Speedlink Kudos Z-9 Mouse Review
   
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Speedlink Kudos Z-9 Mouse Review

April 14th, 2016 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

The last time we saw a Speedlink product here at pcG was when pcG Mike took a look at the Ledos almost two years ago, that’s pretty shocking. But what’s even more shocking is that I myself have never reviewed a Speedlink product for pcGameware. This then is a first for me as today as I will be taking a look at the new Speedlink Kudos Z-9.

The Speedlink Kudos Z-9 is a right handed Laser Gaming mouse with a maximum DPI of 8200. The Kudos Z-9 is equipped with nine programmable buttons with a 4-D Scroll Wheel and also features on-board memory. In addition to this the mouse has an adjustable Polling Rate, supports Profile switching and Macro programming courtesy of the supplied software. The Speedlink Kudos Z-9 is also compatible with Speedlink’s Config software allowing your to change Driver settings on the fly from a tablet or smartphone.

 

logo_speedlink1 ‘Speed is the key: the KUDOS Z-9 responds to your commands with no delay and gives you a considerable competitive speed advantage over your opponents. Customise your KUDOS Z-9 Gaming Mouse with its easy-to-use and extensive programming function to suit the way you game. All this is rounded off by the KUDOS Z-9 Configurator app, allowing you to easily customise your driver settings – without sacrificing precious gaming time calling up the driver menu. The effects of changing are felt instantly. Among other things, the self-explanatory interface lets you switch profiles, assign keys and adjust the sensor resolution, paving the way to victory.’

 

Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - box front Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - box back

 

The Speedlink Kudos Z-9 arrived at pcG in a predominately black box with an opening panel to one side. The front of the box is not only adorned with the awards that the Kudos Z-9 has won but Speedlink have also chosen to highlight the following:

  • Macro Software (for up to 5 Profiles)
  • 8200 dpi Laser Sensor
  • Config App (available for Download)
  • Onboard Memory
  • 4D Wheel
  • 9 Programmable Buttons
  • Adjustable USB Polling Rate
  • Profile & dpi Switch
  • Corded Cable
  • 1.9m Cable
  • The back of the box simply states that the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 has Incredible laser precision, is fully customisable and feature excellent ergonomics. In addition to this Speedlink lists numerous features of the Kudos Z-9 (see Specifications/Features below) in both English and various other languages. There is is also a small table providing information on the cable length (1.8m), the package contents and Windows compatibility.

     

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - box side Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - box open

     

    Looking at the left side of the box we can also see that Speedlink have provided dimensional information (80mm (W) x 126mm (L)) and also there’s a little bit of blurb on the mouse itself (see above italics).

    Opening the lid of the box allows us to see the Kudos Z-9 for the first time and its brilliant red colour. Over on the left we can also see some more information on the software (that’s actually supplied, for a change) and the Config App for tablets and smartphones (compatible with Android 4.0 or later / IOS 7 or later).

     

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - packaging Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - box contents

     

    On opening the box we can see that the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 is adequately packaged within a cardboard tray and protected by a plastic blister, it was also nice to see the use of Silica Gel to keep moisture at bay. Within the box, other than the mouse itself we find a multilingual Quick Install Guide and rather surprisingly a Driver CD!

     

    At the time of review the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 is available from Amazon for approximately £39 and comes with a 1 year warranty.

     

    Specifications/Features

    courtesy of Speedlink

     

    • Professional gaming mouse
    • Fully customisable
    • Excellent ergonomics
    • Nine programmable buttons, distinctively notched 4-way scroll wheel plus dpi and profile switches
    • Ultra-precise laser sensor with configurable sensitivity levels from 50 to 8,200dpi
    • Easy-to-use configuration software and internal memory for profiles and macros
    • Zero-response-time buttons for lag-free operation
    • 64 colours for the profile indicator strip illumination
    • Red illuminated scroll wheel
    • Scroll wheel with 4-way mode
    • Ergonomically designed with thumb indent for right-handed use
    • Flexible, sheathed 1.8m USB cable

     

    * Additional details available here

     

    First Impressions

     

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9

     

    First impressions of the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 are along the lines of ‘wow that’s a nice colour’ and it’s not a bad looking mouse either! 😉 In fact it also seems to be well made and have a decent feature set to boot. So far so good then… 😉

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - left Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - right

    Looking at the left side of the Kudos Z-9 we can see that is dominated by a large black rubber section that’s actually very nice to grip and perfectly contoured for your thumb. At the top we find two well placed thumb buttons, especially for my bastardised Claw grip. Unfortunately the buttons themselves feel a little on the flimsy side and don’t really inspire much confidence, although they do seem to work perfectly well. Nearer the front of the mouse there’s also an angular hard plastic section that also wraps around the front of the mouse.

    Being a right handed mouse there’s very little to see on the other side of the Kudos Z-9, but what is interesting is that black surface here (that incidentally supports your little finger) doesn’t seems to be the same as the rubberised material on the left side, weird and maybe a shame!

