The gaming mouse for the five percent

, by
Dominik Schmalzried, Patrick Schmalzried

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. We received the first M1K feedback in April this year when we started shipping and since then we have been collecting.

Feedback from our Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers

Lets get straight to the point: how does it feel to aim with the M1K? Swithwother on r/MouseReview has this to say:

«For any fingertip grip user it is a dream come true. It feels like u have nothing in hand. It’s going to sound cringy but it feels like u are moving the crosshair itself with only ur hand.»

Making a gaming mouse that feels like you have nothing in your hand was our primary design goal. The are three main ways we achieved this goal. First we reduced the weight. By a lot. Because the less weight a mouse has, the less inertia you have to fight against when moving the mouse. Second we made a very neutral shape that lets your fingers do whatever they want to do. Third we removed distractions like side buttons. Few things are as annoying as accidentally triggering side buttons when gaming.

Speaking of weight: the first thing you notice when you pick up the M1K obviously is its weight. There really is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for how light 23 grams feel. Reading feedback on the weight of the M1K thus is just hilarious.

Rossipedia on r/MouseReview:

«Holy s##t. This thing is practically weightless. The Model O, the Viper Ultimate, GPW... everything else is a brick. After playing a couple hours on the M1K, all the other mice on my desk may as well be glued down. This thing is unbelievably light (literally). I don’t think you can really understand just how light a mouse can be until you try one of these»

GuilteFPS on r/MouseReview:

«I knew the mouse would feel light, but nothing could have prepared me for this. It honestly feels like I’ve been playing with a delay my whole life.»

LazerDoofus on r/MouseReview:

«My M1K clocks in at 21.9 grams on the scale I use for my coffee every day. I expected this mouse to feel much lighter than my other mice, but it’s more significant than that. It is in fact so light it almost has functionally no weight.»

Mr. Good via Discord:

«The first time I picked up my G305 again after using the M1K all day (the scroll wheel is nice for browsing) I thought something was wrong with it. Felt like a cinder block lol.»

Had we made the M1K out of ABS plastic, instead of carbon fiber, maybe we could have achieved a weight of 30 grams as opposed to the 23 grams the carbon fiber M1K weighs. In fact we did a lot of shape testing with 3D printed prototypes made from ABS that weighed around 30 grams, so we know very well how a 30 gram mouse feels like: heavy. We have prototypes that weigh less than 20 grams, and those even make the M1K feel heavy. It is nothing short of crazy how quickly you adapt to low weight. And it is brutal how painful it is to switch back to a heavy mouse, after you have tasted 23 grams.

As we wrote in Optimal weight of a gaming mouse we think that the optimal weight of a gaming mouse is zero grams. Since zero grams is hard to reach, we settled for a goal of 11 grams, as described in «The story of Zaunkoenig». We are more bullish on this goal than ever.

On to the next topic: the lack of a wheel.

Since the M1K has no mouse wheel, browsing the web is a bit of a challenge. Many of our backers keep a secondary mouse around for that. See this post by m7h2 on r/MouseReview:

«im using it for a week now and i have a collection of 40 mice and it definitely improved my aim its my main mouse from now on and i still keep my finalmouse ul2 for browsing»

That is a reasonable approach: have one mouse for gaming and one for browsing the web. Keep in mind though that the UL2 is more than twice as heavy as the M1K, so it will slow down your browsing experience considerably. Instead maybe try out this Autoscript app or this Firefox extension which enable you to use drag-to-scroll (as in: hold down your right mouse button, move down your mouse and voilà: you just scrolled down). That way you can use your M1K even when you are browsing.

Next up: width. Since hand sizes vary considerably, its of no surprise that a one-size-fits-all approach has its limits. Just take a look at these two messages we got from Ohrami and Brughon. Lets start with Ohrami:

«I love the M1K’s shape, weight, buttons, latency, sensor, and just about everything about it; the only problem with it, for me, is that it’s a bit too narrow. I find that I have the best control over my aim and the most comfort holding a mouse that is about 70 mm wide.»

Brughon is the exact opposite:

«The M1K has the best shape of any mouse Ive ever held. However I would prefer a width of just 45 mm over the current 54 mm.»

