Zowie IO 1.1 Professional Gaming Bundle Review

Compxpert - 2009-06-10 16:57:19 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: June 22, 2009
Price: $87.99

Introduction:

As a gamer, you know what it takes to be the best. Not only do you need to put in hard work and practice into your gaming skill, but you need good peripherals to back you up. Besides having a great rig for gaming, you should have a great keyboard, mouse, and a great surface for that mouse. This is where Zowie comes in, with its IO 1.1 Professional Gaming Bundle. I bet the first thing that comes to your mind is "I have never heard of Zowie Gear." If you haven't, you're not alone, because I hadn't until now either. Zowie Gear is a newcomer to the market of gaming peripherals, and this is its first release featuring a mouse. Prior to the release of the Gaming Bundle, all Zowie Gear had out was its series of waterproof mouse pads.

 

This bundle features a mouse and a water proof mouse pad, as well as carrying case for the mouse. The mouse itself is a Microsoft IO1.1 optical mouse, which has a special coating on it not found on a plain IO1.1.

Closer Look:

 

Upon looking at this bundle, the first thing to catch my eye was the huge "mouse carpet" inside. This mouse pad is 440mm x 380mm x 4mm, or for those of you who don't use metric, it's 17.32" x 14.96" x 0.15". This is a huge monster of a mouse pad. On the packaging, it describes it as being water resistant like Zowie's other mouse pads. Aside from our "mouse carpet" there is a mouse, Microsoft Intelli Explorer Optical 1.1, and a CO/GENES mouse bag.

 

 

 

 

The mouse itself, which is a Microsoft Intelli Explorer Optical 1.1, isn't really that special aside from the special coating Zowie has applied, and the Zowie logo above the Microsoft logo. Apart from that, there really isn't anything special to be found, at least without first letting it out of the box, but even then we can't really be sure how it performs until we use it right. Unlike other mice out there, this one does not have on the fly DPI adjustment, or any sort of speed adjustment to speak of. No software is provided either in order to provide any sort of customization. There is also the CO/GENES mouse bag, which is small and stylish, but not too small to house the entire mouse. This sort of bundle is a rather neat idea that I have yet to see from other companies, but I would like to see it packaged with a better mouse than this.

 

Without further introduction let's look closer at this bundle we have.

Closer Look:

With our mouse, mouse pad, and carrying case out of the packaging, we can really see the quality of this bundle. The coating on the mouse feels great in the hand, but feels like it could potentially become slippery if your hands sweat. Upon unraveling our "mouse carpet," you get the idea of how large it really is, not by dimension, but by visually seeing how large it is. The material of the pad also feels good to the hand. So here is what everything looks like unpacked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here you can see for yourself the sheer size of this mouse pad. Apart from its size, in the specs it also mentions the pad is waterproof. From looking at everything in the bundle as a whole, the mouse pad looks like the best part.

 

 

Moving on we look at the mouse. Probably the weaker part of this gaming bundle, this mouse only maxes out at a resolution of 400 DPI. With no software provided, and no on the fly adjustment, it would seem you are stuck at this low resolution. The mouse has five buttons, which is more than some other mice; however, I think most people would rather have a faster mouse when it comes to gaming than more buttons. The mouse is capable of USB 1.1/2.0, as well as PS/2 using the provided adapter. Additionally, the mouse also comes with an extra set of feet, so when the ones it already has wear out you, can replace them.

 

 

Lastly we look at the CO/GENES mouse bag. According to the box, this bag is made of a soft and durable cloth. It is a bit larger than the mouse of course, so you could hold a bit more than just the mouse in it, but I'm not sure what other small items you could fit in besides the mouse.

 

 

Well, now that we had a look at the whole bundle, let's see how this mouse performs.

