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Zowie FK - Our Review!

For those of you who have followed the stream the past few weeks, you know that I've changed mice a few times recently, trying to find a replacement for my long beloved Razer Diamondback. With the announcement of the Zowie FK coming only days after the RyuLAN 2013 Winter event, I was super excited to get my hands on one. At the advice of the Zowie twitter account, I pre-ordered the FK (a few of them, actually) and received it a few weeks ago. 

There have been a lot of questions on the stream about my thoughts on the mouse, so I figured I'd type them up here to avoid having to repeat myself.

Shape

On the Zowie site, they compare the shape of the FK against that of the Zowie AM, saying the AM has a /\ shape to it, whereas the FK has a more \/ shape. Most people get confused when they see the shape of a mouse describe this way, so I'll try to explain a bit better.

The "\/" or "\/" mouse shape description means that if you were to line your eye up with the back of the mouse (looking "through" the mouse at eye level), you'd notice the areas where your pinky/ring finger and thumb go come IN, instead of flare out. The Zowie AM flares out on the bottom, hence the /\ shape (where the bottoms of each slash are where your fingers rest).

The FK, on the other hand, has the V type of shape to it. See this image, and where the shape of the mouse "comes in" is right below the side buttons. 

The same is true of the other side, as this is an ambidextrous mouse (you can use it with either hand).

Hopefully the shape of the mouse makes sense to you. As you can see in the image, the mouse height is pretty low as well, which makes this a great mouse for a true "claw grip", where only the very bottom of your palm touches the very base of the mouse.

Texture/Grip

The grip on the mouse is good. Simply running your finger over it, it feels a bit frictionless, but if you wrap your hand around it and hold it like you're in-game, it has a much better feel. It's NOT as "grippy" as some other mice, namely the Deathadder 2013, which has a super rough, rubbery yet sand-papery grip to it.

But the grip is definitely better than the Zowie AM, which, combined with the shape of the AM, was a very difficult mouse to hold/control.

Sensor

Zowie used the same sensor found in the Zowie AM in the FK, which is good news for those who love a prediction/correction/acceleration free mouse. I won't go into much detail here on the sensor, as the guys on the Overclock.net forums do a much, much better job. See this thread http://www.overclock.net/t/1351759/zowie-fk and this one http://www.overclock.net/t/1369780/zowie-fk-gaming-mouse-review-by-takasta

The sensor, for reference, is the Avago 3090.

Switches (Mouse Buttons)

One of the few things I did not like about the Zowie AM, aside from the shape simply not being for me, was the stiffness of the mouse switches (or buttons). While the FK uses the same Huano switches, they are MUCH better than they were on the AM, and not nearly as stiff. This was a huge improvement that Zowie didn't advertise much with the announcement of this mouse. The difference is drastic. 

The side buttons are also not as stiff, but all buttons overall have a bit more "click" to them than other popular mice, like the Deathadder 2013.

What is probably my only complaint with the Zowie FK is the "reset speed" after you press mouse1. To explain this a little better, picture going into a server and trying to spam a pistol as fast as you can. When you first do this with the FK, it seems like your gun in game is stuttering, and instead of rapid fire, you get 1-2 bullets, then a delay, then a few more, etc.

This is because the mouse1 button has a bit of "stickiness" to it, and resets slower than most of the other mice I've used. It's something I've gotten used to, and isn't a deal breaker for me, but something you should consider before making this your go to mouse. I'd suggest you give it a few days to get used to it, and think you'll be fine after that. 

DPI and Polling Rate

This may or may not get you excited about a mouse, but if you've read our tips for playing your best on LAN, you know how much we dislike drivers. The Zowie FK does not have driver software, but still provides the ability to step the DPI, as well as set the polling rate.

To choose your DPI setting (450/1150/2300), you simply press a button on the bottom of the mouse to change it on demand. 

To set the polling rate, you press and hold a button when plugging it in. For example, to set it to 1000, you hold mouse5, plug it in, and then release mouse5. That's it. No drivers, no software, no cloud syncing or Internet logins-- a true "plug and play" system. I love this system and wish other companies would start doing it. 

Conclusion (TL:DR)

Overall, I'm a big fan of the Zowie FK. I really like the shape (it's the closest shape I've found to the Razer Diamondback), it's super light, requires no drivers or stupid software, and the tracking is superb. My only complaint is in the "re-set" time on the mouse buttons, and I've adjusted to that. 

If you're a fan of the AM, or enjoyed it but didn't care for the shape, I'd highly encourage you to take the FK out for a test drive. It appears they are still on backorder, as the first shipment sold out all in pre-orders, so you may have to wait. But if you do, I think you'll be happy with it when it arrives.

Ryu