Known for its coolers and heatsinks, Thermalright branched into the gaming market with the Leetgion brand (“elite legion” written in a fancy way). They first released an FPS mouse, the Hellion, and now the company enters the MMORPG territory with the El’Druin (the name definitely has an elvish flavor). It features 12 programmable buttons, 5,000 dpi of resolution, and two side disks that act like a second scrollwheel, and an analog stick from a console controller. We’ll first describe this unusual design and then proceed to testing its performance.
The El’Druin mouse has a body made of dark gray plastic, with exchangeable dorsal plates. It comes with four options: two plastic plates (one bigger, one smaller), and two rubberized plates (again, in two sizes).
The most distinctive features are the two side disks that replace the traditional side buttons. The left disk functions like the analog directional stick from a PS3 or X-Box 360 controller (up, down, left, right and middle click). The right disk acts like a secondary scrollwheel and can also be clicked on the middle. We will discuss these details on the Main Features section.
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On the tip of the mouse, there is a huge rubberized scrollwheel with small indents, but there are no extra buttons to change profiles or alter the resolution below it. Those functions are now assigned to the right side disk. The overall look is inspired by a medieval gauntlet.
Turning the device over, we find three Teflon feet (one above, two on the base) and the Avago 9500 sensor that reaches 5,000 dpi of resolution.
In terms of lighting, the El’Druin has two LEDs to indicate the user profile and the current dpi setting, one on the left side and another behind the scrollwheel. There are only four colors available: sky blue, purple, yellow, and blue.
The cable is cloth-wrapped, ending in a gold-plated USB connector. There is a convenient Velcro strap to help organize the cable, as well.
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The feature that catches the eye on the El’Druin right out of the box is the innovative concept of the side disks. Leetgion came up with a couple of fancy names for them. The left one is the SPAD (Skill Power Actions D-Pad), because it can be mapped to the skills, powers, and actions most found on regular MMORPGs. The right side is the Omni-Tuner, and as we said, it acts like another scrollwheel. The user must press it to cycle through three different functions: resolution level control, user profile change, and two-button functions (wheel forward and wheel backwards).
To configure all those functions, it is necessary to download the software on the Leetgion website, because the El’Druin does not come with an installation CD. Once the application is installed, it is possible to program four profiles with 12 functions each (mapped to the buttons and the side disks) and adjust the overall performance (pointer speed, scroll speed, etc.). Each profile can have its own resolution setting, ranging from 100 dpi to 5,000 dpi, adjustable in 300 dpi increments. The El’Druin already comes with two factory-settings: a desktop profile for internet navigation and a Diablo profile.
The software’s interface is based on photos of the El’Druin, so button assignment is really an intuitive deal. Recording macros is also an uncomplicated business, and the user can program delays between commands. For a mouse geared towards MMORPGs, a game genre more in need of macros then shooters, the El’Druin excels at this features.
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The breakthrough feature of having two side disks requires some time to get used to the El’Druin. Unlike regular gaming-grade mice, which come with a niche for the thumb to rest on, here the thumb is always working on the SPAD. Users accustomed to playing with console controllers will find it easy to use the left disk; it is a very intuitive experience if you play with a PS3 or an X-Box 360. The user has to keep in mind that the thumb will work all the time, since it is on the SPAD that the main functions of a MMORPG (powers, spells, special actions, macros) are assigned to.
The Omni-Tuner, on the other side, is easily pressed with the pinkie. Once again, it is necessary to get used to leaving the pinkie in charge of changing profiles and sensitivity levels, activities that on other gaming-grade mice are usually left to the middle finger. But once you get used to it, the El’Druin performs nicely.
In terms of grip and sliding, the peripheral does not have a weight adjustment system, but it is not a light mouse. The exchangeable dorsal plates make the El’Druin somewhat smaller, better suited to claw-grippers. The larger scrollwheel makes it easier to reach with the fingertips when you hold the mouse from behind. The El’Druin is firmer on the hand with the rubberized plates.
The Avago 9500 laser sensor is a market staple and, as usual, performed with great accuracy. Being able to only change resolution in 300 dpi increments was not an issue, since there is plenty of room between 100 dpi and 5,000 dpi to choose from. Despite being geared towards MMORPGs, we also tested the El’Druin on some first person shooter games, and the performance was great. We had only to train the pinkie to quickly alter the resolution on the Omni-Tuner during some heated matches.
Despite appearing to be ambidextrous, it would be very hard for a left-handed person to operate the SPAD (on the left side) with the pinkie, a finger that lacks the mobility and precision of the thumb.
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The main specifications for the Leetgion El’Druin mouse include:
- Gaming-grade laser mouse
- Right-handed design
- Connection: USB plug
- Adjustable functions: Twelve
- Tracking Resolution: up to 5,000 dpi
- User Profiles: Four
- Approximate size: Small dorsal plates: 2.4 x 1.7 x 4.6 inches (63 x 43 x 119 mm); Big dorsal plates: 2.7 x 1.7 x 5 inches (69 x 44 x 127 mm)
- Weight: 4.2/4.3 oz (120/123 grams)
- More information: http://www.leetgion.com
- Average price in the US*: USD 99.95
* Researched at Amazon.com on the day we published this review.
The El’Druin is a mouse for MMORPG players who want to try something different: an experience akin to having an analog stick from a console controller in a gaming-grade mouse. This is not a peripheral to just plug and play right away; it has a learning curve. The thumb may get tired from not having a place to rest, as well as being responsible to engage the majority of macros and assignable functions. The exchangeable dorsal plates may help, but the user will have to re-learn how to properly grab a mouse.
- Medieval-inspired design
- Side disks are an innovative control concept
- Simple interface
- Exchangeable dorsal plates for each grip style
- Velcro strap to help organize the cable
- Does not have a weight adjustment system
- No thumb rest