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BenQ Zowie EC2-CW review: no-nonsense esports performance
9:38 pm | April 25, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Mice Peripherals & Accessories | Tags: | Comments: Off

BenQ Zowie EC2-CW: Two-minute review

The BenQ Zowie EC2-CW is a no-frills wireless gaming mouse intended for high-level esports play. It trades flashy specs and extraneous features for supremely reliable performance and comfortable ergonomics, making it easy to recommend if you’re searching for a plug-and-play mouse specifically for use in competitive first-person shooter (FPS) titles like Counter-Strike 2. For everyone outside of that niche, however, the high asking price and plain design mean that you’re likely to be better served by more mainstream options.

A wireless version of the existing Zowie EC2-C, which is a popular pick for professional FPS players, the Zowie EC2-CW sports a highly ergonomic right-handed asymmetrical factor that fits in your palm like a glove. It remains impressively comfortable over extended periods of use, which is especially important if you’re going to be undertaking lengthy practice sessions.

The BenQ Zowie EC2-CW gaming mouse on a colorful mousepad.

(Image credit: Future)

While I personally experienced the highest level of comfort with the medium-sized EC2-CW, there are also two additional models available: the EC1-CW and the EC3-CW. The EC1-CW is longer and wider and the EC3-CW is a little shorter. Each version differs by a few grams in weight but is otherwise identical in terms of features. I suspect that the EC2-CW is going to be the best option for the majority of players, but it's still excellent to see alternatives for those with bigger or smaller hands. That said, there isn’t a single model that is suitable for left-handed users at the moment which is a disappointment.

Although manufacturer BenQ declined to offer any exact details regarding the construction materials and components used in the mouse, making them seem like some kind of closely guarded trade secret, it’s safe to say that the exterior is made of a smooth black matt plastic. This means that I also can’t say for sure what kind of micro switches are used for the main buttons, but can vouch for their satisfying level of actuation depth and ability to provide accurate, clean inputs. The mouse also features two additional buttons on its left side, which are both generously sized and fit well under the thumb thanks to their slightly curved shape. 

The scroll wheel is made of a rubberized material, with pronounced ribs. Scrolling uses a careful notched motion that requires a fair amount of force to turn, which took me a little while to get used to. In the long run, however, the more precise controls proved extremely beneficial and helped prevent any unfortunate accidental weapon-switches in even the most high-intensity moments of ranked Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

The BenQ Zowie EC2-CW gaming mouse on a colorful mousepad.

(Image credit: Future)

Hidden just below the scroll wheel are three miniscule white LED lights. These illuminate while the mouse is receiving power, denoting the current charge level on a scale of one to three. It's a useful way to keep track of your remaining battery life which is quoted to last roughly 70 hours - a figure that I found was generally accurate no matter my choice of settings. On the underside of the mouse, you will find the mode switch (which alternates between wired and wireless mode), a report rate switch button, and a DPI switch button. LED lights positioned alongside intuitive labels show your current report rate, which can be switched between 125 Hz, 500 Hz, and 1000 Hz. 

There is also an RGB LED denoting your current sensitivity, which can be raised to a limit of 3,200 DPI. This is quite a modest figure, ten times lower than the 32,000 DPI of other premium mice like the Logitech Pro X Superlight 2. While this might be a dealbreaker for some, most professional Counter-Strike 2 players actually tend to favor a sensitivity as low as 400 DPI or 800 DPI. Handily, both a 400 DPI and 800 DPI mode are built-in - an essential addition when there is no available companion software meaning the mouse is restricted to its range of out-of-the-box presets. 

The BenQ Zowie EC2-CW gaming mouse on a colorful mousepad.

(Image credit: Future)

Another area where the Zowie EC2-CW appears to be behind the competition is in its relatively hefty weight of 2.79oz (79g). This is higher than many other wireless gaming mice at this price range, but seems to be a considered choice rather than an oversight. Playing at 800 DPI, the weight lends a fantastic level of precision that would simply wouldn’t be able to achieve otherwise. Accidental movement is almost impossible, helping you keep your sights on target in titles where one pixel of inaccuracy can cost your team the win. A replacement set of adhesive skates is also provided in the box, ensuring that you can keep the level of friction consistent if the set that comes preinstalled begins to wear out.

