Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse
   
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Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse

December 17th, 2014 Mike Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

One name I’ve often heard whispered in Gaming circles as the makers of ultimate Gaming mice, is also a company that I’ve yet to be fortunate to look at any products by… Until today! (well actually about a fortnight ago, but ‘today’ sounds more dramatic 😉 ). Here we have the Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse, but who are Zowie and what is the FK1?

‘ZOWIE GEAR is an innovative manufacturer of competitive gaming gear, founded late 2008 with a mission to develop the best competitive gaming gear available.
We are not limited by shareholders telling us what we can or cannot do. We are a free-minded company consisting of experienced and creative individuals, united in ZOWIE on a common ground; our passion for gaming. No boundaries. No compromises. Just gaming.

ZOWIE GEAR has no ambition to become the biggest manufacturer of competitive gaming gear. We just want to be the best. If we can develop products that will increase a gamers performance by just 1%, we will do it. This is our mentality.

It’s not just a game.

This is ZOWIE GEAR. Strive for Perfection.’

Well that’s Zowie and if their words are anything to go by, any product by them should be a little something special and if I’m honest it’s certainly enough to wet my whistle!

 

Zowie Logo Large ‘In the highly competitive world of eSports, we are fortunate to see more and more exciting games. The outcome of a duel between the top players is often determined by a second – a second containing a player’s enthusiasm, persistence and dreams. They must play for victory while avoiding the slightest mishap.’

 

It’s time to take a closer look!

 

Zowie FK1 - box front Zowie FK1 - box back

 

The front of the Zowie FK1 box is one of the flashiest most Gamer orientated of boxes I’ve ever seen… Ok, so it’s actually far from it. The box is predominately brilliant white with the model name, description and Zowie logo in jet black. To the left we have five pictograms indicating what the DPI adjustment button looks like and the LED indicator colour depending on whichever of the four DPI settings is chosen. To the lower right we have a moulded window showing off the FK1 inside.

On the back and following the same style, we have the FK1 key features and specifications (see Specifications/Features below) in six different languages, Zowie logo and web address. In the dead center we also have a photograph of the Zowie FK1 indicating the location of the left and right buttons, as well as the scroll wheel. This may seem a little overly obvious, but Zowie have done this with good reason. To the lower left there are hardware based instructions on how to switch the ambidextrous FK1 from right (default) to left handed settings.

Oh, and we also have the slogan ‘Be Serious, It’s Not Just A Game!’.

 

Zowie FK1 - box left Zowie FK1 - box right

 

The left side of the FK1 box, we once again have the Zowie logo and model name, as well as a side picture of the mouse inside. This time indicating how to change the FK1 USB report rate.

Over on the right we have the same list of specifications and features as on the back, but in a further three languages.

 

Zowie FK1 - unboxing

Zowie FK1 - box contents

 

Once out of the packaging we get a much clearer look at its contents, as follows:

  • Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse
  • Spare Glides

Yep, that’s it. The Zowie FK1 doesn’t just have nice and simple packaging, but nice and simple contents too.

 

At the time of writing the Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse is available from OverclockersUK for £49.99 or Amazon at £63.60 and comes with a 12 month warranty.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of Zowie

 

Features

  • Ambidextrous mouse developed for claw grip usage
  • Two thumb buttons on both sides to comfortably serve left- and right-handed users
  • Plug and Play (no drivers needed)
  • Easy to switch between left- and right-hand functionality
  • 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 DPI adjustment
  • Adjustable USB report rate 125 / 500 / 1000 Hz
  • Perfect lift-off distance = 1.5 ~ 1.8mm
  • Operating system: Win2000/XP/VISTA/7/8; Mac OS X v10.2 after

Specifications

  • DPI (Dot Per Inch): 400/800/1600/3200
  • Connector: USB
  • Buttons: 5
  • Length of cable: 2m/6,6 ft
  • 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 DPI adjustment
  • Adjustable USB report rate 125 / 500 / 1000 Hz
  • Perfect lift-off distance = 1.5 ~ 1.8mm
  • Operating system: Win2000/XP/VISTA/7/8; Mac OS X v10.2 after

 

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

Zowie FK1 - angled back Zowie FK1 - angled front

It isn’t just the packaging and contents that are on the basic side, so is the Zowie FK1 itself! That isn’t to say it looks bad of course, I quite like the matte black textured plastic with contrasting bright yellow scroll wheel and Zowie logo. Whilst following a similar design to countless other ambidextrous Gaming mice, because of the yellow it does just enough to stand out. The FK1 is deceivingly light at just 90g and easily one of the lightest mice I’ve used in recent memory.

