Zalman ZM-M600R Optical Gaming Mouse Review

We spend some time taking a close look at Zalman's ZM-M600R optical gaming mouse. it looks good and has a cheap price tag, but should you buy it?

Published Thu, Feb 25 2016 9:15 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 74%Manufacturer: Zalman

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

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While cases and coolers are something we are all used to from Zalman, many may not think of them when it comes to peripherals. In fact, in our many years reviewing peripherals, there have only been two products that have crossed our desk. Even though it has been a while, and we had to check our archives to remember the Knossos mouse or the ZM700K keyboard, we found then that their products were on point and were worthy of your attention. Even though they are not well known for these types of products that does not mean they are not on point with what they do offer.

Today we are taking a look at a simpler design when it comes to gaming mice. First of all this mouse is ambidextrous, it is compact, and it is very light. It lacks side buttons, and only offers a total of three buttons counting the page back button found at the top. There are also two pieces of software that come with this mouse. One of them is a backup assistant, and the other is called the Zalman Button Manager which will add some things that cannot be done with the mouse directly. Although this is billed as a Real 4K DPI mouse built to aid with the higher resolution of 4K screens, and is designed for gaming. This is something that most users would look at, and likely pass over upon the first glance, but maybe, just maybe we need to give it a fair shake first.

The mouse in question is the ZM-M600R, which seems like it should be the name of a motorcycle, but all the same, we are dealing with a mouse that is said to be ready for anything you can throw at it. That being said, we intend to put this mouse through its paces and see just what Zalman is up to this time. Considering our last look at one of their mice was a very aggressively styled and feature rich design, the ZM-M600R has its work cut out. Also comparing it to the rest of what the market has to offer, the bar is pretty high, so let's see if Zalman has a contender for gaming, or if it is just a glorified everyday mouse with a lighting effect in it.

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In the chart provided by Zalman, across the top, we find some top tier features listed. There is a 32-bit MCU inside, it offers a 1000Hz polling rate, 4000 DPI, and it is capable of tracking with 20Gs of acceleration. There is custom firmware to allow 16 stages of DPI adjustments, it offers 20 million clicks of lifespan with Omron switches, can scan any surface at 6469 FPS, it has an auto change RGB LED system built-in, and can track movements up to 60 IPS. Right out of the gate it seems Zalman is on the right page with what it packed into this mouse.

Next to the image of the ZM-M600R, we find a list of more specifications and features. It states here that they use the best technology and specifications, and highlights the use of the Avago A3090 sensor, the use of a 32-bit MCU, the four levels of DPI built into the mouse, and that the LED in the scroll wheel changes colors to signify which DPI mode is in use. Via custom firmware, you can change DPI settings, even more, there is a 600 DPI mode for serious aiming, and adjustable polling rate built into a switch under the mouse. Skipping over a few specifications we already covered, we find that this is engineered by humans for the best feel. We also see it is a bilateral design, the button on top is made to allow a page back function and the logo in the heel of the mouse auto cycles through many colors as it blends from one to the other.

While it looks like the ZM-M600R is widely available outside of the US, as we looked around, we only found one location on this side of the big blue ball that is selling it. It happens to be that is offering a current listing, and there we found the ZM-M600R listed for $34.95. This is very affordable when it comes to the world of gaming mice; no doubt about that. What exactly you get for this investment is what we are about to show you in fine detail. As far as what it looks like on paper at this time, considering the parts used and the billing that comes with this device, things are looking promising for Zalman. At editing time, we did find a listing on Amazon for $27 including free shipping, which sweetens the deal somewhat.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation

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The packaging is eye catching with the bright white lettering at the top, and the graphics on either side of the cutaway that allows a view of the mouse inside of it. Down the left side, Zalman lists the important features that should grab your attention and hopefully convince you to purchase it.

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Down this thinner side, we find the company and product naming at the top. There is then a small image of the mouse followed again with a list of features that the ZM-M600R offers. At the bottom is a QR code so that if you are in a brick and mortar store, you can go to their site to get more information that may not be on the packaging.

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On the back, we find another small image of the mouse, followed by ten versions of a statement covering the reasons and features you should buy this mouse. At the bottom, in the small print, there is also a specifications chart offered.

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Down this side of the packaging, we find the top is identical to the opposing panel. While not as bold as the features are presented on the front or other side panel, here they are again, with a bit finer detail offered about each one listed.

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Inside of the box, we found a dual layer cardboard insert that sits under the mouse, but it folded over to surround a plastic cap that holds the mouse in place and protects it since it is exposed through the packaging. The cable was wrapped up and placed under the top section, and we also found some literature there as well.

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The literature which Zalman offers is basic at best. It states how to connect the mouse to the PC, offers some warnings, it then addresses the one-year warranty coverage offered with the ZM-M600R, then hints to the fact that software may be available online. When this is unfolded, the only thing you find is that what we have just covered is repeated in eight languages to cover their markets.

Zalman ZM-M600R Gaming Mouse

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In this simple design, the left side of the ZM-M600R is just an expanse of shiny plastic at the bottom, while at the top, there is a flat texturized top. The sides do angle inward toward the bottom and is how you get some grip onto the mouse.

