Just a couple of weeks ago I got this random email from Zowie Gear, asking if I may want to take a look at some of their products. Not too aware of their new products, I mean I know of Zowie Gear, but haven't been to their website in a long while, I was asked to have a look at a mouse pad and a mouse. After a bit of back and forth, they realized I am not one of those guys who thinks that higher DPI automatically equals a better mouse. Not that I am a huge fan of optical sensors, I just prefer a mouse that works well, feels good, and does what is asked of it without any issues.
It is always good to have change, and from all the mice with astronomical DPI I cannot control, cool lighting all over the mouse, and software that can have you programming things for hours. With the latest submission, we take a refreshing step back to the basics. Here we are going to be dealing with simplicity in the shape and design of the exterior of the mouse, use of an optical sensor to track your movements, and the only lighting offered in this mouse has a distinct reason for being there other than just to add "bling factor" to the product. One other huge benefit from my standpoint, is since this mouse keeps it simple for its users, there is no software to muck about in, potentially screwing up the way the designers meant for you to use the product.
We are in fact going to be looking at the Zowie Gear EC1 eVo with the black coloration, but Zowie Gear also sent along a mouse pad for us to play around with as well. So not only will we be addressing the mouse they have provided, but we will also be looking at a pad with some of the roughest texture on the tracking surface that I have ever seen.
With a mouse built to get the job done at any cost, without a bunch of bells and whistles to confuse you, along with a pad that should offer less friction against the feet, users should have a smooth and accurate gaming or desktop experience.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
I included the features list with the specifications because there is a lot of good information in that list, too. It covers the ergonomic design and that it was developed by HeatoN. It also shows that the EC1 eVo has a 1.5mm LOD, improved optical sensing of the scroll wheel, polling rate adjustment, DPI adjustment, and that this right handed mouse is compatible with Windows since Windows 2000, and Mac OS X V10.2 and later.
In the specifications, you are given the information on the color, which with my sample it is black, but there is an all-white version as well. The mouse is made of plastic, but the entire exterior is coated with a rubberized coating to improve the grip of the mouse. You get access to three DPI levels via a button on the bottom, and with the 2300 DPI setting enabled you get 6400 FPS readability, up to 60 IPS of track-able movement, and up to 20G of acceleration when moving the mouse. Using a cool little truck of holding buttons and plugging in the USB connection, you can even adjust the polling rate. At 97 grams, with just five buttons, and an Avago ADNS 3090 optical sensor under your control, the EC1 eVo should feel light when moving, will be easy to control in game and find the buttons without looking, and with the top of the line optical sensor, there should be no issues translating what your arm and hand does to the PC.
The one fact that can put the EC1 eVo into anyone's hand is the fact that there is a really good pricing set with this mouse. As I looked around, it seems the MSRP of this was set near $59, and while an okay price, I found one even better. Newegg is currently beating all listings that I was able to track down with a ten dollar price drop. So right now, this EC1 eVo can be yours for the small fee of $49.99. Of course there is still six dollars in shipping to add, but even so, this price is still beating any other deal I can currently find. Even if you just look at it from the standpoint of features and specifications, the EC1 eVo is worth the price, but I think once you see it and get to play around with it like I have, you will find that there is a comfort level and accuracy when using it that tops mice that offer 8200 DPI, tons of lighting, fancy shapes, and maybe some killer software.
The idea here is to keep things simple and offer users a great product to just sit down and throw down, without all the hassle of setting profiles and getting things just so before you can even game.
Using shades of grey to color the packaging, Zowie Gear puts its name and the EC1 eVo name in black and white text just above a large opening to see the mouse inside. On the left there are four images. The top one shows the DPI button you can find under the mouse, and the following three images show how the scroll wheel changes color to designate the three DPI levels set into the mouse.
In what appears to be Japanese and Korean text, you will find that the features and specifications are displayed here for these countries. At the bottom is the product name on top of the gamers name HeatoN who helped develop this mouse with Zowie Gear.
