Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
Now that we have a slight history with Etekcity, we have a good feel on what they are all about. It seems as a whole, the company is huge, but as it pertains to their branded peripherals, they are leading the crusade to offer mice that won't break the bank, yet are still gratifying to own and solid, super solid for the price point. We are still sure many will never give them a chance based on the fact that they are not very well known, but we have no issue recommending them.
Well, they are back once again, this time with an ambidextrous solution. In this latest mouse, Etekcity is still sticking with what we had seen previously, top tier components, big name switches, software, lights, all the fancy things that make gamers all warm and fuzzy when looking at a new gaming mouse in the first place. It also offers aggressive style, it is a wide foundation for your hand of choice, and for the cost of Etekcity devices, it almost makes you want to drop a bunch of money just to try them all.
This ambidextrous mouse that Etekcity has sent along is called the Scroll Alpha, and it is billed as a high precision laser sensor based gaming mouse. Considering top tier components are not at home under your grandmother's hand while she checks emails, it makes sense that this is definitely geared towards gamers. Also, being based on the highest DPI range Avago sensor does allude to the precision that can be had as well. Rather than analyze this mouse to death before we even get to see anything, let's see what exactly goes into it, and just how much you don't have to pay to get a mouse such as the Scroll Alpha.
We are started off with the fact that there are six levels of sensitivity offered. It starts with 1000DPI as the lowest, and goes through, 1600, 2400, 3200, 4000, and 8200DPI as selectable options. That is just the default via the button on the mouse though, once software is added, you get finite control via a slider for adjusting the various levels. The Scroll Alpha offers a polling rate of 1000 Hz, it offers a 12,000 FPS sample rate (number of images it takes per second to track movement), it can track up to 150 inches per second of movement, and can even still track at acceleration up to 30 G's. On the inside, the main switches offer five million clicks of life, the mouse sips power, it has a five foot braided cord, it has eight programmable buttons on it, and the end of the cable has a gold plated connection.
Along with the one-year warranty, you are given quite the list of internal components. First off, this mouse starts with Omron switches under the two main buttons, and any switch after that uses a white or red Huano switch. Even when it comes to sensor tracking, Etekcity went to the top of the top and grabbed the Avago ADNS A9800. This is all inside of a longer and wider design where there is a mix of textures in the plastic parts externally, there is a soft coating applied to the top, and with many lines and angles going on with the styling, the lighting offered in the Scroll Alpha is some of the best we have seen in some time.
Usually when it comes to a mouse that is ambidextrous, offers this many buttons, and the full set of features we just discussed, we would usually expect to be paying much more than what Etekcity wants for the Scroll Alpha. Of course, you do have to shop outside of your comfort zone a bit, and hopping over to the Etekcity site, we can buy this mouse for only $28.99; at least half of its nearest competition. The nice thing is though, we even found the Scroll Alpha listed on Amazon, and the best part is, there, it is listed for $4 less. Now we are down to $24.99 for what you are about to see from Etekcity and their latest Scroll Alpha, so keep that in the back of your mind as you may very well have to pick your jaw up off the table after seeing what you get for the price.
Packaging, Accessories and Documentation
This time things look a bit higher-end with the packaging as they give it a brushed metal look, and spend time to make the multi-coloured design behind the image of the Scroll Alpha. At the top, we see that this is a professional gaming mouse, and that it is indeed from Etekcity.
The front of the box flips up from the bottom, exposing the Scroll Alpha, behind a layer of clear plastic. Behind the cover, we see the mouse with an ergonomic design notation on it. It then mentions the six DPI levels you can set, and goes into the color associated with each of those default settings.
The brushed metal look continues onto the sides, and on this one, we find the specifications that we just covered, along with an image of the Scroll Alpha powered up with red LEDs.
Without a lot to say, Etekcity just displays their name here on more of that brushed metal backdrop.
On the back though, we start with an image of the mouse stating features like the gold plating, locations of buttons, and the ergonomic grip. At the bottom, we see it used with a claw grip to show its ergonomic-ness.
As we move to a new panel again, we are back to just the Etekcity make and more of the angled texture.
Inside of the box, there is the grey cardboard insert that holds the plastic cover, and thus keeps the mouse safe in its travels. Under that insert, you should locate a driver and software disc, along with the user manual to help you get set up and explain how the Scroll Alpha works.
Etekcity Scroll Alpha High Precision Laser Mouse
The left side of the Scroll Alpha gives us a shiny black plastic for the majority of the side panel, but that is broken up with an almost faux leather texture in the plastic, and is then even further broken up with three lines of lighting. As the side meets the top, while it is still angled forwards, there are a pair of side buttons offered.
Looking from the back, we see that this mouse is much flatter, and is indeed done to be ambidextrous in this design. The logo above will illuminate, but the Etekcity name is painted onto the softer coating applied to that center section.
Just as we expected with an ambidextrous mouse, the right side is identical down to the last detail to the left side. So, now we are already at four buttons found and six thin strips of light to see when powered up.
The front of the mouse comes together in a rounded form in the lower section of the design, and is where the cable comes out of the center. The buttons on either side raises the count now to six, and these are wide, flat, and are cut short of the front like a bite has been taken off it.
The scroll wheel is rubberized in the middle for a good grip, and offers a click down button for number seven. The eight button is set to DPI selection by default, it is translucent so it can be backlit, and can be reprogrammed like all the rest.
