I will be reviewing the new iteration of Zowies FK line of mice.
The box is like all Zowie boxes so far, which are very nice. You can easily open them and slide out the mouse and also store them back quickly (if you are a tidy collector like me).
- Zowie FK1
- Pair of extra mousefeet
Weight & Shape
The shape is very similar to the previous FK, only slightly larger in certain areas.
Here is a comparison with the older FK (source Zowie)
The size is now more similar to the Steelseries Sensei, with the FK1 being even slightly longer.
Weight: 90 g
Height: 37 mm
Width: 67 mm
Estimated width at grip position: 62 mm
Length: 128 mm
Number of buttons: 5 (plus dpi toggle on the bottom)
Here are some comparisons again with the older FK
Comparison pic, left to right: Logitech G100s, Zowie AM-FG, Zowie FK1, Zowie FK, Zowie EC1 eVo CL
Now some pictures how I hold the mouse (I'd describe it as a hybrid of claw-palm)
For comparison: My hand is around 19.5 cm from the tip of my middle finger to the base.
To me this is almost the perfect shape for an ambidextrous mouse. The wider base makes my contact point with the lower palm more relaxed, the middle area is exactly that much wider that my pinky can grip it in a relaxed manner, but still firmly. It also is (iirc) the lightest 3310 mouse so far, so that’s a bonus too. If the mouse had some more height to it it would even be great for a full palm grip for up to medium sized hands. I can palm it as it is right now, it's just a bit uncomfortable for my pinky. This might also be because I'm just not used to a full palm grip.
Of course shape is completely individual preference, so everyone has to try for himself in the end. The perfect shape for me might be horrible for others. So please keep the pictures of my grip in mind for comparison.
Sensor / Performance
Previously Zowie used the A3090 sensor with mixed results, mainly because their Kingsis lens that lowered the LOD also reduced the perfect control speed. Also the polling rate was kind of unstable and somehow the tracking was better at 500 Hz compared to 1000 Hz on the lower steps. This never resulted in serious malfunctions for me (only in certain games with very fast movements, like rocket jumping in TF2), it’s just something that I was curious about with the implementation of the 3310 by Zowie. So has this been fixed? More about that later.
First to the 3310 in general: it’s the same sensor that is used in many new optical mice, like the Steelseries Rival, Mionix Avior or the Kone Pure Military. The sensor features native steps every 50 cpi and LOD customisation out of the box.
However Zowie sticks to their mantra of “no software”, so the FK1 can only be set to 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 cpi (with the button on the bottom of the mouse). This is no malus for me, but people looking for a lot of customisation have to look elsewhere. The customisable LOD of the 3310 also allowed Zowie to drop the Kingsis lens and go for the standard lens while keeping a low LOD.
So how does it perform?
The perfect control speed is well past 5 m/s for every cpi step and both 500 and 1000 Hz. The sensor implementation also looks cleaner than it did with the A3090 in the older FK.
I will not judge any "feeling" of the cursor here as there is a lot of myth around it that most people won't ever bother to care for. Those who do will have to try the mouse for themselves anyway. All I can say is that it feels very raw to me. See the jitter screens below. MouseTester screencaps for all settings at 1000 and 500 Hz(Click to show)
ALL TESTS ARE PERFORMED ON THE STEELSERIES Qck+.
LOD was standard.
The real dpi for each setting can be seen in the mouse tester print. To my surprise (considering Zowies track record of being off from the set CPI steps with the A3090 implementation) they were all very accurate. 400 CPI really is 400 CPI on my unit.
There seems to be only very little jitter, which is a very good sign imo, because mice with no jitter at all use to have some kind of path correction. This is probably also what causes the mouse to feel more raw than a Roccat Savu for example.
There seems to be only very little accel, even less than on the Steelseries Rival or Mionix NAOS 7000. Good job there Zowie.
Lift Off Distance
Like it was expected, the LOD is very low. I love it, and everyone who liked the previous Zowies will feel right at home too. It is a bit higher than with my older IR-LED FK’14, but still very low. It still tracks at one CD but not at two. The old FK didn't even track at one CD height.
There is a novelty with the FK1 too. As many on this forum already know the 3310 allows for LOD to be customised. But normally you would need Software to adjust it to your liking. As Zowies philosophy is to not have software but change everything on the mouse directly this seems to be impossible on Zowies. But apparently it’s not.
There are methods to adjust LOD on the FK1 similar to how you change the polling rate on it.
The standard LOD out of the box is adjusted for cloth pads to be around 1.5 - 1.8 mm. However this would mean a higher LOD on a plastic pad (2.2 - 2.4 mm). To enable “plastic mouse pad mode” you have to hold Button 4 and Button 2 (back button on the side and right mouse button) while plugging the FK1 in. This causes the LOD to be around 1.5 - 1.8 mm on a plastic mouse pad (and around 1 mm on a cloth mouse pad)
To switch back to “cloth mouse pad mode” you have to plug it in while holding Button 4 and Button 1 (back button on the side and left mouse button).
Now there is also the so called “original mode”. This sets the LOD to be on a standard level and therefore should optimize the mouse compatibility for players with special material mousepads. It will have higher LOD than all other settings. So this is useful for those players who prefer a higher LOD (looking at you Dontspamme). You get the “original mode” by holding Button 4, 1 and 2 at the same time while plugging the FK1 in.
After setting the LOD once you don’t have to set it again every time you plug in the mouse, similar to the polling rate. I think it’s very nice that Zowie implemented a way to adjust LOD with the FK1 without software. You might not be able to finetune, but I think “low” and “high” LOD should be fine for most players anyway.
My experience with the modes:
Cloth mode on Qck+: 1 CD
Plastic mode on Qck+: did not track at 1 CD hight
Original mode: 2 CD
Only with original mode would the FK track on white paper.
Buttons / Switches / Scroll Wheel
The FK1 uses Huano switches like all Zowies, which makes the clicks a bit harder to press. In the FK1 the main buttons are blue Huanos while all other buttons are red Huanos. Someone on this forum pointed out that the blue Huanos are supposed to be the highest quality ones. I didn't find any official info on that though. The scroll wheel is now also a 24 notch scroll wheel (first FK and older Zowies had 16). The haptic of the scroll wheel is fine and light. The FK1 is now actually suitable for desktop use, scrolling was quite annoying with the older scroll wheel.
All in all very good. The cord is rubber like all Zowies, the best cables in my opinion. It is flexible and this time it also is a bit thinner than the older cables. The coating is similar to the previous FK and EC eVo CL, but it feels a bit more grainy. Probably because of the coating issues with the previous FK and CL series.
The only minor annoyance is that the lens rattles a bit. I did not notice this while playtesting however, only when lifting the mouse and shaking it.
This is definitely my new mouse. I was already satisfied with my older FK, it only failed me at very fast movement speeds in some games. Now that this is done for and the shape is also a bit bigger it's just what I always wanted. Even the fluctuating polling rate was fixed. Zowie did a lot of things right with the FK1.
I hope they release the FK2 soon. When you spoke to Zowie did they mention anything about it? It would be an instant buy for me unless logitech comes out with something small and light with the 3366 by then.
Do you use the plastic pad mode on your qck? Does it track as good as the cloth mode?
And could you tell me why the old fks scrollwheel wasnt good for desktop usage. Just because of the 16 steps instead of 24?
Yea and what hiccup asked would be interesting too.^^