Thanks to new energy-efficient sensors, gaming mice with removable batteries literally received a «second life» and began to appear in the product lines of all major manufacturers of gaming peripherals. In this review, we’ll take a look at the first such device from ASUS, called the TUF Gaming M4 Wireless. It can work both on a 2.4 GHz receiver and via Bluetooth LE 5.1. AA and AAA battery formats are supported. There is also an antibacterial coating on the top panel, which is made (along with the side buttons) from wear-resistant PBT plastic. A really good set of useful features. And now let’s see how all this is implemented in practice.
|Model||ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless|
|Product page||TUF Gaming M4 Wireless|
|Interface||Wireless (USB 2.4 GHz / Bluetooth LE 5.1)|
|Type||Gaming (FPS/MMO/RTS games)|
|Sensor model||PixArt PAW3311DB-T2MU|
|Resolution, cpi||100 – 12 000|
|Number of buttons||6 buttons + scroll (left, middle, right, resolution switch, two side buttons)|
|Maximum acceleration, g||35|
|Height of separation from the surface (LOD), mm||2|
|Maximum speed, m/sec||7,62|
|USB port polling frequency, Hz||125/250/500/1000|
|Frame rate, fps||–|
|Internal memory||+ (3 profiles)|
|Receiver type for wireless connection||Nano receiver|
|Power supply, battery life||Replaceable AA or AAA battery, up to 134 hours at 2.4GHz, 232 hours via Bluetooth LE (for AA battery)|
|Protocol (GHz) / radius (m) of wireless communication||2.4GHz / Bluetooth LE 5.1, up to 10m|
|Possibility of mass change||Perhaps by changing the battery type to AA or AAA format|
|The possibility of adjusting the shape of the case||–|
|Cord length, m||–|
|Body surface material||Plastic|
|Leg material||Teflon (PTFE)|
|Software||+ (Armoury Crate)|
|Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm||126 x 63,5 x 39,6|
|Weight, g||62 (without battery), 77 (AAA battery), 86 (AA battery)|
|OS compatibility||Windows 10 x64 or higher|
|Additionally||Main key switches with 60 million keystrokes, top panel and side buttons made of wear-resistant PBT plastic with antibacterial coating, the possibility of using one AA or AAA battery (via the included adapter), RGB indicator of resolution and connection|
The design of the box is dominated by black and gray color printing. There is not much information on it, protection against damage is performed at a minimum level.
The package includes a manual and warranty information, a mouse, a USB transmitter, two Duracell AA and AAA batteries, a plastic adapter container with contacts for installing an AAA battery in the AA size compartment.
The shape of the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless is classic symmetry, with a centrally located raised back and mirrored, slightly recessed sides. The solid appearance is emphasized not only by the black color of the device, but also by a matte, pleasant-to-the-touch coating made of PBT plastic, which is not only resistant to dirt, but also has an antibacterial treatment (confirmed by relevant certificates, according to the manufacturer). The panels of the main buttons are separate. When pressed, they emit a loud expressive click, and their activation requires an average effort. You can achieve clearance from them, but on purpose, and not in normal use. There is no free movement of the panels. The middle button is pressed harder and with a muffled activation sound. The resolution switch is silent and activates with little effort.
There are two medium-sized side buttons on the left side. They are also made of PBT. They are very easy to operate, with a small stroke and a dry click at medium volume. The front part of the sidewall is covered with diagonal notches for better grip with the fingers. And everything is smooth behind.
There is nothing special about the front panel. The scroll wheel has almost no backlash. The rubber coating on it imitates the tread of a car tire. It returns with a medium-loud crackle, clearly working out all fixation positions on a tactile level.
There are no buttons on the right. But there are the same diagonal notches on the front for better grip of the case cover with the fingers.
On the stern, a glossy TUF logo is visible from above.
The battery compartment cover is held on by several latches. To remove it, you need to press in the area of the arrow next to the resolution switch and pull the cover back. Under it hides a longitudinal pocket for the power source and another one for the receiver.
According to the settings, the battery compartment is designed for AA format in the amount of one piece. With it, the weight of the mouse will be approximately 86 grams without taking into account the receiver. If necessary, you can put an AAA battery here through a special adapter. In this case, the mouse will weigh 77 grams. The empty device weighs 62 grams.
