One mouse to rule them all.
Gaming mice can feel a bit same-y after awhile. Sure, a sensor may change here and there and other important differences come to the fore, but it’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything that really feels “new.” Swiftpoint hopes to change that with its new Swiftpoint Z (See it on Amazon), a gaming mouse that may just be the most advanced mouse on the market today.
Featuring pressure-sensitive buttons, a gyroscope, accelerometer, and a high quality gaming-grade optical sensor, the Swiftpoint Z aims to be a mouse and a joystick at the same time. It’s also completely programmable to change your Windows and gaming experiences. At $169.99, those promises don’t come cheap but, if it works, it has the potential to be the rare peripheral that actually makes you a better gamer.
Swiftpoint Z Gaming Mouse – Design and Features
Given the premium price of the mouse, I was happy to see that Swiftpoint spared no expense with packaging and presentation. The outer box holds a stitched hard-shell case to keep the Z safe, and it has cutouts for each accessory. Another small touch is that the cable actually wraps around the edge of the right side of the case, keeping it from forming kinks that would make the mouse harder to use.
Taking things out of the box, you get a plentiful package. Two sets of glide feet brackets are included that attach to the mouse with magnets. One set allows the Swiftpoint to sit completely flat while the other is slightly conical to aid in tilt control. A third bracket, the flightstick extender, lifts the mouse right off the desk with a rounded bottom, allowing it to rock on its axis like a joystick. You also have tall and short rubber caps for the fingertip and trigger buttons so you can tailor how high they sit under your fingers.
At just over five inches long and three and a half inches wide, it’s very close in size to the the Logitech MX Master 2S. This makes sense since both mice also target creative users who need a larger input devices. Compared to something like the Logitech G Pro, it feels like a mouse-and-a-half. Unsurprisingly, all of the extra tech in the Swiftpoint Z adds up to some extra weight with a total mass of 117g. It’s not unwieldy, by any means. The SteelSeries Rival 650 can be weighted up to 153g, for example. But as mice like the Finalmouse Air58 Ninja and Logitech G Pro Wireless push their weights well under 100g, it’s worth noting that the Swiftpoint Z is on the heavier side.
The mouse features a unique design. From the sides, it looks mostly normal, if a bit strange with the extra wing up on the upper right side. When you look at it from the top, however, you can see this isn’t your average mouse. There are a total of 11 buttons, but where you would usually find only left-and-right click, you have a whopping nine buttons with the left and right buttons split into an additional “fingertip” and “trigger” zones. Pressing these with different parts of your finger takes a little practice but actually works really well once you get used to it. I was a little disappointed to find that the “”triggers” are really just buttons you press back instead of down. It’s a missed opportunity, especially when you already have analog tech built in.
These buttons are supported by the main left and right buttons being completely flat and recessed below the rest of the body. Swiftpoint says this was done to prevent accidental movement when clicking, though I never found that to be a problem in the first place. Having these buttons lower feels a little funny and definitely looks strange but keeps both fingers angled to easily press the two rear buttons.
Rounding out inputs, you have two more buttons along the edge of the left mouse, the clickable scroll wheel, and the forward and back along the left side.
What’s really game changing about the mouse is that the left, right, and fingertips buttons are all pressure sensitive. This allows you to set one command for a normal click and another for a hard press (a “deep click”), sort of like 3DTouch on the iPhone.
What’s really game changing about the mouse is that the left, right, and fingertips buttons are all pressure sensitive.
I set my right click to lower the DPI any time I pressed more than 50-percent, turning it into a sniper button just by pressing a little harder. You can also make it send multiple commands, like holding shift, at the same time, really giving you a competitive edge in games like Call of Duty when sniping.
Thanks to the accelerometer and gyroscope, you can also send commands by tilting your mouse. The most natural is to set peeking around a corner to tilting left or right but, thanks to the powerful software suite, you’re free to think outside the box. A quick flick up is great for a quick reload, for example.
Along the left side of the mouse, you have the OLED screen. Typically, I don’t find these very useful but Swiftpoint has done a good job of making this a functional part of the mouse. In the beginning, I recommend setting this to show the amount of pressure you’re using so you can get a feel for what a normal and deep click feel like. After you create different game profiles, it’s useful to display the profile you’re currently on since you’ll likely be swapping quite a bit.
Where it becomes more useful is with on-the-fly configuration. By holding the mouse at an angle, you can change some core parameters, like your DPI or which profile you’re on. It’s quick and intuitive and gives the screen a bit more purpose than the novelty of GIFs like the Steelseries Rival 700.
The Z uses the popular PixArt PMW3360 optical sensor.
Finally we have the sensor itself. The Z uses the popular PixArt PMW3360 optical sensor which is one of the most praised in gaming today for its superb, pixel perfect accuracy. It’s been used in some of most well regarded mice out there, including the Finalmouse Ultralight Pro and Zowie EC2. It also features a DPI range of 200 – 12000 (far beyond the demands of even 4K gaming).
