[section label=1. Introduction]
The Perfect Tool for the Job
Taking a stroll in the gaming peripheral section of any tech shop, you’re bound to run into a couple of exotic looking gaming mice. These are usually the eye-grabbers with their fancy shapes, flashy lights, and a seemingly infinite amount of macro keys. They make you say “Wow! look at that one, I bet it’d look bad ass sitting next to my keyboard!”, and eventually persuade some to impulsively empty their wallet.
People today seem too immersed in a product’s presentation and hype rather than how well it can do its intended job. Maybe this is why some companies seek to deviate from that trend, creating products that possess the simplest of looks, yet are hugely popular because they do the job they’re designed for, and they do it especially well. Most of us (especially those who frequent computer review sites) know that sometimes, it’s not about getting that product with the brightest lights or the largest number of macro buttons. It’s about the one that helps your game. Maybe, this is why ZOWIE created the EC1 eVo Professional Gaming mouse.
If you take a look at ZOWIE’s products page, you’ll notice that none of their products look all that special. Yet, the US based company is hugely popular with professional gamers. Why? Because they meet the demand of the user. As their flagship right handed mouse, the EC1 eVo is looking to continue that trend. Featuring a 2300DPI optical sensor, an ergonomic palm grip shape, and on the fly DPI adjustment button, the EC1 certainly doesn’t look that special, but as you’ll find out soon enough, it’s not always about the numbers.
[section label=2. A Closer Look]
A Closer Look
Since the ZOWIE EC1 eVo is a plug-and-play mouse, it’s understandable that it’s a bit light on accessories . The entire contents of the box includes a shiny ZOWIE sticker, a pair of replacement Teflon feet, and the mouse itself. For some reason, the ‘E’ of ‘ZOWIE’ on the sticker is cut off. Not that it really matters…
The back of the mouse features the ZOWIE logo and from this angle we can clearly see the curve on the left side of the mouse. For those who haven’t noticed already, the mouse itself is a right handed, ergonomic mouse.
The left side of the mouse is home to 2 large side buttons. An interesting thing to note is that unlike many other mice of the same category, the entire body of the ZOWIE EC1 eVo has a rubber coating to improve grip.
Looking at the front, the ribbed scroll wheel offers a nice contrast to the body of the mouse. The scroll wheel also lights up in three different colors during operation to indicate the current DPI setting (Red-450DPI, Purple-1150DPI, and Blue-2300DPI). The two left and right click buttons are also well-sized.
Here we have a shot of the body and the right side of the mouse. We can clearly distinguish the nice arc-shape of the palm rest of the mouse. The right side is also covered with the grippy rubber coating.
Finally we have the bottom of the mouse. ZOWIE chose to use the ADNS-3039 optical sensor with the EC1 eVo, which is rated at 2300DPI. We can also see the two massive Teflon feet on this mouse, which are much larger than the ones found on the Razer Deathadder.
The cable on the EC1 stretches a full 2m, which is plenty long to be routed to the back of your case. The wire is not braided, bu the rubber does feel very durable. The USB connector is gold plated to reduce the effect of weathering and corrosion.
[section label=3. Testing and Performance]
As someone who finds simplicity attractive, I loved the design of this mouse. Obviously, there are gamers out there who prefer a fancier design, but for me, simplicity spells functionality and that’s what I’m looking for the most in a product. Although the EC1 eVo doesn’t have a unique feature that makes it stand out, it doesn’t lack the impression of a premium quality product. The EC1 eVo features a full-on black color scheme offset only by the subtle LED lit silicone scroll wheel. The top of the mouse received a nice matted no gloss rubber finish. Accompanied by its rounded, curved shape, this mouse looks like a serious piece of gaming equipment.
As a gaming mouse, the ZOWIE EC1 eVo performed marvellously. Since its entire body received a nice rubbery finish, there was tons of traction between my hand and the mouse which provided me with additional control. The mouse didn’t becomes slippery even as sweat drenched the palm of my hand. The classical palm grip design was extremely comfortable, with allowed the back section of my hand and wrist to remain pain free even after long hours of gaming. The two well-sized thumb buttons were easy to press and quick to register as well. They were also positioned right under my thumbs which made them always within reach. The oversized Teflon feet did its job superbly as well, as they were slick and offered minimal resistance when being moved on my mouse pad.
The embedded Avago ADNS-3090 optical sensor is rated at 2300DPI. Unlike most laser sensors, optical sensors don’t have lift off distance and acceleration problems that plague many gaming mice on the market. Although its DPI count may pale in comparison to many of today’s laser mice (the Razer Taipan, for example, has a max DPI setting of 8,200 DPI), but to many gamers, that’s all they’ll really need. After taking an hour to get used to this mouse, I was able to play Battlefield 3 with the EC1 eVo on the same level as with my long time favorite, the Razer Deathadder. Even at maximum DPI, the EC1 eVo was able to accurately translate my every movement on to the screen with no delay or jitter. This in return made aiming smooth and effortless. To test for acceleration, I used Valve’s popular shooter Team Fortress 2. To my surprise, there was almost no acceleration detected and the sensor remained rock solid as I unloaded rockets at my enemies. This is fantastic news to those skilled in twitch aiming. The sensor also features one of the best lift-off distance I’ve ever seen. The advertised 1.5mm liftoff distance is literally 1.5mm; the EC1 eVo stopped registering as soon as I lifted it up from my mouse pad, whereas the Razer Deathadder required a significantly higher distance to stop registering.
