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A grip champion: Alienware 720M Tri-Mode Wireless Gaming Mouse review

A grip champion: Alienware 720M Tri-Mode Wireless Gaming Mouse review

Alienware is best known for its pre-built, sleek gaming desktops and laptops, but the Dell-owned gaming division has more to offer than high prices and high-level looks. When it comes to gaming mice, you probably don’t think Alienware off the top of your head. That might change with the release of its brand new wireless gaming option.

Dell’s gaming division currently only makes three mice, two of which are just variation colorways. While the Alienware 610M features a striking design, it may be too “gamery” to attract public attention. The company’s attempts to replace the glossy white that’s synonymous with the Alienware brand with a darker gray palette are welcome but fail to circumvent the inherent garishness of the design. This is where the 720M comes in.

Alienware’s 720M Tri-Mode Wireless Mouse shows the company can produce competitive peripherals that have a more understated appearance. It may not be the belle of the ball in every way, but it puts its best foot forward in most departments to create a surprising experience.

Nuts and bolts

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

The 89-gram Alienware 720M looks like a fairly standard eight-button symmetrical gaming mouse, but where it immediately scores points is its left-handed support. Logitech G has snubbed left-handed gamers with its esports-centric approach Super lightweight Pro X when he removed the side buttons found on the original. Since then, there haven’t been many high-performance gaming mice with left-handed support. There’s still the original Pro Wireless, but if that shape isn’t for you, then you’re limited to the same as the Razer Viper or one SteelSeries Sensei 10. There aren’t many left-handed options, so Alienware scores big points here.

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

As the name suggests, the 720M connects via three different modes: 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth 5.1, and USB-C wired mode. The 2.4GHz connection can get you around 140 hours with the RGB lighting off, while Bluetooth can run for up to 420 hours, according to Alienware. This feature informs much of the 720M’s functionality and makes it a versatile tool in any environment, whether you’re gaming or in a workflow. While you can use Bluetooth in a single-player game, it’s almost always recommended to use the 2.4GHz option for anything more competitive.

At the bottom of the mouse are the usual functionality suspects. There’s a switch to cycle through connection types, a DPI button and, of course, the power button. Nothing special to report here.

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

Looking inside the 720M, Alienware outfits its new wireless mouse with esports-ready components. The 720M’s sensor operates at up to 26,000 DPI and keeps pace with high-end sensors like the Logitech G HERO 25K. Users can expect the standard 1,000 Hz polling rate and tracking speed up to 650 IPS.

While the sensor and polling rate are at the top of what gamers expect from their gaming mice, the mouse switches are where the 720M starts to separate itself from most other mice on the market. Alienware didn’t invent optical switches, but it joins SteelSeries and Razer in trying to anticipate the curve. Optical switches, as opposed to mechanical switches, can provide longer life and can help reduce debounce. While these switches are rated for 70 million clicks, SteelSeries proprietary switches eclipse them by 30 million activations.

I just want to charge my mouse

Here’s a fun detail: charging the 720M is via a USB-C cable with a weird little dual-port dongle that feels like an over-complication of a simple problem. In what seems like a pretty roundabout way to charge a wireless mouse, users can connect the USB-A end of the cable to the PC, then plug the USB-C tip into the dongle. Above the dongle’s bottom USB-C port is a port for the USB-C wireless connector that serves as a range extender. On the opposite end is a magnetic connector that attaches to the magnetic end of the extra USB-C insert that plugs into the mouse. Confused? Yeah, that doesn’t really make sense in person either.

There’s no real benefit to using this system in-game either. It can actually introduce a ton of drag and make the mouse feel twice as heavy. The dongle is trying to accomplish too many things at once. Just grab the cable instead.

Click, click, scroll, scroll

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

Moving on to mouse buttons one and two, clicks here are light and responsive. However, the mouse buttons lack some tactility, due to their optical nature. The SteelSeries Prestige OM switches are also magnetically actuated optical switches, but they have very defined and quick clicks that are much more pronounced than what Alienware offers. It’s hardly a deal breaker and will largely come down to personal preference, but they felt a little underwhelming compared to the other options.

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

Alienware equips both sides of the mouse with two side buttons. That’s a big win considering left-handed support isn’t top of mind for many manufacturers. Clicks here are consistent and feel much more tactile than mouse button one and two. The sidewalls are sturdy and withstand unreasonable pressure, indicating solid build quality.

The rubberized scroll wheel is comfortable and doesn’t have very defined steps. There is a bit of texture in the wheel itself and the tactility of the wheel. Overall though, the rubberized finish can be a concern over time as it can wear out faster than those with thinner coatings.

The Alienware 720M: getting started

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

Handling the 720M is a breeze through the three types of handles. Although personal preferences vary from user to user, those with medium to large hands may have an easier time handling the 720M than those with smaller hands. Using a palm grip is the most natural and comfortable in the game. Preferably the fingertip grip was the most unwieldy, but still provided a comfortable experience. The claw grip served as a close runner up and was much more neutral than the more demanding positioning of the mandatory claw G303 Shroud Edition.

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

For reference, our reviewer’s right hand measures 7.7 inches (195mm) in length and 4.1 inches (104mm) in width, placing his hand in the mid-to-wide range.

Is the Alienware 720M for you?

Photo via Colton Deck/Dot Esports

The Alienware 720M is a versatile mouse that suffers from doing everything you could want in a mouse. It’s a good problem to have since you get a full mouse with left-handed support and three connection types, but the whole charging dongle system feels like a misstep that hampers gameplay.

If you’re looking for a comfortable symmetrical mouse that can bounce between gaming, the office, or whatever you might need, the 720M is a strong contender. It’s not perfect, but what it lacks in finish, it makes up for in comfort and reliability. If the Pro X Superlight is too light on features or burns you out without left-handed support, the 720M is also a heavier but suitable alternative.

Benefits

  • Versatile shape for the claw, fingertips and especially the palm
  • Left-handed support
  • Reliable 26,000 DPI sensor
  • USB-C
  • Paracord type cable
  • Useful connection types
  • Decent battery life

The inconvenients

  • Charging on the go seems too complicated
  • Magnetic charging dongle creates noticeable drag
  • The mouse feet are quite thin and are made of an unspecified material
  • Scroll wheel is comfortable but may not hold up over time