Zowie FK1 Review. 2014 and the amount of gaming peripherals available today is beyond belief. The gaming industry is growing at a rapid rate and showing no signs of decreasing either, with this we have a mammoth amount of kit available to us. While I condone and embrace the amount of choice we have, with it comes a very obvious issue. Which do I buy?
Product – Zowie FK1
Price – £49.99
Available at – OverclockersUK
It’s a very difficult and grey area, much like that of the whole “which smart phone should I buy?” Android vs iOS, Console vs PC, Console A vs console B. Making a purchase thankfully is no longer a guessing game, we have access to product reviews, videos and demos. While they can never replicate having the product in your own hand and confirming it’s for you. It’s as close as we can get. It would seem odd for me to suggest the very notion to look elsewhere. I’d always suggest looking at multiple reviews of any product. Today I will deliver my verdict on the ZOWIE FK1, now I will state that I slot into the “casual and occasional” bracket.
I started out my gaming life with the likes of Doom, Quake and Unreal tournament (yup I’m that old…). Looking back at the tech we had, it was obvious you either had “skill” or you didn’t. You could not blame the tools beneath your hands or suggest the opponent had the upper hand. Fast forward to now and the peripherals you use 100% matter. As dramatic as it sounds, it’s a matter of life or death (virtual of course). Within this market we find game specific and optimised products and while I appreciate them, they’re of no real interest to me personally. I want a mouse that is durable, functional but above all…comfortable even for non-gaming tasks.
The ZOWIE FK1 is logical one for me, just from a quick glimpse I can tell I’d be happy to use this product daily, that’s not today’s focus of course and that statement alone is not likely to be of any benefit to anyone else, so let’s explore this product in more detail.
Starting with the product features before taking a closer look.
FK14 VS FK1
I must mention this before we proceed, because of naming schemes we have on products can often cause confusion. The FK1 is actually a newer product than the FK14, based on user feedback ZOWIE made several small changes to the height, length and weight. More notably they also switched the laser to the Avago 3310
Product Description & Features
In the highly competitive world of eSports, we are fortunate to see more and more exciting games. The outcome of a duel between the top players is often determined by a second – a second containing a player’s enthusiasm, persistence and dreams. They must play for victory while avoiding the slightest mishap.
ZOWIE GEAR upholds the spirit of endless pursuit of product quality and continuous understanding of a player’s needs. Developing a stable product improves the performance of competitive players, fulfilling ZOWIE’s commitment to eSports and players. Under this philosophy players are able to choose different mouse shapes, sizes and surface coating with the same performance.
ZOWIE FK1 comes as an answer to the many gamers that showed ZOWIE that the FK shape was something they were interested in but was too small for their hands. It will also satisfy the gamers who wish to use a mouse with Avago 3310.
One key feature for ZOWIE is the low lift-off distance which is important for any serious gamers. After lots of repeated testing, the research and development team was successful, achieving the low lift-off distance for the new model (1.5~1.8mm). All gamers that are interested in this signature feature from ZOWIE will be able to enjoy it in the new ZOWIE FK1.
• Ambidextrous mouse developed for claw grip usage
• Two thumb buttons on both sides to comfortably serve left- and right-handed users
• Plug and Play (no drivers needed)
• Easy to switch between left- and right-hand functionality
• 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 DPI adjustment
• Adjustable USB report rate 125 / 500 / 1000 Hz
• Perfect lift-off distance = 1.5 ~ 1.8mm
Nothing too exciting with the FK1 – a free ZOWIE sticker and two extra slip plates
The FK1 is finished in matte black and accented with yellow pieces. The coating along the top is very smooth but grippy.
Both the left and right sides are identical, with two side buttons at your disposal. Keep in mind you can only use one set of these buttons. Depending if you’re using it in left and right mode.
Looking at the FK1 from the rear, it’s a simple affair as you’d expect due to the product design. A vibrant ZOWIE logo is found in centre.
Switching our view to the top the two enlarged click buttons and bright yellow scroll wheel. It has the typical notches to help with grip.
On the underside we have the Avago 3310 sensor and the DPI selector (Yellow button)
The cable length on the ZOWIE FK1 is 2m/ 6.6FT, it’s a traditional cable (no braiding) with gold plated connector.
Observations and Conclusion
With no need for drivers, ZOWIE have also done away with the very notion of including any software. It’s common to see a gaming mouse bundled with software, in which we can set a ton of options. More importantly we’ve come to expect the ability to have multiple profiles. These are all things I can personally live without, and for that reason alone I wasn’t particularly bothered about the lack of software.
The mouse settings are all handled direct from the actual mouse, flip it over and press the DPI selector (small yellow button). With each press the coloured LED will change either Red, Purple, Blue and Green to confirm its been acknowledged. Playing with the four different profiles I found 1600DPI setting to be the sweet spot for day to day tasks and even with most games. Its user dependant of course and you’ll just have to find what works for you. While I personally don’t mind having the selector on the base, I know for some this will be off very putting.
Less of a burden is the switch between left and right handed mode, I’d imagine you wouldn’t be doing this often. To move between modes you’ll need to press a selection of buttons while plugging in the mouse. The same method is used to change the USB polling rate, and that’s fine but you don’t have any visual indicator that it’s been set. I’m very on the fence about the approach that ZOWIE have gone for. On one hand theirs no clunky and often overkill software, on the other the way in which settings are changed aren’t ideal
There are some very obvious issues, niggles or area’s that might not appeal to everyone. Push them to one side and concentrate on what matters above all, and that’s comfort. My daily mouse is a Steelseries sensei and I chose that purely for comfort. Switching over to the ZOWIE FK1 was a breeze, reviewing mice is a tough affair as you need to allow a break in period, time to adjust varies between users but in this instance the transition was almost instant. That’s because they share something that works… the simple ambidextrous shape. The additional height on the FK1, the extra length and of course the weight all added up to a great user experience. As I write this today I had switched back to my original mouse, during the course of this review I’ve switched back the ZOWIE, and it’s genuinely a very impressive piece of kit. Overall feel in terms of the materials used, again no issues at all with grip.
Let’s not get too distracted though, as I’ve said comfort is at the top of the list for my requirements but under hood is what matters in games. I have various gaming surfaces here at my disposal, some reversible so I have a fair playing field as each differ. With the ZOWIE FK1 they all worked without issue. The responsiveness was very noticeable coming from my basic day to day mouse. I do a lot of Photoshop work, more than gaming and found the FK1 to very able and precise. Switching over to games, I prefer a good old FPS shooter and theirs always a risk involved of a placebo effect, regardless I found my aim and movement to be more fluid.
At the time of writing you can pick a FREE ZOWIE Camade mouse bungee if you purchase from OverclockersUK!
We would like to thank OverclockersUK & ZOWIE for providing the sample and look forward to seeing more in near future.