logo. The top surface of the mouse features a rubber coated finish that adds overall grip and comfort during gaming and regular usage. The rubber coated finish is quite comfortable, but the sides of the mouse do not incorporate the finish; instead it uses a standard plastic finish. I would have liked to see a fully coated rubber finish around the entire mouse, simply because the contrast between the two finishes can be uncomfortable at times. Also, one would be missing a certain grip and control feel for the thumb, ring, and pinky fingers. The Tt eSPORTS Azurues does not incorporate a complex mouse design that supports a specific grip type. Instead, the mouse is symmetrical, making it ambidextrous for left-handed users. Taking one quick look at the mouse, I can most likely generate the response most people would have. "What? So simple? How is this mouse for gaming?" Well, let me tell you this. Although the Tt eSPORTS sub-brand is focused on gaming-related peripherals, the Azurues is technically not the usual full-on gaming mouse. In fact, although the mouse is marketed as a first-person-shooter mouse, it is also generalized towards users who do not always game. In essence, Thermaltake has decided to create a "back to the basics" mouse, where its design is geared more towards the classic style. So, although the Azurues is considered a gaming mouse, it fits all types of styles, making it a very user-friendly mouse. In terms of ergonomics, the only main difference in design between the Azurues and a classically designed mouse would be the two standard mouse buttons being concaved slightly towards the center of each clicker. This is a very subtle difference that will position the user's index and middle finger in the generally correct area for efficiently utilizing the mouse.
The Azurues utilizes a lighting system characteristic on other Tt eSPORTS mice. The feature -- named the Pause-break Lighting System -- is a system with the purpose of creating an "engaging gaming atmosphere". Okay, so we know what the system is called, and what its end result creates. But what is the Pause-break Lighting System? Essentially, the Tt logo will gradually light up a bright red, pausing for a moment, before slowly fading. Of course, the system sounds a lot more intense and complicated than what actually happens, but it definitely creates a good overall atmosphere, especially in the dark. Because the Azurues does not utilize extra macro buttons or nifty tactile features, the scroll wheel and Tt logo are the only two things that light up bright red. The scroll wheel is made of a silicone material with forward-arrowed grooves to increase the overall grip and comfort.
At the bottom of the Tt eSPORTS Azurues, we are able to analyze the underside design of the mouse. The outer edges contain four Teflon feet, which is a very common material used on gaming mice. Teflon has an inherently low friction characteristic that increases the overall smoothness in movement over most surfaces. Of course, the durability of the feet is dependent on what surface it is used on. However, if you are using a smooth, high performing mousing surface, there is no reason why the feet should not last a long time.
Unlike the Tt eSPORTS Black that uses a laser precision engine, the Azurues uses an optical sensor. There really is little performance difference between the two in practice, but laser engines tend to be more capable of higher precision, because the beam illuminates a much more specific surface area. Don't get confused between sensitivity and performance though. While the Azurues tracks to a maximum of 'only' 1600 dpi, compared to those 5 billion dpi mice, which is better? Neither. Since the Azurues is designed for first-person-shooters, one would generally need lower sensitivity to get higher accuracy most of the time. The polling rate of the Azurues is 500Hz, with a response time of 2ms. Generally, the higher the polling rate, the faster the response time. Although most high end performing mice poll to 1000Hz, the Azurues' 500Hz is not something to fret about. The last time I checked, there is essentially no difference between 1ms and 2ms, unless, that is, if you are Superman. In that case, you would be ranked number one in any game anyways.
The Azurues optical engine allows one to change the sensitivity from 1600 dpi to either 800 dpi or 400 dpi. With such low dpi numbers, professional gamers are able to easily utilize the precision engine efficiently and effectively during first-person-shooters. The option to change the dpi, however, is located at the bottom of the mouse with a switch, which is simply not efficient or effective. Unfortunately, I find this to be the largest flaw on the mouse, especially with in-game situations where one would need to switch between dpi on the fly for different shooting styles. The bottom dpi switch is, simply put, a small but noticeable failure on the part of Tt eSPORTS.
The Tt eSPORTS Azurues come with pre-installed weights instead of a separate tray of weights seen on mice like the Mionix Naos 3200 gaming mouse reviewed by Kenneth back in October of last year. Opening the plastic cover, one can remove a rubber tray that holds a small set of three circular 4.5g weights. One thing to take note here is he optical engine is located not in the center of the mouse, but more towards the front quarter of the mouse. The reason mainly due to the space taken up by the weights. I will go into further analysis in the testing section. Since the Azurues is a simple 3-button mouse, it does not come with software or on-board memory for profile selections. The mouse is considered "battle-ready", which simply means plug and play.
