We last looked at the Gigabyte Aivia nearly two years ago and found that it was an outstanding wireless mouse, overcoming most of the problems of wireless whilst being fully featured and having a great sensor. Pretty much the only thing we didn't like was the overly pointy design which meant it wasn't the most comfortable rodent for long gaming sessions.
Now the Aivia range has another model, the Krypton. A more standard wired mouse arrangement hides some clever design choices and marries well with the new Krypton mousepad.
Given that the gaming mouse marketplace is probably the stuffed fuller than any other, with mice from absolutely everyone and available to suit every pocket, has the Krypton got enough to stand proudly amongst the very best?
Mouse sensors have been moving towards the keyboard side recently. Nearly every mechanical keyboard utilises Cherry MX switches, which means that the fine details are where sales are won and lost. Mice are reaching that level too with only a few producers of extreme performance sensors leading to ever closer performance across all the high-end mice available. The Krypton comes with a Laser sensor, now de rigueur compared to their optical brethren, with a full 8200DPI instead of relying upon software interpolation. But as looks and feature sets are the separators now, let's move on and have a look at the Krypton.
|Tracking System||Advanced Gaming Laser Sensor|
|Frame Rate||12000 frames/second|
|Maximum Tracking Speed||150 inches/ second|
|Switch Life (L/R click)||10 million times|
|Certificate||CE/ FCC/ BSMI/KCC|
|Cable Length||1.8m nylon braided / Gold-plated USB connector|
|Weight||110g ~149g adjustable|
|Support OS||Windows XP/ Vista/ Windows 7|
The Krypton comes in packaging that reflects its status as a top of the range gaming mouse. Rather than a simple box the Krypton has a outer sleeve that reveals a sturdy black double-height box, and within that a lot of foam protecting the Krypton well. It's nice to note that the packaging also isn't following the Gigabyte standard of continuing to throw tons of information on the back until no feature stands out. Much more pleasing to the eye.
The Krypton itself is far less angular and pointy than the wireless Aivia offering. In fact if you squinted it reminds us of a Razer Boomslang with its narrow hips and large buttons. The top if soft black plastic, and the rubber sides ensure that you can keep a firm grip on proceedings at all times.
Behind the scroll wheel is the DPI adjuster, which is out the way enough to make sure you don't bump it unexpectedly. Rather than an up and down button it's a rocker, which takes a little retraining to get your brain used to, but nothing untoward and it's not something that is adjusted regularly.
Gigabyte have thankfully kept the Krypton as an ambidextrous mouse, something we're seeing more often as time moves on. Whereas once a gaming mouse resembled a banana, now we're reverting to the original symmetrical designs just with a ton of extra features. At the front are the profile switchers and indicators, with the regulation side buttons in perfect thumb reach.
Up Close continued
The cable is well braided, striking the balance between soft and long lasting. Sliding the bottom off we find plentiful spaces to add weights. These have also been placed as centrally as possible, with room either side so that you can keep the whole mouse balanced, even if you require it to weigh the same as a small elephant.
No your eyes weren't deceiving you. The whole of the bottom of the Krypton is removable. This is because Gigabyte have taken the rather nifty decision to supply two completely different types of feet. One very hard and one of the more regulation Teflon type. Tunability is the watchword, and to this end the Krypton also has two different sets of weights.
Speaking of different feet for different surfaces, Gigabyte are also releasing the Krypton mousepad which is a double-sided affair. It's spectacularly huge and one side is hard for those who prefer a firmer surface, and the other a nice soft cloth for those who like a little friction. Between the two sides of the Krypton surface and the two possible bottoms to the Krypton mouse, you're bound to find something you like.
At the side of the DPI switch is a visual indication of which stage you're in of the four you can set in the profiles. The wheel brightness can be adjusted so if you find it irritating you can dim it, or even turn it off entirely.
Within the software, which we'll see on the next page, you can adjust the colours of the profiles to suit your preference for easy, at a glance, profile identification.
