The mouse we have on hand today is a bit of a rarity in gaming circles, it's wireless.
Wireless tends to be frowned upon when it comes to gaming devices as the combination of interference, lag and the ever-important battery life mean that the vast majority of rodents that are designed for the gaming fraternity come wired.
Gigabyte are hoping to change all that with their newest mouse, the Aivia M8600. As well as being a sharply designed piece of hardware it comes in the most surprising packaging we've seen for a very long time indeed.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Time for the specs.
As with many gaming mice around the sensor on the M8600 goes up to 5600dpi, although software interpolation can up that to 6500dpi. 150 Inches per second speed and 50g acceleration is also up there with the main gaming mice.
|Tracking system||Twin-eye Laser|
|Resolution||100 ~ 6500dpi ( Hardware: up to 5600dpi)|
|Maximum speed||150 inches/ second|
|Certificate||CE/ FCC/ BSMI/ NCC|
|Cable Length||1.8m nylon braided / Gold-plated USB connector to mini USB|
|Weight||148g with battery; 110g without battery|
|Accessory||Charging dock, Li-ion battery*2, USB to mini USB cable*2, Driver CD, Quick guide, Spare feet pad|
But enough preamble, time to get cracking.
Most mice come in a fairly standard oblong box with a Velcro front to allow viewing of your potential purchase. Not so with the Aivia M8600 as it comes in a tube with many compartments. If you're the kind of person who just adores opening new things and discovering what lays within, this is the mouse for you.
At one end we have a carrying case that must double as a TARDIS. Things just kept on coming out of it and, as is always the way with these matters, it was impossible to get it all back in. Thankfully it's big enough for the things you need to take with you.
So what does come in this marvel of compactness? We have two heavily braided USB to Mini-USB cables, some spare feet, a spare battery and the receiver/charger.
Having a spare battery is unheard of and if first impressions do count then we like the M8600 already. Just like the inclusion of the dust cover on the K8100 keyboard, it's the attention to detail that grabs you. Even the driver CD, a mini number which deserves credit for both being environmentally friendly, and also giving us a use for that bit on the middle of every CD drive that we otherwise never use.
Up Close - The M8600
We'll start off with the battery section which is part of the rear of the M8600. This design has multiple benefits as you aren't reliant upon breaking your nail on the cover, or seeking out new batteries that have been stolen for remote controls, and it keeps the main weight right in the centre for optimum control.
For the second mouse review in a row we have a truly ambidextrous mouse in the Aivia M8600. The "regular" side has the back and forward buttons that we're all used to now...
And the right hand side we have an alternative couple of buttons. The scroll-wheel looks like it's been nicked off a slot car racer and also includes the side-scrolling feature. At the very front is a small flap that hides a mini-USB port, so you can run the mouse as cabled if you so desire.
Behind the scroll wheel we have the LED indicators for battery level and currently selected profile, as well as DPI increase and reduce buttons too.
There is a fair amount of stuff on the underside. As well as the centrally-mounted sensor we have a genuine on-off button, the battery removal switch, the wireless pairing button and a charging point.
The Aivia M8600 comes equipped with the Gigabyte Ghost software. It's similar to the version we saw with the K8100 keyboard, but thankfully it's infinitely easier to use as everything is clearly labelled. The is a single-click left and right handed switch, as well as a battery charge indicator and, at the top right, colour-coded profiles.
Across the top we have potentially four buttons that lead to hidden delights. Unfortunately the Windows button leads to the mouse control panel, and even in this latest v1.02 update the Macro Editor leads nowhere at all. The sensitivity and scrolling settings boxes are intuitive, although it's difficult to get a sliding bar wrong. It might need a little warning that you're passing out of the hardware DPI setting and into software interpolation, but that's nit-picking an otherwise solid bit of software. Macro editing aside.
The Gigabyte Aivia M8600 Wireless Macro Mouse has a lot going for it, but similarly to it's K8100 brethren, there are a few little quirks that stop it from achieving true greatness.
The packaging is fantastic. Not only is it a very rare thing to find a mouse that comes in a tube, but the amount of stuff you get in it is exceptional. The cables are high quality and the ends fit very snugly into both the mouse and the charging dock ensuring they wont wiggle free. Speaking of the charging dock it's a clever piece of design. It's the wireless receiver, contains a port for the spare battery so you can charge as you go, but also it's possible to dock the mouse on top and charge it up without removing the battery. If you so choose. Should you fancy charging on the go then Gigabyte supply another cable so you can use the M8600 as a wired mouse so you can charge and play.
As for the M8600 it looks very sleek and reminds us of with its sharp angles and blackness of Stealth Fighters and their kin. We love the ambidextrous nature which is always a plus. The scroll-wheel is very tactile and has the perfect balance between the notchiness necessary to switch weapons accurately, but also the smoothness so you're not driven crazy by clicking as you're making your way down a webpage. The battery compartment deserves a special mention as being a perfect solution to the problem of keeping your wireless mouse charged. Lighting is bright but not distracting and it's easy to see your current profile selection and rough level of charge.
Being a wireless mouse there are the normal little stutters that come from not being attached to the computer, but they are far fewer than many other wireless offerings we've experienced. The battery saving standby mode kicks in after a suitably lengthy pause, but restarts the mouse very quickly when you move it. Battery life is pretty good. We managed to obtain 60 odd hours of constant usage before the battery needed charging, and the ease of switching the batteries, a five second job at most, means your downtime is near zero.
Running the cable into the M8600 to use it as a wired one naturally eliminates these issues, so it really can be all things to all people. If you want the freedom of wireless, you have it and if you need the ultra-responsiveness of a gaming mouse, a quick cable plug and you're good to go.
Problems with the Aivia M8600 are few. The biggest one is that even the very latest version of the Ghost software still left us with a Macro Edit button that did nothing. We tried with the K8100 software installed and without, but to no avail. Of course this can be easily sorted with updated software, so it's by no means a deal-breaker. The only other issues are with the design and this therefore can change for you depending on how you hold it. The ridge in the back of the mouse looks great, but if you're a palm style player it can quickly become uncomfortable. Equally there is a slight ridge above the side buttons which can make pressing them in a rush a bit hit and miss.
However these are slight niggles on an otherwise stellar product. As a wireless mouse it's one of the best around although the usual problems of wireless haven't been wholly eliminated. However the design allowing for wired use turns it into a very capable gaming mouse for even the hardcore player, although not the absolute finest. To say it's a jack of all trades is doing it a disservice. It's very well packaged indeed, performs well either wired or not, and certainly fits the bill for all but the most demanding gamer. Although seemingly pricey at around £80 it's about par with other wireless gaming mice and certainly comes with an array of extra bits, including that spare battery, that make the price one worth paying.
A worthy winner of our OC3D Silver Award.
Thanks to Gigabyte for providing the Aivia M8600 for review. Discuss in our forums.