By: Preston Yuen
August 24, 2012
The evolution of technology was always an intriguing idea for me, especially when I was at a very young age. At that time, the main thing that appealed to me was none other than playing video games, simply because you would feel like you have successfully accomplished something big, especially after defeating the final boss. To me, the hardware I played my games on did not matter, since I did most of my gaming on my PlayStation console. Simply give me a TV and a controller would keep me busy for hours. To tell you the truth, the fantasy world of gaming played a big role in helping me develop my imagination, no matter what genre I was given. There was one particular point in that era where the games I've played had dragons as a boss fight integrated into the storyline. As you may have guessed, if you were to ask me to be any fantasy/fiction character, I would have chosen to be a dragon. As this idea sits at the back of my mind, technology continues to change even further, and hardware becomes important as I started gaming on my desktop. So how has the idea of dragons become a part of my gaming experience on the computer? Recently at our APH Networks headquarters, we have received the Tt eSPORTS Theron. Taking a look at its product package, my first impressions of the mouse was that it had very aggressive looks with the added explosive graphical design, with its logo design being based on the looks of a dragon. But in reality, how competitively would this mouse perform? Keep reading to see what we have in store!
Our review unit of the Tt eSPORTS Theron came along with the Tt eSPORTS Ladon in a medium-sized, corrugated cardboard box from our good neighbors down south via UPS Standard to our Calgary, Alberta, Canada headquarters. Since the two came in the same package, I've borrowed the same photo. Whatever it has been through, it seemed like a nice cruise while making its way here, as there was very little bumps and bruises on the box. Without wasting more of your time, I opened up the box, and got down to reviewing our unit of the mouse.
Like all designs used on the Tt eSPORTS sub-brand, you will notice that the appearance of the Theron's packaging box is no different. You will find a photo of the mouse itself smacked in the center of the box, with the name and various features printed around it -- all of which is shown in front of the classic studded sheet metal background. As well, you can open the flap to check out the mouse itself behind a clear plastic cover. And this is exactly what we will do.
Much like any of the other Tt eSPORTS mice we have reviewed in the past, the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Theron comes with a carrying pouch and a driver CD packaged along with documentation and warranty information. If you happen to lose the driver CD, don't sweat it; you will be able to obtain the driver from their website. As always, before we move ahead of ourselves, here is a list of the Theron's features and specifications, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
- On-the-Fly Sensitivity Multi-Level Resolutions (100 to 5600 DPI): Adjust DPI according to your game, Theron lets you control your mouse with just a click on the Battle Dragon arrow
- Beneath Side-Light Changed by Clicking Frequently During Battle Mode: 7 colors (blue/green/light blue/purple/red); pick the color that accessorizes your eSPORTS gaming
- Capable of Storing up to 40 Macro Keys within 5 Game Profiles: 128kb internal memory allowing all personalized settings to travel wherever you are; also, weight-in design (4.5g x5 = 22.5g max) gives you the perfect grip for mouse gliding movement
- Battle Dragon (Spirit of Tt eSPORTS): Theron is designed to boost your game realism and aesthetically created to define Tt eSPORTS spirit; each angle and trim of Theron echo for tenaciousness, forging Battle Dragon's superiority with Tt eSPORTS' innovative gaming products, theron makes you ready for the game and play like a pro
- T.P.G. (Tt Pro Grade) Gaming Laser Sensor 5600 DPI Engine.
- 100 - 5600 DPI Adjustable: Fully Functional on Most Surfaces.
- 1.8 meters Braided USB Cable with Gold-Plated Connector.
- 40 Fully Customizable Macro Keys for RTS/FPS Game Genres.
- Superb Customizable Graphical UI for Macro Keys, Advanced Performance, and Lighting-Effect Options.
- 7 Colors of Pause-Break Lighting Effect on the Dragon logo
- Side-light color changes by clicking frequency during Battle mode
- Industrial Grade Rubber-Coating Finish for better Hand Grip.
- Polling rate switch button (125/500/1000 Hz cycle), and Function-Lock Button provided to disable side button functions.
- On-Board 128kb Memory Storage for 40 Macro Keys within 5 Game Profiles.
