BenQ’s Zowie series of mice are known to be go-to choices for first person shooter (FPS) gamers over the years. This is because they offer a comfortable form factor, great sensors, driver-less plug-and-play designs and a variety of configurations. In that collection come the latest S1 and S2 mice, which bring a few additional improvements in a long requested matte finish.
Shape and sizing
Both the S1 and S2 come with an ambidextrous shape. The S1 is the larger option while the S2 is a slightly smaller and lighter variant. The difference is quite minimal with a maximum size variation of up to 2 mm. Throughout this review though, we will be talking about the S2 as that is the mouse we have for review but the majority of our verdict should stay true for the S1 as well.
There is a slight taper on the sides of the mouse which provides a nice grip, both for fingertip and claw grip users. This, in turn with the mouse’s short design allows you to perform well in newer FPS games. Although, if you tend to use your mouse with a palm grip, I would recommend opting for the S1 instead.
But despite having an ambidextrous shape, the mouse may not be suited for left-handed users. This is because the mouse comes with side buttons which can only realistically be used if you are right-handed. And there are no plans for a left-handed variant of the S series to come anytime soon.
Feel in hand and buttons
The Zowie S1 and S2 come in at 87 g and 82 g respectively. And while this may seem lightweight, it is perfect for gaming use. The cable of the mouse is slightly angled so that it does not rub against the surface and you can easily use the mouse without a bungee to hold the cable. However, for more serious e-sports applications, the bungee could be a useful add-on to your setup.
As mentioned before, the transition to a fully matte exterior is a welcome change. It adds a hint of premium to the mouse and prevents visible smudges over extended use. The only part of the mouse that is glossy are the two buttons found on the left edge. Because they are made of a different material, they are easy to find and otherwise, their positioning is quite comfortable to get used to.
For the mouse’s primary switches, we are looking at stiff ones made from Huano. These tend to divide opinion among users but to me, they are perfect. They give off a firm and satisfying click, and are easy to press making them suitable for games that require a lot of continuous clicking.
The scroll wheel on the other hand, might be the mouse’s drawback. It is raised quite a fair bit and stepped. When using it, there is a loud response and it does not have the same premium feel as the rest of the mouse. Even when web browsing, the mouse does not have smoothest scroll. Therefore, I would not strongly recommend using this mouse for other things such as web browsing or video editing.
Durability, sensor type and features
As with many good quality mice, the sensor on the Zowie S1 and S2 is placed in the centre. It uses a new Pixart PMW 3360, which is widely accepted to be the best on the market. The same sensor or a proprietary version of it is found in almost every high-end professional gaming mouse. It is safe to say that with it, the mouse tracks flawlessly with no jitter, acceleration or lift-off problems especially when gaming. I tried it on various mouse mats as well as on a wooden surface and encountered no issues.
The bottom of the mouse is also where you find two large feet. One is on the front of the device while the other is on the rear. With this placement, the mouse glides smoothly and in the box, you get a replacement pair of feet which is thoughtful from BenQ. This being a gaming mouse, you will be surprised not seeing any external lights. There is no flashy RGB lighting but that is not necessarily a bad thing for people who want function over looks. With no additional software required for use, everything the mouse can do is found on the bottom.
You find a DPI button which lets you cycle between 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and a button to change the mouse’s polling rate varying from 125Hz, 500Hz and 1,000Hz. These are thought out nicely with each range giving you a different experience. While there is no right or wrong configuration, something you may miss is minute configuration. Typically, gaming mice with dedicated software allow you to fine-tune your polling rate and DPI settings which is not something you can do with BenQ’s Zowie S1 or S2.
The Zowie S1 and S2 fall in the mid-range category when it comes to gaming mice. They do not have RGB lighting nor is there an option to use the mouse wirelessly. However, for someone focused on in-game performance only, both the mice come out with flying colours. So, if you are in the market for a new gaming mouse with little real-world sacrifice, you should look no further.