The back continues with five more languages covering the features and specifications. Other than that, you have the Zowie name and site address, and you also get a face shot of HeatoN here too.
This side of the box is your instruction manual. In order to set the polling rate of the EC1 eVo, you need to follow these steps and note the numbers on the two side buttons to make it all work. Along with no drivers, there aren't any instructions inside, so this is it.
Inside of the box is another layer of cardboard that has been folded and arranged to help keep the mouse centered during shipping. There is also a plastic cover over the mouse that sets in from the back and it keeps the mouse in place.
Zowie Gear EC1 eVo Competitive Gaming Mouse
Looking at the EC1 eVo from the left side shows you three things right away. There is the egg shape of the top with its smooth transition from the highest point all the way down to the sides and the back. There is also a pair of buttons found here, and the last thing is the rubberized coating that has been applied.
From the back, you obviously see the white painted Zowie name and logo, but if you look up, you can also see that there is an ergonomic lean to the top of this mouse. This allows you hand to sit more naturally over the mouse without tweaking your wrist.
On the right side, there isn't a rest for your extra fingers, but to help you when you do have to lift the EC1 eVo, the side does curve under the mouse to give you something to grab onto.
Looking at the front of the EC1 eVo, you get the main right and left click buttons, and then between them is a white scroll wheel that will illuminate when powered up to denote DPI. Aside from that, there are just smooth curves and a "grippy" rubber coating to keep you in control even when heated up a bit sweaty.
To protect the feet and the optical sensor in transit, Zowie ships the EC1 eVo with a layer of plastic over it.
With that plastic out of the way, you can see this mouse uses two large feet to allow it to glide over most surfaces with ease. If you look in the middle and find the sensor, just to the right of it is where the DPI button is located.
With the EC1 eVo you get a full two meters of cable to connect the mouse to the PC. The connection is gold plated to help fight oxidation, and the cable is left with the plasticized coating, no braid needed.
Inside the EC1 eVo
As I started to disassemble the mouse, it didn't take long to realize that this is made from a three piece shell. You have to remove the top portion first to gain access to a couple more screws inside the mouse.
There we go, all the screws are out of the EC1 eVo and you can now see all three components that make up this mouse. There is the top part with the right and left click buttons, a center section that adds structure and support, and the lower section with all the goodies screwed onto it.
The switches with white plungers first appeared to be Omron switches from a distance, but as you get closer, there is a lack of printing on these switches other than the Zowie name painted on the sides of them. There is also the LED that colors the scroll wheel lying over a Huano red switch.
The page forward and page back buttons are also red Huano switches. If you look lust off to the left of them, you can see the painted name on the other switches as well.
If you look just past the USB cable you can see the enCore III USB controller. It offers 24MHz, 32-bit architecture, has 16KB of memory on the chip, and is full speed with a rating of 12Mbps. This Cypress controller seems to have everything we need.
To follow your every move, Zowie went with the Avago ADNS 3090 sensor that is optical in nature. While the maximum DPI is only 2300, don't let that scare you off. I find this sensor is equivalent to most laser sensors in the 5000 to 5500 DPI range - just as a comparison.
With the EC1 eVo now reassembled, I added power to see the mouse lights up with a red LED denoting that I am currently set to 450 DPI.
I flipped the mouse over, gave a single push to the DPI button and the scroll wheel turned purple. This is to inform me that I am now at the 1150 DPI setting.
Taking it to the third and final step of the DPI settings, the light turns blue behind the wheel, and now you are set to 2300 DPI.
Since this is all the extras included with the EC1 eVo, I didn't think a whole page was worth it. So here it is, in the box along with the mouse, you also get an extra set of mouse feet and you get a large case badge with the Zowie name and logo in a brushed aluminum and black sticker.
Zowie Gear G-TF Rough Mouse Pad
Zowie has also sent along the Spawn, G-TF rough version mouse pad. On this side you can see everything I just wrote about along with a small hole to allow buyers to feel the texture of this pad at the point of purchase.
On this side the features and specifications are listed in four languages that look like Russian and a few Asian dialects.
The other long side of the box is solid white, except for this little bit at the bottom. You can also see the box took a little damage, but with a flexible product like this, it really won't matter as it can't have caused any damage.
Here again those same features and specifications are given in English, French, Dutch, German and Slovak.
Zooming in you can now see what the G-TF Rough offers. It shows that it is similar to the G-TF Speed, but with a rougher texture, and that it almost feels like plastic. The edges are stitched shut to keep the pad from lifting at the edges, and that they are all rolled for comfort. This pad can work with all mice, and it is large at 440mm wide, 320mm deep, and only 2mm in thickness.
Fresh out of the box you can see that this black pad doesn't offer fancy images, just a tag with the Zowie name and an application of the Spawn name and logo in the bottom left corner.
Getting much closer to the pad you can see that the texture on top is indeed very rough, and this allows for less points of contact to the feet, in turn giving a smoother ride for the mouse on this surface. You can also see the wrapping that is done to the edge to keep this unit looking good as long as possible.
On the back of the pad is a super shiny plastic. You can see the reflection of the sticker in it, and on the glass top of my photo booth, this plastic almost adhered to it. The smoother your desktop is, the better the chance that this pad will "lock" onto it and not move one inch in the middle of a game.
Before I take this all upstairs to get the testing done, I added the EC1 eVo back into the images to give you a sense of just how large this mouse pad is. Even with the low LOD of 1.5mm, if you use the higher DPI, you won't need to do much lifting on the G-TG Rough mouse pad.
Zowie has proven to me that I can have as much fun, be a little more accurate, and enjoy a mouse's design and feel, even if it is based on an optical sensor. While laser sensors will allow you to set up to 8200 DPI these days, I say good luck controlling it. The rubberized coating gave me a sure grip, and the design on the sides allows for the EC1 eVo easily to be lifted and reset to the middle of the pad. What is also nice is that there is a pre-defined LOD of 1.5mm, so when you do lift the mouse, your crosshairs or cursors aren't moving all over making you have to take the time to re-center the mouse. The fact that this mouse is designed under the KISS mantra just makes it that much easier to use and take with you to use somewhere else.
In this experience I have learned that less can be more, and the EC1 eVo is proof of this concept. There were no drivers to install, it's just plug-and-play with this mouse. There aren't a ton of extra buttons that will either get you in trouble if you hit the wrong one in game, but here you are given only five buttons to work with. While there may be a bit of LED flashy-ness, with the EC1 eVo that color is used for a purpose other than impressing your friends. Here, with just a quick glance off the screen, just by the color of the wheel, you can tell which DPI level you are currently using. One thing about this system I didn't like, and it has to do with the DPI, is that the button to swap them is under the mouse. For me personally, I am always swapping DPI for on foot missions versus those with vehicles, and lifting the mouse to switch DPI may be just enough time to get your head blown off by a lame camping sniper. Everything else the mouse provided I really liked, but the limited access to the DPI button while in game is something I think could have been improved.
In the end I feel that the Ec1 eVo is worth the $59 asking price, but if I were you I would still hop over to Newegg to knock $10 off that price. I did test this mouse on other surfaces, but to be honest, I did get the smoothest and most accurate ride while using the G-TF Rough mouse pad. If you also want to add one of these into the purchase, it will set you back near $30 for this pad, but it is a pad that will last and be around for a long time. It will take forever to wear off the rough top, the thick plastic backing is much better than foam alternatives, and the edges are stitched together to keep the edges from separating.
It just goes to prove that Zowie Gear has the eye for details, and even if it looks plain from the outside, don't let that fool you, there is plenty going on behind the scenes to deliver you products that you won't ever be sorry you bought them.
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