Review by Vernon Chan
November 4, 2001
The world is inevitably moving towards mobile computing. In fact, sales of laptop computers far outgrow that of desktops. For business travellers, creative professionals and users constantly on the go, the laptop is the ultimate productivity tool.
Generally speaking, built-in track pads and rubber pointers (found only in PCs, of course) may be crippling for some laptop users. In fact, research has shown that mobile computer users suffer from poor cursor control and thus decreased productivity using built-in pointing devices. A report published for the Association of Computing Machinery’s 1999 Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) Conference found that users of track pads and built-in pointing devices are 39-54 percent slower and make 36-53 percent more errors as opposed to using an external mouse.
Atek Electronic Inc, a developer of portable computer and handheld organizer accessories introduced a revolutionary small computer mouse to overcome problems faced by laptop users. Since its introduction, the mouse has generated rave reviews from laptop users.
Dan Rothman, VP and GM of Atek Electronics contacted macXcess and sent a sample for review.
Enter the Super Mini Optical Mouse
Measuring a mere 1 inch wide and 2 1/2 inches long, the patented Super Mini Optical Mouse is by-far the smallest mouse I’ve ever come across. One could mistake it for a toy. A design marvel in itself, this miniature mouse features optical technology, similar to Apple’s own Pro Mouse, which enables smooth and precise cursor control on almost any type of surface.
The mouse features a USB connection and my test machine, a Pismo 500 running Mac OS 9.2.1 and OS X 10.1, detected it immediately after plugging it in.
Having been using an Apple Pro Mouse and recently a Graphire 2 mouse, the experience of using such a small device was awkward and slightly intimidating initially. Having said that, all new ‘mice’ and other gadgets do take time to familiarise with. It’s so small in fact, that it can be used on the palm rest of your PowerBook or iBook. Ideal when on a plane with restricted space.
Pointing is accurate and I encountered absolutely no problems navigating through the desktop, double-clicking as I went along just to accustomize with the sheer size of the device. I attempted to work in Photoshop and QuarkXpress, and both proved pleasing indeed.
I like the feel of the buttons. Much like the Apple Pro mouse, there’s a audible clicking sound and springy feel to it whenever it is clicked and released.
The mouse buttons are programmable. However, users would need to install bundled drivers which supports Mac OS 8.6 or later. I was disappointed that a Mac OS X driver isn’t available yet, but I understand that it supports right-clicking (which enables contextual menus) out of the box. For gaming enthusiasts, note that this mouse supports USB Overdrive, which would be ideal for customizing buttons for various games.
Despite its small size and light weight, this mouse is well-constructed with an extra durable polycarbonate plastic shell and an ultra-thin three-foot Kevlar-reinforced cord.
This marvel of a mouse is an indispensable tool for laptop users. It is lightweight, small and is great for working in constraint places such as on airplanes. Its precision as a pointing device is commendable and would definitely benefit laptop users who hate their track pads or need to get serious work done. The cons? It may be a tad too tiny for users with big hands, and at USD49.95, is big on price too.
The Super Mini Optical Mouse is available directly from Atek (www.atek.com, 1-888-889-9990) and other online resellers as well as major retailers. Suggested Retail Price (SRP) USD49.95.