Swiftpoint Micro Mouse

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Product: SwiftPoint Mouse
Provided By: FutureMouse

Price: $79.99 MSRP at time of Publication

 

Introduction:

After using the SwiftPoint mouse for a month, it's the last mouse I'll ever need.  I was looking for a mouse that I could be productive at work, game at home, dabble in Blender and GIMP with precision, with the ultimate goal of being portable.  The SwiftPoint mouse easily meets these requirements but is more of a "jack of all trades, master of none" solution. 

Package 

Packaging & Features:

The SwiftPoint mouse arrived in a relatively small box focused on displaying its unique design in plain view, while highlighting the feature set in the book type cover.  The design is appealing and elegant.  If it weren't for the square inches needed for the feature highlights the box could be half the size.  Below are the features copied and pasted direct from the www.futuremouse.com website.  A video highlighting the features is embedded below.


Full Bundle 
Bundle

First Impressions:

The SwiftPoint mouse definitely looks alien compared to a conventional mouse and is a conversation piece.  It's incredibly light weight and small; about a third the size of my Microsoft 5000 desktop mouse and easily half the size of my Microsoft 6000 portable mouse.  The thumb and finger grip are nicely textured rubber.

USB Connected
Mouse Dongle Attached
Mouse & Dongle
Mouse & Dongle

 

Bottom
Bottom of Mouse
Mouse Side
Side & Top

 

On the next page, we'll cover first use and features.


 

First Use:

The instructions recommend a full charge before first use.  As I was at work using a Lenovo T500 when the mouse arrived, this posed a bit of a challenge.  The SwiftPoint mouse charges itself when docked to the USB radio which is an excellent concept, but is simply not possible with this type of USB port configuration.  I made a quick trip to the local geek store to review their inventory of laptops and this appears to be more or a rarity than the norm, but it's one thing to check before making the investment.  After charging off a hub for a few hours I was ready to go!

Connected
Connected for Charge
Beside Laptop
Disconnected from Charger
USB Dongle Installed
Connected in Lenovo T500

 

It took a full day of use to train myself away from the traditional mouse layout and adapt to the left mouse button in front of the right.  As the grip is significantly different from a traditional mouse, the first day can be a little uncomfortable.  Using the mouse today is completely natural and it's easy to switch between the two should the need arise.    The skid pad on the bottom of the mouse is slightly textured.  This is a double edged sword since it's there to prevent mouse movement when you want it to stay put, but I did notice additional drag compared to a more traditional mouse on a standard foam type mouse pad.  The pen-type grip is an accurate statement but for those looking for more detail it better resembles the grip of a giant sharpie than a standard ball point.

 


Feature Utilization:

Rapid Charge: 30 seconds provides up to one hour of use.  This is fantastic for those of us that are negligent frequent chargers.  Run out of battery power during that impromptu presentation?  No big deal, pop the mouse on the USB dock for 30 seconds and you're back up and running.  During the month I've had the mouse I haven't had a need to re-charge it yet.  This is amazing battery life given how small and light weight the mouse is.

Plug-and-play simplicity: Plug and play has been around for ages, but I thought it was worth mentioning that the SwiftPoint mouse is advertised to work with Windows 2000 and up, and Mac OS 10.4 or higher.  No mention of any Linux compatibility though??  Given the thousands of flavors of Linux I can understand why that might not be a key point to advertise but it does work with Ubuntu.  I haven't tested the mouse with any other Linux distributions but I would think any modern distribution with plug and play mouse capabilities will work fine.

Parking Accessory:  The 'cut to fit' parking accessory is designed to provide a textured mouse pad for the palm rest on your laptop.  The main highlight being a magnetic base for the mouse to 'park' on while typing.  The magnetic field on the grey parking area is not significant enough to harm magnetic storage, or otherwise interfere with the laptop.  The magnetic bond is able to withstand approximately 45° of tilt in any direction before letting go.  For netbook users the parking accessory is simply too big to be practical.

Ready To Prep
Pad Prep
Protective Film On
Installed
Laptop Skin On
Ready to Go

 

SlideScroll:  Tilting the mouse to the side engages the scroll wheel with the mouse pad for rapid scrolling, and zooming.  This is an excellent feature that takes a little practice to get used to.  I would argue any advantage in speed over a touch pad or multitouch pad for scrolling.  Typically the bottom and right edge of any touchpad is used for scrolling which would be comparable in speed to the SlideScroll feature.  The 'one up' for SlideScroll is the zooming ability engaged by left mouse button.  I use this feature daily.