Even though the mouse can be charged through a front USB-C port using the lengthy cable packed in the box, which is also used for wired play, it comes packed with its own compact charging dock. The mouse connects to the dock through two metal contacts on its underside, easily slotting into place. In addition to providing easy charging, the dock doubles as a wireless receiver, reducing the potential for signal interference by drastically cutting down the distance that would be present with a traditional wireless dongle. I've suffered from the occasional signal dropout or odd moment latency using other wireless mice via a wireless dongle, but did not experience anything of the kind with the Zowie EC2-CW with its wireless receiver. 

The BenQ Zowie EC2-CW gaming mouse on a colorful mousepad.

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a fantastic inclusion on the whole, especially when you consider that it’s quite compact and easy to fit into your setup. Although using the wireless receiver is definitely the way to go, a more conventional USB receiver and dongle extender are also included here giving you plenty of options. 

If you have the budget to spend and truly value reliability and performance in competitive FPS titles above leading specs and a flashy design, it’s easy to recommend the Zowie EC2-CW. If that’s not you, however, be sure to check out some of the top alternatives listed later on.

BenQ Zowie EC2-CW: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $119.99 / £129.99 / AU$179
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The Zowie EC2-CW costs $119.99 / £129.99 / AU$179. It is readily available in the US, UK, and Australia either directly from BenQ or via third-party retailers like Amazon. Although this is very much a high-end price tag, it comes in slightly cheaper than some of the leading alternatives such as the ASUS ROG Harpe Ace Aim Lab Edition, which costs $139.99 / £139.99 / AU$189.

Given the more modest specs of this mouse, you’re definitely paying a large premium for the ergonomic shape and wireless receiver. If you’re willing to compromise on the wireless connectivity, you can pick up the wired Zowie EC2 for just $44.99 / £64.99 / AU$99 which boasts the same fantastic design. If you are set on a wireless gaming mouse, however, the comfort offered by the Zowie EC2-CW definitely makes it worth considering even at this lofty price.

The BenQ Zowie EC2-CW gaming mouse on a colorful mousepad.

(Image credit: Future)

BenQ Zowie EC2-CW: Specs

Should you buy the BenQ Zowie EC2-CW?

Buy it if...

You value ergonomics above all else
By far the most compelling aspect of Zowie EC2-CW is its ergonomic design, which is incredibly comfortable in the hands. With three sizes to choose from, you’re likely to find the perfect fit.

You don’t mind a plain design
The Zowie EC2-CW looks about as understated as they come, which could be quite appealing if you’re tired of the RGB-laden aesthetic of much of the competition.

You want a dock
The wireless receiver not only cuts down on the potential for signal interference but also doubles as a convenient charging dock, making it easy to keep the Zowie EC2-CW topped up with juice.

Don't buy it if...

You’re left-handed
The Zowie EC2-CW is asymmetrical and designed exclusively for right-handed users. With no left-handed option available at the moment, this is one to avoid if you need a left-handed mouse.

You want more impressive specs
Although it performs fantastically, the Zowie EC2-CW doesn’t have particularly impressive specs on paper. If you want the highest possible DPI or the lightest weight, consider other options.

BenQ Zowie EC2-CW: Also consider

How I tested the BenQ Zowie EC2-CW

  • Tested for three months
  • Tested with top esports titles
  • Used daily for both work and gaming

I spent three whole months using the Zowie EC2-CW as my main mouse. This meant daily use for productivity tasks and internet browsing, plus a lot of gaming.

While I predominantly focused on PC esports FPS titles like Counter-Strike 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, I also played plenty of other games. This included lots of nefarious scheming in Evil Genius 2, a playthrough of The Caligula Effect: Overdose, some Team Fortress 2 with friends, and more. I made sure to test the mouse using its wireless receiver, in addition to its wireless dongle and a wired USB-C connection.

