The quest to make gaming mice lighter has been top of mind to peripheral manufacturers over the last few years, with one of the tactics to bring the weight down being a very simple one – use less material. We’ve had some hands on with Cooler Master’s MM710 and MM720 mice, but this looks to be ASUS’s first entry into the honeycomb category. What we’re getting is a super affordable gaming mouse that delivers on performance, which you can pick up at ASUS for $49. Before we continue, here are the specs:
- up to 16,000 DPI (4 customizable levels to cycle through)
- 6 programmable buttons with 3 profiles through Armoury Crate
- PixArt PMW-3335 Sensor
- Switches rated for 60M clicks
- 40g acceleration, up to 1000Hz polling
- USB connectivity
- IPX6 water repellent protective coating on the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA)
- ASUS Antibacterial Guard
- 100% PTFE feet
- Lightweight construction at 47g (without cable)
Build and Feel
First off, the M4 Air is legitimately the lightest mouse we have used at 47g and picking it up does feel like you’re holding nearly nothing at all. It’s got a classic black finish, with two long L/R switches, a clickable scroll wheel in the middle, a default DPI cycle button under the wheel, and two programmable thumb buttons. The construction itself has triangular cutouts all over the body of the mouse, and even has some cutouts on the left and right switches for an additional drop in weight. On the inside is a subtle “TUF Gaming” imprinted into the body, and the unit connects to your computer with a nice snagless paracord cable. It’s a little longer with longer switches than competing ultralights, allowing both palm style users and those who click with their fingertips to be able to use it effectively. I myself have small hands so this fits me pretty perfectly, but I can see gamers with larger hands finding it a bit on the small side.
The one thing it doesn’t have we see from other honeycomb designs is customizable lighting – or for that matter any lighting at all. What Asus is providing with the TUF M4 Air is a no frills, all thrills experience and at a $49 price point we can all seriously appreciate that.
As the name states it’s a more lightweight version of their 62g TUF M4 Wireless, which is labeled as ambidextrous. While the shape itself is in fact symmetrical left and right for both right and left-handed users, lefties would have to use the thumb buttons as pinky buttons, which might be a bit difficult trying to get full use out of the M4’s design.
In addition to slimming down some, the M4 Air also received a sensor upgrade from the M4 Wireless, letting us crank it up to 16,000 DPI with PixArt’s 3335, instead of the 12,000 limit on their wireless edition. It also features IPX6 water resistance as well as ASUS Antibacterial guard for the buttons. While we’re not messy enough at the TF offices to worry about dirty peripherals, we (and let’s face it, all of us) know those gamers whose environment is, well… a bit grubby. It’s for their sake I’m glad for the ASUS antibacterial guard on the buttons.
But we’re only human, and can absolutely appreciate personally the IPX6 rating. We used this for both work and play to test it since the understated design would also fit in an office environment. In both, coffee can sometimes be an issue.
In a nutshell this is a 50 buck mouse that kills. We found the sensor to be dead on, didn’t experience any misclicks, and the 100% PTFE feet gave us a totally effortless glide on our gaming mat. We ran it through different types of games just to make sure that mouse heavy games still gave us the same level of performance. Stuff like World of Warcraft can really be more keyboard intensive, so we used Diablo III from our Blizzard library, as well as some Command and Conquer and Control. Whether we were clicking for character movement, placing units to build, or shooting, we found the M4 Air to perform without any issues at all. And while we do prefer wireless mice, the wired connection at least guarantees that latency is never an issue as a plus.
In addition to button customization, there are performance tweaks available in ASUS’s Armoury Crate software to adapt to your play style. You can adjust angle snapping and have two settings for liftoff distance. This is useful for folks who have both smaller and larger gaming surfaces to use their mouse on – there’s a pretty big difference when you have to pick up your mouse to continue moving it when you get to the end of a small mousepad.
As far as how it weighed on our arm and wrist, we experienced nearly no strain after a 3 hour gaming session.
To be honest we were a bit skeptical when we took the M4 Air out of the box and plugged it in – we were holding a $49 honeycomb with no lighting and no options for 2.4GHz wireless or Bluetooth. But in the end we couldn’t help but love it. The muted design makes this ideal to pull double duty in an office scenario aesthetically, but also performs like a champ. While this doesn’t have a lot of the fancy frills of its ASUS ROG cousins, we didn’t find that we really needed them. It’s comfortable, efficient, and can easily be wrapped up and packed in a bag to go without needing dongles or attachments.
But we do understand that gamers may find an unlit wired mouse lacking.
I myself prefer a larger more “claw” like mouse, but for budget gaming and especially gaming on the go, the TUF M4 Air is a winner.