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TUF Gaming M4 Air review: A $50 mouse you won’t regret

The top of the Asus TUF mouse with its cut-out design.
Asus TUF Gaming M4 Air
MSRP $50.00
“The Asus TUF Gaming M4 Air has set a new standard for lightweight, budget-friendly gaming mice due to its creative design and water resistance.”
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Pre-installed PTFE feet
  • Unique triangular design
  • Durable paracord cable
  • IPX6 water-resistance
Cons
  • Annoying firmware updates
  • Switches are too light

Finding the best gaming mouse is not easy, especially if your budget is on the lower end of the spectrum.

The TUF brand from Asus is known for value — cheap PC gaming products that often put value over quality. That’s exactly what the TUF Gaming M4 Air is. It’s a lightweight wired gaming mouse with a max DPI of 16,000, 47g weight, IPX6 water resistance, Asus’ Antibacterial Guard, and PTFE feet. But at $50, the TUF Gaming M4 manages to bring a surprising amount of value for the price.

Design and comfort

The top of the TUF M4 Air.

I have a dense history with TUF products, as all three of my personal PC builds over the years were powered by TUF motherboards. The reason why is simple: They’re affordable and reliable. While I can’t guarantee the reliability of this mouse, even though this mouse is IPX6 water-resistant, the $50 price tag speaks for itself.

When I first saw the M4 Air, I was surprised by how much it deviates from Asus’ standard TUF branding. The mouse isn’t painted gray or yellow, and that’s for the better. The all-black look feels more modern than I would have expected it to be.

Some of the lightest mice on the market are designed to have a honeycomb exterior to reduce weight while maintaining structural integrity. However, if you’re like me and have trypophobia, this triangular cut-out design is a nice change. Ironically, given its skeletal structure, this mouse is IPX6 water-resistant, protecting the PCB from spills and sweaty palms.

Adjusting to a mouse this light wasn’t as awkward as I thought.

I tested the water resistance by cupping a bit of water in my palm and splashing it onto the mouse; lo and behold, no issues. So, don’t worry, gamers — this mouse comes ready for your inevitable Mountain Dew spills.

Speaking of moist palms, mine stayed dry when using this mouse, which is a first for me. I can attribute this to the lack of rubbery material on the M4’s finish. You’re definitely losing out on grip, but with its weight of just 47 grams, you have some weight to spare for any DIY grip mods.

The side buttons on the TUF M4 Air.

That weight was a concern for me heading into this review. For about two years, my everyday mouse has been the Logitech G Pro Wireless because of its palm-grip-friendly design and weight of 80 grams. Surprisingly, adjusting to the almost 40-gram weight difference wasn’t as awkward as I thought. The mouse arrives ready to glide right out of the box with its pre-installed PTFE skates and a paracord cable that aids in durability and flexibility.

However, if you don’t have one already, I recommend that you pick up a mouse bungee to prevent the wire from snagging on your desk.

Sensors and switches

The triangular cut outs, standing up on a table.

The word “lightweight” is everywhere on this mouse, even in the switches. While I’m unsure what exact switches Asus uses in the M4 Air, the marketing isn’t a lie. They are incredibly light to the touch — and for me, it was a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, the switches work fine, but they feel like cheap switches from a mouse in an office cubicle. Fortunately, these switches are made to last, as they’re rated for 60 million clicks. And hey, switches can be subjective. If you like the light clicks, these may suit you just fine.

If you like the design of the TUF M4 Air but want something with heftier switches, the G-Wolves Hati HT-S ACE is a good place to look. It uses Kailh GM 8.0 switches, which are much heavier, but is also over twice as expensive.

This mouse has four more buttons included: Side buttons, a DPI switch, and the scroll wheel. Side buttons are crucial to me because I try to eliminate any unnecessary movements when computing due to a hand injury I suffered not too long ago, so I need good forward and back buttons. While they were a bit loud, the side buttons are much better than the left and right on this mouse. I didn’t feel any awkward mushiness, and I don’t fear them falling off in the near or distant future.

I don’t utilize this switch that often, but it feels very, very nice to operate, which is the scroll button. Again, the trend for loud clicks continues, but the scroll wheel has some bounce to it — almost like a top-mount mechanical keyboard.

Finally, we arrive at the DPI switch, which is located just under the scroll wheel. Pressing the DPI switch allows you to cycle through four settings that can be adjusted via Armoury Crate, Asus’ software.

Gaming performance

The recent release of the smash hit RPG, Elden Ring, has glued me to my PC for the first time in way too long. Despite Elden Ring being considered more controller-friendly than mouse and keyboard-friendly, I had no issues jumping right in with the TUF M4 Air in hand.

The most competitive PC gamers swear by upgraded mouse feet, as they help flick to your target in a buttery-smooth fashion. One of the issues with Elden Ring is its camera, especially when taking down large enemies in small spaces. The smooth PTFE feet and lightweight design helped me maneuver my way out of tight corners tenfold.

The scroll wheel felt perfect for snappy weapon swaps.

I don’t have too many complaints about this mouse regarding its performance in-game, aside from the occasional wire snag on my desk. Again, this issue can be addressed via a mouse bungee.

To give a competitive perspective, I jumped on Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War, and I played 20 rounds of zombies. The scroll wheel felt perfect for quick weapon swaps, and the bouncy feel when clicking the wheel made throwing equipment feel more satisfying. While I don’t enjoy these switches for surfing the web and doing work, the lightness certainly helped me fire rounds on semi-automatic weapons much faster.

Software

We don’t usually cover the software that goes with peripherals we review, but it feels like there’s a mandatory driver update every time I boot up the otherwise decent Armoury Crate application.

I dug around Armoury Crate to see if the updates added any new features to the mouse, but it didn’t, and it had me scratching my head. I find this to be extremely frustrating considering this is just a mouse.

Nonetheless, once up-to-date, Armoury Crate gives you access to some customization, such as adjusting your DPI to 16,000 and polling rate to 1,000Hz, thanks to the PAW3335 sensor.

Our take

The Asus TUF Gaming M4 Air is a fantastic mouse for the price. The unique triangular cut-outs on the shell reduce weight without copying and pasting the honeycomb design of many other companies. The switches are a bit light for my taste, but the extreme lightness of the mouse itself is a huge benefit.

Are there any alternatives?

At the price of $50, Asus has a lot of competition, most notably the Glorious Model O, which has a firm grip on the gaming mouse community. With that said, the Model O is much heavier at 67 grams, has a DPI of 12,000, and costs about $10 more.

Another alternative is the Cooler Master MM710, which has the same DPI as the TUF, a matte black shell, a weight of 53 grams, PTFE feet, and only costs $42.

How long will it last?

The warranty included on the TUF Gaming M4 Air is just one year. I will say, in my time using this mouse, I cannot see you running into any issues, and with its water resistance, I can see it lasting longer than others in its class.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The TUF Gaming M4 Air is a fantastic gaming mouse for the price of just $50.

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