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EpicGear's Morpha X modular gaming mouse reviewed

Have it your way

TR gerbils may not have heard of EpicGear, a division of Golden Emperor International Limited (better known as GEiL). On top of its various memory offerings, the company sells a full range of gaming gear under that EpicGear brand, including keyboards, mice, and headsets. I've got both a keyboard and a mouse from the EG crew in the workshop right now. I'll be looking at the keyboard soon, but today we're talking about the Morpha X modular gaming mouse.

"Fully modular" is a weird thing to call a mouse, but it fits the Morpha X more than any mouse we've seen before. It's an interesting design decision. EpicGear already sells gaming mice that should serve most tastes, including models with ambidextrous designs and dual sensors. With the Morpha X, the company seems to want to cater to every taste with one product. This is the second mouse to wear the Morpha name, but it's company's first mouse with user-replaceable parts.

Notably, the Morpha X is also the company's first mouse with the popular PixArt PMW3360 sensor. Ever since it debuted (as the then-exclusive PMW3366) in Logitech's G502 Proteus Core, mouse enthusiasts have raved about its perfectly precise tracking, completely free of prediction or acceleration. That sensor comes pre-installed in the mouse, while a second sensor module with the well-proven Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor comes nestled in the box alongside a glossy white outer shell and a pair of EG Purple "pro" microswitches.

So what makes a "gaming" mouse? Is it the high-resolution sensor, the macro functions, the customizable weight, or the RGB LEDs? Whatever the case, the Morpha X has all of those. Actually, here—just take a look at this chart:

  EpicGear Morpha X
Dimensions (LxWxH) 4.98" x 2.62" x 1.57"
(126.5 x 66.5 x 40 mm)
Adjustable weight 3.24 - 3.95oz (92 - 112 g)
Max DPI 12,000 DPI (IR), 8,200 DPI (Laser)
Sensor type Optical (Pixart 3360), Laser (Avago 9800)
Switch type Omron D2FC-F-7N, D2FC-F-K
Switch life 20 million or 50 million actuations
Buttons 6 programmable + 1 fixed
Max polling rate 1000Hz
Onboard profiles 5
DPI switching levels 4
Shape Right-handed
Price $129.99

Readers of my previous reviews will know that I'm a fan of unusual and esoteric input devices, and the Morpha X certainly fits the bill. Thanks to EpicGear for providing us with this Morpha X sample.

Beautifully basic
Looking at the MorphaX without any other information, you could be forgiven for thinking that it's a rather pedestrian mouse. Even when lit up, it doesn't really stand out visually. With that said, I actually think that's one of my favorite things about the mouse. It has an understated, almost elegant design, free of the wacky sci-fi shapes and excessive RGB glow of many other gaming mice.

EpicGear includes a semi-gloss grey cover on the mouse, but you can change that out for the included glossy white body just by popping it off. The shells are in two pieces, and the rear half simply lifts away from the body. The front half is held in place by two small plastic tabs and a magnet just behind the four DPI indicator lights. Lift up on those rear tabs, and the front half comes off effortlessly.

All those modular shell bits might sound like they would be awfully flimsy, but they aren't at all. EpicGear's design is pretty clever. To keep things sturdy, the front part of the shell snaps into place around the DPI indicator, and then the rear half has two pegs that drop into place in matching holes on the front half. In fact, the mouse feels very nearly as solid as my much heavier—and much less modular—Corsair Vengeance M95.

Removing the rear half of the mouse's shell gives us access to slots for four five-gram removable weights. You can add or remove these weights to shift the mouse's mass from 92 grams to 112 grams (without the cord.) Pro gamers seem to prefer extremely light-weight mice, and given the market for this mouse I do feel like the Morpha could have been ten or fifteen grams lighter to begin with. Personally, though, I'm used to pushing around my heavy 15-button Corsair monster. At least for me, using the Morpha X felt very comfortable with or without the weights installed. The symmetrical shape fits neatly against the front of my palm and it glides smoothly on its PTFE pads.

Removing the rear half of the mouse's shell is also a requirement for swapping out the sensor module. Once the shell is removed, a gentle pull on the sensor unlatches it from the frame. (You can remove the sensor without completely removing the rear shell, but it's more diffcult that way.) The sensor that comes installed in the mouse uses PixArt's amazing PMW3360 optical sensor. This unit has a native 12,000-DPI resolution and can continuously track at up to 250 inches per second. Both of those values bear little relationship to how people typically use mice, but the point is that this is one of the best mouse sensors in the world.

The other sensor module that EpicGear includes with the mouse is a PixArt ADNS-9800 laser sensor. This sensor was originally designed by Avago, but PixArt purchased that company's mouse sensor IP when Avago exited the market. The ADNS-9800 is a beloved laser sensor, and it's been used in numerous successful designs like my own Vengeance M95. It ranges up to 8,200-DPI resolution, and "only" tracks at up to 150 inches-per-second. Of course, both of those values are more than sufficient for human beings, as well.

I think it's worth noting that you can hot-swap the sensors in the mouse while it's connected to a PC, but I don't actually recommend doing so. When you yank the sensor module out of the mouse, the mouse disconnects from the PC after a few seconds. Installing another sensor module causes it to reconnect. This works fine most of the time. I even swapped sensors with the EpicGear Morpha X configuration app open, and it normally handles the changeover gracefully.

However, during my short time with the Morpha X, playing with fire this way caused major problems twice. Once, my hand slipped while removing the sensor module, and caused it to disconnect and reconnect in rapid succession. This seemed to horribly corrupt the mouse's configuration, so much so that all of the buttons were un-bound and the DPI settings got set to unusable values. I had to use my other mouse to reset everything to defaults. The other time, the mouse got "stuck" on a ~75 Hz report rate. After I changed sensors twice and reset the mouse's configuration again, that issue resolved itself.

In either case, it seems like the simplest way to avoid these kinds of problems is just to unplug the USB cable from the PC anytime you want to switch sensor modules. Since I started doing that, I haven't had any further troubles at all. This step clearly isn't absolutely necessary, but I'm a "better safe than sorry" kind of guy. With that said it seems rather unlikely you'll be swapping out sensor modules on the regular anyway. More on this in a bit.