Quick, look away!
Okay, that was cheesy. But the Meduza's floor design (or back-panel, what do you call it anyway?) is so cheeky, it brings the best of the cheesiness in you.
Anyways, let's get to the introduction. Meduza is a top-end gaming mouse from Epic Gear. You might not have heard of the name, but there is a reason for it. They are new a subsidiary of Golden Emperor International, a Taiwanese computer hardware manufacturer that has been focusing on the gaming and PC component market of late. They are not selling in the Middle East yet, but I believe they have locked in a distributor and should be doing so soon. They have been generous to send us a unit for review, so let's dive in straight to find out how their first gaming peripheral fares in our test.
Design and Comfort
The most noticeable thing about the Meduza, after you have plugged it in, is how it likes to brighten up your day. It can have no less than seven LEDs shining bright according to how you have configured it. There are two logos on the surface that glows, along with the scroll wheel and the four DP level indicators embedded on the thumb-rest on the left. This, coupled with the black-orange color combination, offers a nice visual acoustic.
The rest of the device is crafty, as well. Epic Gear has focused a lot on making an ergonomic and comfortable mouse, and for me at least, has landed on the perfect mouse design. The generous thumb-rest and the extra concaved left-button, along with support for the ring and pinky fingers offers great overall grip, while the slightly bulging stomach provides a balanced base to rest the palm on to avoid cramps, even after hours of use. The two thumb buttons on the left are well placed too, and are fairly easy to reach.
The Meduza offers 6 fully programmable buttons, which includes the left- and right-click buttons, the middle click, the two thumb rockers, and an additional button placed vertically below the scroll wheel. There is an extra one on the left, but that’s for changing the profiles and is not configurable. Of the six, practicality says you will be using only three of them – the thumb buttons and the single one on the top – unless you like to put the left/right and the middle click buttons to some other use during gaming. The top button defaults to changing the DPI, an extra button you might have to sacrifice if you change your DPI levels often.
There is a purpose to that freaky eyes design (as seen below). The two eye slots represent laser and optical sensors, both of which can be individually selected if you wish to. However, Epic Gear would prefer you use its Hybrid Dual Sensor Technology (HDST), which harnesses the power of both laser and optical sensors to give more control and precision to mouse movements. According to Epic Gear, the HDST combines the advantages of the two types of sensors to provide upto 6000 DPI speed and a stable, jitter-free experience.
The HDST does indeed work well. There is a significant difference between using it and the laser or the optical sensor. However, it’s interesting to note that Meduza’s laser or optical sensors feel worse than what you would find on other mices. For example, the laser sensor on the Meduza is more sluggish than the Gigabyte M6980 gaming mouse I use in the office, which is actually pretty smooth.
That said the HDST does provide a smooth experience while maintaining extreme precision over high DPI settings. Personally, I prefer low a DPI (around the range of 1400-1600) and the Meduza had no trouble handling that as well.
Unlike other manufacturers, Epic Gear skipped on giving the bundled software a proper
name, so we are just going to call it what its installer file says, FlashGUI. The FlashGUI, as the name might suggest, is a Flash-based software that allows to you fine-tune the mouse to your liking. I have always had beef with software using Flash as they usually turn out to be clunky and slow. Meduza’s FlashGUI is no different. The interface is needlessly flashy and slow to load, and is an eyesore for the most part.
To its credit, though, the software functions as intended. It’s divided into four tabs: main, performance, macro, and support. The ‘main’ tab offers options to customize the button configuration and the DPI for each profile. Unfortunately, it’s a bit limited with what you can do with it. For instance, you cannot assign a keystroke to a button, leaving them practically useless as none of the available options actually translate into a proper keystroke, or are recognized by games as such. You also cannot customize the DPI levels and are only limited to choose from the five presets available.
The ‘performance’ tab provides other basic customizations like pointer acceleration, USB polling rate, and scroll wheel speed control. You can also set your lift-off distance, and adjust angle snapping, which helps to maintain a more precise line of control for drawing straight lines or keeping the crosshair at head height.
The ‘macros’ tab allows you to setup upto 15 macros at once. And thanks to Meduza’s ARM 32-bit Cortex CPU and 128KB of onboard memory, all of the macros and profile settings are saved on the mouse and can be accessed on any PC without the need to install the software. The ‘support’ tab just offers links to download the latest firmware, and technical support.
As I said, the FlashGUI is functional despite the clunky interface; however, there is a particular deal-breaking bug that I must add here for fair warning. The mouse goes trippy after you save any customization settings using the software. For some unknown reason, saving settings would cause the mouse to skip frames and drop its DPI to an absurdly low level. In order to fix it, I had to re-apply the firmware, which made the mouse normal again.
I tried the software on multiple PCs to make sure it wasn’t a compatibility issue of any kind with my test machine. Unfortunately, I faced the same issue with all of them, leading me to believe that this indeed the software's problem.
Meduza’s hardware capabilities is shunted by a buggy and limited software. For $80, that’s a hard sell because a solid companion software is the backbone of any good gaming peripheral. It’s a shame because Meduza is truly a fantastic product. It has a great design, a good number of features, and is extremely comfortable to use. But without a working software to support it, Meduza is overpriced and not worth a look at the moment.