Product Review: Page (1) of 1 - 12/22/03 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Mighty Mouse? Nope.

Avoid it like the plague By Charlie White
After raving about IOGears Mini Mouse in a recent Coolness Roundup, I couldnt wait to try the USB Wireless Mini Mouse, ($49.95 list), IOGears new cordless version of this exceptional product. It has the same ergonomic shape as its wired sibling, comes with a stylish carrying case, and its rechargeable. But looks arent everything. If youve decided that you simply must have this little trinket for your notebook-based road gigs, think again. In a word, its unusable.

The idea of a wireless mouse is a good one, but Ive had an awfully hard time finding one that works well. The IOGear Wireless Mini Mouse is no exception. In fact, it functions so poorly that it became immediately apparent that I couldnt use it for anything, even casual surfing. Its fatal flaw is the fact that if you leave the mouse still, even for a split second, it needs to be awakened from its hibernating state again. Although this wake-up routine only takes less than a second, it may as well be an eternity, because by the time the thing moves along with your hand youve already started wondering if its going to work at all. The same thing happens with its scroll wheel, which suffers the same delay, where it sometimes takes two or three moves of the scroll wheel before there's any page movement at all. Its enormously frustrating.

Thats not the only problem, either. Besides being bigger and about twice as heavy as the tiny-yet-still-usable corded version, this mouse has poorly designed buttons as well. Theyre the loudest-clicking mouse buttons Ive ever heard. They remind me of these clickers troops used in the invasion of Normandy in World War II, where the little hand-held noisemakers were loud enough for fellow soldiers to identify each other in the darkness from a considerable distance. I didnt realize that a small button could make such a loud clacking noise. Trying to use the mouse in a living room setting, I found my companions looking over with vaguely annoyed expressions every time Id double-click. Even if the mouse didnt have that aforementioned apnea problem, these clickety-clack mouse buttons would be a certain deal-breaker.

Theres more. The mouse is billed as an 800 DPI model, but youd never know it, because the cursor appears to jitter across the screen as you move. It appears to have a very low usable resolution, with a shaky way of moving in any direction. I would have expected much smoother operation from an 800 DPI mouse. Another complaint would be the sound of rattling when you shake the mouse, which the company says in its documentation is intentional ? explaining the rattling as a motion-sensing device that saves the battery. This must explain the sluggish wake-up of this product.

But wait. Didnt I like anything about it? Yes, I especially liked the chic carrying case included with the product. Its a champagne-colored padded nylon bag with the spiffy IOGear logo festooned upon it in an oddly appealing lime green color, a beautiful little zippered bag that could easily double as a change purse. And, the mouses USB plug/receiver is exceptionally well-designed. With a few minutes of fiddling, I was able to get the mouse and its USB receiver talking to each other. And even though I mentioned that this wireless mouse is slightly bigger than its IOGear siblings, its still very small and fits nicely in your hand and wont take up much room in your notebook bag. I also liked the way you're able to recharge the batteries in the mouse directly from the computer via the supplied USB cable.

That said, finally, I must object to the packaging of this product. Certainly IOGear isnt the only company guilty of this, but why is it necessary to create a fortress-like plastic package for a product like this? I know, this type of impregnable packaging discourages shoplifting, making it next-to-impossible to open this package in a store without heavy-duty tools at hand. But I swear to you that this is some of the hardest transparent packaging plastic ever manufactured, and it took a pair of heavy-duty gardening shears to open the package, subsequently leaving parts so sharp that we could have used them as weapons. Even the two included batteries were wrapped in some kind of impenetrable plastic material, a surprise because a pair of AAA batteries in traditional plastic wrap are normally so easily freed from their confines with a simple twist.

Summing up, I was surprised that the manufacturer of the excellent IOGear MiniMouse could release such an second-rate artifact. The thing I liked most about this wireless version was its looks?but even that is for naught because all its stunning beauty only lures an unsuspecting shopper into buying it from a catalog or picking it off a rack on impulse. But Im here to tell you: Dont fall for it. This is an unacceptable product that you will regret buying the first minute you use it. Not recommended. Get IOGears wired version, which is the best small mouse Ive ever seen its hundreds of times better and costs only $20.

Charlie White, your humble storytellerDigital Media Net Executive Producer Charlie White has been writing about new media and digital video since it was the laughingstock of the television industry. A technology journalist and columnist since 1994, White is also an Emmy-winning producer, video editor, broadcast industry consultant and shot-calling television director who has worked in broadcasting since 1974. Talk back -- Send Chazz a note at [email protected].

Read Charlie White's editorials by clicking here.

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Related Keywords:IOGear, Mini Mouse, Coolness Roundup, USB Wireless Mini Mouse, cordless version, exceptional product, ergonomic shape, wired sibling, stylish carrying case, rechargeable, notebook-based road gigs, unusable, Charlie White, review


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