Onto the next topic: mouse feet. See this post by sigmundcook on r/MouseReview:

«These are small hyperglides, and the feet are pure ptfe. They feel fast and smooth. Combined with the low weight, it feels very fast. They are high quality, but maybe a tad more scratchy then some skates I have tried. Keep in mind I have only been playing for a couple of days, and they will likely get smoother over time.»

This one had us scratching our heads for a while. We knew that Hyperglides, with their rounded edges, very likely were not the culprit. So what was going on here?

After some investigation we came to the realization that some M1K users lift off their M1K in a slightly tilted fashion. This can lead to the bottom shell of the M1K coming into contact with the mouse pad. The scratching problematic is exacerbated by the fact that the front two mouse feet are not placed at the front left and front right edge respectively: we did that so the screws for opening up the M1K are easily accessible. Should your M1K exhibit scratching here is what you can do: place the mouse feet directly in the corners of the M1K, maybe even in a way that they overhang slightly. Using six instead of four mouse feet can help also.

Another source for scratchiness might be the fact that the Hyperglide mouse feet we use are pretty small, with just 7 millimeters in diameter. Small feet are more likely to sink into the mousepad and thus result in the bottom shell getting into contact with the mousepad which in turn will result in scratchiness. The softer the mousepad in question is, and the more vertical pressure the user exerts, the more likely this will be an issue. Should you use very soft mousepads or exert high amounts of vertical pressure we recommend installing additional mouse feet.

On to the cable. Most of our backers loved the cable. See this r/MouseReview post by LazerDoofus:

«So……. this mouse has killed paracords for me. The cable itself is lighter than any paracord I’ve seen and highly flexible while being a bit stiffer than a paracord. To me this strikes the perfect balance, the cable always stays out of the way, I never feel it, and best of all, I don’t feel it scraping across my Hien which is a problem I’ve had with every paracord. I’ve actually ordered a bunch of this raw cable to replace all my paracords with[.]»

Some wish it was a little more flexible though, see this post by Spl4tt3rB1tcH on r/MouseReview:

«It’s a pretty good cable, but I often feel the resistance of the cable as it’s still a bit stiffer than a paracord would be. It’s especially annoying when holding the mouse very lightly, at some angles, depending on how the cable lies on the table, I’ll feel some pull/push from the cable. If I let go of the mouse it’ll almost always move a little bit because the cable pulls or pushes it.»

In our article called «Optimal gaming mouse cable» we threw out the idea that the best gaming mouse cable should be neither too stiff nor too flexible. An overly stiff cable would feel very distracting, especially on a light mouse such as the M1K. An overly flexible cable however would not move with your mouse movements sufficiently and thus get in the way sooner or later. Its a delicate balance to pull off.

On to the next topic: how quickly can you adapt to Fingertip Grip when you have never used it before? See this email we got from Johan:

«As a player that has never really used fingertip grip before it just took me a day or two to get used to it, but now I’m feeling comfortable with holding and aiming with the mouse and I really like it a lot, has definitely replaced my finalmouse for overwatch at least which is my main game.»

This kind of feedback is among the most interesting to us. Both of us have been using Fingertip Grip for over two decades, so its very hard for us to imagine how long someone with no prior Fingertip Grip experience would need to make the switch. And honestly: we are surprised how quick some of our backers have made the transition from Claw Grip to Fingertip Grip for example. We estimated it would take someone with no Fingertip Grip experience a few weeks to adapt. However Johan is not the only one writing us that the adaptation period was a few days only.

Speaking of Fingertip Grip: a very short mouse like the M1K is paramount for a good Fingertip Grip experience. Once you get used to a short mouse you start asking yourself why long gaming mice are even a thing. See this Discord message from Pronin:

«After using the M1K long mice seem kinda stupid. If I could get an M1K with a wheel and side buttons it would be my office mouse as well.»

Or this r/MouseReview post by asdfB0Y:

I use the M1K myself and the biggest advantage for myself personally is the vertical length. The GPW felt -almost- good to fingertip but was too long and made my wrist hurt.

