Ektekcity Scroll X1 (M555) Review - Is an Ultra Cheap Gaming Mouse Worth The Price?

Gaming Mice

There are over 750 reviews of the EtekCity mice on Amazon, and they are overwhelmingly, glowingly, crazily positive.  With the obvious exception of those getting DOA parts, the mouse I'm reviewing today gets really good reviews, and people think they're getting a great value.  I am in need of a gaming mouse, and so I thought I'd take a risk and try it out.  At $12 ($16 when not on sale), how could I go wrong?

EtekCity M555 Scroll X1 uses Avago 5050

The look and feel (general design) of the EtekCity Scroll X1 is actually really nice.  It has a rubberized grip along the top, and rubber indents along the sides.  Likewise, the buttons all feel quite nice.  They claim to use Omron switches, and they feel like decent switches. 

Build quality is a small issue with this mouse.  In the mouse I purchased, the scroll wheel was a little light on each click - about half the resistance that I've come to expect from other mice, and a bit on the "muddy" side of things.  Likewise, the pinky rest was peeling a bit from the body of the mouse. 

The ergonomics of this mouse are surprisingly good, if you use a "palm grip".  There's a spot for resting your ring finger, the textured rubber surface for where your pinky rests allows you to push/manipulate the mouse's position easily, it just feels really nice.  My only complaint is that the natural resting place of the pinky has you dragging it against the mouse mat a bit, but it's something you get used to quickly.

It doesn't have a long cord, but I don't think many people will care about that.

EtekCity Scroll X1 (M55) review - sensor information Avago 5050

The main LED (bottom) of the Etekcity M555 shows a different colored light for each of the different DPI settings that you can select with the centralized switch.  The LEDs aren't distracting, but as a personal preference, I prefer a professional clean look with no bling.  In my humble, understated opinion, the LEDs on this mouse are dumb and everyone should hate them.  It just sits there blinking at you.  To each his own. 

Etekcity has good software for such a cheap mouse

First off - despite some of the reviews on Amazon, the Macro software most certainly works.  So, there's that.  It's a bit finicky to get going on, but it absolutely functions as intended.  More on that in a moment. 

The expected ability to map buttons is featured in the software, and while it's no great surprise, it's fantastic that it's a feature in a mouse in this price range. 

Macros have to be assigned to a macro program (a name for the macro), and for some reason I couldn't immediately apply the macro I wanted to the program, because the software thought I was still 'renaming' the macro.  Once I got over that hump, programming the macro was relatively straightforward for keypress macros, and after I assigned the macro and hit apply, everything went as expected.  Again, some pretty advanced features for such an inexpensive mouse!

Scroll X1 Software supports high polling rates and different dpi levels

Yes indeed, the software has many advanced adjustments that you'd expect from mice that are much more expensive.  What in the world could possibly be wrong with this mouse, it seems to have everything in the package for less than the cost of a good lunch!

ETekCity M555 (Scroll X1) does poll at 1000hz

Well, here we have proof that the mouse does in fact poll at 1000hz.  That's a nice, welcome sign.  Again, what could be wrong with this mouse?

Here's where it all falls apart - The sensor (the main reason you're buying a mouse) on the ETekCity Scroll X1 (M555) stinks

EtekCity uses a very bad sensor and you shouldn't game with this mouse

Click the picture to see the detail - the rough edges indicate a tracking problem with the sensor - jitter and general tracking is a big issue here

At the 1000hz polling rate, the absolute max I'd use this mouse at is 800DPI, which is its lowest "high" setting.  It absolutely loses it's mind above that setting, and it's a travesty at 2400 DPI - as you can see in the picture, even making very large movements with this mouse to compensate for its terrible sensor (apparently the Avago 5050) has no impact on its complete inability to figure out where you are.  As a means of comparison, you can see that the Performance Mouse MX by Logitech is precise up to 1500 DPI, more precise than the 800 DPI setting for this mouse. 

Think about the effect of the image you're seeing here in a game.  Let me tell you, it's exactly as you'd expect.  It's only tolerable on its lowest setting.  Precision is completely lost with higher DPI and polling settings.

As you can see below, even at lower polling settings, you get a lot of jidder and inaccuracy as you move up in DPI, and the lower DPI settings at the Windows default polling rate of 125hz still exhibit less accuracy than other mice.

Etekcity performance at different polling rates

Click this picture to see how the mouse moves in more detail.

You can't use this mouse for gaming without suffering an accuracy penalty.  You can't use this for Photoshop, either.  I have 5 mice on this desk, and 3 others on other computers, and I only have one mouse that performs worse than this - but it wasn't marketed as a game mouse. 

You can get a better mouse than the Etekcity M555 (Scroll X1), and it won't cost you much more money.  Well, maybe it will, but you won't be sorry.

The Etekcity Scroll X1 has all of the window dressing, and puts forth a really good first impression, but has none of the precision and even sacrifices some build quality that you'd expect from a basic gaming mouse.  When it comes down to it, you shouldn't have to worry about rubber that peels, lights that blink and can't be turned off, and a sensor that has no business near games.  Buy something else.  I wanted to like this mouse, especially on first inspection - it's got a great feel.  But it was trivially easy to discover its weaknesses, and because even basic desktop mice outclass this "gaming mouse" I cannot give it any recommendation.

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Anonymous, 1/3/2015 11:33:46 PM
Score: 0  
CS:GO player
I must be better at aiming than I thought then... I bought this mouse because I am a broke college kid that loves playing games when I can. I can aim pretty well and pull off some great shots with the mouse; maybe I just adjusted to how bad it is? I've played games with bad mice my whole life, maybe I just got a nack for them, haha.
larsoncc, 1/4/2015 8:56:46 AM
Score: 0  
You probably are! Also, the benefits of a gaming mouse might be drastically overstated by marketing departments. :) This mouse has several of the elements right - namely, no input lag because it's polling very quickly, great buttons, I didn't notice acceleration, it has customization options, and it feels good. But for not much more money, you can get a better sensor in addition to that, so I think it's worth more to get the better sensor. CS pros use specific mice because they're the best mice out there, and they want to ensure they have no disadvantages. I did the same tests on a couple computers, but maybe I had a bad mouse. They took my return with no issues, so I'll give them that. Drawing circles is an easily repeatable test to see if you're having the same jitter issues. In actual games, I only notice a mouse's jitter issues when I'm working with a gun that has a lot of pull while shooting. I'm not a CS GO player, but an example of this in Counter Strike would be in trying to get a really tight grouping with the AK. As you shoot, you pull down and left to keep the grouping tight. It's a little harder to do with a sensor that bounces around. In turning, I worry about consistency, so in that case, lack of acceleration is most important. In general use, I didn't notice the mouse having issues, because when I needed precision, I was moving the mouse slower, and / or was using it at a lower DPI. I wanted to like the mouse, but it was pretty easy for me to test to see what was its issue. I also want to point out that while I did test this mouse on multiple computers, it's possible that some computers will deal with the sensor better, or again, maybe my mouse was a bad sample.

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