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Swiftpoint Z Mouse Review

By Gareth Harmer on August 30, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Swiftpoint Z Mouse Review

The Swiftpoint Z aims to be the last word in gaming mice. Born of a highly successful Kickstarter at the end of 2016, this premium-grade desk rodent has a spec list that ticks every single box on the sheet, and many more besides. We’re not just talking about a button for every MMO hotkey, but also a gyroscope and accelerometer so that it can take the place of a flight stick.

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With the sheer number of dedicated buttons and up to 80 mappable combinations, the team at Swiftpoint are calling the Z ‘the best MMO Mouse for World of Warcraft’. That’s a bold claim, so we decided it was time to take a closer look at this recent entrant in the peripherals market. Would it meet the needs of the average MMO gamer, and could it be flexible enough to be used as a daily driver?

In short: yes. The Z surpassed our expectations for both hardware and software, even though it does things a little differently and takes a bit of getting used to. There’s only one snag, and that’s the price. For the normal RRP (Swiftpoint currently have a promotion on - more on that later) it’s possible to buy three competing MMO mice. Then again, as I’ll reveal, this isn’t your standard desk-bound button blob.

Tech Specs

  • Sensor: 200-12,000 DPI Pixart PMW3360
  • 1KHz polling rate
  • 17 dedicated buttons
  • 4 pressure-sensitive buttons
  • 80 total mappable button actions
  • On-board memory
  • Pivot & tilt gestures
  • In-air 6-axis movement
  • Haptic feedback
  • OLED screen
  • Braided cable
  • Weight: 117g / 4 1/8 oz. (without cable)
  • Additional mouse feet
  • Additional trigger button caps
  • Travel & accessory case

Set up & First Impressions

With most MMO gaming mice that I’ve used in the past, setup usually consists of ripping open the packaging, slamming the plastic rodent on your desk, and trying to find a spare USB slot among the mess of cables. The tricky bit is usually tweaking the software to your liking (which I’ll come on to later), which mostly involves hopping back and forth between the game and the mouse control panel.

Instead, the Swiftpoint Z takes a different approach. Rather than having a grid of buttons on the side (like the classic Razer Naga, Logitech G600 or Corsair Scimitar), the Swiftpoint Z uses a stack of buttons on the top of the mouse. Because of this, two sets of caps are included for each button to help find the right fit depending on personal preference. The same applies underneath, with three different sets of skids included to adjust the mouse height and how easy it is to rock or pivot. Yes, you can also use this mouse as a joystick (hello Planetside 2).

All the bundled accessories are kept in a padded zipcase for safekeeping, which is also big enough to hold the Swiftpoint Z itself. Coupled with the device’s onboard memory, this is a mouse that’s ready for taking to LAN parties and events like Insomnia or Quakecon.

Other than that, getting started with the Swiftpoint Z is simple, largely thanks to the ability to share profiles. Downloading and installing the software is straightforward, although the mouse does require some slight one-time calibration due to the pivot and tilt sensors. From there, it’s simple to grab and import a game profile from the community forums and start playing. 

Construction & Comfort

The first thing I noticed when trying out the Swiftpoint Z is the sturdiness. While the shell seems to be all plastic, there’s absolutely no give or flex. A matte finish has been applied to most of the body, making it slightly easier to grip and masking any fingerprints. Even so, rubber inserts have been added on the left and right sides to help keep the mouse locked to my hand in a surprisingly comfortable way. It’s also surprisingly light, working well a range of surfaces.

Still, there’s a learning curve to tackle with the Swiftpoint Z. Because of the unusual button placement compared to previous MMO mice I’ve used, my thumb has very little to do. Instead, all the action goes to my index and middle fingers, which have 10 buttons and the scroll wheel to handle between them. For the first couple of sessions, I found that my muscle memory caused a few issues, and my hand would tire from the additional workout those fingers were getting. However, these quickly faded after I became used to the setup.

