One of the problems with input devices is that they may cause repetitive strain injury. That’s why I am continually on the lookout for devices that are easy to use, lightweight and that will work on most any surface. I think the Genius Pen Mouse is coming pretty close to the ideal. How easy is it to use?
From the picture you can tell that it has the general shape of a fairly thick pen. In fact, the business end of this pen mouse is slightly larger than the rest of this into a device around housing the two buttons for the right click and scrolling functions. The left click is made by pressing the pen mouse onto the surface. This can be any surface except any glassy or mirror like surfaces. So it can even work on your leg, someone else’s leg (?!?) or the arms of the chair you’re sitting in….
It certainly is lightweight, weighing in at only 17 g. Likewise, the USB Pico dongle is very minimalistic, easy to lose and that is why it is better to give it a permanent place in one of your USB ports. Connection between the two is automatic and can be done over up to 10 m distance. This could be handy in giving presentations for instance. The price is also fairly minimalistic at US $44.90 and should be available in most countries except Australia which is where I am reviewing the device. Sometimes it’s nice to feel privileged and have the only device of its kind in the country….
After inserting the AAA battery the pen mouse is ready to go to work on any Windows platform. There is a small CD supplied to change the preferred position of holding the mouse but I would also have liked some other functionality such as changing the time after which the device goes to sleep. It is too short to my liking and takes longer to wake up than a conventional mouse. I would have also wanted the scroll button configurable so that one press without having to move the pen against any surface at the same time, will scroll down one full-page.
That function alone would have been worth the purchase price for me as I do a lot of reading (and scrolling!) on my computers. I hope there will be a software update soon.
Initially I often made the mistake of holding the pen upside down as it seems to be the more comfortable way. It takes also a little while to get used to the button placement. Left and right is a bit more intuitive. Lastly, any time you hold the Genius Pen Mouse when it is active, the red light flickers at a rapid pace. This is not only distracting but annoying for me and others nearby. With a normal mouse this light is always hidden.
One of the advantages of the Pen Mouse is the selectable DPI. Default is set at 800 (I found this indeed the better overall setting) but 400 and 1200 can also be selected.
Whilst it easily can be used on most surfaces a small mouse pad is also provided and works the best.
These devices are ideal for travelling of course, being so lightweight, and Genius have provided a nice leather case with room for the dongle. Dimensions of the Pen Mouse are 21mm x 16.3mm x 133mm (W,H,D).
So it takes a little while to get used to the device and it has great potential.
Would I want to permanently change over? If there are some software updates as indicated above: in a heartbeat!
As is, I still prefer my multi-buttoned Logitech MX…
For more information have a look at the Genius website at www.geniusnet.com.