I’ll just come right out and say that I don’t really think I’ve ever had a problem with sweaty palms in the 25 years or so that I’ve been regularly using a mouse. But my weather app is telling me it feels like 100°F in Tokyo today, and I am not looking forward to my electricity bill this month, so if I can shift even one percent of the cooling burden from my air conditioner to my PC’s USB port, why not?
That’s where Mindshunter’s Zephyr Gaming Mouse comes in. It is, as far as I’m aware, the first ever gaming mouse with a built-in fan to cool your hand. It’s available (and fully funded) for pre-order on Kickstarter now with prices starting at $89 and an estimated shipping date of October.
The Zephyr mouse is made possible by a type of design that’s become increasingly popular in the world of gaming mice over the past couple of years. The chassis is heavily perforated with holes, giving it a webbed, honeycomb-style look that comes with a few advantages from a gaming side. First of all, it makes it a lot lighter at just 68g. Second, it maximizes RGB lighting potential.
And third, yes, it improves airflow.
There’s a button on the underside of the Zephyr that allows you to activate the fan at various speeds. The pre-production model I tested is apparently only running at 70 percent of its final power — such is life when it comes to checking out random Kickstarter products — but that’s enough to produce a pretty noticeable high-pitched sound on any setting. I don’t know if I’d be okay with whatever the 100 percent version sounds like without using headphones.
Unless the shipping version of the Zephyr mouse makes a big difference, you shouldn’t expect a strong cooling blast directly into your palm. The effect is noticeable but generally pretty subtle, particularly when you’re actually using the mouse. I found that it made more of an impression when returning to the computer after stepping away for a few minutes — the mouse felt unusually cool when I sat back down at the desk. The fan seems to do a better job of cooling the mouse’s plastic frame than blasting air through its holes.
I wouldn’t really recommend the Zephyr based on its fan alone unless you’re sure it’d make a difference for you personally. Fortunately, though, it’s a good gaming mouse in its own right. The build is light but sturdy, the buttons all feel satisfyingly clicky, the 16,000-dpi sensor is very responsive, and I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with the extensive RGB lighting options.
Basically, this is a good gaming mouse at a decent price with a special niche feature of debatable value. If a “sweat-proof gaming mouse” is a thing that appeals to you, I could certainly believe that this would be your best bet. I’m just not personally looking for its particular unique selling point — but I have to admit that sometimes it’s nice to sit down with a cool beverage and a cool mouse.