Review of the Zephyr Gaming Mouse
Suffer from sweaty palms while gaming? Zephyr built a fan into its Zephyr Gaming Mouse to keep your palms cool. We've been testing a pre-production model of the mouse for the last two weeks to see how well it works as a gaming mouse and whether the fan makes a difference. Here’s what we found.
The pre-production review sample of the Zephyr Gaming Mouse that we received offered five levels of sensitivity – 800, 1,600, 3,200, 6,400, and 16,000 DPI. Each DPI level is color-coded, so it’s easy to see what level you’re using. We were happy with 800 DPI, but it would have been nice to have the option of 400 DPI, and the company says that when the product ships, it will support 400 DPI.
The Zephyr Gaming Mouse fits nicely in the palm of your hand, and the buttons are easily accessible. In addition to the left and right mouse buttons and scroll wheel, there are two programmable buttons and a dedicated DPI button. The buttons and scroll wheel are very responsive and provide a nice level of tactile feedback. We would have liked to have one additional programmable button. And, it would have been nice to have a textured finish on the sides for a firmer grip. For those with small hands, the mouse feels a little wide, as there is little contouring on the sides.
Even at 80 grams, the pre-production model that we received feels light and comfortable to use for long gaming sessions. At launch, the company expects the product to weigh a featherweight 68 grams.
We loved the design of the Zephyr Gaming Mouse, with its open cutout look and band of color surrounding the mouse buttons. The LEDs are bright and show rainbow hues among the preset patterns. You can switch between seven different modes, including “wave,” “breathing,” and “steady.” We’d like to see a dimming function and the ability to turn off the lights. Right now, the lights are quite bright when in a dimly-lit environment. We’d also like to have the option of selecting just one color – all of the current presets switch colors. (The fan noise in the video is the air conditioner, it's not from the mouse.)
The key differentiator for the Zephyr Gaming Mouse is the built-in fan. Right now, you can choose off, low, and high. If you get sweaty palms while you’re playing, the gentle fan does provide some cooling. However, a stronger fan at the high setting would be better. If your palm isn’t moist, you can’t feel the fan action at all. Also, there is a slight but noticeable vibration from the fan, which may be due to the fact that it’s a pre-production model.
The Zephyr Gaming Mouse is a responsive and attractive gaming mouse. We had a few minor issues, but those may be resolved before final production. Zephyr says it will be taking into account our feedback as well as input from other reviewers for the final model, when it ships this fall. For instance, they’ve already committed to adding 400 DPI sensitivity.
Pricing and availability
You can reserve your mouse in black, pink or white, starting at $79, through their Kickstarter campaign. As with all crowd-funding projects, there is a level of risk. You are backing a project, not outright buying a product.
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For the past 20+ years, Suzanne has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Ten years ago, she founded Techlicious, which serves the role of that tech-savvy friend you can count on to share tips and tricks to get the most out of technology; whether that’s saving time in our hectic schedules, discovering new ways to enjoy our personal interests, or keeping up with the latest technology trends and styles. Before that, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she hosted the radio show “Living with Technology." Previously, she served as Technology Editor for Popular Science Magazine. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.