The name Aorus may be unfamiliar to more than a few of you, which is understandable as it is a relatively new brand name. However, you should know that they’re really just Gigabyte under a different name. Gigabyte’s intention for the Aorus brand is to market it as a company focused on hardcore gaming products, including laptops (such as the X7v2), keyboards, mice, and more. With the name demystified, let’s move on to the mouse itself.
When I first heard about the Aorus Thunder M7, I immediately fell for its techno-industrial design. It reminded me of a Cyborg R.A.T. mouse from Mad Catz, but infinitely more usable and comfortable. That impression lasted until I used the Thunder M7 for its intended purpose, MMO gaming. As a general gaming mouse, I have no real qualms with it – in fact I think it is one of the better mice that I have used. But as an MMO-specific peripheral, it falls far short of acceptable.
Where does it all go wrong? Let me give you the nitty-gritty details.
The Thunder M7 is certainly a unique-looking mouse, with its above-average number of buttons, its “headlights” at the front, the vents near the back, the window on top that lets you peek at the light-up “Aorus” lettering inside it, and the window on the side that lets you see the “Thunder” badge.
While using it at night or in the dark, the lighting never become bothersome at all—in fact you don’t even notice it most of the time. The headlights at the front of the mouse are there for seemingly no one as you’ll never see them under normal use. Another issue that I have with the lighting is that you can change the color of some of the lights, but not all of them. The headlight and DPI selector’s lighting always remains blue while the lighting on the scroll wheel and Aorus logo can be teal, blue, red, purple, or green. If you decide to change the colors of the changeable lights, you can easily end up with Frankensteinian coloring.
The wire—yes, it is wired—has a nice premium braiding covering it and I don’t foresee any issues unless you like to use the mouse as a flail on the weekends. If I were to judge the Thunder M7 based purely on aesthetics, it would be a winner. Far from understated, it looks like a prop mouse straight out of a sci-fi movie.
Comfort is a two-sided affair with this mouse. For internet browsing, productivity, and non-MMO gaming, it is one of the most comfortable mice I have ever used in terms of size, heft, and contour. The mouse has a nice satin texture with some glossy plastic in certain areas. It is comfortable to the touch, but unfortunately is also a stain magnet. Your skin’s natural oils will undoubtedly stain it after short gaming sessions.
So what is the other side of this coin? To be blunt, the mouse is absolutely terrible for its intended purpose—MMO gaming. The button ergonomics simply don’t lend themselves to playing MMOs. Instead of having the click buttons situated on the side of the mouse oriented in a sensible number pad format, they’re put into two rows. One column is technically on the top of the mouse while the other row is on the side.
The row on the top of the mouse has the one, two, three, and four buttons. However, there is a half inch gap between two and three. The row on the side of the mouse has five, six, seven, and eight. Instead of mirroring the top row’s layout however, the side row starts in that odd gap between numbers two and three. This upside-down layout is confusing and aggravating.
The way that the buttons are laid out on the mouse, you cannot comfortably press the number one and two buttons with your thumb. They have to be pressed with your pointer finger. Now, as experienced MMO gamers will attest, many MMOs have left + right click mapped to forward walk. With the Thunder M7, you cannot possibly do that and also use your number one and two actions. It is simply a terrible design.
If that weren’t bad enough, I constantly found myself executing the wrong actions or second-guessing button presses because of the non-standard button layout. In MMO terms, it ruined my DPS and rotation. I found myself actually parsing lower DPS numbers with the Thunder M7 than with my Razer Naga MMO. If you’re the type of player that actually cares about DPS numbers, which I imagine is a large portion of the intended audience for this mouse, you’ll probably hate it. So as a non-MMO mouse, the Thunder M7 is actually pretty good. But when used for its intended purpose–MMO gaming—it is terrible.
The included features on the mouse are actually pretty good, and the downloadable software is capable of many useful tricks. It’s a shame the software isn’t included with the mouse in some fashion, as it took a little bit of fishing around the Aorus website to find it. It’s near the bottom of the mouse’s official page, in case you’re wondering.
Via the software, every button can be mapped to whatever you want and macros are easy to set up. In addition, it allows you to set up to five different profiles, with the distinct mouse lighting colors corresponding to the different profiles. Each profile can have its own DPI presets, scroll wheel sensitivity, headlight lighting (supremely useless as that may be), and report rate. With the software, every single button can be set to be a macro. This is pretty nice, but unfortunately it still doesn’t fix the terrible layout and the fact that there are only eight number pad buttons as opposed to the twelve you see on many other MMO mouse offerings.
In terms of sensitivity, the mouse and software combo is potent and is capable of up to 8200 DPI. If it had a sniper button, it would be excellent for FPS use. And being that it is a wired mouse, there are no issues with dropped signals or lag. If judged purely on sensitivity, the Thunder M7 would be an excellent choice.
The MMO-centric buttons are where it falls short. It isn’t simply a matter of a learning curve. Even if you were able to master it, you’d be short four buttons compared to your competition with a Razer Naga MMO or Logitech G600 MMO mouse. In addition, you wouldn’t be able to use your number one and two buttons while also left clicking — a major issue for most MMO gamers.
A distinct appearance that stands out in the gaming mouse crowd is undercut slightly by useless “headlights” and the inability to change the colors of all of the lights on the mouse.
The mouse is fine and decently comfortable for general use, but I’m an MMO gamer looking for an MMO mouse, and the Thunder M7 is impractical and uncomfortable for that purpose.
Decently versatile downloadable software allows you to set up profiles and program macros.
High-performance DPI doesn’t excuse an MMO mouse that seems to have been designed with little regard to how MMO games are actually played.
The Aorus Thunder M7 is a fine mouse for everything except MMOs, which is unfortunate because it is marketed toward MMO players. The sharp-looking design just can’t make up for the button placement issues.
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