AZiO Levetron GM2000 Gaming Mouse Review

Author: Aaron Chen
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/azio_levetron_gm2000/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

When shopping for gaming mice these days, the influx of choice can be very overwhelming. Amidst a backdrop of Logitech, Microsoft, and Steelseries gaming mice equipped with growing lists of features and specifications (DPI sensitivities, weight systems, laser types, and color options for starters), AZiO steps in to provide a no-frills solution that just plain works – the Levetron GM2000 optical gaming mouse.

Based in Los Angeles, California, AZiO doesn’t offer the sheer quantity of products as its competitors, but looks to make up with quality. This review marks my first experience with an AZiO product, so I'm interested in seeing how the GM2000 stacks up to the competition. What's special here is the goal to pinpoint the most important features of a gaming mouse while keeping a very competitive price of around $30-$40. Let’s take a look at whether this is enough to make for a great product.

Specifications:

Model Number
GM-2000
DPI
800/1600/2000
Hand Orientation
Right
Tracking Method
Optical
Scrolling Capability
1 x Wheel
Interface
USB
Cable Length
5 ft.
OS Support
Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 and Mac OSX 10.2+

All information courtesy of AZiO @ http://www.aziocorp.com/product/peripheral/mouse/gm2000.htm

 

Like many gamer-oriented gear such as the recently reviewed CM Storm QuickFire TK, the AZiO Levetron GM2000 comes in a stylish black box, this time boasting red accents. On the front we have a nice top-down view of the mouse, with the product name labelled above. To the top right corner we can spot the triangle-inspired AZiO logo. The GM2000's Windows compatility, USB Plug & Play, and 3-year limited warranty are listed below in small thumbnail images. Further down is a small side view image of the mouse and a list of several main features of the GM2000 including ergonomic right-handed design, 800/1600/2000 DPI adjustment, 6 buttons, and compatibility with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and Mac OSX 10.2 or higher. I guess AZiO couldn't find any thumbnail images to use for Windows 2000 or Mac OSX.

The left, right, and top sides of the box are almost identical, each with the product name and AZiO logo as seen on the front of the box. The left and right panels both feature another side view of the mouse, this time angled from a higher perspective.

The list of features is also repeated at the back of the box, translated into 8 different languages. Further down there is another side view photo of the mouse (already used on the sides of the box), alongside the same 3 thumbnail images from the front specifying Windows compatibility, USB Plug & Play, and a 3-year limited warranty. To the left, we find more detailed specification information including the sensor type, length of cabling, and package contents. AZiO has placed its Twitter and Facebook handles as well as a link to the company website toward the bottom.

The front flap of this box opens up, revealing a nice view of the actual mouse under a clear plastic clamshell. I tend to like this type of packaging because it gives you a good look at the actual product's appearance and size before making the purchase. After all, photos can only show you so much. As a plus, AZiO has indented a large space on the bottom of the box which will allow you to rest your wrist upon to get a feel of the mouse in an actual usage position. One thing I want to note is that the clear plastic clamshell holds the mouse much too loosely. Because the GM2000 isn't secured to anything else inside the box, I worry as to how well this clamshell can protect it against drops in shipping. It just makes the packaging feel a little cheap.

It becomes clear why the clear plastic clamshell was so loose opening up the package – there really isn't anything attaching the clear clamshell to the black plastic backing behind the mouse. Rather, the bottom of both plastic shells have two large indents, effectively 'cupping' each other into place. While this solution leaves the clear clamshell held tightly to the backing at the bottom, it leaves the top feeling very loose. The clamshell would probably feel more secure if the top had the same indents.

In terms of accessories, there is really none to be found, not even a driver CD. I guess AZiO doesn't fool around when it comes to Plug & Play capability. As highlighted on the outside of the box, there should be a quick start guide included, which I did not find. I'm going to assume the product on retail shelves will contain the aforementioned reading material. Otherwise, all you really get is the mouse. With that said, let's take a closer look at the AZiO Levetron GM2000 and see what it can really do.

 

Although the packaging provides a good look at the mouse, I had a difficult time trying to judge its actual size. It didn’t help that AZiO's website for some reason failed to provide any size specification either. So when I took the GM2000 out of the box, I was surprised that it was smaller than I suspected. Pulling out my trusty ruler, the mouse measured approximately 4.65 inches in length and 2.75 inches in width.

One thing that caught my eye was the nice appearance of the mouse. The entire device is black with distinct red accents all over. The sides and bottom are hard plastic, contrasted by a combination of a soft touch finish and glossy plastic on the top. We also find a partially transparent scroll wheel, nice arrow-shaped slits on both sides of the mouse, and the AZiO logo near where your palm will rest. The latter two will power on with red LEDs, as we will see later. At first glance, the AZiO Levetron GM2000 definitely looks pricier than it is.

It’s pretty standard fare here in terms of buttons. On the top is a DPI toggle button alongside an LED indicator. The button toggles between 800, 1600, and 2000 DPI settings for the mouse; unfortunately, there is no way to customize it to other values. On the left side of mouse are two buttons set to navigate web pages Forward and Back. Like the DPI button, there is NO way to program these for other functions or macros. As a frequent music listener when using my PC, I tend to use these side buttons for volume control, so this is disappointing.

Flipping the GM2000 over, we are treated to 4 mouse feet and a view of the optical sensor. There is also even more AZiO branding and another GM2000 label down here in case you forgot the name of the product already.

If you haven’t figured it out yet from the photos, the Levetron GM2000 is a wired mouse. The USB cord, which measures at 5 feet, is unfortunately not braided. The USB connector is not gold-plated either. Given the low price of the mouse, it's understandable why these were not implemented. They're not totally necessary features for a budget product .