As a hardware writer at TechRadar covering gaming hardware, I have no shortage of hands-on experience with gaming peripherals. In addition to maintaining our guide to the best mice for CS:GO and CS2, I’m a dedicated FPS player with an almost embarrassing number of hours spent in all the latest and greatest titles.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed April 2024

Synapse Review – Mind palace mayhem
6:19 pm | July 7, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off
Review Information

Platform reviewed: PS5 / PSVR 2

Available on: PS5 / PSVR 2

Release date: July 4, 2023 (Out Now) 

PSVR 2 finally has another exclusive to shout about. Synapse is the next game from nDreams (Fracked, Phantom: Covert Ops), and it taps into the growing reputation of the VR roguelike, a genre that is slowly being refined by savvy developers, generating innovative results. 

In Synapse, your mission is complicated: enter the mind of the once-respected, now dangerous Colonel Peter Conrad and tackle his procedural mind baddies to prevent imminent disaster. You’ll wipe out increasingly complex arenas full of goons as you progress deeper into his subconscious with the aim of extracting his juicy secrets.

Along the way, you’re coached by a handler who has a history with the colonel, and as you namelessly rage against the dying of the light, they bite at each other and allow you to unravel tantalizing bits of sub-narrative intrigue. 

The Colonel and The Handler are voiced by David Hayter (Solid Snake) and Jennifer Hale (Commander Shepard, Rivet), respectively, and, as legends of the voice-acting game, they put a real shift in and elevate the experience considerably, even if the story is ultimately quite predictable.

The player levitates an enemy with neon-tinged telekenesis in Synapse

(Image credit: Sony)

But that’s not really the draw of Synapse. As the trailers have shown, it’s mostly about indulging your inner Jean Grey as you activate traps, move platforms, and lob barrels at bad guys. This is tempered by a weapon in your other hand, which you’ll use to tap heads and speed up your body count. 

It’s a pretty tricky game (as roguelikes tend to be), and I wouldn’t recommend Synapse as somebody’s first VR experience. But if you’ve beaten Half-Life Alyx or The Light Brigade and you’re looking for more of that high-intensity shooter action, Synapse delivers in its own endearing way. It’s not breaking any new ground, but it has some fun ideas, and most importantly, it’s a welcome stocking stuffer in the PSVR 2’s library, which is starving for reliable exclusives at present.

My favorite thing about Synapse is how it augments this compelling fantasy with the unique features of the headset

My favorite thing about Synapse is how it augments this compelling fantasy with the unique features of the headset. The PSVR 2’s eye-tracking means you just have to look at the object you want to fling in order to highlight it, which speeds up the pace of combat considerably. The tracking isn’t perfect all of the time, but when it works, it’s a treat and adds a level of compelling nuance to the gunfights. 

Texture work, assets, and enemy models are nice and detailed up close, but while it feels like Synapse has an ‘art style’ of its own, it doesn’t ground me in the fantasy of being in another person’s mind with the same efficacy as the likes of Psychonauts. Terracotta artifacts of The Colonel’s consciousness sit stoically in the background of certain stages, but I was left wishing that they would come and truncate the action. The static monochrome backgrounds make the Colonel’s mind seem dull. 

A technicolor door looms against a monochrome background

(Image credit: Sony)

There’s a decent amount of variety as you push through the zones toward Hayter’s hippocampus, but you’ll eventually note the similarities in architecture, so it’s not quite a different run every time. Enemies range from your typical grunts to frustrating flying leather monsters and minigun-toting brick heads that look like The Heavy from Team Fortress 2

Best Bit

The player detonates a barrel while firing their pistol in Synapse

(Image credit: Sony)

The Sense Controller’s Adaptive Triggers allow you to gently levitate a barrel towards your target and then pull hard to crush it and cause a deadly explosion. You will almost certainly end up murdering yourself several times with this feature before you figure out the required tensile strength, but, once you do, it’s extremely satisfying. 

The most annoying foes, however, are the ceaseless phantoms that run at you, all with the aim of exploding and taking you with them. Sometimes, you’ll be backed into a corner and you won’t have the means to deal with them, but worse still is when they’re far enough away, and you get the drop on them with a deft shot, only for them to explode at a considerable distance from you and still deal damage despite your best efforts. It’s a nuisance that speaks to the game’s limitations.