It is better to use a USB receiver if you plan to use a mouse in games, because due to Bluetooth LE 5.1, the mouse usually consumes less energy, but the performance of the device also drops significantly due to a decrease in the polling frequency.
Symmetrical ergonomics of the mouse case allows you to use it in any type of grip, both right-handed and left-handed. Although the side buttons are only for right-handed users. The ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless is best suited for medium-sized or large hands. The light weight of 86 or 77 grams, depending on the type of battery, does not burden the user, but the balance of the weight of the device is still shifted a little back, which forces you to squeeze your fingers a little harder to avoid skewing when separated from the surface.
The base of the mouse has two trapezoidal Teflon feet at the front, one semicircular at the back, and another hexagonal one around the sensor window. Below the sensor is a built-in power switch. In the central position, the mouse is turned off, moving to the right turns on the 2.4 GHz mode with communication via a USB receiver, and moving the mouse to the left switches to Bluetooth communication mode.
There is a built-in indicator in front of the resolution change button. It shows the current resolution level in red, purple, blue or green for a short time when it changes. And blinks blue when connected via Bluetooth. Additionally, it will blink red at a set battery level between 10 and 50 percent.
Let’s look at the internal structure of the mouse.
To disassemble the mouse, you need a utility knife (to carefully remove all three legs) and a Phillips screwdriver. Before removing the legs, it is better to heat them with a hair dryer, and after removing them, immediately stick them on the plastic surface. This would give some chance of getting them back unharmed. One screw is located under the front legs, and two more are hidden on the sides under the semicircular leg at the back.
After disassembly, the mouse body is easily separated into four separate parts — the cover, the base, and two side panels. The buttons on the left side connect to the main circuit board with a cable. Be careful not to damage it.
The two side button switches are made by Huano brand.
The main switches are red Kailh GM 4.0 with a life expectancy of 60 million clicks. The scroll wheel encoder is also from Kailh. The wheel itself is held on three spokes. Middle key switches and resolution buttons could not be identified.
To examine the marking of the sensor, you will have to disconnect the battery basket. Two more screws. Its wires are soldered to the board, and the cover partially covers the LED. The sensor itself is located transversely.
The mouse is equipped with a PixArt PAW3311DB-T2MU sensor with a prismatic lens and an external infrared LED backlight.
Without installing software, the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless can switch between four preset resolution levels of 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 cpi with the help of the corresponding button, depending on the setting. Switching between the three onboard memory profiles is done by pressing the resolution switch together with the middle (3 profile), front (2 profile) or back (1 profile) side buttons of the mouse.
As software, the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless uses the resource-intensive Armory Crate software, which requires download from the official website and installation. It is constantly active.
In the «Buttons» section, six keys and two scroll directions can be reassigned. Mouse and keyboard functions, macros, multimedia and Windows commands, invisibility mode, screenshot, launching Armory Crate, text input, and the ability to completely disable the key are available for assignment. All changes are saved to one of three onboard profiles.
In the sensor performance settings, there are four resolution levels that can be adjusted between 100 and 12,000 cpi in 100 cpi increments. There are polling rates of 125, 250, 500 or 1000 Hz to choose from. You can separately enable or disable angular anchoring of the cursor.
In the «Power» section, you can view the current battery charge level in percent, set the range at which the low charge warning indicator starts flashing. Available values are never, 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 percent charge. The most useful energy-saving parameter is the time of transition to sleep mode when the mouse is idle. It can be set for 1, 2, 3, 5, 10 minutes or leave the device permanently active.
Mouse and software support automatic and forced checking of firmware and software code updates.
The macro editor allows you to record mouse and keyboard commands, including scroll wheel directions. The trajectory of the cursor is not fixed. One macro command contains up to 100 commands, each of which consists of a delay time associated with pressing and releasing a key. All recording and playback delays, sequence and content of commands can be easily edited after the recording is finished.