Head on over to the next page to see how the mouse looks when plugged in.

Plugging in the AZiO Levetron GM2000, we are treated with red LED glow from the arrow pattern on the left and right of the mouse as well as the DPI indicator up top. The AZiO logo where your palm sits also lights up red. All the LEDs glow subtly, so they're not distracting at all. Strangely, the partially transparent scroll wheel does not light up.

Besides reminding me of a particular puzzle game (because symbol is shaped like a running man) the DPI indicator uses the LED glow to tell you which DPI mode you're on. The mouse is at 800 DPI when the LED itself is off, and at 1600 DPI when the LED is at "medium glow"; the brightest setting meanwhile indicates 2000 DPI. As mentioned earlier, there is no way to set other DPI values.

Turning the mouse over again, we see the familiar red glow of the optical sensor. The sensor flickers quickly whenever the mouse is lifted off a surface, returning to a consistent bright glow when the mouse is back in use on a flat surface. Perhaps the flickering is simply a power-saving feature for when no movement is detected.

We can't really tell if a mouse is ideal unless we test it out, so head over to the next page for our impressions.

I have been putting the AZiO Levetron GM2000 through its paces in a variety of tasks such web browsing, gaming, and of course general day-to-day tasks. To give you a better idea of my thoughts on the mouse, I will refine my results into several defining characteristics: Comfort, General Usage Experience, and Gaming Experience. I also tested the mouse on a variety of surfaces to see how the optical sensor holds up.

As with any peripheral review, a lot of the results may prove very subjective based on the reviewer. Hand size, finger length, and grip technique may contribute to different experiences for every user. Be sure to keep this in mind as you read our impressions.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Mice:

 

Tracking:

The following table sums up how our tested mice fares on several materials. A "Pass" means the mouse can track movement without fault, while a "Fail" means that it had difficulty tracking movement.


AZiO GM2000
Logitech G5
Razer DeathAdder 3500
Mouse Pad
Pass
Pass
Pass
Wooden Desk
Pass
Pass
Pass
Clothing
Pass
Pass
Pass
Glass
Fail
Fail
Fail

As expected, all the tested mice worked perfectly on opaque surfaces and failed to track on transparent glass. To make the most out of the feet on mice, however, you should definitely invest in a good high quality mouse pad.

Comfort:

The first thing I noticed upon using the Levetron GM2000 was the nice soft touch finish on the top. At its low price point of $30-$40, I expected lots of slippery plastic, so this was definitely a welcome surprise. Despite that, I wish the transition between the different materials was a bit more streamlined. Going from the soft touch material to the glossy plastic on top was fine, but there was definitely a noticeable sharp edge going from that glossy plastic to the hard plastic on the sides. The same applies for the bottom edge of the thumb rest – perhaps my thumb is too big but frequently hitting this edge made for quite a sore thumb. I tried to move my thumb higher, but the arrow-patterned slits on the sides felt a bit odd too.

One thing to consider when deciding on a mouse is definitely your grip style. I'm a fan of the "claw grip" – having only part of my palm on the mouse and only using my fingertips for buttons. After using the Levetron GM2000, I felt it was definitely designed as a "palm grip" type of mouse, i.e. encourages you to have your entire palm and fingers on the mouse during use. Combined with my large hands and the sharp edges, the GM2000 didn't make for the most comfortable claw grip experience personally. Switching to a palm grip style made the mouse much more comfortable (I didn't feel the edges at all), but it's not my ideal usage technique. I would definitely recommend heading to the store and trying out the mouse before taking the plunge if you can.

General Usage Experience:

The AZiO Levetron GM2000 worked pretty well for everyday use. All the buttons have nice tactile feedback and the texture on the scroll wheel made for some accurate scrolling. Tracking is accurate, though I do miss being able to set very low DPIs for programs like Photoshop. Again, I also really wish I was able to customize the side keys to something other than Forward and Back.

Gaming Experience:

Like the rest of the Levetron series, the GM2000 was designed for the gamer in mind. As expected, the main buttons are responsive. I would have appreciated a bigger scroll wheel however, particularly if you happen to enjoy playing games like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. Did I mention missing the option to program the two buttons on the left? Sure, the mouse is advertised as having 6 buttons, but 2 of them are practically useless when gaming as a result of this lack of customization. Additionally, not being able to set lower DPIs meant I could not get the cursor slow enough to benefit in-game actions like sniping. For a mouse marketed to gamers, I expected more.

I can see the direction AZiO was looking towards with this mouse: offer something that is just pick-up-and-go. No need to worry about polling rates, flashy LED patterns, or macros; features that probably end up confusing consumers outside the enthusiast market anyway. In a way, AZiO has succeeded in producing a budget gaming mouse, but at some cost.

For approximately $30-$40 at your favorite e-tailers, you're getting a mouse with a nice finish, solid build quality, and tactile buttons. At this price point it's sometimes difficult to find something that can even hold up to this standard. On top of that, the GM2000 features several on-the-fly DPI settings and extras such as subtle LEDs. That said, I can see the lack of user-customizable buttons or DPI settings to be a dealbreaker for some gamers and enthusiasts. On the other hand, the mouse isn't kidding about its plug-and-play capabilities. There's no need to install drivers or fiddle with menus – the mouse should be ready for use with little effort on the user's part. It's a double-edged sword for sure.

Would I recommend this to everyone? Probably not. If input macros or customization is your thing, it might be a good idea to invest a little more elsewhere. Due to its small size and shape, I would also recommend going to the store to test it out first before taking the plunge. However, for the casual user and anyone else looking for a solid mouse with good looks, the AZiO Levetron GM2000 is definitely a good option to consider especially with its budget price.

»Neoseeker.com

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