     

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - front Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - back

     

    Looking at the Kudos Z-9 from the front we can clearly see its ergonomic shape, a shape that’s best suited to Palm grip Gamers. Note also the angle left to right as the mouse surface (and chassis) slopes away, at first this seems quite strange, particularly when gripping the mouse. At the front we find a centrally mounted captive cable, while the central scroll wheel flanks the Left/Right buttons. The scroll wheel itself illuminates (red) and also features 4-D functionality (meaning it moves left/right) and a rubber tyre type grip, yet it’s not as grippy (bad word!) as you may expect. The scroll wheel graduations on the other hand are distinct and palpable, but still a little more feedback would be welcome IMHO!

    Again when viewing the Kudos Z-9 from the back we can see its distinctive ergonomic shape, that at this angle almost looks like form over function to me! The red metallic surface of the mouse both looks great and feel nice as does the simple yet effective black branding.

     

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - top Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - bottom

     

    Looking at the the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 from above we can now appreciate that lovely metallic red surface even more and it really does set the mouse off. It’s all starting to look a little more complex now though with different surface types, colours, angles and additional functionality. Behind that 4-D scroll wheel there are a further two programmable buttons. By default these are set up as a Profile switch and a DPI switch. The strip that runs across the centre of the mouse is supported by another smaller clear strip (towards the front) this illuminates when on and supports up to 64 colours. To the left of the DPI button we find a simple LED based DPI indicator, that can support up to four DPI settings via its four red LEDs.

    Flipping the Kudos Z-9 over allows us to take a look at the base. Off to one side we find the laser sensor capable of DPIs up to 8200. While around the outside edge we find four large glides. There’s also a QR-Code, I wonder where that takes you…

     

    To be fair there’s a lot to like here and on face value the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 is a good looking mouse with decent build quality and plenty of features, but you can still tell that this is a mid-range mouse. It also might be a little to over-engineered for its own good, with all of the surfaces, angles and even the shape. It’s also quite light, especially given its size, weighing in at just 94g you may wonder what’s inside it… 😮

     

    Hardware Installation

     

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - connection The Spedlink Kudos Z-9 connects by way of a Gold plated USB plug found at the end of a 1.8m braided cable. While the cable itself looks quite smart with its red ‘n black colour scheme the cable is a little too stiff for my liking. Working out the kinks after removing the mouse from the packaging took some time! The cable also sports an EMI Filter (ferrite bead) found at the USB plug end to help prevent any unwanted interference reaching the PC.

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    For testing I will be using our regular OCUK mouse pad (OcUK Mega Mat 3XL Elite Tactical Gaming Surface).

     

    Speedlink Software - Settings For full operation of the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 Speedlink’s software needs to be installed, unusually this is supplied on the accompanying CD. It can also be downloaded (here). I downloaded version 1.1, while the mouse itself was pre-installed with Firmware version 34, both this version of software and firmware were used throughout testing.

     

    The following games were used during testing:

     

    Hardware Performance

     

    The first thing to note about the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 is that not only is it a right handed mouse but it’s also a mouse primarily designed for a Palm Style of grip. Over time I go got used to this, although I ever really settled into a palm grip myself, old habits die hard after all. But overall I liked the ergonomics of the Kudos Z-9 and especially liked the rubberised grip on the left side of the mouse. As well as the contoured shape for you to rest your thumb. The thum buttons are also well placed and I had no problem operating either of them, although it’s worth noting they are a little flimsy in operation, which is a shame. It’s also nice to see both a DPI Indicator and switch as well as a Profile indicator (the light strip at the top) as well.

     

    Speedlink Kudos Z-9 - illumination

     

    From a pure performance point of view and concentrating on tracking I had no real issues with the Kudos Z-9 while I was using a DPI of 1400. The laser sensor seems to have no hardware or software acceleration though it lacks the ultimate precision of a good optical sensor like that found aboard the QPAD DX-20. To be honest, I certainly can’t see too many using a DPI much above 3000 when using a mouse such as this.

     

  • SOFTWARE
  •  

    The software that is actually supplied in the box for a change can be also downloaded here. The software itself is split into four main sections Buttons, Sensor, Macro Editor and Settings.

     

    Speedlink Software - Buttons Speedlink Software - Commands Speedlink Software - Advanced Functions

     

    The first section is the Buttons section and it is here you can come to programme any of the nine programmable buttons aboard the Kudos Z-9. Buttons can be assigned to a simple keyboard command or a basic mouse function via the Quick Binding functionality offered via the dropdown. Selecting the button function itself calls up the Commands screen allowing (above centre) for more complex functions such as scroll wheel functionality, Angle Snapping on/off and Macros. It’s also possible to drag and drop commands after calling up the Function List (above right) from the button on the right. To be honest there’s too many ways to assign functions to buttons and this needs to be simplified as it’s simply not necessary IMHO! Along the top of this tab we also find the five Profiles supported by the Kudos K-9 with the ability to assign any one of 64 colours to each Profile. These 5 profiles are also stored aboard the mouse courtesy of the onboard memory.

