ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - A Closer Look - Hardware and Software

The ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air has a fairly inoffensive design alongside the clean design of the retail box. The clearest departure from the norm in mouse design comes from the many triangular-shaped holes covering most of the mouse, but it is common among ultralight mice like the Cooler Master MM710. Some of the triangles are filled in, while some are slightly thicker with a glossy finish. These added design choices are symmetrical, so both sides of the mouse look the same. The mouse is almost entirely without any overt branding on the outside, meaning it continues its unassuming design decisions. Other than the many triangular holes, the TUF Gaming M4 Air could sneak into any office environment without raising eyebrows, at least at first glance. With its lack of RGB LEDs, it further distances itself from typical gaming gear, although I find that to be a nice change. Unfortunately, going for such a lightweight design means upon first picking up the mouse, it feels a bit cheaper in its construction. However, it is solidly built. As an added bonus, the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air has an antibacterial guard to limit bacterial growth on the outside of the mouse. This is done with charged silver ions, so I guess you could say your mouse has a nice invisible silver coating, haha.

I am slightly concerned with all the holes in the mouse. You can see straight through it all the way to the sensor, and this means it can collect dust inside where it becomes difficult to clean without a can of compressed air. Even though the PCB has been treated for IPX6 water resistance, ASUS still recommends you unplug the mouse and leave it to dry for 24 hours if you spill anything on it. The IPX6 treatment should protect the mouse from accidental spills, but the open design means the sensitive parts can still get wet.

The ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air measures in at 126 mm in length, 63.5 in width, and 39.6 mm in height. These measurements are fairly standard. It means there are no aggressive slopes and will fit most hands quite nicely. The peak height is found right around the middle of the mouse. Both sides are around the same height, which you find on the SteelSeries Rival 600. The M4 Air provides a comfortable grip without raising one side of your hand slightly. The width of the mouse is the same at the front, curves inward toward the middle, and then slightly back out again towards the back. These curves provide a comfortable resting place for your thumb on one side, then your ring and pinky finger on the other side. Again, all of this is quite an understated design to continue its focus on a lightweight mouse. And yes, this mouse is extremely light at 47g. This is only slightly more than half the weight I am used to using. My daily driver for the last few years has been a mouse with all its weight attached bringing it up to 128g. Moving the TUF Gaming M4 Air around is effortless.

The weight is slightly more focused towards the front of the mouse, just above the sensor. This is probably due to the rubber scroll wheel at the front, but in performance it feels well-balanced. Overall, the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air is well built. Even with so little plastic, it feels solid in hand and does not bend or creak when force is applied to it.

Continuing in the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air’s design decisions, the buttons on the mouse are reduced to only the most useful ones. The primary left and right buttons are rated for 60 million clicks, ensuring a long life span. ASUS explains the switches have a low actuation force, so they are easy to press. As well, they have a nice clicky sound. They feel responsive and have good feedback. In between the two buttons, we find the rubber scroll wheel. It is easy to grip on to and like a typical mouse wheel, it has small “bumps” for a tactile wheel. Behind the scroll wheel is another small button, which by default toggles the mouse’s DPI settings between four DPI profiles. This is set up through ASUS’s Armoury Crate software. The left side of the mouse features two more buttons, which are easily accessible by your thumb. These buttons are noticeable cheaper and slightly squishier than the front buttons. The noise they make is also not as clicky, but rather reflects the squishy feel. They are by no means bad, but are different from the front buttons.

Along the front of the mouse, we also find the cable connection. The cable cannot be disconnected. It is properly reinforced to the front of the mouse with some rubber. ASUS made a good decision to try and design the cable to be lightweight as well, since if it was not, it would dramatically drag down the lightweight feeling of the M4 Air. It is a paracord cable, making it strong and also providing a frictionless experience on multiple surfaces. ASUS promises a wireless-like experience, and the cable truly does not interfere much. The light weight ensures you do not feel it dragging on a surface when moving the mouse around. However, be careful with how you store the mouse, since the braiding of the paracord can easily deform, making the paracord look a bit wavy or twisted in certain places. It also kinked a bit due to its extreme flexibility and light weight. The braiding is done very well though, and I do not imagine it will start to fall apart anytime soon with normal use.

Underneath the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air, we find four separate white PTFE feet to ensure smooth gliding over various surfaces. And honestly, I have been surprised how well this mouse glides over surfaces even without a mousepad. If it did not move smoothly, it would also affect the overall lightweight feeling of the mouse. The PTFE ring around the sensor also provides that extra push towards a smooth gliding experience.

The M4 Air features the PixArt PAW3335 sensor, which is a sensor commonly used in wireless applications, since it draws very little power. This sensor is also found in the ASUS ROG Keris Wireless reviewed by my colleague Aaron Lai. It is not as powerful as the PMW3389, but it features 16000 DPI, 400 IPS, and 40g of maximum acceleration. The polling rate also sits comfortably at 1000 Hz. All of these features are to say it is a solid sensor for general use. The wide DPI range should suit anyone, while the 400 IPS and 40g of acceleration means those flick movements should be registered accurately. There was no noticeable sensor or lens rattle. Everything seems to be snugly fit in place without any issue. Other than that, the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air has limited branding on the bottom. You can find the logo at the top, the TUF Gaming name along the bottom, and a label featuring any other information you may need.

The ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Air mouse uses the ASUS’ Armoury Crate software. It did not ask me to download the software when I plugged the mouse in, since you can use it without the software. Attempting to follow the link from the manual to download the software was also a challenge, as I could not find the correct download. Trying to navigate the manufacturer’s product page was unfruitful. I went to the TUF Gaming M4 Air page, and no links were found. Needless to say, this was a frustrating experience. It would be easier to just download Armoury Crate directly. On the other hand, this uses the same software as other ROG products, and navigating to find the utility from those pages was much simpler and more straightforward. I think ASUS could improve on this.

The software by itself is clear and easy to use. The first page is where you can change the button assignments. The performance page covers the DPI settings, polling rate, and whether you want angle snapping on or off. You can load up to four different profiles onto the M4 Air, and then switch between them through the DPI switch on the mouse. Sensitivity settings can be adjusted in 100 DPI increments. The calibration tab simply includes the lift off settings, which you can set at either high or low. The final tab of the software allows you to update the mouse. The software also features some other tabs allowing for further customization. You can tweak your mouse settings by game. For example, if you launch an FPS game, you can allow it to automatically switch the mouse’s profile to match the settings you have set up for the game. Otherwise, there is a news tab, a tab where you can buy games, and a tab for your game library.

Armoury Crate is easy to use, but a little bit resource and feature heavy. Launching the software and navigating to the M4 Air’s settings is rather slow. It is fine to use, but I think with all the extra features like a news tab and so on, it makes things clunky to navigate through.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests
4. Conclusion