PAX Aus 2016 – BenQ Zowie

I used to think that I knew what made a great piece of gaming hardware. You need a mouse with more buttons than flat surfaces, you need a 144hz monitor and you need headphones that could be mistaken for steampunk Princess Leia hair buns. Today I was not just told otherwise, but shown what true pro gear looks like. Myself and James were super lucky to talk to Enoch Huang and Sunny Chang from BenQ about what Zowie is and who it is for.

In eSports, and many competitive games, people have always wanted to play with the best.  Recently they have not been starved for choice; Logitec, Razer, Corsair and HyperX all have offerings for the more dedicated gamers. The prices can vary from from a couple of hundred of dollars to thousands more than many have even imagined. Never before have I asked myself if I had ever actually seen a pro using them, and asking myself now, I don’t think that I ever have.


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This is what makes a Yowie product special, it is what makes them different. It is all about making hardware that is not just perceived as being for the professionals, but actually is for the professionals. First set up by high level gamers themselves in 2008, Zowie was brought to life to make products for the pros by the pros.  They are made to be comfortable over the long gameplay hours that are often required for serious training and to be as powerful as is possible.

ec1-a-back-left45BenQ then entered into a partnership in 2010 where they helped provide Zowie with the tech to do what they wanted. Following a successful 5 year relationship, BenQ acquired Zowie in 2015. This is now paving the way towards a more globally visible product than was previously possible. And the best part? Enoch was able to confirm that Zowie will be fully focused on maintaining the vision as initially developed in 2008.

 

This ‘professionals first’ approach is most visible in the mice. Zowie offers 3 rages of mice, each of which contains 2 or 3 different sizes. This makes a lot of sense. You would not just buy a pair of shoes workout getting ones which fit, why would you do it with a mouse? Everyone’s hand is different. fk2-front-left45Each of these mice are also very focused in their design. They do not contain superfluous buttons or flashy functionality. What they do try to do is give players the most precise and most comfortable experiences possible.

rl2755-5The monitors Zowie produce are something else all together. I used to think that my monitor was good. It has lots of hertz and it is of a decent size. When seeing the monitors that Zowie brought to the stand, I stood corrected. The difference between various types of monitors showed it was amazing just how obvious input lag and ghosting was on the screen. I cannot express just how staggered I was seeing the difference in ghosting. I would suggest checking out the UFO ghosting test, Whatever you see there, it is nothing compared to the clarity shown across both the Zowie 24″ and 27″ monitors.

While the images these monitors produce are super awesome, they do not shirk on the details. There are shades on each side to help players focus on the game. Collapsible headphone hooks are included on the sides next to the headset holes and USB 3.0 hub. Also included with the monitors is a dongle called Game Mode Go. This device allows you to easily manipulate the presets of the monitor and then take them with you anywhere. Plug it in and your settings are saved. Finally, the ability to perfectly sync two of these monitors together only further helps support the console fighter scene, where pinpoint accuracy between two screens can be the difference between winning and losing.


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There are other accessories that also push other bounds. Zowie have an external audio hub which gives you the power to adjust balance on the fly. No need to leave the game. And the desktop management tool will hold your cables for you, relieving some of the strain on things like your mouse cord, making it much easier to ignore. Finally, the mouse-pad was notable in its sensible simplicity. Make it textured and comfortable.

 

camade_back_right45Enoch was able to outline that the near future of Zowie is quite clear. It is about the Keyboards and the Headsets. However, like all the other products that they deliver, they are focusing on putting the pro scene first. If it is not good enough, comfortable enough and reliable enough for eSports then it will not be released.

product-series-vital_300x300Where can you this current range of little beauties? It was emphasised to us that people really must be able to see and hold them to understand the power of Zowie, as such they are pursuing a retail focused strategy. Go into JB and check them out for yourselves. More information about their full product range can be found on their website.

Julian has been involved in the games industry for more than a couple of years now, from working in retail to developing board games to judging Magic: the Gathering tournaments Australia wide. Now as a writer for OK Games he likes to explore niche titles that try to approach gaming from a different perspective. Now all he needs to do is start finishing all those games in his Steam Library...