Zowie FK2-B Divina Review
Ever since Zowie released the updated version of their famous EC mouse, people have been clamoring for a refresh of that other public darling; the FK line.
Now the time has finally come. The new 'FK-B' line features that well-loved shape with upgraded internals and a number of other little differences that should make it a great update, but we all know that theory isn't the same as practice. So what are the differences, and do they justify an upgrade if your previous FK still functions perfectly?
Read our full review below to get the low-down and answers to all of your questions.
"The Zowie FK line is one of those legendary mouse families for a reason, but it can't be denied that the time for an update was right."
Zowie FK2-B Divina - First Impressions
As you can see from the pictures in this review this new FK iteration is currently only being sold in pink (which is what I've reviewed) and a sort of baby blue. That's because those colors are part of Zowie's Divina initiative which was created to support women in eSports. I obviously don't mind that initiative at all, but it's a bit of an odd choice to me that they're not releasing this new FK line in their regular matte black as well. Not because I absolutely need a black mouse or anything (I don't mind the almost retro 'candy pink' color on this mouse) but because those two colors are applied to the mouse with a glossy finish and I very much prefer matte coatings myself.
Zowie really emphasize the fact that they try to offer a size and shape for everyone so that pretty much every gamer can find the right Zowie mouse for them. Therefore it's a bit strange to see that they only offer a glossy coating on one of their most anticipated releases in recent times, doubly so because all of their new products can be bought with either a glossy Divina coating or the regular matte black. I know that there'll probably be a regular version of this mouse in the (near?) future as well, but I'm just commenting on the fact that they chose to not release it immediately, or maybe offer a matte Divina version. That said: a lot of companies don't offer the choice between glossy or matte and just release their mice with one type of coating so this whole thing isn't going to influence my opinion on the mouse itself.
Aside from the coating two things have notably changed between this new version and the old FK; the side buttons on the right side of the mouse are now gone and the cable now comes out of the shell itself at an angle (which is something Zowie first did with the S line) so as to reduce cable drag as much as possible. Other changes are under the hood, but more on those later.
The FK2 is the smallest of the FK family, with the FK1 being the medium sized one and the FK1+ being the largest specimen. This line is known for its safe ambidextrous shape, and luckily Zowie haven't changed anything here; the rather flat design with minimal curvature is still in place and I don't think anyone will complain about that at all.
The FK2 might be the smallest mouse of the bunch but I wouldn't necessarily call it a 'small' mouse. It's rather long so I would personally classify it as being medium sized, but of course you can judge this for yourself by looking at the dimensions.
Since this is a Divina edition mouse it comes in the white Divina box. That one isn't any different from the regular black Zowie box except for, obviously, the colors.
Inside that box it's also the standard Zowie affair; you get the mouse, the usual documentation, a Zowie sticker, and a pair of replacement mouse feet. The inclusion of replacement feet is always something that I appreciate; no matter how good your feet are, they will start to degrade over time so it's nice when manufacturers include a pair of extra skates for when the original ones have their best days behind them.
Size & Dimensions
Shape and finish
If nothing else, Zowie are kings of the shape game, and the FK is one of the most beloved mice among competitive gamers because of its shape. Luckily they realize that they're pretty good at this whole shapes thing (among other things; don't get me wrong) and haven't made any unwanted changes. The 'B' version is shown to be a couple of millimeters longer than the regular one on their website but that's only because of the added length that the new 'mouse cable exit system' adds so nothing has effectively changed to the shell design.
While the FK isn't my favorite Zowie shape (I prefer more of a hump towards the back so I'm partial to the S myself) I do have to say that it's very nicely done. There aren't any sudden curves or ledges that force your hand into a certain position and the whole thing feels very natural when holding it. It's not the first time that I use that word to describe Zowie shapes but that's because it fits the bill so well; you can tell that a lot of thought when into their designs and they deserve to be praised for that.
As I mentioned before the FK2-B Divina has a glossy finish. That's not my favorite type of finish (thanks to my sweaty hands when gaming) but it performs well and is grippy under pretty much any circumstance so I don't have any complaints here at all.
On the bottom of the mouse you've got two large feet that provide a really nice and smooth gliding experience without needing to wear them in or anything. These aren't the fastest stock feet I've ever experienced, but they don't have to be (I personally don't like an extremely fast mouse glide) and they strike a nice balance between control and speed if you're asking me.
Buttons and scroll wheel
Zowie clicks are sort of (in)famous in enthusiast circles for the way they feel. That's because Zowie uses Huano switches (as opposed to Omrons, which is what the majority of the industry uses) and they prefer to go for slightly heavier clicks to avoid any chance of accidental actuation. For me that's fine; if you've read other reviews of mine you'll probably know that I'm not a fan of extremely light clicks so as far as I'm concerned the approach that Zowie takes is the right one.
Both main clicks are crispy and feature almost no discernible travel so the implementation of the buttons is spot on here. For comparison's sake I dug out an old FK and while the clicks on the B version sound a bit fuller I didn't find any big difference between the tactile feeling of both sets.
I did find a difference between the scroll wheels though. The new one is still that Zowie signature 16 step wheel but it feels noticeably better to use thanks to a more defined feeling between steps and the fact that it's easier to press in. It's still pretty loud, though, and if you aren't a fan of Zowie's wheels you won't be a fan of this one but it's clear that they've made improvements on this front.
