ZOWIE mice have always been very respected in the professional tactical shooter world for their focus on performance, durability, and stability without blindly going for the latest trends, but when most brands went wireless with their flagship models, ZOWIE remained silent. Until now, that is. The first line of ZOWIE mice to go wireless is the famous EC line. Is it too little, too late? Or was ZOWIE right to take their time to really perfect their wireless technology? In our ZOWIE EC3-CW review you can read everything that you want to know about the mouse.
ZOWIE currently has three different EC models, namely (from large to small) the EC1, EC2, and EC3. Our reviewer is taking a look at the EC3-CW, which is the smallest of the three, but the other models have the exact same specs. If you are wondering about the differences between different ZOWIE EC iterations, you can read our article here.
At A Glance
ZOWIE EC3-CWUsed by 9 players (Jun, 2023)
❝The ZOWIE EC3-CW is ZOWIE’s first foray into the world of wireless gaming mice, and if you’re looking for that typical ZOWIE experience in a wireless package, this is it. ZOWIE isn’t a brand that strays from their ideals in order to pursue the latest hype, and the CW line is a perfect example of that. You get an extremely well-built mouse with solid, heavy-duty clicks that’s focused on control and stability. As a wireless ZOWIE mouse, this is pretty much exactly what I had imagined.❞
|DPI||400, 800, 1600, 3200|
|Polling Rate||250 / 500 / 1000 Hz|
- Great build quality
- Fantastic shape
- Comes with enhanced receiver that doubles as a charging dock
- Loud scroll wheel
- Stock feet could be better
- High price, especially in the EU
- The usage of an older (flawless) sensor might not sit well with everyone
One of the first things you notice when unpacking the EC3-CW is the massive enhanced receiver that it comes with. It’s made to ensure a stable connection at all times (even with lots of other wireless devices around) and it also doubles as a charging dock. I absolutely love the convenience of a charging dock. I know that plugging in a USB-C cable every couple of days is hardly a massive, insurmountable task, but there’s something about just setting down your mouse on its dock after a day of playing/working that feels very satisfying, and it makes mice feel as if they have unlimited battery life to me. The whole receiver package does look a little bit goofy and unwieldy though. I’ll speak more about the actual receiver further down in the review.
As far as the mouse itself goes there’s not much to say. This is a ZOWIE mouse, which means that there’s no configurable LED lighting (there are three indicator LEDs at the top, along with some indicator LEDS at the bottom, but these aren’t for decorative purposes) or other performance-distracting stuff. Since this is basically a wireless EC3-C, there aren’t that many changes to the overall design. The feet have been changed so that the mouse can accommodate the charging dock connection points and there’s been a slight chang but other than that there are no eye-catching design changes here.
- Enhanced wireless receiver
- Wireless receiver
- Extension dongle for wireless receiver
- USB-C charging cable
- Quickstart guide
- Warranty info
- Extra mouse feet
Shape, Coating, and Mouse Feet
The ZOWIE EC line is known for its extremely natural-feeling shape. It’s one of the most copied mouse shapes on the market, and while some manufacturers come extremely close, I haven’t seen anyone actually completely matching the EC magic. If you’re looking for a comfortable ergonomic mouse with a fantastic shape that allows you to grip the mouse in a variety of ways without forcing your fingers in a certain direction, the EC is still one of the top contenders.
This EC3 is the smallest of the bunch, and a relatively new addition to ZOWIE’s lineup. In case you’re wondering: this is not just a smaller scale EC2. The EC3 is, in essence, a shorter EC2 with a slightly lower hump. It saw the light because there was a need for a smaller and nimbler EC mouse due to the rise of tactical shooters that require a lot more vertical movements such as VALORANT, and I totally understand this design decision. It feels a lot more maneuverable than the longer, higher-humped EC2, and this makes it a worthy alternative for those who like the EC2/EC1 design language but want their mice to be slightly more mobile.
ZOWIE’s coating has vastly improved from the days where it was an absolute fingerprint and sweat magnet, but it’s still not my favorite. As someone who prefers coating with a little more (micro)texture, this is a bit too slick for my taste, and it’s still not the greatest at handling sweat and oils. Performance-wise it’s all great: I never had any grip issues during my testing. I’m really just talking about the feeling of the coating here.
On my copy, the feet felt slow and even somewhat scratchy at first. This got less pronounced as I used the mouse more, so these are definitely feet that require some time to wear in. I do feel like ZOWIE has done better in the past with their feet, and I would love it if they included their speed skates by default, or at least sold versions that came with the speed skates. Despite being someone who prefers a more stable, locked-in glide over super speedy and slick glides, I do have to say that I like ZOWIE’s speed skates better on their mice.
