A heavyweight price tag for a hard hitting mouse.
To continue with my love of all things mice, I have been playing with the new HeatoN EC1 mouse from ZOWIE GEAR.
Before I hit you with the review, I think it is important to explain a few things about this mouse. This is aimed at a very specific group of people. In the same way that high priced power tools are aimed at professionals who use them all day every day, the EC1 is aimed at Professional gamers who use these things in a competitive environment. In the case of a power tool, you will pay lots more money, for a tool that seems on the face of it to offer far less features than a lower priced consumer model. The difference is, that after dropping the pro tool from a rooftop a dozen times and 20 years nonstop use, it will still work. That is the same philosophy that is behind the EC1. I higher price point, for a relatively small feature set, but it should last you through all the abuse a professional gamer can throw at it.
It is very important that you understand that before you read the review and understand the score.
If you are a professional gamer, I heartily recommend trying one out.
To the beginning. The EC1 is a good looking mouse (to my eyes). I chose the black, partially rubberised version. There is however a white, smooth model available. Looking down on the mouse you have a simple, but well tested layout. Two main mouse buttons cut straight into of the top, split abut halfway down the mouse. This gives players with any grip style plenty of button to press. In the middle is a large, lit mouse wheel. More on that in a moment. The sides are smooth and glossy, with the left had home to two more mouse buttons. Underneath you have two large glide pads, the optical sensor and a DPI switch.
In the hand it feels, well pretty much perfect. No funny angles pushing into your hand, no buttons where you may not expect them, it just fits. If it is too big, there is always the EC2, but for me – no complaints at all.
Now on to the features. This is where things get dicey if you have not read the first paragraph. If you haven’t, do so now! This mouse has been designed by one of the top pro gamers in the Counter Strike circuit, Emil ‘HeatoN’ Christensen. He wanted a mouse that just worked when it was plugged in and would continue to work through hours of gaming. So, the mouse has a very cut back feature set. There is no software to install, no extra programmable buttons. Just a mouse with five buttons, a scroll wheel and a DPI switch.
The DPI switch (that put simply controls how fast the mouse moves on screen) is one of only three complaints I have about the mouse. It is located under the mouse. For me this is a little annoying, as I like to switch settings between weapons. However, the reasoning is sound. Mid move, some DPI switches are easy to hit. The last thing you want is to suddenly change speeds when you are not expecting in game. I have not had this problem with many mice, one notable exception will be reviewed soon, but then I am not playing games at this kind of level! There are three DPI settings available to you; 500, 1000 and 2000. This should cover most gamers needs, 1000 is plenty fast enough for me! Other mice may offer huge choices, but most people will settle for just one and stick to it. The scroll wheel changes colour to let you know what DPI setting you are using, giving a little splash of colour that servers a handy purpose.
There are a few parts of the mouse that really deserve to be talked about on their own. The scroll wheel. Often overlooked and taken for granted, is actually probably the most complex part of a mouse. As such, it is quite prone to wearing out, or getting gunked up and less usable. So ZOWIE GEAR decided to redesign the workings of theirs. The wheel is optical and has redesigned parts that should make it an extremely durable system.
The second part to talk about is the optical sensor. In a world where Laser reigns supreme, it seems that in the pro circuits some really do prefer the traditional optical sensor type. The reason for this relates to the size of the sensor compared to a laser. Whilst it may not offer the same high DPI options, it can often be more reliable – laser sensors can get clogged up due to how small they are. As optical sensors tend to be larger, it takes much more dirt to stop them working. This means you should never see degraded performance during matches. ZOWIE GEAR designed a new lens that allowed them to produce better performance and a lift height of 1.5mm, very low for an optical mouse and very noticeable! For those that don’t know, this basically means that the mouse will stop moving almost as soon as you lift it from the mouse mat. Cheaper mice can have quite high lift distances, which means that your mouse will continue to move in some random direction as you lift them.
Earlier I stated that there were three things that I didn’t like. I have mentioned the fact I am not a fan of the DPI switch location. The second thing is the price. At the time of publishing, the EC1 is in the market at about £50 (€59.90). It is hard to get over that price when you look at the competition out there. It is also the main reason I cannot give this mouse 10/10. This is not because I do not believe the mouse is worth it to a professional gamer, but because the general gaming consumer will be put off it straight away, which is a shame. Finally, the glossy sides can be a little slippery. I am used to rubber coated, or at least textured sides, so this may just be me!
As I said at the start, this is a mouse that has been stripped back to the basics of what a professional gamer should need. Accuracy during fast movments (which many mice struggle with), reliability and simplicity. It should just work, and point where you point it. They don’t need customisable flashing lights, a professional should have no need of jitter correction or other such features. It feels great in the hand, has very low friction on every surface I tried it with and really is a joy to use. I look forward to trying it with the new mouse mat he is working on!
If you are a professional gamer, I heartily recommend trying one out. If you are a casual gamer, I really think you should give it a go. It may cost a lot, but I think you will like it, just remember it is not a toy!
Gold Y Award
- Frames Per Second: 6,500
- Inches Per Second: 40
- Dots Per Inch: 500/1.000/2.000
- Max. Acceleration: 15G
- 1,000Hz USB report rate
- Buttons: 5
- Dimensions: EC1: 128 x 43 x 62~70 mm / 5 x 1.7 x 2.44~2.76 inch
The Bad: High price may put most off. DPI switch location.
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