Greetings everybody! Today I’ll post another review… this time not of a pair of headphones, but of a mouse called the Zowie EC2-A! My friend asked me to buy this mouse for him, and I just thought perhaps I could put up a review in the process. However, I only have enough experience to review headphones, so I wouldn’t consider this a full-blown review, but just a mini-review.
Zowie is a gaming gear brand from BenQ (which may be better known as a display company), and is also one of the most respected mouse brand in the world, known for their simple but very functional products. Although most of their products are in the same tier and priced pretty similarly, the EC series is still considered a more “budget” choice compared to other series, such as the FK or ZA lines. This series has two in-producion models: The EC-1A and the EC2-A, with the latter merely a smaller version of the former.
This particular model is going for $59.99 on Amazon!
Packaging & Accessories
The EC2-A comes in a very simple box, much like how simple itself is. Well here it is, nothing much to say here!
As for accessories, the EC2-A comes with an user manual, a set of backup feet, a couple of Zowie information cards (no idea why they included two, though) and a Zowie sticker. That’s… a pretty good collection of accessories for a mouse, actually!
Aesthetics, Comfort & Build Quality
For the rest of the review, I’ll juxtapose it with my Roccat Kone Pure Polar Blue for comparison! Well, I know I should’ve gotten the optical version but still… it was on sale when I got it, and I’ve been quite happy with it so far.
NOTICE: Since I’m comparing it with my own mouse, which is priced around the same in my area, this review can be biased and subjective!
As you can see, both mice are pretty small, though the EC2-A is a bit longer and thinner. It personally felt a bit bigger in real life, too. I think both look quite elegant for gaming mice, though I personally like the looks of the Kone Pure more.
The Zowie also felt a bit more heavy than the Kone Pure, though I haven’t found any reliable source as to what its exact weight was. The Kone Pure, however, weighs 93g according to its webpage.
The EC2-A has a scrollwheel with 4-color LED, which will be red the first time you plug it in, or any time you have the lowest DPI (400) set. The LED colors for the other DPI levels are Purple (800), Blue (1600), and Green (3200) respectively.
As for build quality, the mouse seemed very sturdy, but a bit too classic in my opinion. It’s built with 100% plastic and no special coatings whatsoever, much like how low-end office mice are built. This plastic is of a much higher quality than those mice, though.
The cable is a mixed bag. While I liked the flexibility, the gold-plated USB plug and the noise filter, I disliked the fact that it wasn’t sleeved, and it also seemed a bit too soft and fragile for my liking.
Comfort-wise, this mouse didn’t fit my or my friends’ hands as well as the Roccat, being too long, and not having a crease for the thumb, which made it feel pretty awkward for me. However, of course, this part is subjective. It’s also harder than the Kone, which made it not very hand-tendering overall in my opinion. This is a pretty big minus since comfort is THE most important aspect in a mouse to me, but fortunately it wasn’t too bad…
Switches, Buttons & Scrollwheel
The Zowie only has 6 buttons: main buttons, a scrollwheel, two side buttons, and a DPI switch. That’s one less button than my Kone Pure, or any common FPS mouse for that matter.
To start with, the two main buttons on the EC2-A have a longer actuation distance than those on the Kone Pure. Think of it as Blue switches vs Red switches on mechanical keyboards. This leads to slower clicks, which wasn’t very favorable for me personally, but it’s also less prone to accidental clicks. Nevertheless, It was very responsive, so I can’t say it’s at a disadvantage here. Just personal preferences.
However, the main problem lies in the side buttons, which is also many other reviewers’ main qualm with the EC2-A. These buttons have an even longer pre-travel, and felt a bit soft and plasticky. In contrast, all of the buttons on the Kone Pure were very fast and crisp.
