Tom's Guide Verdict
The Alienware AW610M packs striking looks, plenty of customization, and works as a wired or wireless option. But it’s not light or agile enough for all gamers.
Adjustable mouse wheel feel
The bold look won us over
Nice lighting options
7 customizable buttons
Wired or wireless operation
Some lateral drag
High price for the specs
No grip versatility
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Alienware’s MO is to do things differently. Did those iconic tower PCs of the ‘90s need quite that much shiny plastic, or those Giger-like air vents? Absolutely not, but the Area 51 did it anyway and we all loved it. Flash forward a few decades, and the now-Dell subsidiary is still releasing striking sci-fi designs on gamer-kind, this time with the $79 AW160M wired/wireless gaming mouse.
Looks unusual, doesn’t it? And no, that’s not a docking station at the bottom, that’s all part of the mouse itself. It’s fair to say this isn’t one of those ‘designed in collaboration with the pros’ models that’s been shaved down to the bare essentials for maximum esports performance. Instead the AW160M’s about comfort, luxury, and a standout appearance.
I’ve enjoyed all three of those facets, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the best option for everyone. Read on and in my Alienware AW160M review I’ll break down who’ll love this space oddity, and which gamers should look elsewhere instead.
Alienware AW610M: Design and comfort
You’re unlikely to feel ambivalent about the way this mouse looks. From the top to about two-thirds of the way down its body, it’s a pretty standardised shape — finished to a very high standard in non-slip rubberized material. It’s elegantly minimal, symmetrical, typical Alienware classiness. And then your eyes fall on that triangulated hilt.
It’s comfier than it looks, actually, but only if you use it in a palm or hybrid grip. Personally, that suits me perfectly. However, I found when I tried a claw grip I couldn’t position my thumbs quite where I wanted them because of those flared adornments on the base. It’s a shame we don’t tend to shop in stores anymore because this is a great example of “try before you buy.”
There are five customizable buttons in total, with two additional for DPI adjustment. That’s enough for most players, and special mention must be given to the satisfyingly clicky thumb buttons. MMO or MOBA players might want a few more buttons within thumb’s reach and should shop around for the likes of the Razer Naga V2 Hyperspeed or Corsair’s Scimitar RGB Elite (which both feature a frankly preposterous 12 thumb buttons).
The finish is definitely worthy of the Alienware name and speaks to the high pricing, and it’s set off nicely by four customisable lighting zones.
Alienware AW610M: Gaming performance
Unlike many modern gaming mice, the AW160M doesn’t have a ‘thing.’ It’s not the super-lightweight mouse. It’s not designed by Shroud and it doesn’t set its sights on a particular genre. Quite the opposite, in fact — it’s something of a generalist.
Nowhere is that more obvious than in its wired and wireless connection types, the latter offering up to 350 hours of charge time, and to this tester’s wizened hand-eye sense, no detectable input lag or dropout issues. It turns itself off after a couple of minutes of inactivity so you don’t need to stress about managing that battery life manually, either. Let’s be honest, it’s rare to find a wireless model that actually does have any of those historical problems in 2024, but it’s still worth stating.
In wired mode you’re getting speed detection of up to 400 inches per second, which is way lower than my current favourite Razer Viper V3 Hyperspeed’s 750 IPS. It’s probably not that specific stat on the spec sheet that makes this mouse feel a bit stately and sluggish, but a combination of factors.
Chiefly the 117g weight, the PTFE feet, and the larger design. They all conspire to make this mouse feel just slightly too ambling for super-twitchy games like PUBG or my eternal flame, Quake Champions. Honestly, some people really do still play it.
Of course, all railguns and no play makes any gamer rather dull, and in reality none of us play just one game or genre. I had tons of fun using this mouse during a replay of Mafia: Definitive Edition, felt appropriately spacefaring during my ongoing Starfield save, and it even fared well in the exquisite (and quite twitchy) boomer shooter Amid Evil.
It’s just not an all-out competitive gaming mouse, and at this $79 MSRP it’s going up against mice that can make that claim, and also perform well as a general clicker. The upshot is, you’ve got to love the way it looks and value the wired and wireless connectivity options for this to make sense as a purchase.
Alienware AW610M: Customisation
Ah, peripheral manufacturers’ software. Everyone’s favorite thing — up there with ‘circling back’ on onerous work tasks in January after gleefully batting them away throughout the latter half of December. At best, they’re functional and unintrusive. At worst they’re a hard drive-hogging gauntlet of bad UI.
Alienware Command Center isn’t the latter. As you’d expect from a brand who values aesthetics this much, some serious design spend has been poured into the customization app and that makes it easy to dial in your preferred button mappings, DPI levels and lighting.
There’s a bonus: you can customize the feel of the AW160M’s mouse wheel without even delving into the Command Center. Just flick the button on the bottom of the mouse and you can switch between 12 and 24 notches on the wheel. A welcome feature. Personally, I’m a 24 notcher.
Alienware AW610M: Verdict
It’s hard to knock a gaming mouse that does nothing wrong, and delivers multiple unusual features that feel welcome, like the adjustable wheel, vast battery life and choice of connections. It’s also a really bold visual design which after some forehead scrunching, I’ve decided I really like.
But this is a cutthroat market, and the combination of its shape, comparatively slow IPS speed and some slightly resistant lateral gliding means that it’s not ideally suited to the faster, more competitive games, and there are other options at this price that are.
It’s a great mouse, and I’ll continue to use it for almost all my PC gaming. But the Razer Viper V3 Hyperspeed’s still coming out when I need to get serious in online shooters and battle royales, and that takes just a glimmer of this otherwise stellar mouse’s shine.
Phil Iwaniuk used to work in magazines. Now he wanders the earth, stopping passers-by to tell them about PC games he remembers from 1998 until their polite smiles turn cold. He also makes ads. Veteran hardware smasher and game botherer of PC Format, Official PlayStation Magazine, PCGamesN, Guardian, Eurogamer, IGN, VG247, PCGamer, Tom's Guide and What Gramophone? He won an award once, but he doesn't like to go on about it.