The latest version of the Ghost software is extremely easy to use. Whoever designed this needs to stand up and take a bow. So often we see features hidden beneath obscure icons or tiny text, not here.
Change the button assignments is just a case of clicking the button you want to change and selecting from a huge list of predefined options, as well as any macros you have created. Note the scroll bar on the right of the second picture.
Ten choices of colour are available for your five profiles. Thankfully they're all different enough to be usable. although a couple of the blues are close.
You can change the polling rate, although why you'd choose anything other than "as regularly as possible" is a mystery. Within each profile you have four sensitivity options, and you can lock them or set the horizontal and vertical separately.
The Krypton supports 70 macros, and they're very easy to create and edit too.
Blimey. If we can borrow a baseball metaphor then the Gigabyte Aivia Krypton has just come off the bench to have a pinch-hit, bases-clearing triple.
The original Aivia had some excellent features at a decent price for a high-end wireless rodent, let down by some hard plastics and a rather angular design for something expected to sit in a human hand instead of looking good in pictures.
The Krypton starts from a more obvious platform, wired ambidextrous gaming mouse with rapid sensor, and fixes all the faults of its predecessor. It's seriously comfortable, especially for those who haven't got tiny hands. The combination of comfortable soft-plastic top with deep cushioned rubber sides keeps it under control at all times. Because the sides are so grippy you relax when using it more than you do on a mouse with harder sides. It might be imperceptible but over a marathon session it can make the difference.
The scroll wheel is smooth and has a reassuring weight to it. The notches are tactile without sounding like a card in some bicycle spokes. The placement of the back/forward buttons is good too. Sometimes you find mice that have them too far forwards or back to be able to hit comfortably without having to adjust your hand position, and with the Krypton Gigabyte have got it spot on. Even the profile buttons are within reach without you accidentally bumping them. The fact you can switch between left and right handed operation just by holding both of the profile buttons for a couple of seconds is a nice touch, especially if you're in a clan or hotseating. The sensor is superb, and as good as almost anything around and certainly anything at this price-point.
The software is probably the best we've come across. The layout is crisp and clean, with everything being obvious and leading where you expect, without any sub menus and similar irritants. Many UI designers could learn a lot from the Ghost utility. Customising the Krypton is simplicity, and even the macro editor didn't give us any headaches or resort to consulting the documentation. The only thing the software doesn't record is a relative screen x and y of the pointer, but we've only ever found one that did so we certainly wont down mark the Krypton for that. It would just be nice to open the customisation up a little further.
Also whilst we're pointing out the couple of tiny niggles we have, we'd like to see the colour of the scroll wheel and DPI LEDs change with the profile LEDs. We can't be the only people who prefer to have a uniform colour scheme and that does limit you to using a couple of the blue profile indicators? Or perhaps obsessive enough to find a mixture of colours uncomfortable. Otherwise you're left with bright blue LEDs and whatever profile colour you've chosen. Yes it's a small thing but on a modern mouse that offers so much else, why can't we customise it fully?
However, all in all there is loads to love about the Gigabyte Aivia Krypton. All the design decisions are ones that are obviously the right thing to do. It might sound simple but the amount of products we've tested where a company has done something different just because it's different rather than better is too numerous to count. From the placement of the weights, the simplicity of switching the entire underside to change feet, to the lovely feel of the buttons and the comfort of the mouse itself, it's a joy to use. The gaming surface is equally wonderful, providing the best of both the hard and cloth worlds without compromising either, although you'll need a lot of desk space to make the most of it.
High end gaming mice come with a high-end price tag, but the Aivia Krypton is retailing for around the £50 mark, which in a world of £80 mice is great to see, especially for one with this feature set. We could niggle about a little extra customisation in the LEDs or more choice of colours, which is why it's a triple rather than a home run. A great mouse at a great price, and you should definitely seek one out. Unquestionably Gold.
Phew, made it through the whole review without mentioning Superman. Oh damn...
Thanks to Gigabyte for supplying the Krypton Mouse and Pad for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.