Blog

Our mission is to design the perfect Fingertip Grip gaming mouse. These articles are what we learned along the way.

No marketing speak.

The rise of Fingertip Grip

It finally has happened: The Zaunkoenig M1K no longer is the only dedicated Fingertip Grip gaming mouse in town. Chinese gaming mouse company G-Wolves has announced the «HSK», which already is being called «The poor man’s Zaunkoenig». We have gotten a bunch of emails asking as whether we would be mad at G-Wolves for «being inspired» by the M1K. We are not.

Enough marketing bullshit is enough

Traditional gaming mouse marketing is all about «moar CPI is better». For a while however it seemed that the CPI craze was cooling down and actually important gaming mouse attributes like low weight and low input lag would be replacing it. But then, in October of 2019, Razer announced a 20,000 CPI sensor and in September of 2020 Logitech upped the ante and announced a 25,600 CPI sensor. Enough already?

Zaunkoenig M1K weight in review

In June of 2019, when the first Zaunkoenig M1K prototype was revealed, its weight on the scale showed 23 grams. Henceforth, the M1K became known as «the 23 g mouse». Little did we know at that time if we would actually be able to reliably reproduce the weight of the M1K precisely to 23 grams. Especially the carbon fiber production was a big unknown. We also weren’t sure if we needed to do some minor design changes or not. Today, a couple hundred M1Ks into production, we have a better idea of how things come (weigh) together. For those who are curious as to what weighs what in the M1K, here we go.

The gaming mouse for the five percent

While the Zaunkoenig M1K has been well received by professional Youtube mouse reviewers Beardedbob, BT and Menismyforte all the way back in September 2019, we were anticipating the feedback of our Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers just as much.

The first batch of Zaunkoenig M1K is sold out

Our Kickstarter went live on September 19, 2019. We offered 333 M1K and today, on June 24, 2020, the last of these 333 M1K was bought on Indiegogo. So – whats next for Zaunkoenig?

We sent an M1K to the most remote island in the world

The first time I glanced through the printed out Kickstarter shipping labels and came accross «Åland Islands» as well as «Bouvet Island» I thought to myself: «Awesome, even people on islands want the M1K.»

The Zaunkoenig M1K feedback I have been aiming for for 19 years

I still remember the day when I decided to play StarCraft competitively. The year was 2001 and I attended my first big LAN party called «Dimensions». Competing for the first prize in the StarCraft tournament were three legendary players: [pG]Korn from Germany, NTT from the Netherlands and ElkY from France.

The effect of Corona on M1K production

Back in February I boldly posted an update on Kickstarter stating that Corona could not affect M1K production. Back then I thought that Corona was limited to China. And because at Zaunkoenig we do not produce in China, but in Germany, Corona could not affect M1K production. Right?

Quality control at Zaunkoenig

We are currently in the midst of putting together lots of M1K for our Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. So this is a good opportunity to talk about quality control at Zaunkoenig.

Zaunkoenig M1K PCB

The printed circuit board (PCB) of a gaming mouse is what makes a gaming mouse tick. You can compare it to the motherboard of your gaming PC. Our goal for the PCB of the Zaunkoenig M1K was to make the lightest gaming mouse PCB ever, because when you want to make the worlds lightest gaming mouse you have to look at every single component of the mouse.

On the Tesla Cybertruck, design and the substance of things

The word «design» is among the most misused words in the English language. Most use it to describe how something looks. Design is about more than just looks however: it is about the substance of things. The Tesla Cybertruck drives this point home very clearly.

On gaming mice with speed holes and red sports cars

Ever since Tt eSPORTS first released a gaming mouse with speed holes all the way back in 2014 (who do you think pioneered speed holes in gaming mice?), followed by Mad Catz in 2015, many other copy catz have followed suit. Why though?

3D printing advice for mouse modders

Long before we designed and produced our own printed circuit boards (PCBs), we were 3D printing custom designed mouse shells. Back in the day, we ripped apart existing gaming mice, discarded the plastic shell but put the PCBs into our own shells. That is an easier and cheaper way to mod a mouse as compared to starting off by manufacturing a custom designed PCB. In the past seven years I have printed hundreds upon hundreds of mouse shells. This article is the distillation of what I learned along the way.

Successful Kickstarter

On September 25 our Kickstarter campaign for the Zaunkoenig M1K went live. Our funding goal was $10,000. We achieved this goal in two minutes.

The carbon fiber process

We received a lot of mails asking us about carbon fiber. So, let’s talk carbon fiber. What’s the process, how do you do it and why is it so difficult and time consuming to produce?

Zaunkoenig M1K Firmware

You do not need to install any software for the M1K. Even though the M1K has only two buttons, you can conveniently configure your CPI (same as DPI, by the way) with them. The firmware, the software that is running in the microcontroller unit (MCU) of the M1K, is open-source and is optimized for extremely low latency.

You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like

The above meme is what a Reddit user posted as a reaction to the first public picture of a Zaunkoenig M1K prototype in the wild. I think it sums up the M1K pretty well.

The story of Zaunkoenig

Back in 1998 I was fifteen years old and obsessed with two things: StarCraft and mice. StarCraft is an insanely demanding game when it comes to mechanics. Just moving your army across the map is harder than most eSports, as Artosis likes to say. I quickly realized: the mouse was the most important piece of equipment for StarCraft. This realization pretty quickly developed into my second obsession: mice. And it ultimately resulted in the founding of Zaunkoenig, together with my brother Dominik, over a decade later.

Optimal gaming mouse cable

A good gaming mouse cable has to be good at a couple of things. The four most important areas in my opinion are: flexibility, slickness, low weight and durability. Spoiler alert: a gaming mouse cable should not be braided.

Carbon fiber gaming mice

In our blog post about the optimal weight of a gaming mouse we formulated the hypothesis that the ideal weight of a gaming mouse is «zero grams». Actually engineering a zero gram mouse though is heavy going for anyone not named Tony Stark or Elon Musk. However we can get pretty close to zero by using a material some might consider overkill for a gaming mouse: carbon fiber.

Ergonomic Fingertip Grip gaming mouse design

The majority of current gaming mice are made for Palm Grip first, Claw Grip second and sometimes Fingertip Grip third. It is unsurprising that these mice are not optimal for Fingertip Grip. The optimal Fingertip Grip mouse needs to be developed only for Fingertip Grip. The following are our thoughts on such a dedicated Fingertip Grip design.

Optimal grip for a gaming mouse

As of 2019 Palm Grip and Claw Grip are the two most commonly utilized gripping techniques for gaming mice. Hence the following hypothesis will step on a lot of toes: Fingertip Grip is far superior to Palm Grip and Claw Grip. What follows is a bunch of arguments supporting this claim.

Optimal weight of a gaming mouse

When it comes to selecting a gaming mouse too many just look at the sensor or the number of buttons. One of the most important aspects of a gaming mouse however is frequently ignored: its weight. But what is the optimal weight of a gaming mouse?