Gigabyte Aivia M8600 Mouse Review
By André Gordirro on May 4, 2011
Gamers usually shun wireless peripherals, always wary of a possible energy loss. No one wants to rummage around for a cable and lose an online match. With that in mind, Gigabyte has released a wireless gaming-grade mouse with a long lasting 50 hour battery that comes with an extra battery that you can rapidly switch. Besides those characteristics, the Aivia M8600 reaches 6,500 DPI and features a design for both right- and left-handed users, plus ten reprogrammable buttons. Let's talk first about its physical aspects and then test its wireless operation.
We follow the guideline of never taking into consideration how a particular product is packaged when reviewing it; that's why we rarely comment on a package. However, rarely doesn't mean never, so the Aivia M8600 is one of the few exceptions we will talk about. Gigabyte really broke the mold with the tubular package in which the mouse comes. When the user opens the tube in three parts, he/she finds the mouse itself and a bag, also tube-shaped, with the accessories – two USB cables, the receiver/charging base, a mini CD with the Ghost software, and an extra battery.
The mouse has a longitudinal symmetrical body with four lateral buttons, two on each side. The upper body is made of smooth plastic, but on the sides it has some texture for a better grip. Below the wheel – which does both vertical and horizontal scrolling – you can find the LED that indicates the resolution level and the current user profile, plus two buttons to switch the sensitivity.
On the nose, there is a niche with a retractable cover for the USB cord so the Aivia M8600 can operate as a wired mouse. The battery is housed on the other end and can be ejected by a button on the underside.
You just need to connect the base to a USB port and hit both parity buttons – on the base itself and on the mouse – to have the Aivia M8600 properly working. If the user wants it to be a wired device, he/she can just plug in the USB cord, which sincerely beats the whole purpose of the Aivia M8600, but it's still a good thing that Gigabyte allows it to be used as a regular wired mouse.
To customize the Aivia M8600, it's mandatory to install Gigabyte’s Ghost software, through which it's possible to program ten buttons – an impressive number – and change from right -handed mode to left-handed mode with a single click. The 32 KB internal memory stores up to five user profiles so the device can be used to run different games and even work-related applications. A LED below the scroll wheel tells which profile is active, glowing with a choice of 27 colors – and a more discreet user can turn it off by choosing “black” - to indicate the current sensitivity setting. There are four user-selectable levels up to 6,500 DPI.
The application is very easy to use. It features icons representing the buttons to be programmed. Everything is simple and intuitive – a bliss among such a collection of confusing software out there. Even for those users not inclined to create macros, the Ghost offers some handy predefined suggestions. Other run-of-the-mill functions can also be adjusted, like independent X/Y axis sensitivity and horizontal and vertical scrolling speed. It's a hassle-free operation, but we have to point out that you need to connect the mouse with a cable in order to use the software.
The 1500 mAh Sanyo batteries last for 50 hours per charge, according to Gigabyte. In practice, we switched batteries on the fifth day of intense usage without depending on the economic mode (which makes the mouse hibernate and it's ideal for work use). We let the extra battery be at hand and pre-charged but, although switching it was pretty quick, it's still not a two second operation as advertised – unless the user has lightning-fast gunslinger reflexes. You have to turn the device upside down, hit a switch to eject the battery, retrieve it, and then put the new one in the slot. The Aivia M8600 doesn't fit quite well on the charger/receiver; it's probably better to plug the mouse directly on the PC to recharge the battery while using it or, even better yet, to leave the extra battery recharging on the base and have it ready anytime you need it.
Full of sharp angles, the M8600 looks like a gun or a gadget used by Batman on The Dark Knight. The wedge-shaped hump isn't comfortable particularly because, due to the size and weight of the mouse, you need to rest a full palm over it to move the device, right where a longitudinal edge divides the body. Speaking of weight, the M8600 doesn't feature a weight adjustment system because of the battery; it's heavier than the competition. You'd better up the resolution a bit to compensate for the extra effort to slide the mouse around.
Among the several models of gaming-grade mice we've already tested, this was the one that needed more time getting used to because of the uncomfortable hump and the different grip style. Comfort was definitely not a priority among the good solutions to make the Aivia M8600 a trustworthy wireless device full of customization possibilities – the buttons are precise and well-located, for instance, a design decision that doesn't extend to the whole body of the mouse. Of course that's an issue of personal preference and hand size, but the Aivia M8600 failed to impress us concerning comfort despite the freedom of it being wireless and being highly customizable.
As usual, we tested the M8600 playing FPS games like Call of Duty: Black Ops, and the MMORPG World of Warcraft. In both cases, the precision and customization were amazing but the discomfort tipped the scales unfavorably. For a mouse that expensive, it's a big issue to pay more for an experience that doesn't deliver.
The main specifications for the Gigabyte Aivia M8600 mouse include:
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.
Below you can see a summary of our impressions about the Gigabyte Aivia M8600 mouse.