Ergonomics and testing
Testing of the ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless mouse was carried out on the ASUS TUF Gaming P1 branded mat. It is a fast fabric surface with a very soft and slippery coating and an unobtrusive pattern. Its dimensions are 360x260x2 mm. The receiver was placed at a distance of 50 cm from the mouse, in the direct line of sight. Work with Bluetooth was tested by connecting to a laptop.
The shape of the mouse has average universal ergonomics, which due to symmetry will fit almost any hand and type of grip, with the exception of very small palms. The antibacterial matte coating of the body made of PBT plastic is resistant to dirt, wear and tear and is very pleasant to the touch. The device sits firmly in the hand, despite a small trim towards the stern, which is traditional for mice with batteries. The case is assembled quite firmly, although it will not be possible to call it monolithic, since there are creaks under strong compression. The mouse glides well and predictably, with an average level of inertia. All switches work very clearly, with good tactile feedback. The same can be said about the scroll wheel, which effectively repels each movement.
Adjusting the mass by changing the battery type from AA to AAA in this device is not very important. Which is that otherwise it feels pretty light. In this case, the preference towards the stern is not corrected, but the compartment cover has to be pulled more often when using AAA batteries, because with them the margin of autonomy is lower. Given that the cover is not magnetic, but on latches, it is better to open it less often to avoid rapid breakage of the latches.
Working through the 2.4 GHz receiver, the mouse behaves very stably. No loss of signal was observed once, the connection after switching on or exiting from sleep was restored almost instantly, with a barely perceptible delay. It was enough to move the mouse a little, as the cursor came to life. Therefore, the sleep mode slider should be left at the minimum value of 1 idle minute. It will be optimal. When using an AAA battery with a capacity of 750 mAh with a voltage of 1.2 V, the reserve of autonomy was enough for 53 hours, with a polling frequency of 1000 Hz and shutdown after 1 minute of idle time. I am sure that the claimed 134 hours with the receiver will last without any problems on a full-size 2000 mAh battery. And this is more than two weeks of playing time for 8 hours a day. Bluetooth indicators can be safely multiplied by two. But there, the mouse will become an ordinary office rodent, with communication delays and jerks when exposed to external obstacles. To connect via BT, you need to turn the power switch to the appropriate position and simultaneously press the resolution switch, LMB and PCM for 3 seconds until the indicator starts to blink blue.
Separately, it is worth noting a strange moment in the operation of the software. More precisely, not all software in general, but the charge level indicator. It is safe to say that it is not guided during calculations by the real voltage of the power source, but takes the evidence that is called «somewhere on Mars». When installing fully charged and fresh power sources, batteries, accumulators of different capacities, the counter usually starts at 93 or 83 percent. Then the readings quickly drop to 46%, then stay near this mark for a long time, then smoothly descend to 17% and then drop sharply again to the full discharge of the mouse. Accordingly, there is no connection with the real charge level here. And you should not pay attention to these percentages at all. Set the low battery warning light to 20% and it will warn you a couple of hours before the device finally shuts down.
The mouse has a PixArt PAW3311 sensor. From the positive points, there is a wide range of resolutions, support for high speed and acceleration, and the absence of parasitic moments such as cursor tremors. Extremely low level of smoothing. A fixed and relatively small separation height from the surface of 2 mm. Among the negative features, the sensor has consistently lower real cpi by 10% compared to those displayed in the software.
In general, ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless left an impression of a simple, reliable and stable gaming mouse with a stable wireless connection and a decent margin of autonomy. Although it has a medium-class sensor, it is quite enough for the vast majority of gaming and office tasks. The battery will be enough for two weeks of intensive use in 2.4 GHz mode or more for a month via Bluetooth in office tasks. Against the background of competitive solutions, the TUF M4 Wireless positively stands out due to the presence of an antibacterial coating (for those who care) and PBT plastic on the top panel and side buttons. By the way, the quality of the housing is noticeably higher than most of the closest analogues.
Two shortcomings were found. They are not critical, but still. First, the calculation of the current battery charge level is not working correctly in the software. Secondly, the real resolution level of the mouse is always 10% less than the one specified in the software. Take this into account when setting up.
ASUS TUF Gaming M4 Wireless may appeal to those looking for a lightweight and versatile wireless symmetric mouse with replaceable batteries for gaming in between work and study tasks.