Recommended Grip Types
The EC3-CW is an ergonomic mouse with a rather low hump, making it ideal for gamers who prefer this type of shape but don’t want their palm to be completely filled. Due to the shorter size it can also be considered by fingertip grippers, but unless you’re absolutely sure that you want a mouse shape like this one I’d steer you towards ambi mice if you fingertip grip.
In any case: the shape of the EC3 is very safe, so it can be used by a large variety of hand sizes and grip styles. If you want a more stable experience with more palm contact, look towards the EC2 or even the EC1.
Buttons and Scroll Wheel
Those who know ZOWIE mice will know what they’re getting here. A firm clicking experience with heavier triggers, ensuring that each and every press is felt by the user. The clicks feel very good: the buttons feel extremely solid and secure, with no side travel and very limited pre travel. There is some post travel on both main buttons though, and this is more pronounced on the right click on my unit. I know that having post travel can make for a more pronounced click feeling and I have nothing against mice that have (some) post travel, but the right button on my unit goes a little too far. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but it’s something to bear in mind if you’re someone who is sensitive to this. For me, the most important aspect with mouse clicks is that there’s minimal pre travel and absolutely no side travel or switch rubbing, and these clicks really deliver on that front: I noticed nothing of the sorts during my testing.
When I initially started using the mouse, I noticed that my click timing was slightly off. After doing testing I noticed that the click latency, while perfectly within tolerable margins, is on the higher side when compared to some other recent mice such as the Razer DeathAdder V3 Pro with its optical switches. That, combined with the fact that the clicks on the EC3-CW are just about the heaviest I’ve tested in recent months, made the clicks feel slightly sluggish, and it took me some time to get used to them. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but if you like light and very spammable clicks you will definitely want to think twice about getting this one.
The side buttons feel good to me. They are a tad mushy upon actuation but there’s little to no travel and they’re conveniently placed so these are all good.
The scroll wheel is easy to press and extremely tactile, with a ton of definition between steps. That’s all fine: the tactility of the wheel makes it great for gaming, and the move to a 24-step wheel (as opposed to the 16-step wheels that ZOWIE used in the past) means that it’s a lot more suitable for browsing and work, but I do wish that they did something about the sound. It’s a very loud wheel, and while it’s better than on some of the old models there is still room for improvement here.
Build Quality and Cable
As I’ve come to expect from ZOWIE mice, the EC3-CW has no noticeable flaws in the build quality department. There is absolutely nothing moving around when shaking the mouse, and even squeezing it as hard as I could I couldn’t get it to flex or creak. This is one of ZOWIE’s absolute strong suits, and it’s good to see the brand delivering again and again when it comes to the build quality of their mice.
The EC3-CW is a wireless mouse that comes with a charging dock, so I didn’t run out of juice even once when I was testing it. If you do happen to end up with an empty battery you can rest assured, as the included USB-C charging cable is light and flexible, and the connection port on the mouse itself has more than enough room to connect other USB-C cables. On the top of the mouse there are three indicator LEDs to let you know what the situation is with the battery life, should you want to check this before going to an event or something like that.
Sensor and Everyday Performance
SENSOR AND WIRELESS PERFORMANCE
Inside the EC3-CW you will find the 3370 sensor. Enthusiasts will know that this is an older sensor and that newer sensors have been available for quite some time, but ZOWIE argues that they would rather go for something stable and reliable instead of going for the latest and greatest where there might be some teething problems. Given the fact that flawless sensors have been out for many years now, I personally don’t have a problem with the fact that they’re using (slightly) older tech on this front. There are always going to be people who claim otherwise, but 99.9% of gamers won’t even notice the difference between a 3370 and a 3395 in actual gaming scenarios as long as both sensors are implemented properly.
The sensor implementation is done well. DPI deviation is well within acceptable margins, motion delay is low, and I couldn’t find any smoothing or other shenanigans with the sensor on my unit. I also experienced no connection dropouts or anything like that during my testing. Something that I did notice is that the sensor data I got from my testing could look a bit erratic at times (there was some SPI timing jitter, for example) but this is not something that I was able to replicate all the time and it doesn’t impact gameplay on my unit. I did a lot of testing and spent a lot longer with this review unit than I normally do with mice just to make sure of that, but it’s still a bit strange to see on a flagship gaming mouse.
The EC3-CW comes with an enhanced receiver. This doubles as a charging dock and, when used, should eliminate any and all interference from other devices. I am someone who always places their receiver right next to the mousepad, and even though I have tested a whole lot of wireless mice over the past years I never had an issue with interference. I didn’t have any connection issues when using the regular receiver despite having up to three wireless mice and a wireless headset plugged in alongside the EC3-CW, so aside from the fact that this enhanced receiver doubles as a charging dock I don’t think that this is going to be something that actually enhances the performance of the mouse for the vast majority of people.
