Swiftpoint GT: the mouse that fixes RSI now swipes as well

Sometimes the smallest thing can make a huge difference. Take for example the mouse. You may have an iMac with a Retina display, but the keyboard and mouse are still the same design as when the aluminium iMac was introduced — i.e. not very comfortable, nor friendly for your carpal tunnel (your wrist). Replacing the keyboard by something better is not going to be simple, but replacing the mouse is easy: just buy something that makes you control the cursor as if you were holding a pencil, because that’s your hand’s most natural position.

A Wacom tablet with pen? Despite what Wacom will tell you, their Intuos range of products isn’t going to help you much, as the buttons are all in the wrong place, turning the pen into a wrist wrenching affair by itself. The Swiftpoint GT mouse, on the other hand, has all the buttons in the right place, looks and acts like a mouse and is tiny enough to handle like a pen. It’s the best of two worlds.

Swiftpoint GT mouse

The Swiftpoint GT mouse is the reincarnation of the original Swiftpoint mouse I reviewed some years ago. The original Swiftpoint’s basic design has been kept, but the Swiftpoint GT has gained enough new features to become the best pointing device of the 21st Century. I received a test unit only last week and already I find this mouse better than anything else I’ve been working with. Unfortunately, I have had to use Apple’s mouse for over a year now, and my RSI has evolved into a constant nagging pain that even the Swiftpoint GT won’t be able to fix anymore. However, I’m 100% sure it won’t further add to it either.

The Swiftpoint GT can be used with a Mac, a Windows 7, 8 or later PC and iOS 7 or Android devices. On iOS and Android devices, the mouse can be used together with a Remote desktop PC connection app (the Parallels one, for example) as a remote cursor controller.

Just like the original Swiftpoint mouse, the Swiftpoint GT is meant to be a laptop mouse as much as a desktop device. The mouse comes in a small but efficient carrying case made from soft faux leather, subdivided in compartments and cleverly folding down to accommodate the mouse itself, a cleaning fibre cloth, a wrist rest with parking spot to prevent the mouse from gliding on the floor when you’re using a laptop, and a magnetic parking spot designed to park your mouse when not in use. Furthermore, the case holds a foldable mouse mat, spare nibs (we’ll come to that in a minute) and a USB receiver.

Swiftpoint GT mouse magic touch

This whole eco-system-in-a-box takes up about two cigarette boxes stacked on top of each other. That’s the first difference with the original Swiftpoint mouse, which came with a large sticky magnetic parking mat/spot rolled into one. The Swiftpoint GT itself has new features as well. First of all, it has both Bluetooth and USB connection capabilities. For Bluetooth to work, your Mac (or PC) must be Bluetooth 4 compatible. Much to my frustration, my mid-2011 iMac isn’t. The mouse therefore isn’t recognised by the Mac. But it does pair nicely with the USB receiver that does double-duty as battery charger for the mouse.

Swiftpoint GT mouse-Hardware test_DSC3414_DxO-1

The second novelty is the way you can use the mouse itself. When you turn over the Swiftpoint GT, you’ll see a slope with a small protruding pin (the nib) sticking out on the left side, right under where the scroll wheel is. If you move the mouse around flat on its base, it will move the cursor and you’ll have to scroll using the wheel — just like the original Swiftpoint. But if you slightly tilt the mouse towards the slope so that the nib touches your desk or mouse mat, the cursor stays foot, but the mouse will behave as if you’re swiping with one finger.

Using this new mode, you can scroll through pages or Finder windows. In Launchpad you can quickly swipe through pages of applications too. This allows you to move far more quickly than you can with a scroll wheel. However, I do have two remarks with regards to the swiping behaviour. First of all, Apple doesn’t let you control swiping speed. That’s not really necessary when you’re using your finger, either, but it would be nice if you could slow down swiping speed when you’re using the Swiftpoint GT. It takes a steady hand to slow down swipes to a level that’s useful when you’re in Launchpad.

In addition, it’s a bit of a “magic touch” to find the right angle that makes the nib touch the desk just enough to start a swipe without accelerating it too much even outside of Launchpad. The first few attempts I felt like I was a baby who needs to learn how to grab things. The pages went through the roof.

Swiftpoint GT in packaging

Once you get the hang of it, it’s addictive. Swiping through a lengthy webpage is much nicer than scrolling the page, or even swiping with the Apple Trackpad or mouse. As soon as you are in control of the Swiftpoint GT’s nib, you can make that scroll happening very, very fast.

There’s another thing that you should be aware of, at least on Macs: you may have set up your Apple mouse to scroll naturally, i.e. have the page move up when you swipe up onto the mouse surface. However, this swipe isn’t really a swipe at all. It’s a wheel-less scroll action you’re setting up, and the Swiftpoint GT has a scroll wheel that will comply with this natural scroll direction. The Swiftpoint GT swipe works in the opposite direction.

This means you’ll have to decide whether you want a natural swipe or a natural scroll and then set the mouse accordingly. The best in my opinion, is to first set up your Apple mouse and then with the Apple mouse still connected, try out everything using your Swiftpoint GT. Then set up the Apple mouse’s behaviour the way you like it and disconnect. Your Swiftpoint GT will now act the way you like it.

Conclusion

The new Swiftpoint GT mouse is an endearing creature. It connects with Bluetooth as well as wireless USB. It can be a traditional mouse as well as a swipe navigation device. It’s small, lightweight and ultra-ergonomic. It has a battery that charges in minutes and lasts for a very long time. And it comes in a nice packaging with nice and effective accessories.

What’s there to dislike? In my book: nothing. The Swiftpoint GT costs €109.00.

Advertisements