Review: NKEY G512 Mouse, The Smallest Ergonomic Mouse with the PW 3360 Sensor

Mice

Shot out to Reddit user BananaVoid who wrote the following review over on Overclock.net’s forum. It’s a really comprehensive review. We’re sharing this review as there are not many somewhat ergonomic mice that use one of the best performance sensors in the world.

BananaVoid bought an NKEY G512 mouse from a seller on Gmarket (a Korean auction site). NKEY mice are from Korea. I searched Amazon and only found one NKEY mouse for sale, their G510 Spark Gaming Mouse. Searching Gmarket I found a bunch of G512 mice for sale for about $60 with shipping to the U.S. There seems to be enough English that you should have no trouble buying on on that site. I couldn’t find any listed on eBay so if you want one, you’ll likely need to import it from Korea.

The G512 is the smallest ergonomic mouse that has the PW 3360 sensor. To get a small taste of how people talk about and compare mice sensors, check out this video on Sensor Wars: The Best Opticals. The FinalMouse Classic Ergo 2 uses this 3360 sensor. This is how they describe the sensor: The Classic Ergo 2 boasts the new industry leading pmw3360 esports sensor by Pixart. With a higher framerate, integrated illumination, and enhanced tracking ability, the 3360 is the pinnacle in sensor technology. This means raw, snappy, 1:1 tracking that is trusted by Pro’s as being the best in the world. BTW, this mouse is sold out on Amazon. Overclock has a list of all mice that use this sensor.

Here’s BannaVoid’s unedited review and photos of the NKEY G512 ergonomic mouse:


Shape

Quit obviously, the G512 takes a lot from the KPOE’s shape including how the shape seems to favor a claw/hybrid grip. Clawing the mouse feels natural and the mouse fits under my hand like a glove after a few warm up sessions.

For my hands, the G512 seems to be the ideal height and width. 38-39mm looks to be the cutoff for comfortable hump height. Anything taller starts to push my hand into a more unnatural position, leading to a noticeable decrease in control, prominently in precise wrist movement/adjustments. It’s the difference in feeling that my hand is moving the mouse instead of the mouse moving under my hand.

The size and shape makes the mouse feel more like a small ambidextrous mouse, like the G303 or venator than it does to an MM530 or EC2-A. It really does feel like an ergonomic mouse designed for people who generally prefer small ambidextrous shapes.

Build Quality

I’m actually quite surprised on the build quality of the mouse. My unit had no lense rattle, no shakey scroll wheel, the material/coating felt good, and there was nothing that moved when I shook the mouse. The coating is basically the same as the KPOE’s meaning once you hand warms up and a little moisture gets on the mouse, it really grips to your hand, for which I am a fan. It felt sturdy overall with no creaks or warping in normal conditions, it feels solid.

Buttons

The main mouse buttons, they’re pretty good. There’s no pre travel or over travel despite the lack of separated buttons, although the buttons are stiffer than your average omrons despite being omrons. I’d judge the firmness to be between normal omrons and huanos. They’re clicky and felt satisfying to use and a bit firmer than average and I’d place them just below from what you see from Logitech.

The side buttons are pretty standard. A medium press and squishy because of the over travel. Their location is also a bit further back than I’d like but they’re still easy to access(I use the bottom half my thumb to actuate mouse 4). They work without any issue and feel fine.

The dpi buttons work, that’s about it.

Scroll wheel

The Scroll wheel, while not overly grippy has not given me a problem, I had no slippage when using it. The steps are fairly light though, still defined, but definitely lighter than I’d like, I don’t have any worries about scroll skipping or half actuations though. Mouse 3 is a medium-light press. Overall I’d say the mousewheel is good, not great. Better than Zowie’s.

Weight

On my scale, although this was post cable replacement so take that into account. It’s around 94g, which is surprisingly heavy for a mouse of this size. The balance also seems to be towards the bottom which is noticeable whenever I pick up the mouse for re-positioning. It’ll be one of the reasons why some people will turn away from this mouse if they’re not willing to do some modifications.

A big culprit is this plastic plate under the PCB:

Least to say, I was quite surprised. This helps contribute to the G512’s bottom heavyweight balance. Really, it’s only there to distribute the lighting effects from the PCB. It doesn’t really structurally support the PCB, but while you can just remove the whole piece, the edges of the plate are part of the outside of the mouse, meaning there’d be a 2mm gap in the shell if you do so.

The easiest solution is to put the plate on top of a cardboard box and start drilling holes to remove chunks of the plastic. Option 2 could be to hollow out the plate and glue the rim to the bottom shell.

The cable

It’s a deal-breaker. Probably THE biggest drawback for the G512. Its bad. Really bad. Almost ridiculously so. How bad?

Its

bad.

The above links don’t do it justice. If you told me they braided a tree branch I would believe you. The cable is inexcusably stiff, even bungeed you can feel the cable work against you as you move the mouse. The cable comes in all bent like coat hanger wire and further adds to the frustration as you try to fight the cable drag. It’s to the point where I’d recommend you pass on the mouse if you’re not willing to replace the cable. For the price and effort to import this from SOUTH KOREA, it just not worth using it stock.

The mousefeet

They’re good. Which is nice.

