Pity the poor soul who enters fresh faced into the gaming mouse market. There are a lot to choose from, and you can get a brilliant general purpose gaming mouse for far less than BenQ's new Zowie EC3-CW. If you're looking for something to play Starfield or Baldur's Gate 3, this is fine, but both overpriced and over-specced for the purpose.
It's worthwhile to ask, then: why is this no-frills looking wireless mouse so expensive? It's all in the (minor) details. The Zowie EC2-C is often cited as being among the greatest tools for FPS pros, especially Counter-Strike. Likewise the EC1 and EC3, which are different sizes of the same model.
The EC3-CW (the model under review: there's also EC1-CW and EC2-CW versions) is a wireless version of those respected workhorses. It's for serious players of serious twitch-oriented competitive games. Where once those serious players would always demand a cable, nowadays, it's not incompatible with wireless peripherals.
The question of value was on my mind as I unboxed the EC3-CW. It's a lean beast, with no tactile grips (or "dimples") on either side of its elegant / kinda boring matte veneer. I didn't like this smoothness at first, but the matte finish didn't lead to the slippage I expected, and it's also easier to clean.
Polling Rate: 1,000Hz
Size: 119mm x 61mm x 41mm
Connectivity: 2.4GHz wireless
Battery: 70 hrs
Price: $149 | £160 | AU$229
Other surprising minimalist traits: There are conspicuously few areas that could come alight RGB-style. There are zero superfluous trimmings: not even the Zowie logo lights up, though a subtle line of light beneath the scroll wheel illuminates when docked to its wireless receiver to indicate its power level. It's a supremely comfortable mouse to use, though, weighing in at under 80 grams, and with just enough rise at the palm hump so it feels like it's blending into my claw grip. I use the mouse with my right hand, and lefties will be out of luck with this ergonomic asymmetrical affair. The EC3 is the smallest of the family at about 120mm long and around 70mm at its widest point.
Functionality is simultaneously great and boring. It skids smoothly both on desktop and mouse mat with a spare set of skates in the box. Left and right clicks are crisp and definitely on the louder side, and the steps in the scroll wheel are heavily pronounced though still effortless to use. Okay, the loudness of the clicks might annoy someone in the next room, but to you they will sound great. I love that sensation of mechanical feedback.
That "enhanced" wireless receiver is arguably more interesting than the mouse itself, which boasts a PixArt 3370 sensor. The enhanced receiver connects via USB Type-A to your PC and doubles as a charging unit. A tiny 2.4GHz USB receiver dongle also comes in the box, and you can also use it wired if you want, though that would undermine the whole value proposition here.
The EC3-CW is remarkably fuss-free. Once either receiver is plugged into my PC there are no drivers or apps to bother with: the corresponding mouse just started working, so long as I had the underside switch toggled to wireless mode. This switch can also power the mouse down entirely, or switch it to use the dongle receiver. And yeah, as hinted above, the "enhanced" receiver also boasts a charging dock.
The Zowie EC3-CW is part of a trio of gaming mice in the new EC series. All have the same specs and work the same way, though each has different dimensions. We tried the EC1-CW and the EC2-CW, and both are functionally the same as the EC3-CW, dimensions aside. Here are the measurements of each:
EC1-CW: 130mm x 64mm x 42mm | 79g
EC2-CW: 123mm x 61mm x 42mm | 77g
EC3-CW: 119mm x 61mm x 41mm | 76g
It's really the least annoying wireless piece of kit I've ever used, and while charging with a cord is easy and possible, the dock is a nice touch. I do wonder whether it might be wise for BenQ to release a cheaper version of these wireless mice without it, though.
With my PC connected to a wireless headset and keyboard, and with all manner of other wireless signals buzzing around my workspace (an Xbox controller paired to a Series X; a DualSense paired to a PS5) I received no glitchy interferences here. Standing three metres from the receiver itself, I noticed no significant lag or shaping problems using VsyncTester. It's about as faultless as you can expect from a wireless mouse, and when I begrudgingly plugged it in I didn't feel like I was getting a better experience. If there's a difference, it's utterly imperceptible. It's been a while since wireless was anathema to competitive players, and the EC3-CW is utterly no-compromise in the lag and noise department.
BenQ itself makes a big fuss about how impervious to interference its enhanced receiver is. It's meant to be a selling point for esports competitors (or dare I say, LAN enthusiasts) who habitually play in rooms with lots of other PCs and wireless signals. That tech is what you're paying for here, because while the EC3-CW has great specs comparable with, say, the DeathAdder V3 Pro—adjustable DPI up to 32,000; adjustable polling rate up to 1,000Hz—it is otherwise an almost stubbornly pared back piece of kit.
✅ If you prize responsiveness in twitch-oriented shooters: This mouse is designed as a no-nonsense workhorse for serious FPS players.
✅ You've long been suspicious of wireless mice for gaming: The EC3-CW and its siblings are designed to work as effectively as their wired stablemates.
❌ You aren't a competitive gamer: Sure, it's a brilliant wireless gaming mouse, but cheaper mice are available for the more general gamer.
That's probably something of a necessity, as RGB stylings would dwindle the advertised 70 hour battery life faster. I used it for a full week—both for work and gaming—without docking it, and can confirm it reaches at least 60 hours. Look, I don't know who needs 70 hours, except the exceedingly forgetful. If you're the kind of pro targeted by this mouse, you're probably not going to forget.
The Zowie EC3-CW wants to be the go-to wireless mouse for competitive gaming and there's no reason why it can't be, judged on merit alone. Sure, it doesn't have a 8,000Hz polling rate, and it's not breaking any other records in terms of weight, DPI, etc, but my gaming monitor doesn't have a 500Hz refresh rate either, and I can't imagine needing it.
The question is, why would you buy this at $149 / £160 / AU$229? Most obviously, because you love the wired versions of the ECX-C line: many do. The vast majority of PC gamers don't need a wireless mouse with these specs at this price point, but if you do, it's going to be hard to beat.