- Weight-In Design for Perfect Handling Mouse Movement
- 5 x 4.5g, up to 22.5g max
- Body Dimension (LxWxH): 123.65 X 73.8 X 40.2 (mm)
In the world of gaming hardware, braided cables are becoming increasingly more popular, and as such, this is a part of the Theron's feature list. The cable extends 1.8m, so you don't have to worry about moving your cursor across a big screen while lifting your mouse numerous times. Picking the mouse up, you will notice it is basically symmetrical, with similar features on both sides. Each of the left and right sides features macro buttons that can be customized via the provided software; I will be going into more detail about this later in the review. There are groves on both sides to support your respective fingers. The Theron is coated with a nice rubber finish to give you that extra grip and control over the mouse. This is especially important for gamers who need precise mouse movements. As you may have noticed, the Theron has a display to show you the sensitivity level you are currently set at. This is the same feature Thermaltake used in the original Tt eSPORTS Black mouse. The scroll wheel is essentially made up of clear plastic with a layer of rubber through the middle for grip, while displaying its various colors through the plastic. One notable feature is two buttons located almost right in the middle of the Theron. These are convenient dpi sensitivity changers; also featured on the Black and Black Element. There are four levels to the preset dpi, but it is capable of handling tracking as low as 100 dpi to sensitivity as high as 5600 dpi. All these buttons around the mouse can be programmed for different functions in five different profiles in the provided software, in which I will go into further detail in just a moment. Here, we will also find the gold-plated USB connector; do keep in mind the gold plating on areas you can see does not make actual contact with the USB pins. Probably the single and most desirable feature of having gold-plated connectors is it is pleasing to look at, but it does not mean it will give you a better connection unless the USB pins themselves are gold-plated. Even at that, it makes negligible difference at best, since this is a digital connection -- either it works or it doesn't.
Flipping the Tt eSPORTS Theron over, you will see it is made out of mostly plastic. The front and back end of the mouse has Teflon feet, which are commonly used on many gaming mice. Teflon is an excellent material, because it enhances glide and smoothness of your mouse over different surfaces. Based on previous experiences, these feet should give you quite a long time before wearing down, so durability over time should be of little concern. As well, you will find LED lighting strips running along the side and heel edges of the mouse. This gives a glowing effect around your mouse on the surface you're using it on. The optical sensor, located approximately in the center of the mouse, is based on the Thermaltake's very own Tt Pro Grade (T.P.G.) 5600 dpi laser engine, capable of up to 5600 dpi sensitivity with supported polling rates of up to 1000Hz at 1 ms response time. This is the industry performance standard, meaning it can send up to one thousand pieces of tracking data per second to your computer, increasing mousing precision. You will also notice there are two buttons here -- one for changing between five different profiles, and the other for adjusting the polling rate. As well, you will have access to its set of weights already pre-installed, each weighing 4.5g for a total of 22.5g over five units. They can be easily accessed at the underside of the mouse by simply removing the cover that keeps them secured in place. The cover has a somewhat flexible section for users to unlatch the inner hook, which keeps the cover in its place. The Theron also houses a rubber tray to keep the weights secured down in proper order so it does not bounce around. Of course, if you prefer having no weights at all, you can simply remove the whole container at your discretion.
Thermaltake recommends the user to install the software before plugging the Tt eSPORTS Theron into their computer. The driver software installation took next to no time to complete, as it only requires the user to simply read and click 'Next' repeatedly. The software provided in conjunction with the mouse's 128KB onboard memory allows up to five different profiles for forty various custom button assignments, click speeds, polling rates, scroll speeds, cursor speeds, dpi adjustments, and five different colors as lighting options for the logo, scroll wheel, and sides to be stored on the Theron itself. Generally speaking, many of these features found in Thermaltake's provided software is quite standard, as what you would expect from a gaming mouse.
The software provided also allows the user to set macros, with full time delay support. For example, in StarCraft, for you to build a supply depot, you are required to press 'b+s'. What the Macro Key Setup allows you to do is to record these keystrokes along with its delay time. Since you will need to press 'b+s' fairly quickly, you can set the delay time between each key down to the milliseconds. And of course, for those World of Warcraft fans, spells take time to cast, so you can easily set the delay times well into how many seconds you want to delay your macro keys. To start programming your macro keys, simply hit the 'Record' button to start setting up your keys. Once you are finished, there is a convenient 'Stop' button next to the 'Record' button. If you are not satisfied with what you have programmed in, you can always delete individual sets with the 'Del' button, or you can clear the whole thing by clicking on the 'Del' a second time. These keys can also be repeated if you require multiple repetitions of the same keystrokes. Lastly, if you do not want to lose all that hard work programming all those macro keys, there is a 'Save' button available, as well as a 'Load' button for previously programmed macro keys. These settings can be assigned to the different buttons on your mouse, and is preferred by gamers such as myself to map the browser 'Back' button to other functions to improve gameplay efficiency.