As for the scrollwheel, it was another mixed bag. It was definitely worse than the scrollwheel on the Roccat in my opinion, but then again the scrollwheel has always been that one’s strong point, so I can’t say it was bad either. The EC2-A scrollwheel was a lot larger and stood out much more than the Kone Pure’s. It also felt plasticky, but since it also held the LED, it may not’ve been so bad after all. However, this scrollwheel was a lot louder and more slippery than that of the Roccat, but its scroll button switch was surprisingly sturdy and responsive enough to be comparable with the “titan wheel” on the other mouse.
For this section, I’ve set both mice to 1600 DPI and put them on the Control side of my Corsair MM600 mousepad.
For another introduction, the EC2-A uses the “perfect” Avago/Pixart ADNS-3310 sensor, which is widely regarded as one of the best optical sensors in the market, whereas the Roccat Kone Pure uses the Pro-Aim R3 sensor, which is a rebrand/modification (not quite sure about this) of the Avago/Pixart ADNS-9800 laser sensor.
And it shows. The EC2-A was indeed more accurate than the Kone Pure, though not to an extent where it’d have much noticeable impact on gameplay performance, I think. My writing tests on Paint didn’t show much difference between the letters written with the two mice, and the poor fit with my hands hindered my performance with it, but it just felt like a more accurate sensor overall.
(Also, sorry for not putting screenshots of my mouse tests at the moment. I forgot to take them, and I don’t feel like plugging the mouse into my PC again since… I won’t be able to repackage it cleanly for my friend. >_> I had to ask my cousin to deal with the cable and put it inside the box, but he’s away now. Embarrassing, I know.)
What impressed me however, is that it had noticeably better mousefeet. These mousefeet were less affected by friction than those of the Roccat, and thus provided a smoother glide.
And it comes with an extra pair, too!
Coincidentally, my two biggest problems for this mouse are all in this section.
First: There’s only a DPI switch, not a DPI fine-tuning feature or even a DPI increase-decrease pair of buttons, just a single button for switching to a different DPI level, and it’s also located at a very, very stupid position in my opinion: at the bottom of the mouse.
So yeah… if you are the kind to switch DPI depending on the situation (like whether you’re driving a tank or a plane in War Thunder), this is not the mouse for you at all.
Second: This mouse doesn’t have any software at all. While it’s nice to be plug-and-play, and such a mouse is usually touted as “not requiring drivers”, etc. but I think it’s still very nice to have an optional program that allows you to fine-tune the DPI, set macros, etc. I mean, most mice are plug-and-play nowadays anyway, even my old Logitech G602 with 11 buttons, so it’s not like Zowie is accomplishing anything so special by doing that…
Plus, with no software, the side buttons can only go back or forward, and you can’t assign them any other actions, which is a huge minus.
By the way, you can also set the EC2-A’s polling rate by holding certain buttons while plugging it into an USB port, but that’s also a tedious task for something not so important.
All in all, I think the Zowie EC2-A is a really great mouse in a purely objective “performance” perspective, with a so-called perfect sensor and great tracking ability. But is it worth sacrificing so much, especially the ability to comfortably switch DPI and assign other functions to the side buttons, for that? I think not, but competitive gamers whose hands may fit this will, so I can’t say it’s a bad mouse. Then, do I recommend this? Yes, of course, if you are the right audience. Do I recommend this over the Roccat Kone Pure (especially the optical version)? Sorry, but no.
Pros (compared to the Roccat Kone Pure):
- “Perfect” sensor
- Very friction-resistant mousefeet
- Comes with an extra pair of mousefeet (and a sticker)
- USB plug is gold-plated and has a noise filter
- Unfavorable DPI switch location
- No software
- Plasticky and slippery scrollwheel
- Cheap-feeling side buttons with long pre-travel
- Fragile cable
- Longer and thinner than the Kone Pure
- Main buttons have longer actuation distance compared to the Kone Pure
- Aesthetics and Build Quality (15% of Overall Score): 7.5/10
- Comfort (30% of Overall Score): 6.5/10
- Buttons and Scrollwheel (20% of Overall Score): 6.5/10
- Tracking Ability (20% of Overall Score): 10/10
- Extra Functions (15% of Overall Score): 2/10
- Overall Score: 6.7/10 (Good buy)