Rotokiller a.k.a. "The Equaliser" review

Good Work Systems (GWS) might be the least likely name you could have thought for a company developing gaming peripherals, but that's exactly what they do. Based in Berkeley , California , they are an as of yet unestablished name with limited production, and notably their products are hand assembled. Their input devices are anything but ordinary, and today at 3D Spotlight we will be looking at the RTR-720 Mark I mod I, GWS' pioneering rotary grip gaming mouse.


The RTR-720, aka "The Equaliser", is unlike any other input device I have seen. I can't quite put my finger on what it reminds me of, but there are definite beetle influences, along with some sort of an industrial image given the yellow mouse ball and rollers, and orange/red LEDs. Perhaps the most striking comparison though is that of the 720 with a 1920s telephone.

Initially rather small, I was puzzled on how to hold it. The accompanying documentation boasts that, unlike all other mice, the RTR is not prone to inducing carpal tunnel syndrome (cts) as it does not induce the pronated posture required of a palm-held device, and thus does not put the weight of the arm on the carpal tunnel.

Holding the device is something of a learning curve, as I was so used to resting my arm on the work surface. This could not really be done with the 720, as it is finger, rather than wrist/palm operated. The 720 is designed to give a more efficient approach to moving. Outside of the world of computers, we look around by moving our head. This movement is not too easily emulated on conventional mice, which were, after all, conceived to navigate the desktop, not to look around in first person perspectives.  The 720 was created specifically for FPS games, with this movement in mind.

The cord has a large yellow attachment near the USB plug, with two spare screws and an Allen key attached, no doubt useful given the device is held together with Allen screws, however I would still have preferred the 720 to be held together with Philips-head screws. The twist to open bases on most other wheel mice seem perfectly adequate.

Although the device doesn't actually feature a scroll wheel as such, any one of its six buttons can be assigned as scroll up or scroll down. It should be remembered that the 720 is primarily designed for FPS gaming.

The top protruding wire surprisingly did not bother me at all, in lieu of the fact that my hand position on the 720 was not encompassing, moreover it was simply a fingertip operation, as previously explained.

The device seems to be mounted on a transparent platform not unlike a 360 degree protractor, with a medium sized hole in the bottom for the mouse ball (no, the 720 does not use optical sensors). The four membrane buttons are surface mounted, and light up orange by default. They are all equally small, but are not close enough together to be mixed up. They do not click conventionally, and require only a light touch to be activated. I was rather confused, when consulting the documentation revealed that the device should have six buttons. A quick look at the supporting software showed where the buttons should be as well:

Pressing the areas revealed what I was missing, the buttons aren't actually physically embossed, they are part of the moulded grip. I had only previously seen this approach to buttons on the new Mac mouse (whose casing acts as the button). I did find the side buttons very hard to find though, and impractical during gameplay.

The model I received was the black enamel variety, but it is also available in Chrome plate finish. Several more metal plated finishes are planned. The central circle proudly adorns an effeminate butterfly logo, as does the USB plug. RTR-720 is embossed on the lower side of the top of the device, opposite to the four buttons, and the circumference is moulded into ridges for better grip.


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