Our tests were carried out on a computer with the following specifications:
CPU: Intel Core i7-930 @ 4.01 GHz (Overclocked; Hyper-threading disabled)
CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-C14
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.Sniper
RAM: Patriot Extreme Performance Viper II Sector 7 Series PC3-12800 6x2GB
Graphics: HIS Radeon HD 6870 1GB
Chassis: Silverstone Raven RV03
Power: Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1000W
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST 24x DVD-RW
Hard Drive: OCZ Agility 3 240GB, Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1
Like many other mouse reviews here at APH Networks, I have taken the Tt eSPORTS Theron through an extensive course of performance tests through many weeks of usage. This includes the daily day-to-day office-type productivity programs such as the Microsoft Office suite, as well as Adobe's Creative Suite 6 Master Collection. Also included in my battery of tests are popular computer games, which includes Counter-Strike 1.6, Counter-Strike: Source, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction, Call of Duty: World at War, Front Mission Evolved, Minecraft, Diablo III, Starcraft II, and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. The Theron was tested on multiple surfaces to see how well it performed. This includes the Everglide Titan Monster Mat (DKT Edition), SteelSeries QCK+, Razer Sphex, Razer Destructor, Razer Goliathus Extended Control Edition, and the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Ladon.
As you can see, I have taken Thermaltake's Tt eSPORTS Theron through a series of very long and thorough tests, so that you can be well informed about this product. I have found that the Theron to be an excellent and well constructed mouse. There were no flimsy parts, and the slick rubber coating on top of the well constructed design gave me good control over the mouse. This took me almost no time to get used to, as I was previously using the eSPORTS Black and Black Element, which had similar build characteristics. Being more of a claw-grip mouser myself, the Theron fitted my style decently well, with minimal space between my fingers and the mouse.
Obviously, this mouse is geared more towards users in the world of gaming more than the typical office user who plays flash games online. This does not mean that general office users cannot use such a mouse, but rather, it is more inclined for the former rather than the latter. The good news is it can easily be adjusted to suit whatever you are working on, as its sensitivity can easily be set via the dpi changer buttons on the side, or in the software provided. As far as gaming is concerned, you are free to choose from five different adjustable profiles, so if you ever get bored of one game, you can easily switch to a different game without having to think too much about resetting up your configuration. However, this does not guarantee that you will be ranked number one on the ladder in StarCraft II, simply because this mouse is the best of its kind. Incorporating the 1000Hz polling rate at 1ms response time, I found that mouse movements across the screen were very smooth, accurate, and responsive. However, once you get to 5600 dpi, some may find it a bit too sensitive for their liking. I have had no problems in tracking when using over multiple mousing surfaces, in which I have also tested on a bare wooden desk as well as on glass. However, testing over bare wood gave me slight hiccups, where the cursor would jump around the screen. This is most probably due to the fact that my desk had some unique textures that the laser sensor did not like. As you may have guessed, using the Theron over glass simply did not work, just like almost all other optical or laser mice.
Defeating a dragon as a final boss may be a gamer's fantasy, but whether you're a gamer or not, the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Theron is a great ergonomic mouse for gamers and office users alike. Additionally, Thermaltake gives the mouse a nice rubber finish for superior grip and control to give the user accuracy in handling precise movements. Its build quality is quite study, and with the featured braided 1.8m cable, it is bound to live for as long as you would like to keep it on your desk. Putting it through our long and vigorous testing process confirms that it has a very well-thought out design for comfortable usage over extended periods of time. Its fully featured 128KB onboard memory allows for storing quite a bit of profiles and macro buttons to save you the stress of clicking numerous times in various games or programs, and the software provides you with the ease of programming all of that. Also included are tunable weights at the heel of the mouse at your disposal. With all these features in mind, there really isn't much to complain about. Now, before I get back to spending another hour on this boss fight, let me spend just a couple minutes editing my photos in Photoshop...
Thermaltake provided this product to APH Networks for the purpose of evaluation.
APH Review Focus Summary:
8/10 means Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that aren't likely going to matter to the end user.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 8.0/10
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.
If you are looking for an aggressive looking gaming mouse with great features, the Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS Theron is a great contender to meet those needs.
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