 

Zowie FK1 - right Zowie FK1 - left

 

From the right (and left) we see the total length of the FK1 is 128mm and width of 67mm which is pretty much average for a mouse of this nature these days. Rather unusually Zowie chose not to give the FK1 a rubberised or soft touch coating of any kind, instead going with a matte black texture which is actually rather pleasing to the touch. Being ambidextrous the FK1 features a pair of glossy black shoulder buttons either side which while nothing hugely special, do offer a nice contrast once again.

 

Zowie FK1 - front Zowie FK1 - back

 

The front of the FK1 could very easily be that of any other mouse, with the USB cable situated centrally and both left and right buttons where you’d expect them to be and feature a slight concave. Being ambidextrous both sides are symmetrical. The only thing that really tells us the mouse is the Zowie FK1, is the bright yellow rubber textured scroll wheel.

Over on the back we see the Fk1 is 37mm in height and follows the same simple matte black styling and following the bright yellow scroll wheel from the front, we see the Zowie logo in the same colour. I’ll admit yellow isn’t my go to colour for any Gaming peripheral or PC hardware, but with it becoming increasingly popular I’m really warming to it, besides it makes a nice difference from the ‘done to death’ black and red colour schemes.

 

Zowie FK1 - underside Zowie FK1 - top

 

Underneath the FK1 we see two oversized teflon glides, specifications sticker and moulded Zowie logo. In the dead center of the mouse is the optical sensor. This particular one is the Avago 3310, beside which is a DPI switch and LED indicator?!? Yep, that’s right the FK1 DPI switch rather than being situated behind the scroll wheel is underneath beside the sensor. Seems a little odd to me, but we’ll see how this effects the FK1 performance when in Game.

Whilst above there is very little of note, more so as the DPI switch and LED indicator are on the bottom. It does however make for a nice and clean looking mouse.

 

Hardware Installation

 

Zowie FK1 - cable The Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse features a gold plated USB plug with the Zowie logo moulded into the black plastic shield. The USB cable isn’t braided, but it does have a very light and flexible plastic coating that reminds me of the silicon coating used on many ear-bud cables. The cable simply plugs into any available USB slot and as a plug and play device, your ready to go. It really is that simple. There’s no downloadable software needed to change any of the FK1 settings as it is all hardware based. 🙂

 

Testing Methodology/Setup

 

The Zowie FK1 was tested on the pcG Intel Test Rig, A fresh installation of Windows Home Premium 64bit (service pack 1) was performed prior to testing. The Zowie FK1 is plug and play, so there is no need for a further software download.

 

The following games were used during testing:

 

Hardware Performance

 

Zowie Camade - back Zowie Camade - front

To help along with the Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse review, they also nicely sent us a Zowie Camade Mouse Bungee in matching yellow and black (very handy as I’m one of those guys who gets angry and turns green when my mouse cable snags in game).

The ambidextrous design of the Zowie FK1 is not my favourite styling in the world and I’d personally sway towards a Gaming mouse with a more ergonomic design for comfort. However after a few days solid use, I’d actually warmed to its symmetrical styling enough to instinctively put my hand straight on the FK1 when Gaming instead of my usual go-to mouse the Shogun Bros Ballista MK-1 (yep, I was shocked too). Of course it isn’t just the shape of the Zowie FK1 that makes it a pleasure to Game with. The left and right mouse buttons don’t use the ever popular Omron switches, but instead Blue Huano switches which are a little stiffer and require more pressure. This also has the side effect of making them more satisfyingly clicky and dare I say I prefer them?!? The thumb buttons are well placed and despite not sharing the same switches, again feel satisfying to use. Something worthy of note is out of the box the FK1 is set up for right hand as default. This turns the right sided shoulder buttons off and if you switch over to left hand use vice-versa. In order to change ‘hands’ as it were, you need to depress the left mouse button and scroll wheel whilst plugging in the FK1 for left hand use, then right button and scroll wheel for right. The USB report rate can also be changed by holder either or both shoulder buttons in the same fashion, allowing you to switch between 125Hz, 500Hz or 1000Hz. Initially the bright yellow scroll wheel is annoyingly loud when rolling, but after a few days use this gradually quietens (or perhaps I’d just become accustomed to the noise).

Zowie FK1 and Camade

As mentioned before, I hate snagging cables, it only happens at critical moments in-Game and I believe to be the root cause of any losing rounds (nothing to do with me being a bad player at all…). The Zowie Camade bungee does a sterling job (despite looking like soldering iron or hot glue gun) and for anyone suffering the same snagging issues as I do, I’d highly recommend.

