Who needs a fan inside their mouse? No-one I would argue. And yet, I’ve become weirdly attached to Marsback’s bizarre creation.
That’s the central hook of the Marsback Zephyr Pro, a $US59 ambidextrous mouse with a PMW3389 sensor and Omron switches. But Marsback isn’t an established player in the peripheral space like Logitech, Razer, Zowie, HyperX, SteelSeries, Corsair or even the specialist offerings like Xyrfy, Vaxee, Finalmouse.
So to stand out, new companies have to think of something different. Like fans blowing into your palm.
The coolest element, and the most obvious drawback, of the Marsback Zephyr Pro is the miniscule little RGB device that has all the power of those USB-powered fans you bought from Catch of the Day when it first launched. We’re not talking Dyson-levels of suction here. It is a soft, gentle, almost barely noticeable amount of wind. The mouse already has holes in it — sorry, trypophobia sufferers.
But you’ve already got a bit more airflow than a regular mouse chassis. That’s nice when the mercury gets close to 40 degrees, as is looking increasingly likely in the coming weeks. So what the fan actually does is give the sensation that the palm rest is slightly cool, which is a lot nicer than some of the matte surfaces I’ve used on other mice that wear off after a couple of months.
I agreed to review the Marsback Zephyr Pro because I figured, hey, it’s got one of those cool gimmicks that’s fun to write about. What I didn’t expect is that I’d actually enjoy using the mouse as much as I did. There are a few things that are worth noting for folks: the clicks on the left and right buttons are less clicky than what you’d get from, say, the Pwnage Ultra Custom (which bares a similar design, but slightly thinner), ROCCAT’s range or Logitech’s super light-and-clicky offerings.
But they don’t feel mushy or that they’ll start double-clicking without warning, like some cheap mice you might find on Wish or Amazon. The PMW3389 sensor is perfectly reliable, and you can customise it to have 1ms debounce time in the downloadable software. That software is pretty rudimentary, but it’s got all the functionality you need and it’s not a resource hog, which is always a plus.
At 69 grams, it’s not the lightest honeycomb-style mouse. But it’s a pretty lightweight for a mouse of this size, which is more in line with Microsoft’s original Intellimouse 3.0 or the Razer Deathadder. The Zephyr Pro doesn’t sit as high in the hand (or palm) as either of those options, but if your hands are on the larger side, you’re more likely to be comfortable with this than many of the ultra-lightweight mice on the market.
That’s not to say there isn’t competition, though. There’s the wireless Model D for those who prefer more of an ergonomic design, or the wired version for $79 locally. The Pwnage Ultra Custom Wireless Symmetrical 2 is more expensive at $129, but it’s also modular. And if size isn’t the issue, but money is, there’s the ever-reliable Logitech G203, or the actual Intellimouse Pro, the Rival 3, or the excellent MM710 from Cooler Master, which has the same sensor as the Zephyr Pro. (It’s software is several circles of hell uglier, but it does work well, and you are saving money at the end of the day.)
But none of those mice have a fan. And at the end of the day, the Zephyr Pro is pretty inexpensive for what it offers. The cable’s decent quality, the mouse performs perfectly well in competitive and casual environments, and so far the fan hasn’t conked out on me. There’s a bit of dust in the chassis, but if that’s an issue for you, then I’d suggest not buying honeycomb mice at all. (Razer’s Viper range or the Logitech G Pro Wireless will be more your style.)