Z takes mouse control into the third dimension
In the standard PC gaming setup, a keyboard puts more functions at your fingertips than a mouse. Sure, hardware companies have been known to compensate by cramming more buttons onto their mice, but the results can be bulky and cramp-inducing. Enter the Z, a customizable gaming mouse from Swiftpoint that elegantly expands the functions of a handful of buttons with context-sensitive input and tilt, roll and pivot movements – it even lets users lift it off the desk.
The Z's button count is impressive enough: in addition to the standard left and right click, there's two side buttons on the left and two more in reach of the thumb, a stock-standard wheel to scroll or push in as a button, two "fingertip" buttons just below the main clickers, and two little triggers below that. Swiftpoint assures users that everything's within easy reach and won't require any "thumb or finger contortions".
The context of those button presses expands the possible actions to a crazy degree. "Deep Click" grants analog input to the main left and right buttons and the two fingertip buttons, meaning multiple actions can be mapped to a button, depending on how hard you press it. It's like the Wooting one keyboard in that respect. But all the Z's buttons can perform different sets of functions again when pressed while the mouse is either tilted or pivoted left or right, adding up to a grand total of 80 mappable button actions.
Tilting and pivoting can be analog inputs themselves. Try tilting to peek around a corner in-game, or pivoting to either side to turn the camera in that direction without changing the character's course. Flight controls in games like Battlefield 4 can be notoriously tricky, but the Z lets players actually pick the mouse up off the desk and turn it in three dimensions to control pitch, roll and yaw in the air courtesy of an inbuilt gyroscope and accelerometer. Utilizing that Z axis is what gives the mouse its name.
Games aren't the only applications that can take advantage of the Z's I-can-do-everything attitude. Swiftpoint points out that the Deep Click functionality can speed up basic functions like copying and pasting text or changing the thickness of lines in Photoshop or Illustrator, while the in-air controls can help spin a camera around 3D models.
A small OLED screen on the top left of the mouse lets users switch between profiles, or change the DPI and other settings. Issues of lag inspired the developers to opt for a wired connection, but cable drag is countered thanks to a small cube built into the Kickstarter-edition mouse mat, which angles the cord up and out of the way.
The Kickstarter campaign for the Z wraps up in the next couple of days, and having brought in more than US$470,000, the project's been funded three times over. For an Early Bird special of $149, backers will get the mouse itself, the mouse mat with cable-tidying cube, and some extra tilt feet and trigger buttons. Swiftpoint says units will ship in December, if all goes to plan – and their past Kickstarter success with the GT suggests that it will.
Swiftpoint's video pitch can be viewed below.