Zowie ZA12

Custom PC - - CONTENTS -

SUP­PLIER www.ama­zon.co.uk B

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.

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