PerformanceThe performance of the mouse was primarily judged on our SteelSeries 9HD mat, but we also tested in on a generic cloth mat, and a ROCCAT Alumic with good results. First off the mouse is extremely predictable due to the fact that the sensor has no prediction at all. Where other sensors tend to straighten out your path the Zowie AM's sensor does not which makes it feel like an IntelliMouse capable of full control at higher sensitivities and speed. The feel of the mouse is pretty much the same as that of the IntelliMouse 1.1 we adore, it is slightly smaller and the shape is trimmed in a different way, so you have to spend some time in-game getting acquainted with it when coming from the IME 1.1.
Besides being a totally prediction free sensor, it is hardware fixed to 1000 Hz polling rate and that combined with the Avago sensor yields a very high full control and malfunction free speed. Both way beyond what is required even by low sensitivity gamers. The polling rate can be changed by holding a button while inserting the USB plug, at 1000 Hz the mouse performs brilliantly, but if you for some reason have issues try turning it down to 500 Hz.
With the extremely low lift-off-distance of 1.5 mm the Zowie mouse is a dream to play FPS games with. And the sensor gives perfect tracking at all DPI levels. With use of raw input and all acceleration turned off it is one of the most precise mice we have ever come across. The sensor is not hampered by positive or negative acceleration, and there is no z-axis tracking like with the Twin-eye sensors from Philips, in short perfect tracking! Its max DPI of 2300 should be more than enough even for high sensitivity gamers on large screens. Basically this mouse is performs like the Razer DeathAdder v1, but with a much smaller lift-off-distance.
The lift-off-distance varies a bit depending on the surface used, but for any gaming grade mouse mat it will be in the 1.5 mm region which is very good. On a multicolored mouse mat there might be some issues, however, the one we tested with did not produce any variations.
The scroll wheel is loud and slides along its axle quite a bit which is annoying. It does not feel to be up to the same quality as the rest of the mouse which is a real shame. The click function of the scroll wheel works well but the scrolling experience is just plain bad. It is noisy and the tactile feedback is sluggish especially compared to how much noise the wheel makes.
Like we would expect of any gaming grade mouse the Zowie AM's mouse feet work like a charm. They are of course made from Teflon and are big enough to provide consistent glide on anything from soft to hard mats.
The Zowie AM gaming mouse is by far the best option available for people who can live with the somewhat dodgy scroll wheel and a smaller than average mouse. The amount of buttons and options is great enough for serious FPS gaming, but RPG players might be left wanting. Since the DPI button is placed on the bottom of the mouse you do not get on-the-fly sensitivity, however, most games allow you to tweak the sensitivity per vehicle, weapon-type etc. so it is not a great loss if you only play the latest games.