Er­gonomic per­fec­tion

Zowie EC1-B and EC2-B

GAX (Malaysia) - - TEST - By James Lu

Many peo­ple have been wait­ing for BenQ to up­date its Zowie range of gam­ing mice to Pixart’s 3360 sen­sor, and now they’ve fi­nally done it with the EC1-B and EC2-B. The new EC1 and EC2 share the same shape, weight and fin­ish as the EC1-A and EC2-A, which, if you’re un­fa­mil­iar with, is an er­gonomic right-handed de­sign that is very sim­i­lar to the Mi­crosoft In­tel­liMouse Ex­plorer 3.0 – in fact, the EC se­ries is prob­a­bly the clos­est suc­ces­sor to the IME 3.0. The shape is ideal for palm and claw grips, and is one of the most com­fort­able de­signs we've used. The only dif­fer­ences between the 1 and 2 are their size and weight: the EC1-B is 128mm long and 64mm wide, and weighs in at 94g, mak­ing it suit­able for larger hands, while the EC2-B is 120mm long and 61mm wide, weigh­ing in at 90g, mak­ing it bet­ter for small to medium hands.

Zowie uses the same smooth matte black fin­ish on the B se­ries as it did on the A. Like all Zowie mice, it’s a min­i­mal­ist de­sign, and it doesn’t have the over-thetop look of some of the other gam­ing mice out there, but we con­sider that a plus point. The fin­ish feels great, but it is a bit of a smudge mag­net and picks up oil from your fin­gers quite eas­ily, leav­ing un­sightly shiny spots.

The scroll wheel on both mice is now black, and no longer lights up. The

notched wheel still has 16 steps, but feels a lot firmer than the pre­vi­ous ver­sion, with more dis­tinct steps. The side but­tons are also firmer, with a crisper click. As be­fore, the switches un­der M1 and M2 are made by Huano, which are a bit heav­ier than the stan­dard Om­ron switches you’ll find in most gam­ing mice. The heav­ier switches can take a bit of get­ting used to, but they do help pre­vent misclicks. On the bot­tom of the mouse, there’s a new but­ton for polling rate, which you can se­lect between 125, 500, and 1,000Hz. As with all Zowie mice, there’s also a but­ton here to change your DPI. The LED next to the DPI switch in­di­cates which DPI you’re us­ing: red (400), pink (800), blue (1,600), and green (3,200). There’s no soft­ware or driv­ers needed or even avail­able for the mice, which means you can plug it in and use any­where, but it also means that th­ese are the only DPI set­tings avail­able.

The feet have changed too, go­ing from the huge pads on the A se­ries, to four tiny feet in each cor­ner of the mouse on the B se­ries. The new feet feel very sim­i­lar to af­ter­mar­ket Hyper­glides, and we sus­pect Zowie’s new stock feet are made out of pure Te­flon. The re­duced sur­face area, com­bined with the new ma­te­rial, makes the B se­ries very fast and smooth.

Like all of Zowie’s mice, the EC1/2-B use a sim­ple rub­ber ca­ble. While braided ca­bles look nicer, they’re also a lot heav­ier and tend to drag – nei­ther of which are a problem for th­ese mice.

As for the sen­sor, Pixart’s 3360 is widely re­garded as the best sen­sor on the mar­ket, and for good rea­son. The sen­sor tracks per­fectly and, un­like the 3310, has ab­so­lutely no tilt-slam or spin out is­sues.

The EC1/2-B are two of the best gam­ing mice avail­able right now. The light­weight er­gonomic shape is a must­try for any right-handed palm/claw grip gamer, es­pe­cially any­one who has pre­vi­ously used an IME 3.0, and the driver­less fuss-free ap­proach means you can take and use them any­where. They’re a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive than the A se­ries, but with the im­proved scroll wheel, bet­ter side but­tons, faster feet and that new in­cred­i­ble sen­sor, it’s worth pay­ing a lit­tle bit more. Now, how long un­til BenQ up­dates the Zowie FK and ZA range?

CON­CLU­SION The true suc­ces­sor to the IME 3.0 with the best op­ti­cal sen­sor ever made.

The B se­ries has new, smaller feet.

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