Contents:

Features:

All information found on side of box and courtesy of Zowie @ http://www.zowiegear.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=23&Itemid=45

Testing:

This review will be twofold, since I will be testing both a mouse and mouse pad. I compared the mouse pad to a standard no-name one I had around the house, and I compared the mouse to a Logitech G5 and Logitech Dell mouse. However, for space I only compared the G5 and IO1.1 in the mouse pad tests. Categories that overlap between the two are precision and speed. Other categories are customizability and comfort for the mouse, and control for the mouse pad. I tested both in general everyday use and in gaming. For games I used Team Fortress 2 and Unreal Tournament 3. On every test, I rated my findings on a 1 to 10 scale - one being the worst and 10 being the best.

Testing Setup:

Comparison Mice:

Mouse Tests:

Speed:

When testing speed, I compared how fast I was able to move the pointer across the screen and how quickly I could make movements in games. Again, the rating is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being worst and 10 being the best.

Comfort:

For this, I spent hours gaming with each mouse to see how my hand felt during and after gaming. Rating is on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being how bad my hand felt during or after or 10 being how great my hand felt.

Precision:

For this test I compared how easy it was to get headshots. With the Zowie, I found it hard to hit moving targets, but if someone stood still for long enough I could almost always get a headshot. The same happened with the Dell Logitech mouse. But, as I thought, it was easiest to get headshots using the G5 - especially with its 800 and 2000 DPI settings. Scale is from 1 to 10, how hard it is to get a headshot or how easy it was.

Customizability:

Of course, many mice are very customizable - but from what it seemed, the IO1.1 offers no customization besides that of the standard mouse settings found in the Control Panel. This is also where the Dell Logitech mouse finds itself. On the other hand, the Logitech G5 offers a plethora of things you can do using its bundled software, as well as on the fly DPI adjustment. Tests results range from a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most customizable and 1 being none at all.

Continued on next page.

Mouse Pad Tests:

Comparison Mouse Pad:

Precision:

I always liked my standard thick mouse pad, but I knew I wasn't getting the best performance, and knew I could get something better for gaming. So, of course, both the Zowie IO1.1 and Logitech G5 seemed to perform better on the Zowie Mouse pad.

 

 

 

Speed:

For speed, not only did I compare how fast it moved the pointer on the screen, but how fast it moved on the pad. Results are on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being slow, and 10 being super fast.

Control:

It was pretty easy to tell the difference between the two in this category. It would seem that the smoothness of the fabric on the Zowie mouse pad didn't do it justice in the end, since it was a tad harder to maintain control of either mouse on the pad when compared to the standard one. Again, comparison is based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being really hard to control and 10 being really easy to control.

I was very impressed with this mouse pad; the mouse, however, wasn't as impressive. To be a "Professional Bundle," the mouse should have been something that could at least compete with what is out on the market. However, the mouse came with no software, and offers no on the fly DPI adjustment like some other gaming mice out there. Sadly, the mouse's overall performance was as good as a basic three button mouse.

Conclusion:

Overall, this bundle doesn't do all that well. The performance of the mouse pulls this bundle down quite a bit, and if not for the mouse pad, I doubt it could fit the title of "Professional Gaming Bundle" at all. At best it could be called a "Gaming Bundle," but to be "Professional" it should be bundled with a much better mouse. The mouse pad was a great performer in my tests, and outranked a standard mouse pad in nearly every test. It could probably do as well as the competition out on the market now. So Zowie manufactures great mouse pads, but this bundle really could use a pick me up in the mouse department. I like the idea of bundling together these items, and I have yet to see this implemented by any other company. Unlike most gaming mice out there, which offer software customization as well as on the fly DPI adjustment, the Zowie IO 1.1 Professional Gaming Bundle features none of these things, and only provides a mouse from another company with a special coating on it. As a matter of fact, I am sure that Microsoft does bundle software in with its mice, and yet it was absent with the Microsoft mouse found in this bundle. I can only take products as-is, and it probably would do better if only Zowie had bundled software in this package as well. As far as price goes, for $87.99, this bundle is a little pricey for what is being offered.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: