Gear

HANDS ON: VAXEE Zygen NP-01 and Outset AX Esports mice

I’d been following VAXEE’s journey since last year, and I’ve been intrigued by their products.

I’m always curious about smaller brands trying to enter a saturated market like gaming peripherals, especially homegrown ones. Singapore is already home to brands like Razer and Armageddon, and it’s refreshing to see that there are still companies here that want to take on the challenge of entering the market with a strong idea of the needs that they want to address.

It certainly helped that VAXEE has some serious pedigree in their team, many of whom are former Zowie engineers, and partnered with well-respected former Counterstrike pros Junia “noppo” Taniguchi and Zhengwei “alex” Bian for their first two products: The Zygen NP-01 and Outset AX.

I was also drawn to their no frills and no RGB light design, because a lot of us gamers who fall on the more casual end of the spectrum have been conditioned over the years to think that fancy lights and design are one of the things to look for in a good gaming mouse.

Over the last year, my mouse of choice has been the SteelSeries Rival 600, which I picked out specifically because it came with weights that could be added on (and also because it had fancy lights and looked cool). While it comes in at 96g, the added weights let you get the mouse up to 128g – which I’ve found perfect.

That’s why I started with a bit of skepticism when testing the Zygen NP-01 and Outset AX units, because they weigh in at 75g and 76g, roughly 41% less than the Rival 600.

My initial doubts were proven wrong through testing, though. Here’s my breakdown on their pros and cons.

FEEL

The Outset AX features a simple design that has a smooth finish on the outer shell while featuring a textured grip on the mouse buttons, which adds a nice feel and keeps your fingers in place especially during those tense gunfights where one might curl them up instead of having them flat on each button.

The finishing in the shell felt good, and since my hands don’t sweat a lot during gameplay, I never had any issues with my hand slipping off the mouse while playing games.

However, with extended testing, the Outset AX didn’t feel natural in my hand. I was able to narrow it down to the fact that while the Outset AX’s base body isn’t far off in terms of width and length, my Rival 600’s mouse buttons were a fair bit longer, allowing me to get more comfortable with my natural grip.

By holding the Outset AX in the same way that I would my Rival 600, the tips of my index and middle fingers were jutting out and didn’t feel that comfortable.

The Zygen NP-01, from a grip and feel perspective, felt naturally comfortable from the moment I started using it. The curvature felt good, and a large part of that is because the left side of the mouse doesn’t have a high bump.

I’d say that my grip may have actually changed a little bit while using the Zygen NP-01, but had a positive effect on my gameplay. I’ve found myself holding the mouse a little tighter with my thumb, index, and middle finger, which has given me a greater deal of control of my aim while still feeling comfortable.

What I found most interesting, though, is that while the Zygen NP-01 is only a gram lighter than the Outset, it felt a little bit heavier than that.

One of my biggest complaints about the Rival 600 is how the mouse wheel is far too loose, making it too easy to accidentally switch weapons at the wrong time.

Both the Zygen NP-01 and Outset AX have a better, slower mouse wheel scroll speed than the Rival 600, which meant I had far less accidents.

In terms of side mouse buttons, I preferred the Zygen NP-01’s button placement, because they’re much easier to reach. I have to move and curl my thumb too much on the Outset AX for the side buttons.

Another thing I appreciated about both VAXEE mice is how the cables come with a soft protective covering instead of the standard plastic cables  that come with most mice, including the Rival 600. 

The end of the cable attached to the mice can also slightly be tilted up, making them a good choice for those who use mouse bungees. There will be few setups that have issues with the cable length, as they’re 2m in length.

PERFORMANCE

I appreciate the fact that both mice don’t need any software to be installed on your computer.

Having been used to Logitech and SteelSeries mice over the last few years, it honestly was refreshing to have all the configuration I need accessible through three buttons on the bottom of the mouse.

Both models allow you to choose from 400/800/1600/3200 DPI, 125Hz/500Hz/1000Hz report rate, and 2ms/4ms/8ms click latency.

Running 800 DPI, 1000Hz and 4ms worked perfectly for me.

PARTING THOUGHTS

VAXEE’s Esports mice are a great tool, especially for gamers who care more about function over fancy and non-functional aesthetics.

I’m not someone who really cares about RGB lights, so I actually found the simpler, solid colouring of both mice to be a refreshing change.

It’s important to note, though, that left handed mouse users will not have a good time with the Zygen NP-01 or the Outset AX models. They’ve been designed for right-handed people.

They both retail at SGD 89, which puts them at an affordable range.

While I think both mice are good for gaming, I found the Zygen NP-01 to be the better model for my grip style. It’s my gaming mouse of choice moving forward.

If anything, VAXEE has also proven to my stubborn mind that more isn’t necessarily better in terms of mouse weight. Intuitive design, comfort, and responsiveness are at the top of the food chain, and both of the mice I tested are excellent in these categories.

Both mice get a thumbs up from me. The choice between the two really comes down to personal preference and mouse grip style.

Interested in more information? Here are two videos that explain VAXEE’s design philosophy.

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