Zowie EC1-A Mouse Review
The Zowie EC1-A may be the third Zowie mouse that we have seen here at pcG, but this is the first time that I have ever laid my hands on one. The EC1-A is an ergonomic right-handed mouse equipped with a Avago 3310 optical sensor allowing for up to 3200DPI. There are five buttons; Left/Right, two thumb buttons and a clickable scroll wheel. There is no software supporting the EC1-A but the DPI can be changed on the fly via a handy (or not so handy!) button on the base of the mouse. DPI settings supported are 400, 800, 1600 and 3200.
The EC1-A also has a little brother aptly named the EC2-A, this slightly smaller version is exactly the same as the EC1-A apart from its outer dimensions, effectively being shorter and lower (see Specifications/Features for more detail).
The Zowie EC1-A arrived at pcG in what must be the most basic, boring looking box that I have ever seen, and yes this is a retail sample! The good news is that this makes my description of the box very simple, in fact so simple I’m not even going to bother to say anything at all… 😉
On opening the box I wasn’t too surprised to see very little in it; the contents were well packaged with the EC1-A mouse secured by way of a simple plastic tray.
To the left of the mouse there’s a lift up section hiding the rest off the box contents. Here I found a simple guide, an additional set of glides and of course a sticker! It would appear that Zowie’s motto is ‘less is more’.
At the time of writing the Zowie EC1-A is retailing for approximately £50 at Overclockers UK and comes with a 1 year warranty.
courtesy of Zowie
First impressions of the Zowie EC1-A is not much more than; it’s a mouse! It might well be a ‘Competitive Gaming Mouse’, but you’d never really guess from looking at it, but then (I guess) I’m not a Pro Gamer! What we would appear to have here is a mouse in its purest form; no extra buttons, no profile switching, no adjustment, no weight control and no fancy illumination. This, ladies and gentlemen is a mouse, and I expect (and hope) that it’s a damn good one too!
Looking at the left side of the mouse we can see two thumb buttons (or shoulder buttons as pcG Mike likes to call them!). These two buttons are well placed and are of a good size, with the switch (switch type unknown) being light to touch but having enough travel that it doesn’t get activated by accident. The right side of the mouse is contoured for your ring and little finger and features no additional functionality.
At the front of the Zowie EC1-A we can see the attached 2m / 6.6 ft smooth rubberised cable and the central scroll wheel. The wheel performs well in operation with an easy scroll and well defined clicks/steps. The scroll wheel itself illuminates and changes colour depending which DPI has been selected (Red: 400DPI, Pink: 800DPI, Blue: 1600DPI & Green: 3200DPI). Looking at the back of the EC1-A we see the non illuminating Zowie logo and we can appreciate its ergonomic shape a little more.
Looking at the Zowie EC1-A from above gives us some idea of the overall right-handed ergonomic design. The whole mouse, which is effectively in three parts is covered with a very good soft touch rubberised surface treatment, that’s not glossy and has a fair degree of natural grip to it, which I rather like.
Flipping the mouse over onto its back, we can see the centrally mounted Avago 3310 sensor with two large glides front and back, additional spare glides are also provided. But what’s that to the right of the sensor, it looks like a button. Yes folks it is; that’s the DPI switch!? Using this button is the only way to switch DPI with the Zowie EC1-A. Now while I like the idea of being able to switch DPI (in fact all good Gaming mouse should have this feature), switching it via a button BENEATH the mouse, just feels wrong to me. I would prefer this to be atop the mouse, as sometimes I want to do this in Game whilst playing. Turning the mouse over really isn’t an option IMHO…
The Zowie simply connects via a single Gold plated USB plug, found at the end of a 2.0m rubberised cable. No software is available for the EC1-A.|
The Zowie EC1-A mouse was tested using our Test Rig, no fresh installation of Windows was performed as it’s not deemed to be necessary when there’s no accompanying software.
The following games were used during testing:
It’s quite hard to describe the Zowie EC1-A as to be honest it’s one of the most basic, no frills Gaming mice that I have ever tested. I guess the question is, is it any good though? Well…
Once you get past the fact that there’s not loads of buttons, there’s no adjustment, no weight management, no fancy illumination and no software! AND the fact that if you want to change DPI you’ll have to turn the mouse over as the button is on the back of the mouse. Then you can begin to appreciate the sheer simplicity of the EC1-A. Everything that is here aboard the EC1-A you will use, there’s nothing that’s superfluous. And everything that is here, work beautifully.
The mouse is comfortable even during those long 4hr Gaming sessions, the thumb buttons are perfectly placed (for my bastardised claw grip that is!) and the soft touch surface has that nice grippy feel to it, that I rather like. All of the buttons operate with precision and are tactile with good feedback. The mouse wheel operates easily with well defined clicks and illuminates letting you know what DPI setting is currently selected. And then there’s the Avago 3310 optical sensor, that tracks as well as any mouse I have ever used. You can almost tell that there’s no acceleration and no software between you and your mouse, this mouse truly goes where you point it! And I rather like that… 😉
I must admit though that I’m not quite so happy with Zowie’s choice of DPI sensitivities although I do appreciate that we are all different. Zowie provides four DPI settings 400, 800, 1600 & 3200 and I know that I’ll only ever use two of these: 1600 & 3200. Personally I have never used less than a 1600DPI in any Gaming I have ever done! I would have preferred these numbers to be more like 1200, 1600, 2000 & 3200, or better still user definable, but alas there’s not even any software.
To be honest, there’s no way I can fault the performance (in any way!) of the Zowie EC1-A, everything that’s here is pretty much perfect. It’s what’s not here (for the price) that has me more concerned…
The simplicity of the Zowie EC1-A even starts with the packaging as the EC1-A arrived at pcG in what is best described as the dullest box I have ever seen! But (James) we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover of course… Un-boxing is as one would expect a pretty uneventful affair, and at this point you may begin to wonder what you’ve got for your money. Especially as there’s not much else in that box apart from some additional glides.
Once you have the mouse in the hand though, you’ll likely warm to its right-handed ergonomic design, assuming you’re a right-hander of course! 😉 The mouse is undeniably well made and it features a nice soft touch (yet grippy) rubberised surface too. All of the buttons are well placed and the switches work well requiring a decent amount of travel to actuate whilst providing good feedback. The mouse wheel is also smooth in operation with well defined graduations. From a performance point of view I would have to say that the Avago 3310 sensor performed all tasks flawlessly, fast or slow, from FPS Gaming in BF4 through to City Building in Cities: Skylines. Only the lack of user-definable DPI settings holds it back.
But as I’ve already said, what’s here is very good, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Zowie EC1-A is a fine Gaming mouse and if you’re in the market for such a mouse (right-handed, 5 buttons, choice of 4 DPI settings & no software) then you will indeed be very happy with the EC1-A. What I’m struggling with though is the price, as to be fair there are many Mice that offer a lot more for your £50 (like Profile support, weight management, additional buttons and more importantly programmability!), and (within reason) some of them track just as well.
Therefore the bottom line is; yes the Zowie EC1-A is a damn good Gaming mouse and I really rather like its focused simplicity, but I just don’t think it can compete with the competition in the £50 price bracket…
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Many thanks to Zowie for providing this sample for review