Practical Test Zaunkoenig M1K (gaming mouse)
Zaunkoenig M1K – A perfect gaming mouse weighs zero grams. That is the guiding principle behind the Zaunkoenig M1K. This purist doesn’t weigh anything, but comes very close: Thanks to the carbon fiber chassis, it weighs a mere 23 grams.
Zaunkoenig M1K Review
However, the manual production will cost interested gamers a lot, because the mouse will be one of the most expensive models on the market. The Kickstarter project will go online on September 24th, with limited numbers. We tested the current prototype in the editorial office, which the developers presented to us personally.
- Advantage: Excellent hands-on control & No calibration software necessary
- Disadvantage: Little functionality also very expensive
Do you know what 23 grams weighs? If you have three 1 euro pieces in your wallet, then take them in your hand, the Zaunkoenig M1K, a gaming mouse with a carbon fiber housing from developers Dominik and Patrick Schmalzried, is about as heavy. The business school graduates have been obsessed with the idea of the lightest mouse that can be made for years.
And you’re not alone: Razer’s Viper weighs around 69 grams, the perforated Model O by Glorious only 67 grams and the new Cooler Master MM710only 53 grams, so there is a market.
But by using the appropriate materials and doing without everything that in their opinion can be dispensed with, the Stuttgart-based company has once again significantly lowered the weight record of a functioning gaming mouse.
Zaunkoenig M1K hands-on: Why a 23-gram mouse?
Mouse weight is a topic PC gamers could probably spend hours discussing. Which grip technique is ideal in which games which weight and which gliding ability?
Too heavy or too easy and you literally shoot over the target in first person shooters or reduce your own responsiveness. The point is so critical that even cheap models have separate weights that you can remove. Of course, personal preferences also play a major role.
An ultra-light mouse generally supports a certain type of player: the so-called fingertip gamer. He controls the mouse with his fingertips, other parts of the hand are not on it.
Anyone who plays like this attaches great importance to getting detailed reactions out of millimeter movements. A low weight is an advantage here, because then it requires practically no effort to accelerate and stop the M1K. This is how you get the most out of your own instinct.
Since other types of grip, the so-called claw and palm gamers, benefit less from a lightweight, the little mouse is hard to grasp: fingertips or nothing at all. Anyone who plays differently has to get used to the Zaunkoenig M1K.
The cost of ease – Zaunkoenig M1K
The layout of the mouse also requires getting used to. Emulating the Spartan model of throwing out everything that is not absolutely necessary, the Zaunkoenig M1K only offers two buttons.
No third mouse button, no mouse wheel, no DPI switch and no thumb buttons. The design is somewhat reminiscent of box mice from the last millennium and only in stylish, patterned black instead of mottled gray.
The lack of keys seems extreme at first. Many players switch weapons and tools on the mouse wheel or load skills and macros on extra keys. What the M1K gains in lightness, it loses in functionality. That makes it a specialist device that you only use when it comes to the point.
According to the developers, the comparison is the steering wheel for racing games: inclined enthusiasts buy a piece of peripheral equipment that can only be used for one purpose. The M1K would be the second mouse, quasi the Lamborghini in the garage: unsuitable for everyday city traffic, but a fun driver in leisure time or on the slopes.
Life without a mouse wheel
But why only two buttons? For Patrick Schmalzried, the two-button design is actually a compromise: Since he uses the space bar to shoot in shooters, a one-button or even zero-button mouse would be even more professional.
So the mouse would only be the sensor. Pressing keys belonged more to the eponymous keyboard, where weight does not matter and where pressing a key or switching to the mouse wheel would not change the grip.
It all sounds extreme. The developers are at least not alone with their worldview, but were inspired by their own experiences in the eSport scene as well as prominent StarCraft and Counter-Strike players who press more on the keyboard than the mouse for actions.
And they are also the target group of the Zaunkoenig M1K: eSportspeople who want to get the most out of their skills.
This can also be seen in the method of changing the DPI, Angle Snapping and the Lift off Distance: Since you are not allowed to install your own software on the guest computers during competitions, the M1K offers a rather clever, albeit somewhat complicated, method for changing these values.
For example, how to switch between 400, 800, 1,000 and 1,400 DPI.
Zaunkoenig M1K – A Handcrafted development
In addition to the spartan equipment, the carbon fiber housing is the main reason for the low weight. Here, a hand is made for each mouse and a finely balanced number of layers of the ultra-light material is glued on top of each other in a form and just enough that the case is stable enough without wobbling or breaking.
The first prototypes came from 3D printers with boards borrowed from mice from other manufacturers.
The chips have now been programmed in-house, the board is produced in Germany, and the developers quickly identified carbon fiber as the ideal material.
But since most of the housings are produced in China and the factories there would have to change their production methods from plastic (“It’s like a sausage factory that suddenly has to make vegan rolls.”), There was only manufacturing left where a remarkable number of things go wrong can.
From baking processes that end because of a fraction of a degree, to jammed milling, to housings that will forever stick to the mold. The manual work on a mouse now takes around two to three hours, and the complete production takes one day.
The first models were still made of plastic. The developers have also experimented with a drilled design – but decided not to because the inside of the mouse would otherwise be slightly dirty.
For enthusiasts among enthusiasts
The Kickstarter project opens on September 24th (more information on the manufacturer’s website ). The goal: a five-digit sum, and if things go well, around 50,000 to 60,000 euros from crowd financing. A Zaunkoenig M1K will cost 149 euros for pre-orderers.
That’s already a very high price equivalent to models like the Logitech G903 Lightspeed and slightly cheaper than Razer’s Hyperflux bundle.
The number is limited to 333 here. In the free sale, the Zaunkoenig M1K will then cost 249 euros. A price that is understandable due to the lack of automation, but which is probably too high even for many enthusiasts.
The little mouse can only be operated with the fingertips – claw and palm gamers have to get used to it or look for alternatives.
Conclusion of Zaunkoenig M1K
I don’t know how many times people at home have made fun of the fact that I have two mice on my PC. Yes, I use two mice. Once a Logitech G602: many buttons, wireless, heavy. It is used on the desktop and in cozy games.
But since I’m a fingertip gamer, the chunk is too difficult for me to play fast and competitive games. For shooters, a significantly cheaper, but after years still reliable Sharkoon Fireglider is used, which consists of a shell, silicon and spit.
When I put my fingers on the Zaunkoenig M1K for the first time, I already had a little “Holy Bimbam!” The mouse moves almost with the power of thought. If you then reach for a normal mouse again, ages pass between the first tensing of the muscles and the cursor movement.
It is then like sliding a brick over the pad. The housing of the M1K is chic, the click feedback is crisp and even if I’m not a fan of cable mice, the wire hardly bothers. So the impression is positive.
But would I spend 149 euros on a mouse if I don’t play at professional level and don’t plan to? Maybe. Nowadays it is no longer uncommon to make a lot more money for gaming accessories (mice, keyboards, but also screens and headsets) than the devices are worth with the M1K, the manufacturing costs are at least not a single-digit euro amount, there So you buy the good feeling of workmanship.
Would I pay 249 euros for this mouse? Definitely not! Spending on this scale is in the hands of eSports team managers or budding pro gamers who really believe in their skills.