There are few areas of the hardware market quite as congested as the gaming mouse sector. Second only to cases in the amount of choice you have available, gaming mice are so prevalent that there really is a model to suit everybody regardless of your needs and aesthetic preferences.
To go up against the might of Razer, SteelSeries, Roccat et al is a brave choice and one that requires absolute confidence in your product. New to the scene are Epic Gear who have brought us a mouse called the Meduza. However, don't let the name fool you into thinking this is some fly-by-night upstart operation. Epic Gear are a subsidiary of Golden Emperor International Limited, better known to you and me by their acronym, GeIL, and the memory products they produce.
Of course you wouldn't expect them to branch out unless they had something new to bring to the party and in the case of the Meduza it's HDST. Hybrid Dual-Sensor Technology. One of the sensors is the Laser variety with the super-fast tracking they provide, and the other is Optical which has stability benefits.
Although the sensor is the unique selling point of the Meduza it also has all the other elements one would expect to find on a high-end gaming mouse such as macro capability, multiple profiles and on the fly DPI switching.
As you can see there is a hell of a lot of technology stuffed in to the Meduza. With three sensor modes, 6 fully programmable buttons and profile specific lighting it really packs in everything you could reasonably expect to find.
- 3 switchable sensing modes: Laser, Optical and HDST™
(Laser + Optical)
- Advanced algorithm logic technology to restrain common problems of jitter, skip and drift
- Sensitivity of up to 6000 dpi
- Optical mode: 400/800/1600/3200 dpi (4 level)
- HDST™ mode: 4 customizable DPI levels via GUI of up to 4800 dpi
- Laser Mode: 4 customizable dpi levels via GUI of up to 6000dpi
- Minimal lift-off distance of 1mm for extreme precision
- Tracking speed of up to 200 ips @ HDST™ mode
- Acceleration speed of up to 30 G @ HDST™ mode
- Longevity gaming keys of 10 million clicks
- USB 2.0 full speed: 1000Hz report rate
- 7 buttons, 6 fully programmable
- 5 gaming profiles with customizable LED color
- 15 sets of customizable long macro
- ARM 32-bit Cortex™-M3 CPU
- Onboard memory of 128KB· on-the-fly dpi change
- Independent X/Y axle change via GUI @ Laser Mode
- Supports driverless plug-and-play
- Angle snapping support @ Laser Mode
- Auto power saving mode on/off via GUI
- Ultra swift big-size teflon feet
- X-braided cable for durability
- Ferrite bead cable for anti-EMI capability
- 2 Meter USB cable
The choice of the Meduza name seems a little strange until you flip the box over and then it all becomes clear. The packaging is extremely sturdy with the usual technical highlights on the reverse.
The Meduza itself comes with a heavily braided cable that is rugged yet soft and pliable.
There are two distinct textures. On either side we have the fingerprint magnet that is piano black, and the rest of the mouse is covered in a very soft rubbery coating that allows for easy gripping under even the most demanding gaming environments. Even the low-profile side buttons themselves have this soft rubber coating. As a right-handed mouse the left hand side contains the back/forward buttons as well as the profile selection button which is easy to reach yet not in a position you could hit by accident.
From the front we have the scroll-wheel which has a slightly notchy feel to it, enough to make weapon switching easy but not so clicky that scrolling through documents is an assault upon the ears. Behind that is the DPI adjustment button to swap through the four settings that either are default (if you aren't running the software) or as you've selected if you install the UI.
The back is dominated by the EG and Meduza logos, both of which light up as we'll see on a subsequent page.
It wont have escaped your notice in the above pictures that the base of the Meduza is dayglo orange. Pictures just don't do justice to how eye-strainingly orange this is. As well as the two different sensors we find two large teflon pads for low-friction movement and the selector that switches between the optical sensor, the laser sensor, and the HDST blend of the two.
All Lit Up
Below the profile selector button are four LEDs that indicate the different DPI levels you've currently selected. If you like to have one setting that has fast horizontal movement but slow vertical movement (for sniping or whatever) then this is a handy at-a-glance indicator.
Besides the DPI indicator the scrollwheel changes colour to indicate which profile is currently selected. Clockwise from the top left is yellow, blue, green and purple. It's a bit of a shame that the DPI lights and the EG/Meduza lights remain red at all times, but we can't quibble too much.
The software (which comes on a supplied CD) is excellent. As well as a small footprint it is very easy to use and is very well designed with everything laid out clearly. The sensor mode indicator has some clear steps and shows at a glance the current position of the underside switch. All but the profile selection button are customisable with some basic functions built in.