To get a feeling for how much shorter the M1K is than other gaming mice head over to Gearsearch.gg and sort for length. The M1K will be at the top of the list with a length of just 79 millimeters. (The grip sides of the M1K are even shorter with just 63 millimeters by the way.) Then there a few gaming mice that are around 100 millimeters in length. The overwhelming majority of gaming mice though is 120 millimeters long, some even go up to 140 millimeters in length, making them utterly useless for Fingertip Grip (unless your name is Hagrid maybe?).

Why are long gaming mouse so bad for Fingertip Grip? When you pull a long gaming mouse towards you, the back of the mouse collides with the inside of your palm. Put differently: long mice restrict your vertical range of motion. Additionally a very long mouse will weigh much more than a short one, further hurting your aim through more inertia.

Using a 120 millimeters long gaming mouse for Fingertip Grip is like racing the Nurburgring with a stretch-limo: slow, arduous and not fun.

The next topic is near and dear to our hearts: click quality. M1K clicks are light yet still provide a rich feedback. Many of our backers were surprised by how light the M1K buttons were, which is understandable when you consider that carbon fiber is famous for being extremely stiff for its weight. LazerDoofus sums it up nicely in his review of the M1K over at r/MouseReview:

«The clicks on this mouse are extremely light and very crisp. Out of the box I thought they’d be too light, but since the extreme low weight already reduces the force needed to move the mouse, having the clicks this light feels very appropriate and solid. I’ve had some accidental clicks and the mouse will click if slammed, but I’ve had almost no misclicks in the last week so its been easy enough to adapt to.»

The next topic is polarizing our backers: the glossy carbon fiber surface. See this r/MouseReview post by HaveAShittyDrawing:

«The mouse is pretty slippery without any grips in my opinion, and it is one area that could be improved on. I ended up with putting gun grip tape on sides/buttons, but maybe some grippier tape would work even better.»

This is the most common negative feedback we get about the M1K. Some also complain that they have to clean their M1K more often as is the case with other mice. Others however have no issue with either the grippynessy or dirt built-up. Our view is the following: for those that like glossy surfaces the M1K will be great. And those who dont like glossy surfaces can always add grip tape.

Even with grip tape opinions vary by the way: some like the rough texture of gun tape. Some like grainy Fingerboard tape. Some like sticky grip tapes. Some dont like sticky grip tapes because they inhibit repositioning of the fingers. Others like grip tapes with a velvety surface because they can absorb more sweat. Some like their grip tape thick and soft. Some use Sellotape because its extremely thin and thus offers very direct feedback (it is also very light and cheap).

What kind of grip tape is optimal for you probably depends on a) the amount and composition of the oils in your skin, b) the amount and composition of the sweat on your fingers and c) the climate zone you live in. So its mostly genetics, with a little bit of geographics. Cheetos might play a role as well though.

In our article «Optimal grip for a gaming mouse» we hypothesized that a small and lightweight gaming mouse designed just for Fingertip Grip might offer health benefits. The following posts by LazerDoofus and Bloax suggest this might indeed be the case. LazerDoofus:

«The biggest instant gain for me though has been the duration I can play without pain or discomfort. I own 15+ other gaming mice and with ALL of them I need to take a break to stretch my wrist and hand every 90 minutes or I get into trouble with old injuries from yoyoing. With the M1K I’ve had multiple 4 hour sessions with no issues of any kind, and honestly, I could have probably gone longer, just hard for me to ever get more than 4 hours to game at once.»

Bloax via Discord:

«I decided to sit down and dig into what this mouse can do – and after averaging five hours of hard aim practice a day for sixty days, my wrist was still fine at the end of it. If you want numbers, then my record for lasting “one sitting" was about 70 minutes – without breaks – before I was too fatigued for the session to continue fruitfully.
After that, I decided to see how long I could continuously track – that is, with no stops, no micro-breaks, only Tracc – a spazzing target; roughly four minutes before my hand cramped up.
Those are some serious numbers.»

The five percent

Lets end with a double quote:

ZeZapasta on r/MouseReview:

«I would 1000% buy at least one but leaving out a scroll wheel is a deal breaker for like 95% of people»

To which Spl4tt3rB1tcH replied:

«But those 5% are so damn happy that something like this exists.»

Zaunkoenig Newsletter

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.