Once in-Game the Zowie FK1 performs exceptionally well. I’d normally have a DPI setting of between 1600 and 2400, but with the FK1, I found a DPI of 3200 to be my favourite (possibly because the FK1 features no software acceleration?). The Avago 3310 is brilliant. Combined with the lightweight shell and a polling rate of 1000Hz, the FK1 feels fast and fluid, with very good tracking and precision. With the added weight required for the left and right click, the FK1 is certainly at home in any FPS and twitch shooter you can imagine, without the side effect of over shooting or accidentally firing prior to being on target. In fact the Zowie FK1 could be ‘THE’ go-to mouse for any FPS fan!

 

Zowie FK1 - dpi 400 Zowie FK1 - dpi 800 Zowie FK1 - dpi 1600 Zowie FK1 - dpi 3200

 

In order to change your DPI setting, you need to use the bright yellow button beneath the FK1. This has an LED indicator which glows red (400DPI), pink (800DPI), blue (1600DPI) or green (3200DPI). This system certainly does the job, but I’m not entirely sure how Zowie expect you to change it on-the-fly in the likes of Battlefield 4. When you want to drop your DPI after acquiring someone else’s sniper rifle, it isn’t very convenient.

 

  • SOFTWARE
  •  

    Software?!? Well the Zowie FK1 is plug and play, there’s no software required, therefore none available! 😉

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    Whenever I’m introduced to a product from a company new to pcG, I’m always excited and a little apprehensive, especially when they have a reputation amongst Gamers like Zowie does. However being new (to me at least), they are still somewhat an unknown quantity and your never quite sure what to expect…

    The Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse arrived at the pcG office in what is possibly the least flash and Gaming orientated box (short of plain brown cardboard) I’ve ever seen for a piece of hardware aimed at Gamers. The box itself is plain white with black font and basic instructions for the purely hardware driven FK1 and a nice little window showing off the mouse inside. In fact it looks pretty basic and I’m guessing Zowie are wanting the FK1 to do all the talking. 😉

    Once the Zowie FK1 is out of the box we get a closer look and see that the Gaming mouse is also pretty basic in the looks department… It follows a similar design to other ambidextrous Gaming mice, left and right buttons, scroll wheel and two shoulder buttons either side. The FK1 body itself is a textured matte black plastic, no rubberised or soft-touch coating of any kind, which is nicely offset by glossy black shoulder buttons and the bright yellow of the scroll wheel and Zowie logo. It’s a pretty standard affair and nothing that’ll set your pulse racing. It is however exceptionally well made, without any hollowness and at 90g a very nice weight. Surprisingly the FK1 despite its symmetrical and ambidextrous design, also feels very comfortable under hand for hybrid palm grippers such as myself.

    On the performance side, I honestly couldn’t fault the Zowie FK1. The Avago 3310 optical sensor worked very well at all of the DPI presets (400, 800, 1600 or 3200), without even the slightest jitter normally associated with tracking issues, which made for an incredibly fluid and precise Gaming experience. I even liked the heavier Blue Huano switches living beneath the left and right mouse buttons, which help prevent any firing mishaps in-Game. Any FPS and fan of fast moving twitch shooters will love the FK1.

    It sounds like the Zowie FK1 offers a perfect package doesn’t it? Well nearly… Because the FK1 features no software suite of any kind, it relies solely on button combinations for the likes of polling rate changes and switching from right to left hand use, but this also means you have to unplug the mouse each time you do so (not an issue really as you tend to stick with the one anyway), I even rather like the fact that depending on if your using the FK1 as a left or right hander the finger grip shoulder buttons automatically turn themselves off, what I don’t like is the decision to have the DPI switch underneath the mouse beside the optical sensor. This makes switching DPI in-Game incredibly cumbersome and time consuming when in my mind it should offer on-the-fly switching.

    The Zowie FK1 is a fairly basic mouse and for everything it does right, it excels at. Yet at approximately £50.00 I feel that it is ever so slightly overpriced for what you get as an overall package, even more so when compared to competing Gaming mice in the same price bracket. Ultimately If you want a basic mouse geared up for twitch shooters where you don’t require on-the-fly DPI selection, the FK1 is a very good Gaming mouse, but for anyone else you might want to look elsewhere.

     

    Verdict

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    OverclockersUK

    Zowie FK1 Gaming MouseZowie FK1 Gaming Mouse


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      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse a Bronze
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Zowie for providing this sample for review

     


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