Zowie EC1-B and EC2-B By James Lu
Zowie EC1-B and EC2-B
AT A GLANCE: EC1-B
SENSOR Pixart 3360
DIMENSIONS 128 x 64 x 43mm
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 old EC1-A and EC2-A, which, if you’re unfamiliar with, is an ergonomic right-handed design that is very similar to the old 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 I’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-the-top look of some of the other gaming mice out there, but personally, I 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 old 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 I suspect Zowie’s new stock feet are made out of pure Te on. 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 old 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 must-try 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. At $129, they’re a little more expensive than the old 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?
AT A GLANCE: EC2-B
SENSOR Pixart 3360
DIMENSIONS 120 x 61 x 40mm
The true successor to the IME 3.0 with the best optical sensor ever made.