EPICGEAR Meduza Mouse and Pad Review

BluePanda - 2012-02-08 17:53:32 in Input Devices, Mouse Pad
Category: Input Devices, Mouse Pad
Reviewed by: BluePanda   
Reviewed on: February 23, 2012
Price: $79.99

Introduction:

Most of you know GeIL for its years of producing memory. Since 1993, this is what the company has done. However, GeIL has recently joined the gaming accessory market with the launch of Epic Gear. Epic Gear, or EG for short, is starting its launch of gaming-focused equipment with the Meduza, a hybrid, dual sensor mouse. It’s the world's first Hybrid Dual Sensor Technology (HDST) gaming mouse. Rather than just having one sensor, the Meduza is equipped with both a laser and optical sensor, combining the best of both worlds. Today we take a look at how the Meduza will be starting off the EG line-up, along with its special hybrid pad.

Closer Look:

The Meduza mouse comes in your typical clear plastic shell with boxing material around it, to both give you a look at the mouse itself, as well as advertise its key features in some fancy ink. The box is is black with what tricks the mind to be either red or extreme orange. The insides of the box go to further confirm the extreme orange color, but for some reason I honestly thought it was red and black.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The back of the package lists its features and shows off the two sensors with a little peep hole to the mouse inside. The back of the box also shows you four angles of the mouse. One picture shows off the extended rest for the thumb, another shows the index finger rest, and another the ring finger support and pinkie grip. The fourth image is an isometric of the entire mouse, lit up. It's looking to be a rather comfortable mouse.

 

 

The hybrid mouse pad, designed for maximum performance of the dual sensors, comes rolled up in a cardboard box. There is a little hole cut in the edge that allows you to touch the pad to see what it feels like. This is a nice opportunity to test out what you are buying off the shelf at your local computer hardware shop, but just remember, you probably want the one on the back of the rack that everyone hasn’t touched!

 

The box rotates around to reveal some features of the pad, as well as a standard UPC code. It's a typical hang box for stores to hang, but definitely one that draws you to it to see what it is. The box is mostly black and red and features the EG logo with a sort of vault-looking style.

 

 

Closer Look:

Getting rid of some of the packaging, the body of the mouse is finally revealed. The plastic shell holds both a backing with installation instructions, as well as a CD with the settings software. The orange color is rather overwhelming, but the first thing I notice about the mouse in its package is its cable. The cable is braided and also orange and black. A close up of this will come after we get it out of the plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CD for this mouse is rather crucial at the moment. Since Epic Gear isn't 100% launched, it means its website isn't either. With this being the first product in the EG series, the software you'll want is only on this CD for now. It isn't on its website yet because it's not ready yet. I would assume, like any other gaming peripherals site, they will eventually have all its driver/software packages available for download via the Internet. However, for now you can use the fancy CD that stares back at you to install the profile software. Good news though, if you don't want any other settings besides Windows features, then you can just toss this CD aside; Meduza is plug n' play compatible.

 

Alright, enough about the box it came in and the CD that came with it. Let's take a look at the mouse itself. Right out of the box and at a top down glance, I had almost thought EG had sent me a lefty mouse. The body sort of has that curvature that sells the left handed profile. Fortunate for me, it's most definitely a righty mouse and after setting my hand on it, it's got quite the different feel, with all sorts of support rests.

It has your usual left and right click buttons, a scroll wheel with middle click, the forward and back buttons on the thumb side and two additional buttons. The button just beneath the scroll wheel, which is actually pretty easy to reach, is set up to control your DPI settings on the fly. This button can be set in the software for another purpose, if you so desire. The other "extra" button is down on the thumb side and up front. This one cannot be used for anything except switching between set profiles. Through the software, you can set up to five profiles associated with five colors. Switching between them with the button switches the color of the wheel to signal which profile is in use.

 

 

 

Flipping the mouse over and taking a look at its bottom side, we can finally get a good look at this dual sensor setup. There's really an optical and laser sensor side by side on the mouse; optical left, laser right. The black switch allows you to manually switch between the two sensors or select to use the HDST feature.

 

 

Taking another look at the side of the mouse, you can really see the positioning of the forward and back buttons I mentioned before, as well as that little profile switching button. Along the bottom edge you can also see four light segments – these light up in reference to the DPI setting selected. That top button, when pressed, cycles through the four options set in the software. The right side of the mouse has a ring finger and pinky support molded in for extra comfort. The bottom orange-ness of the mouse can be seen accenting the mouse even at this angle.

 

 

From the front of the mouse, you can see the curvature of both the overall body as well as that thumb notch. The scroll wheel rolls quite quietly without the annoying click some older mice have. It's smooth and you can still get that nice "click" feel. It does not toggle left and right, but that's not much of a loss. The back end of the mouse shows the glossy matte finish, as well as a last look at that crazy orange accent.

 

 

The braided cord I've spoken much about is capped with a gold UBS connector and weight to hold the cable down. I've always loved braided cables, but the orange accent on this was really neat. Not that you see much of the cable on your desk if you route it behind your monitor like I do, but the braiding is one of the nicest development over the years – it's nice to see companies continuing to use it.