Of course you could say that the enhanced receiver isn’t for me. I am mostly playing at home (or with a maximum of five other people when I’m gaming at my friend’s house) and not at massive LAN events or on stages where there’s a ton of wireless equipment being used, but then why include this for all users? I would’ve vastly preferred it if ZOWIE offered this enhanced receiver as a separate option and also sold the EC3-CW with just a regular dongle at a reduced price. Don’t get me wrong: I love the charging dock functionality, and I use it all the time, but I could definitely do without it and I don’t see it as a big selling point for the vast majority of users.
ZOWIE mice have never been about being lightweight, and when it comes to the weight of the EC3-CW I can be very short: it’s fine for me. Seventy-six grams is by no means a brick, and while it’s obviously true that some people simply aim better with lighter mice it’s not as if ‘lighter = better’ is some kind of universal truth. We only need to look at the amount of pros who switched to mice such as the VAXEE XE Wireless and the ZOWIE CW series to see proof of this statement. I would personally like this mouse to lose a couple of grams as I prefer my mice to be between 55 and 70 grams (give or take) but I aim and perform fine with the EC3-CW, and the weight isn’t a limiting factor for me at all. There’s obviously an upper limit to how much a mouse should weigh, but the EC3-CW isn’t even close to that limit for me.
CONFIGURATION AND CUSTOMIZATION
The EC3-CW is entirely plug-and-play. There is no software to download and all configuration has to be done on the mouse itself. As someone who uses 1600 DPI (which is a common DPI level) I have no issue with this at all, but if you use an uncommon DPI level and/or you are someone who likes to program a lot of macros and the likes you may want to look at other options.
The elephant in the room with the EC-CW series is without a doubt the price. I don’t usually make a habit of discussing prices in my reviews, but with this product I feel like I have to. In the US, the mouse costs $150, which I would consider to be fine if you’re a ZOWIE fan and/or you want to get that wireless EC shape. You do get two receivers and a charging dock along with the mouse, and that price is in line with what other big brands are asking for their flagship products so I don’t see that price as particularly egregious, even though it can sting to pay top dollars for a mouse that’s using older tech and isn’t exactly pushing the envelope when it comes to technology.
I live in Europe, though, and here that same mouse would cost 179 euros. For reference: that would be around 190 USD at the time of writing this review. I find that to be very high, especially since the enhanced receiver, while certainly a nice extra, isn’t something that is going to be all that useful to the majority of people. It would’ve been so much better to see ZOWIE release this mouse at a reduced price and have that enhanced receiver be an optional extra for people to purchase.
I am not blind to the fact that prices of pretty much all products are rising, but I do find 179 euros for a mouse that isn’t at the cutting edge of technology to be hard to stomach.
ZOWIE EC3-CW Alternatives
If you’re considering the EC3-CW you can look at the Pulsar Xlite Wireless V2 Mini as an extremely similar alternative, though that one is lighter and has holes in the body. Glorious’ Model D line (especially the Model D- if you want that smaller ergonomic size) can also be considered.
ZOWIE EC3-CW Review – Conclusion
The ZOWIE EC3-CW is ZOWIE’s first foray into the world of wireless gaming mice, and if you’re looking for that typical ZOWIE experience in a wireless package, this is it. ZOWIE isn’t a brand that strays from their ideals in order to pursue the latest hype, and the CW line is a perfect example of that. You get an extremely well-built mouse with solid, heavy-duty clicks that’s focused on control and stability. As a wireless ZOWIE mouse, this is pretty much exactly what I had imagined.
Some will say that it’s too little, too late due to the older 3370 sensor and the lack of revolutionary features or functions, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. The 3370 is a flawless sensor, and the ingame difference between this and something like a 3395 will be extremely hard to notice for almost all gamers.
All of the above would be fine if the price was right. Not every mouse needs to push boundaries, and ZOWIE mice are made for a very specific audience who love and appreciate the fact that the brand keeps going their own way, but if you release a product with older tech you can’t be asking cutting edge, early adopter-like prices for it if you ask me. Yes, the enhanced receiver is part of the package and that will drive up the price, but the mouse works just fine with the regular receiver (provided it’s placed close to the mousepad) so that’s not really something that convinces me personally. The price in the US is quite simply in line with what other brands are charging for their top products so I don’t really have an issue with that, but in the EU you’re paying almost 200 euros, and that’s a very steep ask for a product like this. It’s a very steep ask for any gaming mouse.
In short: as a ZOWIE wireless mouse it’s pretty much exactly what ZOWIE fans have been asking for, and the product hits all marks on that front. It’s just simply too expensive for most gamers who aren’t diehard ZOWIE fans.