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enQ’s Zowie gaming peripheral brand isn’t exactly a household name but, unlike plenty of other peripherals manufacturers right now, one product it can offer is an up-to-date ambidextrous gaming mouse. In fact, the company offers a comprehensive range of them, including small, medium and large versions, each with a high or low-profile design. The ZA12 we’re reviewing here is the medium-sized, high-profile model.
The profile refers to the height of the bump that sits under your palm. In general, lowerprofile mice are preferred by fingertip and claw-grip users – the Razer Diamondback being the classic example – while a highprofile mouse is better suited to palm-grip users. Whichever grip style we used, though, the ZA12 felt good in our hands. The shape is as basic as it gets – and actually reminds us a lot of the original SteelSeries Sensei – but it has all the right angles and curves to make it easy to grip, while also feeling balanced.
However, this mouse definitely isn’t the lap of luxury. The design is utilitarian in its uniformity and there are no rubber pads on the sides for better grip. You also miss out on
any lighting, and the cable isn’t braided either. Considering the near-£60 price of this mouse, these omissions are surprising. You also miss out on any software. Instead, you can change the mouse’s settings, such as polling rate and lift-off distance, by unplugging the mouse, holding down a certain combination of buttons and then plugging it back into your PC again. Meanwhile there’s a resolution button on the underside, which cycles through four options of 400, 800, 1,600 or 3,200dpi.
In some ways, this set-and-forget approach is quite appealing, as it makes for one less driver to install (and you don’t need to sign up to an online service either), but overall it makes for a constricted experience. You’re limited in terms of the resolution settings you can choose, you can’t fast-switch between them, and experimenting with the other settings becomes a slow and tedious process.
This stripped-down approach also applies when it comes to the button selection. You get the bare minimum of left, right, scroll-wheel and two sets of back/forward buttons, but that’s your lot.
The Zowie brand has always been about providing pure performance gaming tools, rather than adding gimmicks for the sake of it – and Zowie seems to have a dedicated set of fans that swear by the performance of its mice – but in our tests, its performance didn’t prove to be any better than the other mice on test this month.
It was certainly good, coping well with big/ fast and small/slow movements alike, but so were all the other mice on test. This mouse’s shape might be perfect for some people’s hands but, taken on average, it’s hard to see where the value lies in this mouse. At near enough £60 inc VAT, it’s competing with mice that boast far more features, and the Zowie offers no performance benefit that we were able to discern.
While value isn’t everyone’s top priority when it comes to a factor that’s as objective as the feel of a mouse, the lack of features compared with the cheaper competition means this mouse needs to drop in price before it can be given a clear recommendation. Conclusion The Zowie ZA12 offers solid, reliable gaming performance and a shape that’s sure to suit many gamers. However, its totally strippedback approach to features means it just doesn’t offer good value at its current price.