Quality control at Zaunkoenig

, by
Patrick Schmalzried

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.

Quality control for traditional gaming mice means that someone in a faraway mouse factory, who typically has no clue about gaming whatsoever, checks a mouse for obvious flaws. For example: Does it have mouse feet installed? Do the mouse buttons work? At the end of these trivial checks sometimes a little quality control sticker saying «QC passed» is put on the bottom of the mouse. (It is extra funny of course when a mouse with a QC passed sticker ends up dead on arrival at the customers doorstep.)

You are not going to find these quality control stickers on the bottom of an M1K. First of all these stickers look hideous even before they have accumulated dust. Second they add a tiny bit of weight (it is kind of funny that by increasing weight a quality control sticker reduces the quality of the mouse).

Even if we are not using quality control stickers, we still do quality control, and we do it ourselves. And we do not do statistical testing. We do literal testing: every single M1K is tested. Our goal for Kickstarter and Indiegogo is not to have a low defect rate. Our goal is to have no defect rate. And the best way to achieve this goal is to do all of the testing ourselves because we know the M1K inside and out, down to the last capacitor and resistor.

The way we test by the way is not by just looking at an M1K. Instead we do a little test-drive. My favorite way of doing that right now is a quick round of Krunker (my brother is a revolver person, while I myself am more of a shotgun person). Similar to like a new car can have a few kilometers on the clock, a new M1K thus will have a few frags on the clock. Do not worry about our fingerprints though: every M1K gets one final round of microfiber cloth polishing when we are done testing it.

Having said all that about quality testing I want to add that for the future we will try to rely on quality control testing less and less. Instead we want to increase quality by improving our design and our manufacturing. Or as W. Edwards Deming put it:

You cannot inspect quality into the product; it is already there.

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The Zaunkoenig M1K is the lighest gaming mouse in the world: it weighs just 23 grams. It is also the first carbon fiber gaming mouse and the first dedicated Fingertip Grip gaming mouse.