All of your DPI settings and custom mappings can be saved to the mouse’s onboard memory, though how many this will be depends entirely on how much programming you’ve done. Swiftpoint doesn’t disclose the actual amount of flash memory on the mouse but I was able to map custom settings for more than a dozen games before approaching the memory limit, which is already far in excess of the five commonly found on high-end mice like the Logitech G903.
Swiftpoint Z Gaming Mouse – Software
It should be clear already that the Swiftpoint Z is a complicated mouse and the same is true of the software that powers it. Honestly, I found myself a bit overwhelmed with just how much you can tailor, right down to individual degrees of tilt for separate macro bindings. Swiftpoint has done a good job of keeping everything clean and, for the most part, straightforward but you should expect to spend some time customizing your settings.
The tabs you see on top of the picture above are the pre-built profiles Swiftpoint ships with the mouse. They’re straightforward and useful and give the mouse advanced out-of-the-box utility. The Desktop profile, for example, maps the fingertip buttons to copy and paste. The triggers, when held, allow you to cycle through open Windows or browser tabs by moving your mouse left or right. Gaming Analog and Gaming Gestures map deep clicks to joystick buttons and tilting to stick movement. These felt tuned right away for me with only small sensitivity adjustments needed once I was in-game.
You can also click on any of the buttons on the image of the mouse to begin programming. In this picture, you can see how you can create a sniper button with a small vibration once you’ve applied enough pressure.
In fact, the only time things really get hairy is when you’re programming joystick commands. Unless you’ve spent a lot of time remapping your joystick in the past, you’re probably going to need to have it plugged in alongside the Swiftpoint while you set everything up.
Compared to early versions of Corsair’s Utility Engine or Bloody Gaming’s KeyDominator software, it’s remarkably intuitive for how much you can do. One major bonus is that all of your settings can be saved to the mouse itself and won’t need the software to run after. This is incredibly useful, especially if you switch PCs often.
Swiftpoint Z Gaming Mouse – Gaming Performance
With so many functions built into the mouse, I was excited to see how I could tailor it to different kinds of games. First-person shooters are my go-to, so I spent some time putting it through its paces in PUBG, Call of Duty: Blackout, and Battlefield V. After that, I spent some time flying the skies in Battlefield 4 and burning rubber in Forza 7 to test out the controller’s analog capabilities.
the Swiftpoint Z is phenomenal for first-person shooters
To put it simply, the Swiftpoint Z is phenomenal for first-person shooters. It brings the benefits of an MMO mouse with its extra buttons and adds in game-changing features like deep presses and tilt gestures. Expect a break-in period as you get used to its unique feel in your hand and accessing all the buttons, but once you do, it makes normal mice feel downright limiting.
Starting with PUBG and Battlefield V, I mapped my primary and secondary weapons to the edge buttons on the left mouse and mapped crouch and prone to forward and back. Doing this, I was able to quickly react without needing to move my fingers off the movement buttons or crane my pinky into an unnatural position. Mapping shift and a lower DPI to a right-mouse deep press made me more accurate than I’ve ever felt before.
The mouse glides very smooth. I used it on both hard and soft surfaces and never felt impeded, which was a concern when I saw that it used brackets instead of permanent feet like most mice. In reality, though, it felt just as good as my normal Logitech G Pro Wireless and the accuracy of the sensor completely matched the fluidity of that movement.
In PUBG, I was able to use tilt controls to peek around trees and into windows. There are times when you’re peeking from behind cover and keeping your fingers on the movement controls makes you more mobile than the opponent. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this earned me extra kills but I definitely think it kept me alive longer. It’s also a case where tilting the mouse to lean left or right just feels perfect.
After that, I loaded up Battlefield 4 and strapped on the tilt-aid foot bracket. The Swiftpoint Z just shined with this kind of in the cockpit/back on the ground gameplay. I did have to adjust my sensitivities in-game but once I had it dialed in, using the mouse to pilot an attack helicopter felt very natural. Being able to tilt allowed me to be more accurate when in firefights, especially in jets where I used to struggle to keep a bead on enemy pilots. When the end came, I was able to swap out to a boots on the ground profile before I’d even hit the ground and be right back to the action.
In Forza 7, I used the Flightstick Extender to really test the analog control. Like the other games, I did have to do some adjusting to really dial in the settings, but once I did the mouse worked remarkably well. I was able to accelerate and brake using the deep presses on left and right and shift with the fingertip buttons. Steering with the mouse felt a bit unnatural as you’re twisting the mouse, and I never completely got over it, but it does work well enough to play and win. It still doesn’t replace the ease of kicking back in a chair with a controller, though, so I don’t think I’ll be making a complete switch for racing games anytime soon.
The biggest hurdle, no matter what I used the mouse for, was set up
The biggest hurdle, no matter what I used the mouse for, was set up. In many ways, using the Swiftpoint Z feels like a brand new input experience since, if you want to use it to its full potential, as you’re shifting things off the keyboard and onto the mouse. There’s a barrier to entry there any newcomer will have to get over.
The Swiftpoint Z has an MSRP of $229, but it’s usually $160 on Amazon.