Customizable 'Up' direction:  I did not use this feature but kudos to SwiftPoint for including it.  Many people use their mouse at an angle for comfort and the ability to recalibrate which way is up is golden.


SmartTouch sensor:  Oddly this feature is not enabled by default.  The black finger pad has a touch sensor that will enable or disable mouse movement.  It doesn't turn off the mouse, but it does disable movement.  After some experimenting, the sensor appears to be more of a proximity sensor than a touch sensor.  In all of my touch trials my finger could be about 1/16th of an inch off the touch sensor before disabling movement.  This is an excellent feature for parking the mouse without moving the pointer off screen.  I make use of this feature daily.

USB Dock:  Radio, charger, and parking dock all in one.  Those that travel with a naked laptop can make use of leaving the USB Dock plugged in and park their mouse.  In our trials the bond between mouse and dock when attached to a laptop is fairly strong.  During shake and bump tests the mouse would separate rather easily when carried vertically and bumped from the side.  Not a big deal but something to watch for maneuvering through a crowd of caffeine junkies at the local coffee shop.

Those that travel with a laptop bag or backpack will likely unplug the USB dock, attach it to the mouse and stow it in its own compartment.  About a third of the time the USB dock would be detached after arriving at my destination.  Again, not a really big deal.  If the magnetic bond between the mouse and dock had some kind of lock it would prevent these situations but then the entire concept and convenience is gone.

 

No Software:  A monumental plus for me is there's absolutely no software needed to use all of the features!  The SmartTouch and Customizable 'up' features are controlled with the mouse button configurations.  Hold the right and left button for two seconds until the battery light flashes and scroll the wheel one notch and SmartTouch is toggled.

 

Real World Scenarios:

Casual and Office Use:  This would be defined as standard OS navigation, navigating and manipulating documents, spreadsheets, productivity software, and browsing webpages.  For this purpose the SwiftPoint mouse performs equally well as a good desktop mouse.  Those looking for enhanced ergonomics may find it with the SwiftPoint mouse as I have.  I have found less wrist movement and more finger movement, and using the mouse everyday is comfortable.

Gaming:  Hard core gamers that use robo mice with two dozen micro adjustments, extra buttons, and removable weights will not be satisfied with the SwiftPoint mouse.  Casual gamers on the other hand should find it more than acceptable.  Although it's possible to hold down both the left and right mouse button these are triggers for turning features on and off and cannot be used by applications or games.  There can be no 'hold down the right button to look down the sight and click the left to shoot'.  Thankfully most games can be configured to toggle the 'look down the sight' ability to get around this limitation.  FPS games with the Microsoft 5000 were a nightmare to change weapons with the free wheeling scroll wheel.  Thankfully the SwiftPoint scroll wheel ratchets.


Graphic Manipulation:  I found the SwiftPoint mouse to provide enhanced precision during graphic manipulation thanks to its pen-like grip.  The main drawback was found using Blender.  In Blender the middle mouse button (MMB) is used to rotate around meshes.  There is no MMB, just like there is no cake.  This was more of a disappointment than a deal breaker for me as the MMB can be remapped to alt on the keyboard.  How would one incorporate a MMB with this design though?  The Microsoft 5000 or mobile 6000 had the same issue with zooming using the free wheeling scroll wheel.

Side In Hand
Yeah, it's that small
Other Side In Hand
Left Side

 

Portability:  Remember the ultimate goal of the SwiftPoint mouse is to provide enhanced mousing over a touch pad for users constantly on the go.  It was my goal to find the best portable mouse that I could use with every application and game that I wanted, and that's exactly what I found.  Yes there are some limitations but these are easily overcome by the features, portability, precision, and all around usability.

 

Conclusion:

After passing the SwiftPoint mouse around the office it's not for everybody.  Some will reject it because it looks weird, and it feels funny.  Others won't work with it long enough to find their comfort grip.  Left handers may find a way to use it, but it's designed for your right hand.  SwiftPoint offers a 30 day risk free trial which is an excellent incentive to take one for a test drive.  At $69.00 the price is a bit steep, but if it fulfills all of your needs it's a worthwhile investment.

 

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight
  • USB Dock, SmartTouch, SlideScroll, RapidCharge, Customizable 'up'
  • Pen-like grip
  • No software
  • Works with Ubuntu and possibly other mature Linux distributions
  • Additional parking accessories available

 

Cons:

  • No MMB
  • Can't use left and right mouse button concurrently
  • Docking with the USB dock is generally impossible with vertical USB ports
  • Right hand design only


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I'd like to thank FutureMouse for sending over the SwiftPoint for us to review.  It certainly is a different product that manages to stand out in a crowded peripheral market.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.