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Moving around to the heel of the mouse, we see that it is near pointed at the furthest point to help it nestle into the palm of your hand. At the top of the heel there is the Zm logo and also, the text Z-Machine Gaming Gear that will illuminate once powered.

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With a bilateral or ambidextrous design, since there were no buttons on the left, it only makes sense that we don't find any here on the right side. Just like on the left, the mouse does angle in at the bottom, again to afford some form of grip to lift.

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At the front of the mouse, we find a blunted nose, and the center around the scroll wheel is raised to help associate your fingers by feel. The cord stems from the center of this design, and we can already see it has a nice red and black braided design to it.

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On top of the ZM-M600R, we find a heavily segmented scroll wheel that offers a rubber center to ensure grip when using it. It is also opaque so that the DPI level lighting can be seen through it as well. The Z-button on the top is set at default to be used as a page back function.

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Three feet support the bottom of this mouse, two tiny ones at the front, and a single wide one at the back. The eye is just below center in this design, under the product sticker, and to either side of the eye are a pair of switches.

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To the left is a switch with four positions that allows you to switch through Auto, 125Hz, 500Hz, and 1000Hz polling rates; auto, of course, offers 250Hz as its setting. To the right is the resolution switch or DPI adjustment. The lowest setting is 600, next is 1000, then 1600, and takes a large jump from there to 4000 DPI.

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The cable used with the ZM-M600R is attractive looking, of course, has a braided cover on it, it is 1.8 meters in length, and it terminates in a gold-plated USB 2.0 connection.

Inside the ZM-M600R

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Popping this mouse open to look at the guts, we first found the left button switch. This is an Omron D2FC-F7N with the 20M notification that indicates a twenty million click lifespan.

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For what this mouse is capable of, using a 32-bit MCU is overkill in our opinion. This does not stop Zalman from offering this mouse with the Nuvoton NUC120LC1DN ARM processor, though.

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Right smack in the middle of the PCB, we find that there is indeed an Avago A3090 optical sensor used in the ZM-M600R. While limited to 4000 DPI as its maximum, this sensor will easily track any sudden movements, and can drop down when needed for accuracy or in-game sniping.

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As we make it to the right side of the mouse, we find the match to the other Omron switch we found, this time under the right click button. The click of the scroll wheel is handled with a more generic pad style switch.

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Once powered, we find the lighting under the logo in the heel does cycle through many colors, at this time, it happened to be white. As the ZM-M600R is shipped, it comes set to 600 DPI, and at this time, the scroll wheel is lit with yellow but does not show well in this image. As you step up in DPI levels, the light changes to blue, then red, and finally, pink in its 4000 DPI position.

Final Thoughts

Functionally, the ZM-M600R works as intended. While it is small for our hands, we do know there are plenty out there that this mouse will fit. The grip is alright, but not the best out there, and being so small, we had to work to get a grip to begin with, and without at least a rubberized side panel, we found lifting this 90-gram mouse to be a pain.

As long as we are on about the issues of this mouse, we may as well keep rolling with them. We loathe mice that have buttons on the bottom, and the fact that there are only three buttons to begin with helps us to understand why they are there, but the lack of buttons on the side of this mouse is near Ludacris level at this time in the peripherals game. The last bit we need to address here is that while there are mentions of the software, and we did locate a couple of downloads, one turned out to be a few PDF files, more like a sales kit we get with a product. The other, which should have been the software, installs, but does not function in Windows 10, and is why we offered up no images of the controls it is said to offer.

We do commend Zalman on using top tier components, though, it shows their head was in the right place, just that the design overall does not pan out for us. Omron switches are nice, and taking it a step further to offer twenty million click version is stepping up. Using an Avago sensor is pretty standard in the mouse market, but then opting for a 32-bit MCU, that is just plain overkill. Even if the software worked in Windows 10, there is not enough going on with this design to warrant such a high-end components in this ZM-M600R. Even though it is small, and does not offer many buttons to use, this mouse is solid, and will stand up to abuse, the real question is, though, how long will you leave it on your desk to abuse it or test this theory?

We also really appreciate the price point that the ZM-M600R is selling for. For little more than $30, you too could have this very technologically equipped, but very sparsely designed mouse. Just as far as interior components are concerned, to get a 32-bit MCU and Omron switches, most other companies will start the pricing at $60 for such a mouse.

The thing is, though, they typically offer a few more buttons and software that works as well. In our minds, this mouse is more intended for day to day web browsing, not so much for gaming use. The issues that we found with it, we feel that you may just want to keep on looking right past the Zalman ZM-M600R, to find something a bit more comfortable and better equipped to handle the rigors of today's games.

Chad's Peripherals Test System Specifications

Quality including Design and Build70%
General Features70%
Bundle and Packaging70%
Value for Money80%

The Bottom Line: Zalman's ZM-M600R is an average solution at best. It may look good, and the price may be very affordable, but considering the issues we found, we just cannot find many reasons to urge you to buy this mouse.

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Chad joined the TweakTown team in 2009 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. After a year of gaming, Chad caught the OC bug. With overclocking comes the need for better cooling, and Chad has had many air and water setups. With a few years of abusing computer parts, he decided to take his chances and try to get a review job. As an avid overclocker, Chad is always looking for the next leg up in RAM, cooling, as well as peripherals.

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