Mouse: Gigabyte GM-M8000
Here in the United States, we tend to think of Gigabyte as a motherboard manufacturer first and foremost. But everywhere else in the world, Gigabyte is known to make everything from internal components to external peripherals, including media keyboards and gaming mice. The GM-M8000 was a late entrant to the round-up, but on paper it looks impressive. Under the hood is a laser sensor capable of up to 4,000 DPI, enough memory for up to 15 different programmable macros, and on-the-fly profile switching.
The M8000 is one of the largest mice in this roundup, but textured sides make it remarkably comfortable. Like the Logitech G9, the M8000 comes with a tin of weights and a cartridge you can configure for the weight and balance you prefer. The M8000 also features customizable profiles, and it changes the backlight color to correspond to the active profile.
Additionally, the DPI indicator on the top-right side of the mouse shows you which of four DPI settings is currently selected. While the ability to choose from four settings (most mice usually restrict you to three) is welcome, this is another case when even though there are several options, it's unlikely that any gamer will use the most- or least-sensitive options.
I only encountered two issues with this mouse. First, the M8000’s wide laser sensor didn't track well on surfaces without texture, so my black SteelSeries glass-topped mouse pad was quickly factored out of my gaming setup. Gigabyte’s was the only mouse in this round-up to have an issue with my pad, but once I had the mouse on a desk surface, it worked fine. The other problem was with the included Ghost Engine software. It installed without protest on my 64-bit Windows Vista test machine, but when I launched the tool, the window wouldn't display properly. I didn't have an issue with it under Windows XP, however.
Issues aside, the M8000 is a fantastic gaming mouse from a company I'm not used to seeing produce them. The mouse is large and comfortable, almost moreso than any of the other mice in the roundup. The added features, custom profiles, and programmable buttons were useful but definitely not the M8000's strong suit.
Where the M8000 really excels is in design, feel, and weight. Add to that the fact that it comes in at $50 and boasts features that more expensive mice brag about. If you're looking for a mouse with side buttons you can program in your favorite games (I programmed one to toggle push-to-talk in a couple of different games) and switchable profiles that also feels great in your hands, the M8000 is excellent bang for your buck.