One thing I wasn’t too happy about though was the poorly placed DPI adjustment switch. Located at the bottom of the mouse next to the sensor, it’s impossible to press without turning the mouse over. Additionally, those who want to adjust polling rates will need to unplug the mouse and plug it back in while holding specific buttons. While doing this is easy, it was difficult remembering which button sets the mouse to what polling rate. Maybe some information printed at the bottom the mouse or something to help me out?
Being a palm grip mouse, the ZOWIE EC1 eVo was a pleasure to use. The ergonomic design fit into my hands very nicely. The slight concave curvature on the left side provided an excellent mould for my thumbs, while the large, rounded backside presented ample of leverage for my palm. I have a medium sized hand and this mouse was able to support my hand entirely. It was so comfortable that I think people with larger or smaller hands should have no problems holding this mouse. The weight of the mouse is also perfect. There was just enough heft to allow the user to feel that the mouse existed, but it wasn’t so overwhelming that it’s hard to move. After using this mouse for well over a couple weeks, I’d say that its comfort level well exceeds my Razer Deathadder, which is already a ridiculously ergonomic mouse.
[section label=4. Conclusion]
Right off the bat, let’s talk about the EC1 eVo’s aesthetics. Simple, functional, and attractive seems like what ZOWIE was aiming for with the EC1 eVo and I think they’ve really hit the mark here. The LED on the scroll wheel is extremely classy and the rest of the mouse looks quite basic indeed. There isn’t a million buttons here and the mouse isn’t a lightshow either.
Gaming with this mouse is exceptionally comfortable, especially if you favor the good old palm grip. The large back section supports my hand very well, with plenty of room to spare between my wrist and the mouse pad. The rubber coated top section ensured a perfect grip between my palm and the mouse, and it remained grippy even as my hand got sweaty from long hours of gaming. The weight of the mouse is perfect as well; It’s not cumbersome to move yet not too light to feel like a piece of cotton in your hands.
The ADNS-3090 sensor embedded within this mouse performed just as expected – accurate, responsive, and incredibly stable. During my gaming tests, I detected zero acceleration and minimal lift off movement. It also passed the jitter test with flying colors, being completely jitter free at the max DPI setting. Although only rated at 2300DPI, it’s more than adequate for most gamers.
Very little bad could be said about this mouse, but there are flaws none the less. One design flaw was observed when I noticed the placement of the DPI switch. Located at the bottom of the mouse, it requires the user to flip the mouse over during operation. Since I know more than a couple of FPS gamers who benefit from being able to switch DPI in game, I think this the biggest flaw of the EC1 eVo. Another problem is the polling rate adjustment. In order to change the polling rate, the mouse needs to be unplugged first, then plugged back in with some buttons held down. Although this is inconvenient, it’s not as serious as the DPI adjustment since not many people are going to have to adjust their polling rate constantly. It’s not a huge deal, but it would definitely be nice to have some sort of software to do this on the fly though.
1. The reason the DPI placement button is located at the bottom of the mouse is due to an extensive research we have made in the competitive gaming environment. We found that where many casual gamers are excited about the possibility to change DPI “on the fly”, competitive gamers (gamers who seek to earn money on gaming) finds it inconvenient to have the DPI button on the top, as they might accidently hit it while scrolling, hence increasing the speed of the mouse, making them miss those vital shots. Competitive gamers will define the settings they need in-game, whether it is Battlefield or Counter-Strike, they know what to change in their config to ensure that the sensitivity is exactly as they wish, whether they are in a boat, plane or on the ground.
2. You are not able to change Hz on the fly in any product that I know of. Where it may be convenient to change it in the software, that would completely ruin the purpose of having a competitive gaming mouse. It is very rare that a competitive gaming tournament will allow the competitors to install software on the machines, as this could potentially cause malware or virus, that could enhance the experience for some users, or decrease the experience for other users.
As a manufacturer focused purely on the competitive gaming aspects, we have chosen to make the mouse purely plug and play. No other manufacturers offers the possibility to change Hz directly in the hardware, but it is actually more convenient in many situations where software is inaccessible. It is true that some manufacturers are using ram to save the settings, but these will randomly reset. Then what should you do in the middle of a professional tournament?
If a gamer forgets his ZOWIE mouse at home for a tournament, he can use any other ZOWIE mice similar to his own, not having to set everything through software again, because everything is changeable in the hardware.
Currently priced at $59.99 on Amazon, the ZOWIE EC1 eVo carries a slightly higher pricetag than many other mice of the same category. For example, one of its biggest competitors, the Razer Deathadder is a good $10 cheaper.
The ZOWIE EC1 eVo is easily one of the best mice I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. If you’re a right handed palm grip gamer who holds functionality paramount over everything else and can make due without all the bells and whistles, then I’d highly recommend you give the EC1 eVo a try. You won’t regret it.
Special thanks to ZOWIE for making this review possible!
The ZOWIE EC1 eVo Black Professional Gaming Mouse is currently available on Amazon.