Review: The Swiftpoint mouse

Swiftpoint Ltd. is a company in New Zealand. I for one don’t associate New Zealand with innovations in the computer industry. Rather I think about the country in typical cliché fashion: New Zealand is that country with the lush green meadows, sheep, mountains, Maori sticking their tongue out and lots of tourism. Yet Swiftpoint may be the only company in the entire world that has the mouse right for all of us suffering (or about to) from RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Oddly enough the Swiftpoint mouse is marketed as a notebook mouse and while it’s actually smaller than the real rodent, it’s a great mouse for desktop computing too.

Regardless of whether you own a notebook or not, if you have RSI or CTS, rush to the “Future Mouse” web site and buy yourself a Swiftpoint mouse. If you don’t have RSI or CTS, but you’re using a mouse on a daily basis, go do the same, because sooner or later you’re going to get one of these two ‘conditions’ for which there’s little medical help available (except for surgery…).

I’ll quickly tell you why you should go out and buy one: the Swiftpoint mouse makes you place your hand the same way as when you’re holding a pencil. That’s about as natural a hand and wrist position as you get when office or computer work is your destiny…

Natural wrist position...
Natural wrist position...

In addition to this the Swiftpoint mouse has other unique features that in my opinion turn it into the best computer mouse available. Some people may disagree or may find they need a bit of time to get used to the little bugger, but with a little patience (say like two days) you’ll notice the relaxed position of your hand and wrist, and the various features that makes me like it much more than my Magic Trackpad and my Magic mouse.

The Swiftpoint comes in a nicely designed box. The box is small, just big enough to hold the approx. 4 cm long and 3 cm wide mouse, a small USB stick that functions as an antenna and which does double duty as mouse dock and charging station, and one Swiftpoint Parking Accessory.

The mouse is made of black glossy plastic, a black rubber wheel on one side and black and red silicon finger and thumb rests. The left button sits up front and is pretty much flat, while the right button sits closer to your body and has a bumpy design. The mouse has a 1000 dpi optical sensor and a “SmartTouch” sensor that you can activate if so desired.

On a full charge, the batteries allow for 2 to 4 weeks of continuous usage. I have the mouse for two weeks now, and the battery hasn’t depleted yet. If you’re in a hurry, the Swiftpoint can be recharged with a 30-second RapidCharge for an additional one hour of usage.

The Parking Accessory is a thick sheet of plastic with a weak magnet at bottom left. The sheet can be cut so it matches your laptop’s palmrest. The Parking Accessory is meant to accommodate people who want to quickly park the mouse right under their fingers on a slippery surface. The Accessory allows you to tilt the notebook to about 30 degrees before the mouse starts to slide.

So far, I’ve only been rambling on about features that are perhaps strange but by no means special or really, really useful. So, here’s the first: without installing any drivers or software, you can make the mouse move only when your finger rests on the right-hand rubberised finger grip. This feature is not turned on by default, but I found it makes the mouse even more useful. Often when I’m working, I want to change the postion of my entire forearm so I can give my shoulder a rest. With a conventional mouse, picking up the mouse and putting it down again will almost always result in a moving cursor.

With the Swiftpoint’s SmartTouch feature, the mouse can be picked up without disturbing the cursor at all — the only thing to observe is that you don’t grab the Swiftpoint by its rubberised finger grip.

A second extremely useful feature is the scrolling wheel. The scrolling wheel sits at the far right side, with about a 15 degrees inclination to the right. The wheel is rubberised and when using the mouse it can be rotated effortlessly using your fingers, but if you want to to move fast trough a document or a file window, you can just place the wheel on a surface and pull the mouse down (or up, depending in which direction you want to scroll). This feature is called “SlideScroll” and it makes for very fast scrolling indeed. By holding down the right button, the Swiftpoint will enable you to scroll page by page.

Holding down the left button while SideScrolling should allow you to zoom in and out, but I couldn’t make that work on my system, perhaps because I’ve tested with Mac OS X 10.6.5 only.

After having worked with the Swiftpoint for about two weeks I am enthralled by the device. I still can’t believe my wrist and shoulder hurt much less than when I was using the Magic mouse (and on and off a whole collection of Logitech mice, for that matter). I don’t particularly like the look of the mouse: it has rather high sides and is so small it disappears amidst of the junk on my table. But it is so efficient and effective at what a mouse is supposed to do, that I can’t but love it.

It’s a pity one can’t try out hardware like one can software. If that were possible at all, I’d recommend you try their demo. Unfortunately, all I can do is write about the thing. You’ll have to decide if you want to shell out 60.00 Euros.

If you know about this mouse, I’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment if you feel like it. Commenting doesn’t require registration.

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