Our tests were carried out on a computer with the following specifications:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K @ 4.50GHz (Overclocked, Turbo Boost disabled)
CPU Cooling: Thermaltake Jing
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD5-B3
Graphics: Gigabyte Radeon HD 6850 1GB OC
Memory: OCZ Platinum XTE PC3-16000 4x2GB
Chassis: In Win Dragon Rider
Power: OCZ ZX Series 850W
Sound: Integrated (Motherboard)
Optical Drive: LiteOn iHAS224-06 24X DVD Writer
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB; 2 x Western Digital Caviar SE 320GB AAKS RAID1
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64
Like all mice reviewed here at APH Networks, the Tt eSPORTS Azurues was taken through an extensive performance test over the last few weeks. This test went through the usual day-to-day office programs geared to test the productivity performance of the mouse. For the Azurues, I ran it through the most conventional office programs such as the Microsoft Office suite, Adobe's Photoshop Elements 9 and Premiere Elements 9, and Simply Accounting (A common book-keeping program used by accountants). Also, since the Azurues is made as a professional gaming peripheral, I played various computer games with it, including Counter Strike 1.6, Counter Strike: Source, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, and Heroes of Newerth. Surface tests are also important, so I tested the Azurues through multiple surfaces, including the cloth-based Everglide Titan Monster Mat (DKT Edition), Razer Destructor, and Razer Goliathus Extended Speed Edition.
Overall, the Tt eSPORTS Azurues is a very robust mouse and was able to perform very well in most tests. As aforementioned, the Azurues follows a more "back to the basics" design that can be used for gaming and office productivity for professionals and casual users alike. Since the mouse is as basic as an off-the-shelf economical mouse bought at the local electronics store, there really is no need for anyone to spend massive amounts of time with the mouse to learn how to use it.
The weighting system and position of the optical engine on the mouse works in conjunction to the grip-style of the user. First off, I would quickly say the "palm grip" is not entirely very well suited for the mouse, mainly because it is an ambidextrous mouse. The finger/claw grip, however, is suitable; which is what I would personally use during first person shooters. The weighting system allows one to change the weight at the back end of the mouse to adjust the amount of slide and drag at the tail of the mouse to allow more precision during first person shooters, which I personally find as a cool feature to have. The only thing I would suggest is allowing the consumer with a more diverse selection of weights, since a maximum net change of 13g is not that noticeable.
For day-to-day office use, the dpi changer is perfect. If you are running on a system with large monitors that use higher resolutions, 1600 dpi can be beneficial. If you are running at lower resolutions, then 800 dpi would be a great choice. One thing to note is that I found that the sensitivity of the mouse buttons to be too sensitive. Sometimes, when I am just resting my hand on the mouse, the Azurues would click just from the weight of my finger. The dpi changer for gaming on the Azurues is quite a letdown. I have attempted it several times, and changing the dpi in-game is just not a good idea. On the upside, not having any extra macro buttons here and there on the mouse is awesome for first-person-shooters. Nowadays, manufacturers are usually geared towards designing mice with the most features to satisfy customers. Thermaltake has pretty much redefined how to properly make a mouse for its sole purpose. I would, however, suggest that the mouse be used only on a mousepad and not any other bare surface like wood or stone (Uhh... the stone age has long gone. Cavemans don't have computers. -- Editor). This is mainly not because the optical LED sensor cannot track on the surface, but the Teflon feet will definitely take a quick beating. Lastly, the polling rate of 500Hz is sufficient in bringing almost instantaneous response towards one's system. As a side note, the Tt eSPORTS Azurues is not one that should be bought for RTS-styled gaming. Through the tests, playing RTS games proved quite difficult without a higher dpi setting and other macro functions. Even the lack of ergonomics during RTS's became very uncomfortable through rapid mouse movements and clicking. In essence, playing RTS-styled games with the Azurues will leave you feeling partially naked. Figuratively speaking.
Although the Tt eSPORTS Azurues may at first seem like quite a mystery peripheral, it is actually designed to perform the way it is supposed to. Let's round up the conclusion in an unconventional manner, and start off with its cons. The rubber coated finish is nice, but does not cover the entire mouse. The oversensitive buttons can become quite annoying when using the mouse. Besides first person shooters, the mouse does not handle well on other genres of gaming. The lack of weight options on the mouse is limited to only a small set of three 4.5g weights. Also, the fact that this mouse so simply designed could also very well be considered a con, even though it should not. Lastly, the lack of having an easily accessible on-the-fly dpi switcher is by far the largest let down of the product. Since the Azurues is generally not very good at other gaming styles than its marketed niche -- which is fine -- we would like to see the Azurues be an amazing mouse for first person shooters. So let's go over what it is actually good at. First off, the Pause-break Lighting System allows the Azurues to be a stylish mouse. The solid Teflon feet at the bottom give the mouse a very smooth, low friction glide. The braided cable is a great addition to making this mouse more durable and flexible. Lastly, the optical engine with a 500Hz polling rate allows the Tt eSPORTS Azurues to be a very commendable mouse for day-to-day use and first person shooter gaming. We also cannot forget that the "back to the basics" design of the mouse is targeted specifically at professional and casual gamers alike! Tagged at $39.99 MSRP at press time and retailing as low as $34.99, the Azurues is a great all-around mouse for an affordable price. I would just like to make it extremely clear that while it is not good for every single game ever made (I'd be hard pressed to find one that is), its affordable price and very practical ambidextrous design for both gaming and office use makes it an extremely competitive product in the long run.
Thermaltake provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
7/10 means Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing.
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.8/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.
The Tt eSPORTS Azurues is a definite item on your next shopping list if you are looking for a well priced click-and-shoot mouse that is also great for simple day to day office usage.
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