Fine tuning is always an important element and the Meduza has all the options you'd expect. One cool one which isn't available on every mouse is the angle snapping. This attempts to interpret your movements and, at certain settings, will smooth out slight deviances to keep your crosshairs (or paintbrush) on a straight line. Of course this is optional, but it's a nice feature if you either need to draw a straight line or want to keep your chaingun at head height.
A slight bug with a new macro being named a 'marco' but the actual macro recording process is probably the finest we've come across. As well as recording keystrokes and delays, it's also really easy to trim those delays out in one CTRL+click selection bunch, rather than the delete, highlight, delete, highlight we see in nearly every other macro editor.
As well as the Meduza mouse Epic Gear provided us with their Hybrid pad which is specifically designed to work best with their Meduza.
Fresh out of the packet it takes a few moments for the curls to level out, but within about 30 minutes it's as flat as any hard gaming surface. Thankfully Epic Gear have kept the design simple rather than the shouty eyesore designs of certain other pads we could mention.
As well as being grippy on the bottom to ensure it just wont move under hamfisted mouse movements, the top surface is very tightly woven and, when combined with the Meduza, is about as friction free as we've experienced.
There is a hell of a lot to like about the Meduza which does nearly everything one could hope to expect.
Ergonomically it's a purely right handed design, but with a lot of subtle elements to make long gaming sessions a comfortable experience. So often mice designed for the majority of the population concentrate all their efforts on the thumb/index finger side of the mouse that the right hand edge is almost an afterthought. However, with the Meduza we have a little bulge that gives you somewhere to put your ring and little fingers aiding both comfort and control. Even the thumb rest is a bit deeper than normal (although nowhere near as extreme as the old Logitech MX).
Button placement is fantastic too with the back/forward buttons in a very natural position and the profile switch within easy reach, but not somewhere you're likely to hit it by accident. The DPI adjustment is just behind the scroll-wheel, a position that is rapidly becoming the industry norm.
The software is excellent with a reasonable amount of customisation options. Macro creation and editing is a breeze and about the only thing it doesn't record is cursor positioning, but very few software packages do. The ability to CTRL-click a whole bunch of unneeded commands is a particular boon.
Of course the real shining light in any gaming mouse is the sensor and the Meduza is no exception. The Optical sensor is nice and stable with no jerking or unexpected motion. The Laser is as you'd expect, being all about high speed and acceleration. The unique option is the HDST, Hybrid Dual Sensor Technology. This merges the two to try and give the best of both worlds, which is does, being smooth and responsive.
Unfortunately there are a few quirks and quibbles. Firstly is that HDST itself. It works like a charm and does exactly what you'd hope it would, but having experienced many modern high-end, high sensitivity sensors we've never experienced so much jittering that we'd desire a solution. All of the 5000dpi and upwards sensors in current mice are flawless, so the HDST is solving a problem that doesn't really exist in our experience. Furthermore the switch on the underside of the mouse that swaps between the three options feels very cheap, in stark contrast to the rest of the mouse. Even the fluro-orange base plastic seems to be more suited to Fisher Price than a £60 mouse. Finally the top materials, although a monumental improvement upon the base ones, are both seemingly designed to become dirty. We don't need to tell you how brutal it is trying to keep piano black free from fingerprints, but the soft grippy rubber coating also picks up fingerprints and dust like it's born to do it.
So in all it's a mixed bag.
The sensors are all excellent, the comfort level and ergonomics are up there with the very best and the software is superb. The lighting is clear and bright without being distracting and you can turn it off easily in the software if you prefer the stealth look. When used in conjunction with the Hybrid Pad we dare you to find a combination that has so little friction. The flipside is that it's almost impossible to keep free from fingerprints and accumulated muck as the rubber coating is extremely hard to clean and piano black on a mouse is almost insanity. Plus the Unique Selling Point of dual-sensors is fixing a problem that doesn't really exist, but is sufficient to put the Meduza right at the high-end of the price spectrum at a whopping £60. A price which the rather cheap looking and feeling underside doesn't justify.
If you can live with a mouse that looks like you use it, and your main requirements are comfort, low friction and customisation, then it's definitely something you should put on your shortlist. There are just far too many great mice at around £40 to justify £60 for this one and for that reason we're only giving it our Bronze award. It's close to being great, but as a first foray into the world of gaming mice for GeIL it's a good start and hopefully a precursor of better things to come.
Thanks to Epic Gear for supplying the Meduza and Hybrid Pad for review. Discuss in our forums.