Four of those buttons (Swiftpoint calls them the Main and Fingertip buttons) are also pressure sensitive, allowing me to assign further abilities to Deep Clicks or use it as a throttle if I want to. While that seems be a great idea in theory, I’m told that I’m a bit heavy-handed with my gaming peripherals and tend to mash buttons hard. This is where the Z’s haptic feedback comes in, as I can set it to vibrate gently if a deep click is detected.

The two innermost trigger buttons also have a unique trick, in that they work in two directions. If I claw inwards I can pull the edge of the button in for one type of click, but if I push down with the pad of my finger I get a different kind of click. But, because of their placement, these buttons are best mapped to abilities that you don’t need to use very often, like short-duration buffs and similar.

Having a built in OLED screen is a little unusual, but I found it to be a useful addition once I started using the Swiftpoint Z with multiple games. The simplest way to use it is to have it display the name of the currently active profile, but it can also be used to display yaw, pitch and roll, or the pressure being placed on a button. This makes it easier to make sure you’re using the right mapping for the right game, and much easier when you start building advanced profiles of your own. For RGB fans, the wire-cube logo on the back of the mouse can be set to cycle or use a fixed colour on a per-profile basis.

Software

While the Swiftpoint Z took a bit of getting used to, the software itself is a whole different story. The clear and uncluttered layout is easy to understand and immediately intuitive, in stark contrast to some of the other MMO mice I’ve used in the past. As I mentioned previously, I found it easy to import and exporting profiles, and even start creating my own.

It’s also surprisingly powerful, allowing me to assign events to either an activation or release. I can even pipe actions together, including haptic pulses, in order to build key sequences. And, once I’ve got the profile working the way I want, I can push it to the Swiftpoint Z’s on-board storage so that it’s portable.

That portability also comes into play with the mouse’s built in Config Mode. Simply by tilting it past 25 degrees (as if I’m looking at the screen), I can use the scroll wheel to adjust DPI and scroll through profiles using the two edge buttons above the screen. This mode can be disabled for specific profiles (playing a flight sim, for example)

I think my only complaint is that it would have been great to be able to assign an image or animation to a profile, so that it’s displayed instead of text, much like the Elgato Streamdeck provides for its own button box.

Conclusions

I tested the Swiftpoint Z with a number of current MMOs, including World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth and Final Fantasy XIV, and it performed well without issues. Clicks are on-par with other top-notch mice, without any squishy or rubbery feeling from cheaper models, although learning the new button layout took some getting used to, as I’m used to my thumb doing most of the work. However, the revised layout also had an unexpected benefit, allowing me to nudge a Discord push-to-talk button with my thumb while still hitting hockey’s with my fingers.

But it’s the flexibility beyond traditional MMOs that hits me with the Swiftpoint Z, and I keep on thinking about other games that I’d want to try it with. It’s rare for a gaming gadget to excite me like this, but the possibilities are huge due to the amount of tech that’s been crammed in and powerful management software. It’s clear to see why this mouse managed to scoop the CES Gaming Innovation Award.

For me, the main sticking point is the cost. At $229, it’s possible to buy a Razer Naga or Corsair Scimitar plus a separate joystick and still have change for a WoW game token. Although the Swiftpoint Z is an audacious piece of kit that oozes premium-grade customisation, it also commands a hefty price-tag.

Which is why Swiftpoint are also running a Battle for Azeroth promotion at the moment, taking 35% off the Z’s headline price and dropping it down to a much more affordable $149. At this point, the Swiftpoint Z is well-worth considering as a comfortable, top-flight gaming mouse.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Innovative placement and style of buttons
  • Excellent management software
  • Easy profile management

Cons

  • Price
  • Learning curve when using
Gareth Harmer / When he's not blasting or fireballing his way through a virtual world, Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer can be found dissecting the mechanics of online games. Chua at heart, he's also our resident columnist for all things WildStar.