 

With the lights turned down, this mouse probably won't set the mood, but depending on your mood you can change the wheel to one of five colors: red, yellow, blue, green, or purple. Of course each of these do correspond to a different profile, so maybe red is your power color for Warhammer games, and yellow is your fluffy side for Magicka – or if you just like changing colors, perhaps you'll just set all your profiles the same. It's really all up to you…

 

 

 

Back to looking at that marvelous mouse pad that was specifically designed for it, we can now take it out of its box too. It's just rolled up inside it's box, no plastic nonsense to deal with, and is rather smooth and flexible. It honestly doesn't feel much different from your typical cloth pad, other than the fact that it’s a little shinier and almost feels glossy.

 

 

Measuring in at 350 x 250 x 3 mm, the hybrid pad is a nice size. For the $20 price tag, it's a farily good deal compared to competing pads this size. It doesn't feel much different than any other mouse pads that I've used — seems like any super bendy cloth pad you can buy at wally-world.

 

 

It's got simple logos in the upper right and lower left corners of the pad. The upper right shows the Epic Gear logo, which hopefully will be something we'll all be seeing around more, and at the bottom left: "Hybrid Pad for HDST" to remind you it was specifically designed for the dual sensor Meduza mouse. It's just the right thickness and doesn't seem like it will be becoming compressed or torn up anytime soon.

 

Specifications:

 

Optical Mode dpi:
400/800/1600/3200
Laser Mode dpi:
4 customizable levels up to 6000 dpi
HDST Mode dpi:
4 customizable levels up to 4800 dpi
Buttons:
7 with 6 programmable
Plug Method:
USB 2.0 (full speed use)
Polling Rate:
1000Hz
Onboard Memory:
128KB
Saved Gaming Profiles:
Up to 5 with LED colors
Cable Length:
2m
Warranty:
2 years

 

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

All information provided by: www.epicgear.com/

Software:

So more and more mice and keyboards are coming with their own little software package and not just drivers any more. For some of you, it's just another thing to install and have several different ones for all the different things you buy over the years, and for the rest of us we'd rather just not install it. So I guess in this case it works out for both of us. The mouse actually works without installing the software and works with Windows' sensitivity settings like a charm. However, if you want to take advantage of the five different profiles feature, you will need to install the software. No worries though — it doesn't take much time.

So when you start up the software, it makes itself full screen and introduces itself as a game would, with a large EG logo and opening doors and flashy appearances. Fortunately there is a skip button in the lower right corner — you will forever be clicking this. It's kind of neat, but really it's all for show and could be done without. Unfortunately you are stuck full screen, you can't make it windowed, so if you need to get back to Windows to test some settings, make sure you leave a window to tab back to open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it loads, the first page is the "Main Control" tab. It's got options to change all the buttons except for the profile select button. Like I said, this one cannot ever be changed. It will forever cycle through the different colors of the wheel and switch profiles for you. The right side allows you to change settings for optical alone, laser alone, or the settings for the HDST sensor. The four lights on the left of the mouse signal which of the four DPI settings you are using. Here is where you select what each of those four correspond to. The five profile options are selected at the bottom — just be sure you save when you decide to make changes.

 

The next tab is the "Performance" tab, to help you change your typical pointer speed, scroll wheel speed, and double click speed. There's no magic glass to test your double click, so it might take some trial and error to get what you want. The pointer acceleration was just about useless and I ultimately ended up setting it within Windows. It was always too high or too low; no perfect medium. You can also change your lift off distance and angle snapping options here, along with power save options for the LED lighting.

 

The third tab is for setting macros. At the time of the screen shot, I didn't have any macros set. It wasn't too difficult to add any, but I also didn't feel a reason to use any of them when I did eventually get them set. It all comes down to preference here. For me, it's just there — for others, macros are a necessity.

 

The final tab is the "Support" tab. For now, being so new, there isn't much here. However, it does link to the up and coming website, as well as let you know what the latest firmware and software release are so that you can ensure you have the latest and greatest!

 

Overall, I didn't care for the software package. I generally don't like to install them because they end up not being useful to me. Windows controls were far easier to set to my liking and much easier to test. Not being able to check your double click speed in software is a bit of a flaw, but nothing too major that couldn't be fixed. There just wasn't much you couldn't do outside of Windows other than set your forward/back keys to something else. I'm a bit neutral on the subject; neither pleased nor dissatisfied.

Testing:

The EG Meduza was put through a week of rigorous testing. During this time, it was closely examined regarding the following four traits: speed, comfort, precision, and customization.

A mouse is a key effort in any shooting game and just general working about your computer without using the keyboard for everything; however, as a mouse there really is no apparatus or methods for systematically testing it. Subjective commenting and critiquing on speed, comfort, precision, and customization will help you decide if you are ready for the EG Meduza.