The side buttons, then, are another aspect that's seen some major changes. Whereas there were four of these to be found on the older model, Zowie has now opted to use just two on the left side. That's bad news for left-handed gamers, but good news for all other people since it not only eliminates any possibility of accidentally clicking those (unused) other buttons but it also cuts back on the weight.
The buttons themselves have seen an improvement, too. I didn't really have any big issues with the old FK on this front (at least not on the copy that I reviewed) but these new buttons are much crispier and feature less post travel so they definitely take the cake. They're easy to distinguish and very nicely placed, and that combined with the fact that they don't travel inside the shell after clicking at all (which is a pet peeve of mine) make them extremely pleasant to use.
All in all it's clear to see that Zowie has been evolving; they made changes in areas where it was most necessary, and while some people will be disappointed by their ongoing insistence to use Huanos or a 16 step wheel I can't objectively call these aspects of the mouse bad since they're design decisions and it's all implemented as it should be, so this, in the end, comes down to personal preference.
Quality and cable
Pretty much every Zowie mouse that I've reviewed so far has passed the build quality tests with flying colors and the same is true for the FK2-B Divina. I didn't find any way to make the shell flex or creak, and no matter how violently I shook the mouse around I didn't hear anything. Top marks here without any doubt.
As with the Zowie S, the cable now comes out of the shell at a slight angle. That's to help lift it off of the pad which in turn results in less cable drag. This might seem inconsequential at first but it really does do something. If you use this mouse with a decent bungee it's even possible to have no part of the cable on your desk whatsoever, depending on your sensitivity of course. Will this change make all the difference in the world ingame? No, of course not, but it does show how attention to even the smallest of details can make a product better.
Unfortunately for Zowie a cable isn't exactly a small detail, and while I applaud the idea behind angling said cable I have to say that the cable itself is the weakest point of this mouse by far. It's not a pain in the behind to use, and couple it with a bungee (or find a MacGyver way to elevate the cable off of your pad) and you'll barely notice it, but it's definitely behind the competition. Small and big companies alike have begun using paracord-like cables a couple of months ago now so I kind of fail to see why Zowie can't follow suit here.
It could be (I am aware that this is a reach) that the design process of this mouse was started before these new cables became widely available so I'm not going to go too hard here, but there isn't really any excuse to not go for something better on their next release as far as I'm concerned.
Performance and sensor
One of the eye catching new features with this release is the inclusion of the 3360 sensor. The old FK came with the 3310 which works perfectly fine (as is evidenced by the amount of analyzed professionals that are still using a mouse with a 3310) but in theory isn't a flawless sensor because it is possible to make that one spin out under specific circumstances. The 3360 does not have that problem and is a flawless sensor in every way so this is without a doubt a net upgrade on the old version of the FK.
My testing confirms that this sensor is indeed flawless and has been implemented in a fitting manner. There's no acceleration or prediction here so you can go into your games whilst being assured that your every move is translated to the game with utter precision.
Zowie mice come without any software, which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what kind of user you are. If you're a competitive gamer who has to play at different venues all the time it's great to just have to plug your mouse in and get going, but if you're someone who's hard into macros and all sorts of customization this might not be it. Regardless of that; this should be fine for the vast majority of gamers.
The DPI button on the bottom of the mouse lets you choose between all of the common settings (400, 800, 1600, and 3200) and the button next to it lets you choose between different polling rates so realistically there isn't too much you'd want to use software for regardless.
As I've said numerous times before in this review: the FK has a great shape. Due to the safe design and very natural (there I go using that word again) shape it'll be a great fit for pretty much every grip type.
Obviously it's not going to be great for most palm grippers due to the lack of any palm-supporting hump, but I can't imagine a lot of fingertip or claw grippers who would be cross when using this mouse. All sorts of hybrid grips can find a home here as well, as long as you're not looking for a very supported palm.
It's important to note that this mouse comes in three different sizes; for me the FK2-B just feels a bit too flat and unsubstantial at the palm area whereas the FK1-B already feels a lot better due to being bigger, so getting the right fit for your specific grip style can change how this mouse feels entirely.
There's a link to Zowie's website where you can compare different shapes and sizes on the bottom of the next paragraph in case you're still in doubt.
Conclusion & Recommendation
The Zowie FK line is one of those legendary mouse families for a reason, but it can't be denied that the time for an update was right.
Often you see companies releasing updated versions of their products whereby they make one too many unnecessary changes, which can make the product better than its predecessor on one front, but worse on another. This isn't the case here. Every change and improvement is a net win in my opinion, so the FK2-B Divina is without a doubt superior to the old FK.
The new sensor is obviously an upgrade, but the scroll wheel and side buttons also feel better, and the small changes that they made (the angled cable and the removal of the right side buttons for example) really combine to make this a great gaming mouse. For this reason it kind of breaks my heart (I'm overreacting a bit here, but still) that they haven't managed to fit a lighter and more flexible cable here; that would really push this mouse across the line as being one of the best releases of the year.
I know that some people love to complain about the scroll wheel on Zowie mice, but that's a design decision and there are people who prefer the 16 step wheel, so that's a matter of preference, but going for a better cable would be an upgrade for everyone so I'm hoping that they manage to do it on their next release.
Nevertheless: this update reinforces the FK's position as one of the better (shooter) mice out there, and you cannot go wrong with this one if you're after a flat ambidextrous shape.