Under the mouse, we find a centered sensor eye, and around the edge, we find four irregularly shaped feet. While we expected a set with the Scroll Alpha, there wasn't an extra set included.
The five foot of black cable you are given is also sleeved with black braid, through the choke, and cleanly terminates into the differently shaped plug. The USB 2.0 connection at the end of the plus is gold plated for better/cleaner connectivity.
Inside the Scroll Alpha
When first pulling the Scroll Alpha open, we didn't get far before needing to release the white cable from between the top and bottom. There is a PCB in both halves, but there is a single steel weight screwed into the top.
While one side of the PCB is green, the top of it is this gold color, and on it are five white Huano switches. These cover the pair of side buttons to either side of the mouse, as well as the DPI button next to the LED in the middle.
To offer five million clicks worth of a lifespan, the only choice right now is to go with the Omron D2FC-F-7N switch, which we see under the left click button.
Just above three more LEDs for the side and heel lighting, we find the Avago ADNS A9800 laser sensor inside to track just about anything you can throw at this mouse. As for the MCU, it is not visible on the top side, and we did not remove this PCB to look any further.
The right click button is backed with a matching Omron switch like we found on the other side. The Huano switch under the scroll wheel moved away from a white, and offers this slightly stronger, but less audible red version.
As the inside of the lid alluded to, when we power the mouse and get to the lowest DPI setting of 1000, all of the LEDs on the Scroll Alpha glow red.
Click the button on top again and the DPI changes to 1600, and the LEDs are now green.
Then to blue LEDs at 2400 DPI.
The next level in the default options is at 3200 DPI and the LEDs have changed to orange.
At 4000 DPI, the lighting for this setting changes to a pinkish purple color.
Repeating the button press one more time offers 8200 DPI and the lighting changes one more time to this light blue or teal color.
When it comes to the software, things are a bit more advanced with the Scroll Alpha. With an all new look, this software opens to this. To the left are the five profile options to pick from, and the light effects window is open next to it. There you can turn the LEDs off and on, or set them as solid of in breathing mode. To the right are the default button assignments open now as well.
Picking a button to reassign, we see it turns red on the mouse to visually indicate you are on the right button. Then to change it, you select from the dropdown of many options, and just as an example, we opened the multimedia menu of presets to choose to use.
At the top right, in the bar of tabs, we moved now into the sensitivity settings. There you can open X and Y axis controls, and is also where you can move the sliders to set the six DPI levels to something more comfortable for you to use.
This time we clicked on the system settings tab at the top. There we see that you have access to change the double click speed and pointer speed, and enhanced pointer precision, which is essentially angle snapping. The lower section allows you to mess with the tile wheel speed, as well as the amount of lines jumped with the scroll wheel.
The advanced settings tab allows you to change the polling rate, the On-To-Go Speed (which we can find no definitive answer as to what that does), and there is even a reset button to set the entire profile back to default.
We almost forgot, but we recalled seeing the Macro option when reassigning buttons and got back to that. When that is chosen, a large window shows up over the middle and offers Macro options. The left column will have the name of the macro, the next column then displays the commands of said macro. At the right, you can start and stop the recording, select to use delays, and it offers a loop option as well. At the bottom, you can even save and load profiles that are stored elsewhere on the PC.
The Scroll Alpha has a great style to it. The mix of textures and surfaces is a nice touch, and all of the LED lighting and color options are really nice as well. While we do tend to find that some ambidextrous mice leave some room for wanting when it comes to the feel, but our only real complaint about the Scroll Alpha is the fact that it feels flat. It is of course with no convex shape to the buttons, and the low rise of the center, and even the slope it takes as it drops off to the front, for a relaxed grip user, this mouse is just too flat.
The sides feel great, the mouse is easy to pick up, and the buttons, at least on one side, are very easy to use, while the off side buttons are a bit tougher to manipulate comfortably. We liked the audible clicks and the solid feel of the button presses, but we did find the scroll wheel to be a bit soft, as we have become very used to heavily segmented wheels, and we scrolled right past weapons a lot getting used to the lighter feel of it.
Once the software is in though, the Scroll Alpha becomes a whole different beast. While the default settings will work for most people in most instances, software is designed to put the user in control of the interface to personalize it as much as possible, and Etekcity does a good job of that. With five profiles and eight buttons, having to leave the left click on at least one of the profiles, you are given a total of 39 reprogrammable buttons. Also, with six color options and the ability to change the DPI around, if orange is your color and 8200DPI is your thing, set it up that way, or set is up anyways you see fit, even with Macros and finite adjustments to every bit of this mouse, it is hard to pick on Etekcity about this part of the product.
We found it tracks very well, there weren't any missed clicks or double clicks, and at higher DPI levels, we experienced no walking of the sensor where minute vibrations will make the cursor move as the laser thinks the jitter is constant movement in one direction. That fact that you can get all of what we have seen here, and if you dive deeply into the software, this mouse can be a battle hardened weapon of destruction in either hand, and barely puts a dent in your stack of cash. For $24.99, it is hard to find fault with the Scroll Alpha, and if you are in the need for a budget friendly solution with plenty of features and options to keep you happy for a long time to come, it's pretty hard to go wrong here with this mouse.
|Quality including Design and Build||89%|
|Bundle and Packaging||93%|
|Value for Money||99%|
The Bottom Line: If you are in the market for an ambidextrous design, or even if not, the Scroll Alpha has something for everyone. Top tier goodies, a complete software package, and a design that looks really good, and at this price, you would be silly not to try it.
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