For a game that you can run through in an hour or two (with the right luck and equipment), the pool of baddies is sufficient, but I often found myself hoping that Synapse would throw a few extra spanners into the works. For example, when you first face heavy enemies, you learn that you have to literally pull their armor off with telekinesis so you can hit their weak spot. I had assumed this kind of mechanical fun would extend to the rest of the game’s special enemies, but there’s no such luck.

the player reloads in Synapse

(Image credit: Sony)

The base-level enemies all look very similar to each other, too, barring changes in weaponry. They also share the same voice lines which, as you might expect, eventually start to grate. Broadly, it also became very annoying to have to hunt the last few enemies on a map, as they seem to spawn in chunks regardless of where you are. 

That said, dispatching these bad dudes with the tools at your disposal is solid fun, especially when you start to collect extra abilities with the ‘Defiance’ you earn from kills and pickups. Each level has its own set of stalls you can approach to grab health, upgrades, and weaponry, and you can upgrade the stalls by completing mini-missions within your run. This is where the roguelike elements manifest.  

When you die, you can redeem said missions to earn more currency and upgrade points, spending these on a permanent skill tree in the game’s hub to better yourself. 

Haptic feedback does a lot of the work in making the guns feel nice, as they can feel a bit toy-like in practice, lacking heft and recoil. The grenade launcher and shotgun, in particular, feel a bit weak. I used the pistol, mostly, which comes into its own with an ability that turns the last bullet in each mag into a grenade, which saved my ass countless times. 

The player kills a pair of phantoms with rapid pistol shots

(Image credit: Sony)

Broadly, the abilities available to you are more than mere stat buffs and meaningfully change the game, such as providing homing shots. Some even offer interesting gambits, like reducing or improving the power of explosions, which could help or hinder you depending on your loadout. All of these factors meld to create a challenge that is well worth the effort it takes to fight, die and come back stronger as you endeavor to persevere.

Unfortunately, there are a few run-killing glitches in the game. I lost my telekinesis hand a few times and couldn’t retrieve it, and on one awful occasion, had a Heavy blow up the cover I was holding onto, leaving me trapped in place in front of a firing squad. 

Either way, I beat Synapse on my third run without very many upgrades unlocked, and my VR aptitude was pushed to its very limits, offering a challenge that made the experience exhilarating. 

The abilities available to you are more than mere stat buffs

At one point, I was protecting a giant neon cube I had found as I slowly edged my way up a seemingly endless flight of stairs, fighting off a serious horde of nasties. I began talking to the inanimate object, and I was emotional when they nearly fell off the edge of the map - they became my best friend and saw me through to the game’s first ending. Unfortunately, that homegrown narrative meant more to me than any facet of the game’s story. 

So when the adrenaline had subsided, and I redeemed almost every unlock, I found it hard to meaningfully come back to Synapse with just the promise of more narrative. I still enjoyed the gunplay and environmental tinkering, but the broader lack of variety hampers the game’s replayability. Even with all these caveats, Synapse would easily make it into a list of the best games on PSVR 2, especially as one of the hardware’s few exclusives. It’s a substantial experience, not a tech demo, and we need more of those. 

Accessibility features 

Synapse has an accessibility menu that allows players to activate a vignette with varying degrees of intensity, which will help with motion sickness while moving. You can also choose to swap between incremental and smooth turning depending on your experience with VR, change dominant hands, and add subtitles. However, Synapse conspicuously misses navigation alternatives like teleportation or blink movement, meaning that players are forced to move in a realistic fashion with the left stick – a big ask for VR newbies. 

How we reviewed Synapse 

I completed Synapse’s core campaign and then continued running through its zones with a range of different weapons, picking up nearly all of the game’s unlockable abilities. I made sure to test out every part of the game’s combat toolset and use different ability combinations as possible so as to test every aspect of Synapse’s combat mechanics.

If you're looking to get the most out of your PSVR2, we've got a list of all the best PSVR2 games. We've also got a great list of all the best PS5 games if you're looking to put the headset down for a bit.

Review: Qpad QH-90
3:02 am | April 12, 2013

Author: admin | Category: Cameras | Tags: , | Comments: None

Review: Qpad QH-90

This manufacturer knows how to treat you like a pro gamer. These nearly top-of-the-line headphones from QPad, the Swedish purveyor of fine gaming ware[……]

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