Performance

I’m not at all familiar with how to use mouse tester, so I can’t fully measure the performance. However, I’ve yet to see the mouse not do what other PW3360 can do. Tracking feels fast, accurate and responsive and I can’t make it spin out even through the tilt slam test.

Lighting effects

The mouse has some pretty novel rgb lighting. Not as many effects as the likes of Logitech, Corsair or razer but it’s got its own gimmicks. There are four main lighting points: the mousewheel, logo, under the main buttons, and the bottom brim of the mouse. The last two are the interesting ones. You can set the lights under the main buttons to stay on indefinitely or you can have them light up when you actuate either mouse 1 or mouse 2.

Link: rave partyyy

The brim lights can also stay on indefinitely or it can be set to only light up when the sensor detects movement.

I made another gif for it, not great but it shows the effect in action: Link

Perhaps the most useful feature is that you can set the color of your mousewheel to represent different DPI settings, a nice touch.

Software

I think the most notable part of the software is that everything is in English. Which is surprising since the G512 is only distributed in the Asian markets. Not that I’m not complaining.

Notable features in the advanced tab include LOD adjustment from 1.0-1.6mm in 2mm steps, which more companies should include in their software. The scroll wheel settings allow you to adjust the scroll speed and even apply acceleration if desired. I found it pretty useful for web browsing almost like a cheaper free spin, but I can’t think any tangible benefits when gaming.

One of my favorite features was the option to rebind the scrollwheel This is useful for games that still don’t allow you to rebind your scrollwheel like Fallout 4 and Destiny 2. Also the potential for macro spam goes up and is most likely the main reason they have this feature.

Comparisons

VS Roccat Kone Pure Owl-Eye:

For myself, the shape of the Kone’s back hump was pretty uncomfortable for my hand, particularly for my pinky. After long gaming sessions, the KPOE will push against and pinch my pinky until I lose feeling in that finger. While I can change my grip somewhat, the adjustments felt unnatural and my hand would eventually default to the previous grip style.

This is what ultimately leads me to believe that the KPOE is a small mouse made for bigger(or at least wider) hands than it really is for smaller hands. If your hands are wider than mine, then the KPOE probably won’t give you as much trouble.

The Nkey’s back hump is definitely the “safer” of the two. The smaller and thinner overall shape fits more comfortably in the palm. However, the KPOE feels noticeably lighter. While on paper, the KPOE is 6g lighter than the G512, the difference feels greater because of the KPOE’s superior weight distribution.

To summarize: The KPOE feels lighter while the G512 feels smaller(and more comfortable)

I was actually pretty surprised in how different it felt to grip the G512 compared to the KPOE. The shape of the humps are very different and each will suit different people. For me overall, I prefer the G512 over the KPOE. The KPOE may have the advantage in hardware and weight, but the G512 has the better shape. I found better performance in-game from the shape more so than any disadvantages that the higher wait gives. The lack of nerve damage is also a nice bonus.

vs G400s

If the Kone series has been compared numerous times to the G400s in basic shape and design then the G512 comes even closer. Everything from the thumb groove to the back hump of the G512 looks to be drawn directly from the G400s, just a size smaller in almost every dimension.
I still wouldn’t call it a clone, as there are some differences aside from size. The right side of the of the G400s has a small lip to assist for gripping while the G512’s is more flat and raised to achieve a similar effect. The back hump on the G400s is more rounded on the right side than the G512. The G512 won’t be a direct replacement, but if you’ve been looking for a smaller G400s, then the the G512 comes closer than anything else.

vs ZA13

The ZA13 is perhaps the mouse that feels the most similar to the G512 when in use. Both are small mice that I find easy to claw. Both mice are about 38mm tall, but he ZA13’s hump is more prominent as its located further back. The hump is sloped more forward on the G512 and the slope is more gradual, which I found better for claw and hybrid grips.

Speaking on size, the G512 is the smallest Ergo PW 3360 equipped mouse that I’m aware of, and one of the smallest competitive options in general.

(From left to right: G512, KPOE, MM530, EC2-A, G400s, G403)

I’ve arranged my collection of ergo mice roughly from what I deem to be the smallest to largest. This is a small mouse, and unlike the KPOE it feels like it’s designed for small hands in mind.

Availability/Pricing

I paid around $60-70 for the mouse. $40-50 for the mouse itself and the $20 for shipping. That puts the mouse in the price range of top of the line mice from the major manufacturers. Not to mention the cable replacement, this makes the mouse a pretty heavy investment. I say don’t bother if you don’t plan on replacing the cable, it’s just not worth the $60-70 at that point.

Besides the cable, does the overall quality compared to similarly priced competition? I’d argue yes. Compared to Zowie mice are available at the same price the G512 wins in: Buttons, Side buttons, scroll wheel and features. Everything works, and everything works well, unlike numerous other mice available at the same price.

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Kealoha

Hi, I'm Kealoha, an American engi-nerd. I've designed dozens of software systems for Fortune 1000 companies worldwide and institutions like MIT’s Digital Media Lab. I started to get carpal tunnel syndrome early in my career and a total
switch to ergo products has completely eliminated any pain or discomfort despite decades of crazy hours behind screens. I hope you too weave in a bit of ergo into your lives.

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