Zephyr’s goal is to create a gaming mouse for long, intense gaming sessions. The design uses patterned cutouts to reduce weight. The cord is made from lightweight paracord and has a built-in fan that cools your palms and wicks away sweat.
Regarding previous competitions, there was the Thermaltake Black Element Cyclone that included a fan, but that was an extra attachment that plugged into the front of the mouse and only blew on your fingers. Zephyr’s design is more useful when the fan is pointed at your palms.
Zephyr was kind enough to send us a tech sample for review. They make changes to the final product based on feedback from reviewers and we tried to write down the changes we knew about. UltrabookReview did not receive payment for this review, and Zephyr was not shown a copy of this article prior to posting. The Zephyr Gaming Mouse is available from Kickstarter.
The Zephyr is a neutral / non-ergonomic mouse that is often popular with people who don’t like the way an ergonomically angled mouse dictates their hand angle. The body material consists exclusively of matte plastic to make cleaning the mouse easier. Whether it does or not, the matte finish helps balance out the glossy RGB. There are a number of cutouts that reduce weight while maintaining structural rigidity. I tried to squeeze hard and there was no yielding under what would be considered appropriate pressure.
Outside the left and right mouse buttons there is a strip of RGB lighting. These LEDs also shine through the honeycomb and the transparent plastic fan blades. The scroll wheel and side sensitivity lights are solid color and change to indicate which DPI sensitivity is selected.
The user can turn the lighting to different combinations of pulsing, breathing, rainbow, solid, etc. The final product can reduce the brightness of the light or turn it off completely. This is a welcome addition as our manufacturing pattern is somewhat distracting later in the night without these features.
The question on everyone’s lips is whether the fan serves a purpose or is just a gimmick. The fan has four speed settings (off, 4000 rpm, 7000 rpm, 10000 rpm), which are controlled via a button on the bottom. Our manufacturing sample only had three speed settings (Off, 4000 RPM, and 7000 RPM). While I found that the slowest setting still produced a slight movement of air, it was also noticeably louder due to a high level of electronic whine. Our contact says this is an issue they are aware of and the fan and motor appear to be where most of the pre-retail effort is needed.
The air movement at the highest level, while insignificant, was strong enough to be felt, and my right hand didn’t feel as warm as the left. It probably couldn’t keep very sweaty hands dry, but it is believable to keep slightly sweaty palms under control. My hands didn’t get sweaty enough to confirm this.
The button selection contains the essentials for a gaming mouse, but those who want to tie in more than a few actions will find the layout too spartan. The mouse wheel acts as the middle button and is linked by a single button to cycle through the DPI settings.
The single DPI button means you can’t have a low DPI sniper mode and a mid-DPI repositioning mode that you can switch between with a single click. Our contact informed us that we had received a lot of feedback about the need for companion software to adjust settings. Therefore this is planned for future development. If you are satisfied with the default settings of 400/800/1600/3200/6400/16000 dpi (updated to 400 dpi which are not included in the test samples), you can remember the number of clicks it takes to switch between Change your most frequently used settings with just a small time penalty. I found that my preferred sensitivity was between two of the preset levels, but it only took a while to set.
In a browser there are two side buttons for forward / backward, which are properly registered as inputs in the game settings, so that twitching actions – like e.g. B. Knife – can be bound. The side switch furthest from the front of the mouse has a few millimeters of travel before it reaches the switch below.
The shape works best for those with longer fingers or those who prefer a palm grip. The notch on the side helps with gripping, but short to medium fingers sit around the center of the left / right click. The switches click nicely and still register quickly enough from this further rear point. However, the thumb can only easily reach the rearmost of the two side buttons. If your fingers are longer or you are using a palm grip, the dimensions are reasonable.
The paracord cable deserves a special mention for how unobtrusive it is. It feels remarkably light, flexible, and almost unnoticed compared to modern braids
Cables on mice like the Roccat Kone, let alone the stiffer older cables like the Logitech V500. What we can’t say yet is if there is a durability penalty here, but it certainly feels like it would break with less effort if we tried.
The retail version includes a squeezable blower bulb to keep the fan area clear.
Zephyr says the dimensions are 121.6 x 65.2 x 40.7 mm, and our test measurements were within an acceptable margin of error; H. They accounted for small errors in our readings. Our technical example has a cable length of just over 2 meters, although the final units will have a 1.8 meter cable. This is long enough to go from a desk to a computer on the floor.
measurements differ is due to the weight. Zephyr claims 68g, but while this mouse feels light, it topped our scales at 84g (+ 24%). To check it out, we tossed one of our other gaming mice with a known weight of 88g on the scales and it showed the correct weight. Both had the same weight compared to the “Imagine your hands are scales” test.
Lift-off distance is important to minimize frustrating, nervous movements when repositioning the mouse for larger movements. This is especially noticeable when playing a first person shooter with a low mouse DPI. At around 1.2-1.5 mm we found that the sensor was at the edge of its lift-off area, with movements being registered sporadically, while at around 2.5-3.0 mm no action was registered. This is within reach with many other gaming mice equipped with the Pixart 3389 sensor. With Pixart, the 3389 can be configured for a 2.0mm or 3.0mm lift-off distance, and this appears to be configured at 2.0mm.
A line drawing test showed the expected slight smoothness this sensor contains. The Pixart 3389 specifications state that the Zephyr should have two anti-aliasing images at the lowest three dpi settings, or 32 images at the highest three.
Another benefit of choosing such a high quality sensor is the lack of hardware acceleration. To be able to use this, you must ensure that “Advanced Pointer Accuracy” is deactivated under “Settings> Devices> Mouse> Additional mouse options> Pointer options”. When this option is disabled, the amount of pointer movement is directly proportional to the mouse distance movement, regardless of the speed of movement.
The Zephyr Gaming Mouse is a well-built mouse that knows the niche it wants to target. Your potential customers are those looking for a lightweight mouse with reputable Omron switches and a Pixart 3389 sensor. The size is smaller than classic designs like the Razer Deathadder and the shape is different, but it has similar Omron switches and the same Pixart 3389 sensor as the Deathadder in mid to late 2010 before the V2 update.
The price of the Zephyr is also comparable to the aforementioned Razer Deathadder, at least if you take advantage of the early bird price of $ 79. This is where the differences between the Zephyr and competing products matter. When you choose the Zephyr, you’re foregoing ergonomic design, desktop software for adjusting the mouse, and an established brand. What you win is a unique product that fills a niche for those who need a lightweight mouse with satisfactory hardware that will keep their palm cool while playing. For some, these compromises are worthwhile.
The Zephyr Gaming Mouse is available from Kickstarter.