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    Categories: Peripherals

EpicGear Meduza Mouse & HybridPad Mousepad

Introduction

Gamers may not be too familiar (yet) with the EpicGear brand, particularly as there are very few products under the banner so far. They are, however, a brand of Golden Emperor International Ltd. (GEIL), a Taiwanese company who have been making flash memory for the last two decades.

Meduza Features

  • 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
  • Support Microsoft Windows® 7 / Vista / XP for both 32 & 64bit operating system (excluding Windows XP 64-bit)
  • Comply with Laser Eye Safety IEC60825-1 Class 1 and FDA
  • MSRP: USD79.99
  • 2 year warranty

HybridPad Features

  • Composite fabric
  • Unique textured weave
  • Available Sizes:
  • Small – 292 x 208 x 3 mm
  • Medium – 350 x 250 x 3 mm
  • Large – 420 x 300 x 3 mm
  • Tested as the best performance score surface quality for HDST™

Packaging

The Meduza packaging is suitably imposing, with red eyes glaring out from the front of the box, which also features snake-like tentacles and scales.

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On the rear, the bright red underside of the mouse peeks through the box, surrounded by more scales and snake-like tentacles, living up to the mythology of its namesake. The dual sensors on the bottom of the mouse, alongside the toggle switch, do have a certain face-like look about them.

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On the underside of the box, the official Windows compatibility logos are present for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, alongside the parent company details.

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Inside the box, the mouse is suspended in plastic, surrounded by plastic boxes at each corner. This helps to maintain the shape of the box and to prevent some degree of crush damage to the mouse itself.

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To the underside of the red card backing the mouse, there is a diagram of the button functionality, alongside some brief instructions on how to set up the drivers / software.

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Within the card there is a disc which contains the necessary software.

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The HybridPad mouse pad comes rolled up in a narrow box. As it is technically a separate product (despite being optimised for use with the Meduza) the packaging does not maintain the same snake/Medusa-style motif that the mouse uses, opting instead for a more industrial look.

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To the side, there is some sort of graffiti-style writing which doesn’t quite follow the industrial look, but doesn’t look too far out of place.

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The rear of the box contains the product description, specifications and other available sizes.

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Product Features

One of the most notable features of the Meduza mouse is the extent to which EpicGear have thought out the ergonomics of the device. Even the rear of the packaging points out the different conscious ergonomic choices, such as the “extended thumb rest,” the “index finger rest,” “ring finger support” and “enhanced pinkie grip,” all of which come together well to make an extremely comfortable device.

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The cable is a 2 metre long braided cable that feels very rugged and comes in very noticeable red and black stripes, not entirely dissimilar to that of snake markings, which continues the theme. It makes it quite difficult to lose track of when wiring up.

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The connector is gold-plated and has a very rugged cladding which is easy to keep hold of for plugging in and out with ease. There is also a large ferrite bead to aid electromagnetic shielding.

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When plugged in, the mouse has a glowing EG logo near the back, a glowing Meduza logo at the bottom corner, and a glowing mouse wheel.

 

The logos seem to be permanently set to glow red, but the mouse wheel can glow in a number of colours, including red, yellow, blue, green and purple.

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The underside of the Meduza, in stark contrast to the sleek black overall look of the body, is bright red. The most obvious feature is the two separate sensors – an optical sensor to the left, a laser sensor to the right. Below them there is a switch to toggle between the sensor options. Each sensor can be used individually, with the middle option being the custom “Hybrid Dual Sensor Technology” (HDST) technology, making use of both simultaneously.

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The idea behind the HDST technology is that you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to the two choices of sensor – the speed of a laser sensor, coupled with the precision and stability of an optical sensor. There is a compromise in the DPI of the HDST tech compared to the laser sensor (4800dpi vs 6300dpi) but this is still greater than the 3200dpi maximum of the optical sensor on its own.

For the HybridPad, which comes in three sizes (the small version is the one being reviewed), the main draw is that it has been created with the Meduza and the HDST technology in mind (hence the HybridPad name). They have posted “Surface Quality Analyze Tool” (SQAT) results for the Meduza on a number of different types of mouse pad, with their own HybridPad coming out on top.

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The HybridPad is made with a composite fabric in a textured weave, to maximise comfort and glide, with a surface that is optimised for maximising the effectiveness of the sensors.

Testing

The Meduza has been thoroughly put through its paces and indeed has become the standard daily mouse for both gaming and all-purpose use. The situations tested include:

Call of Duty 4

The Meduza shines when being used for hardcore, rapid gaming, remaining responsive and accurate at all times. The sensitivity stepper works very well for precision shots, such as when using a sniper rifle, though the step up and down in sensitivity can be a bit of a tightrope-walk between a very slow movement to one side, and extremely fast on the other. Overall, this is a mouse designed for hardcore gaming, and it definitely holds up its end of the bargain.

Diablo III

While certainly not a game requiring the speed and accuracy of a competitive First-Person Shooter, the Diablo series is always a great one for putting a mouse through its paces, in terms of both long-term comfort and having to click a lot. The Meduza performed very well, with the clicking being light and easy, and the ergonomic comfort of the mouse really helping to keep long gaming sessions from getting painful.

General use

For general use, the Meduza is excellent. There are enough buttons for a selection of application or OS-specific functionality, and it is extremely comfortable to use over long periods of time and heavy use.

HybridPad

The HybridPad works perfectly with the Meduza, exactly as intended. The large feet on the mouse, coupled with the choice of textured cover on the mouse pad, make for very smooth, quiet operation. The size of the small HybridPad is more than adequate for general use, though the size differences are significant, with larger pads possibly more desirable for professional competitive gaming.

 

Conclusion

For a company (GEIL) which is more accustomed to making flash memory (and to a lesser extent, PSUs via their “Thortech” off-shoot) the Meduza is an excellent beginning into the gaming peripheral market. They have come up with a very comfortable mouse which has been extremely well thought out, from functionality down to ergonomics. The buttons are numerous without being overwhelming, and yet don’t ever get in the way or get hit accidentally. The fact that all of the different comfort aspects were mentioned at all, let alone so prominently on the back of the packaging, is evidence of how much thought went into them. From the grooves where your clicking fingers rest, to the curves and outcroppings for your other fingers to rest and grip, everything has been considered and optimised.

As to the touted “HDST” technology, it remains to be seen whether this is a gimmick of a feature or a genuine evolutionary step forward in gaming peripherals. Both sensors are excellent, functioning well without any real sense of lag, lack of precision or jitter. When pushed to the bleeding edge of hardcore competitive gaming, it may make all the difference and give that extra edge, but overall, it really won’t effect normal gamers / users.

Either way, this is an excellent start for EpicGear, and long may it continue.

Pros

  • Looks well, from the packaging to the hardware itself.
  • Well-supported by the HybridPad mouse pads.
  • Excellent level of comfort and button access
  • Rugged and ergonomic.

Cons

  • Number of buttons may not be enough for some gamers, depending on use.
  • Sensitivity stepping is a little extreme.
  • HDST technology may be unnecessary for many, as either sensor works perfectly regardless.

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