     

    Speedlink Software - Sensor Speedlink Software - Macro Editor

     

    The Sensor tab allows for control over any of the four supported DPI settings that are bound to the DPI indicator. A range of 50 to 8200 in 50 DPI increments is supported so there’s the possibility for plenty of fine tuning. The adjustment of both X and Y axis independently is also supported (crazy idea IMHO!). I normally opt for a DPI of around 1600 but I found this to be a little skittish and found that 1400 gave me a better overall feel and prevented high speed overshoots (commonly known as missing!).

    The Macro Editor allows for the creation of Macros with the ability to Record in both real time or record with a fixed delay. At first it’s not that apparent that all of the controls for the Macro Editor are on the right of the screen, but once discovered it all soon becomes pretty self explanatory. There’s also support for editing the Macro, inserting additional commands and saving Macros to disk.

     

    Config App There is also an additional tab (Settings) that’s shown above under Testing Methodology/Setup that also has a few basic settings and information on the Driver and Firmware. The settings are Polling Rate, Angle Snapping (best left off), Enable DPI/Profile OSD (that didn’t seem to work for me!) and disable Mouse acceleration (OS), best left On. In addition to this the Driver settings can be backed up, Restored and (often very useful) Reset to factory defaults.

    In addition to this your App access code for the Speedlink Config App is also shown here, you’ll need this to pair your Kudos Z-9 to your phone/tablet. The Config App is available for both Android (4.0) & IOS (7) and can be installed on any smartphone/tablet and it works really rather well. Here you can change Profiles and DPI on the fly without having to exit your Game, you can even programme any of the nine programmable keys also on the fly. It really is very useful and I would like to see other manufacturers offer Apps such as this.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    The Speedlink Kudos Z-9 is a mouse for your average Gamer; it’s not got the accuracy of a Pro Gaming optical mouse and it’s not got the functionality of an enthusiasts mouse. But, it’s also not got the price of those mice either! What it does do it does well enough for most of us most of the time and at under £40 it’s hard not to give it some real Kudos! 😉

    The Speedlink Kudos Z-9 arrived at pcG in a eye catching box allowing you to see the product within, packaging and presentation was adequate for a product in this price category. Once out of the box the first thing that strikes you about the Kudos Z-9 is the colour, the bright red metallic surface looks great and is also nice to the touch.

    The Kudos Z-9 is a good looking well made right handed mouse with an ergonomic shape that favours Gamers with a Palm Style of grip. Although, I got on well enough with my bastardised Claw grip after a few Gaming sessions. The left side of the mouse features a nice grippy (bad word) surface that’s also nicely contoured for your thumb. The thumb buttons themselves are also well placed yet a little flimsy in operation. There’s nine (courtesy of that 4-D scroll wheel) programmable buttons, a DPI indicator and DPI and Profile switching too. There’s plenty on offer here from Speedlink.

    Once the Kudos Z-9 has been plugged we see that it features some basic, yet effective illumination. This comes courtesy of an illuminating Scroll Wheel (red) and a strip across the top that supports up to 64 colours. These colours are by default bound to one of the five supported Profiles.

    The tracking offered up by the 8200DPI Laser sensor aboard the Kudos Z-9 is pretty good, although it doesn’t offer the razor sharp precision of a Pro Grade optical mouse such as the QPAD DX-20. There’s no definitive sign of hardware or software acceleration but I did find that I seemed to overshoot my position at times, even after winding back the DPI to 1400DPI, that seemed to help a little.

    It would seem that Speedlink have been quite busy with their software of late, as on face value what’s offered up is a pretty professional piece of software, with the main Buttons tab being particularly smart. There’s also a lot of functionality offered up with the Macro Editor being particularly comprehensive. The only issue that I found with the Driver software is that’s there’s simply too many ways to bind the buttons to functions, this really needs to be simplified in my mind. Speaking of additional ways to bind the buttons, there’s also the ability to do this via your smartphone/table! The Speedlink Config App can be installed and (once paired, see above) you can manage the Kudos Z-9 on the fly while in Game. This App seems particularly good and may be even better than the Driver software! 😉

    Overall the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 sets out to be a mid-range Gaming mouse with a host of features at a decent price. And, to be fair it achieves this goal well. If your looking for a high grade pro gaming/enthusiast mouse this may not be for you but if you fancy a genuine Gaming mouse that looks good, tracks well and has a decent feature set accompanied by decent software, then you wont go too far wrong with the Speedlink Kudos Z-9.

     

    Verdict

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    Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Speedlink Kudos Z-9 a Silver
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Speedlink for providing this sample for review

     


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