The Meduza mouse was mainly tested with the HDST feature enabled. The laser and optical sensor were both used as well, but the main focus was on the two working together. The mouse pad was tested with the Meduza, as well as with a couple other mice for general purpose use. The results follow below.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Mice:

Speed:

Speed is a major factor in using a mouse. If you can’t get from point A to point B in a reasonable time, you might be dead in your game, or just simply frustrated with whatever you are working on. To rate speed, I used a scale of 1 to 10 with a score of one being representative of it just won’t move and a score of 10 being this mouse got ticketed for speeding.

 

Comfort:

If you are going to raid all night in your favorite MMO, you will need a comfortable mouse, something your hand can control without really knowing you are using a mouse. A scale of 1 to 10 was used to rate the comfort level of the mouse. A value of 1 means you might just want to use the keyboard to do everything, and a value of 10 says that without the mouse something is missing… almost like when you are missing your car keys in your pocket.

 

Precision:

Precision is a key element in making your every headshot. If the mouse is wandering or just not quite pointing where you feel it should be, then your skill almost doesn’t even matter. The mouse was rated from 1 to 10, with 1 meaning just give up, and a score of 10 meaning it was meant to be.

 

Customization:

If your mouse doesn’t even have a scroll wheel, I cannot talk to you. However if you are one of those people sitting here with only a left click, a right click, and a scroll wheel… well then we need to talk. I’m not saying your mouse needs to be as full of buttons as the Razer Naga, but having some extra buttons can really improve not only the way you move about menus, but also the way you get around in a game. Using a ranking from 1 to 10, a score of 1 goes to those of you with only one button (go Apple!) and a score of 10 goes to the mouse that can do everything!

 

Summary:

Overall, the Meduza isn't bad. It takes a bit of time to get used to the large thumb rest and having small hands didn't make it easy. I loved the ring and pinky finger supports and the scroll wheel had a nice feel without being super loud and clicky. Comfort wise, if you've got big (or I guess "normal") sized hands, then you'll probably love this mouse. I had a couple of my bigger-handed gaming friends test this out while visiting and they truly loved it. So for once, size matters – don't be taking this comment any further, gentlemen.

I always hate trying to come up with numbers to represent these different features. What I think isn't necessarily going to be what you think – it all comes down to preference. On top of that, most mice do move fast, and you can change settings in Windows to make them about as fast as you want. Yes some can go faster, but in a lot of situations "speed" isn't what you are looking for. The ability to move fast and still be smooth is key here. The Meduza, along with most gaming mice, was rather smooth, even at those ridiculous high settings. Precision also depends on the user. If you can't normally draw a straight line with your mouse, spending more on a mouse probably won't help you draw one any better. Precision ends up being how accurate the mouse translates your movement to where the cursor is on the screen. With the right settings (especially if you have software packaging), any mouse can allow you to be just as precise as the next.

Finally comes the always popular customization ranking. The mouse has more than left, right, and scroll! Woot! Forward and back exist with the ability to change their functions. A DPI settings button is on top and profile selector on the side. I feel these are the features that are becoming more and more "standard". Unless you've got eight buttons on the side, or it's a RAT, then I don't really think there is much to customizing a mouse besides some color and maybe a couple macros on occasion.

As for the mouse pad, it acted just about like any other mouse pad. When the Meduza was used on your standard cloth pad, there wasn't a noticeable difference in use. The "special" HDST pad might not be a gimmick to get your last few dollars, but it doesn't seem to improve performance by much of a margin. Other mice, laser and optical, worked on the HDST pad without any problems – but no real improvement for them either. It's a nice pad, but don't expect it to be increasing your gaming prowess by much.

Conclusion:

Overall, the Meduza is a pretty nifty mouse. It’s hard to say whether the HDST sensor really improved my game play or overall mouse accuracy. It was nice having the physical switch on the bottom of the mouse to change between the different modes, to get the different feel of each sensor, but in reality I think I would never change it from HDST. If I paid for both sensors, I'd want to use them both as much as I could. The mouse itself has a pretty nice feel overall. Like I said, my small hands didn’t adjust very well, but a "normal" sized hand would fit just fine. I found the forward and back buttons a little out of place – I kept hitting forward when I wanted back. It's hard to say whether this was my hand size, but it wasn't something I could really get used to either.

The weight of the mouse is slightly heavier than the Razer DeathAdder. Along with many mice these days, the weight isn't adjustable without your own modifications. The weight really seems to be what makes it smooth and since you really don't have to "force" the mouse around, it's not really an issue. Overall, I liked how this mouse's design supported more of the hand with the individual finger rests. Perhaps it's not perfect for my hand, but I plan on using it for a while, as I've gotten too used to how well it moves about without getting caught up. Nonetheless, it will be a nice find when it finally hits the market.

The HDST designed pad isn't really something I'd be jumping at. It's a nice sized pad and it's rather smooth. However, it doesn't seem to be that much greater than your typical cloth pad, as I've mentioned so many times. At $20, it's not too hard on the wallet for its size. However, you don't need it to use this mouse, so if you already have a favorite, you might want to save your money for something else.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: