These days, complexity seems to be the name of the game when it comes to gaming peripherals. This is especially true in the world of MMOs. But there’s something to be said for deciding what you want to do and really doing it right. That’s where Gigabyte’s new mouse, the AORUS M3, comes in. There’s not an overwhelming amount of buttons. Customization is robust but simple. Most importantly, it’s accurate, comfortable, and ready to deliver in any genre you want to use it in. The M3 isn’t on the cutting edge and isn’t meant to be. Instead, it keeps its price to $40 and delivers performance to leave any gamer satisfied.
Let’s start with the specs:
- Interface: USB
- Tracking system: Gaming Optical Sensor (Pixart 3988)
- Sensitivity: 50~6400dpi with 50dpi increments (Default: 800/1600/2400/3200 dpi)
- Frame Rate: Up to 12500 frames/second
- Maximum Tracking Speed: 200 inches/ second
- Maximum acceleration: 50g
- Buttons: 6: L/R/MM, DPI, (2) thumb buttons
- Scrolling: Standard (3D)
- Switch Life (L/R click): Omron 20M
- Weight: 100g (+-3%) without cable
- Cable Length: 1.8m matte black PVC cable / Gold-plated USB connector
With the AORUS M3, Gigabyte’s biggest concern seems to be delivering a mouse that feels and performs great without breaking the bank. In the past, we’ve reviewed mice well into three digit price ranges, and while they have their merits, not everyone can afford such extravagance in a single peripheral. At the same time, no reasonable gamer wants to scrape the bottom of the barrel on their one of their most important input devices.
Gigabyte is targeting this middle ground, throwing out a lot of the marketing features that raise prices without offering meaningful improvements immediate to most gamers. At the same time, they’re making smart component choices to deliver solid performance at a reasonable price.
Take the PixArt 3988 optical sensor powering the M3. It’s a well regarded sensor that’s been featured in some exceptional mice of the years. It’s not brand new and doesn’t have a ground swell of hype to inflate the price. What it does have is excellent pixel by pixel tracking that is virtually indistinguishable from mice that are twice as expensive. Before testing the M3, I had never used a 3988 before. I used the mouse for several days before ever even considering what was inside or its MSRP. Coming from a 3360 and 3330 in the several weeks prior, I found myself quite impressed with the M3. In games, it delivered in every single scenario I tested it in. From shooters to RPGs, it was never inaccurate and never produced noticeable jitter.
The other thing I noticed right away is that the sensitivity tops out at 6400DPI. In an age where sensitivities of 12000 and 16000 are ever more common, 6400 can seem low. Here’s the truth free of the marketing: 6400DPI borders on unusably high. Ridiculously inflated DPIs look good on a box but offer nothing to the average user. So again, we have a mouse that’s not concerned with being purposelessly bleeding edge but instead on giving solid results in real world use. Big numbers are great and all, but I’ll take that trade-off.
When it comes to form, the M3 earns major points. It’s a mid-sized mouse, which puts it at the small-but-still-comfortable size for palm-grip users. It weighs 100g, which makes it a good fit for claw or even finger-tip mousers. What I really appreciate though is just how well designed it is. Each of the separate buttons dips in and flares out, creating this perfect little bed to keep each finger in place. After using half a dozen mice where none of them dipped in such a distinct way, I was surprised to notice again how much more comfortable and natural this made the mouse feel in my hand. Under the left and right buttons are Omron switches rated for 20M clicks each, with the right button having a slightly lower pitch than the left. Again, we’re not pushing the edge, but we’re firmly in the upper middle-class of Omron switches here.
The mouse body is composed of matte black plastic with textured, rubberized grips on each side. On the left are two additional thumb buttons, each of which can be programmed to trigger macros, keystrokes, or run multimedia commands using the AORUS software. That side also features an illuminated DPI indicator of four levels that can also be customized to your liking. Around the front is a basic, PVC coated cable. I always prefer braided cables as a matter of preference, but at this price range they typically feel cheap anyway, so I’m comfortable with it getting the axe.
Around the back, the palm rest features an RGB customizable falcon. You can select a static color, two varieties of flashing, breathing, and color cycling. If you own other AORUS RGB Fusion peripherals, you can also sync your lighting with a simple checkbox, though this does limit the your effect choices somewhat.
When it comes to gaming mice, $40-60 is the sweet spot for me. Anything outside of that range and I start to second guess whether all of those little features and touches are worth it. With the M3, Gigabyte does exactly what I’d hope: make smart sacrifices to deliver a mouse that feels good and performs better without making me sacrifice that anything else I was hoping to buy. Personally, I consider that a value add all by itself.
The product discussed in this article was provided by public relations for the purposes of review.