Ever thought the trusty computer mouse was a strange way of getting around a page? Hankered for something new that made it feel a bit more like using a pen? Well then, have we got the product for you.
The Penclic Mouse D3 aims to revolutionise browsing, redesigning the mouse as a pen-like product for making it easier to use and helping reduce strain caused by too much mouse – helping prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI). In practice it certainly takes some getting used to and won’t be for everyone, but after a few days use it definitely does have its charms.
Looking like a pen in a bank, the D3 is designed as a pen shape attached to a base that resembles a small computer mouse itself. It is used by holding it as a pen and using that to drag the base around as a mouse. While it may seem like this movement may translate badly on screen, it actually works well, especially for quickly moving the pointer across the whole screen. It has a button on each side of the bottom of the pen, as well as a scroll wheel that doubles as a middle button.
Where it starts to fall down – at least for me at first – was the more delicate control. Picking individual emails by their checkboxes for example, was a struggle at first and it took considerably more time than with a conventional mouse. The best way we can describe it is it is like using chopsticks – when you get the grip just right it’s easy and natural, but there’s no guarantee that next time you grab it you will find the right grip either immediately, or at all.
One of the trickiest things we found was trying to double click or quickly switch between right and left clicks (which are reversed on the mouse itself). This needed quite an adjustment of grip which makes you feel like you’re not quite using it as it is meant to be used.
Overall we found it swung between easy to use and almost impossible at first. Every now and again you get a hint of what it will be like to use if you gave it as much time as you have a mouse and it does feel like a genuine improvement, but in the meantime it can become incredibly frustrating.
After the second day’s use it definitely became a lot easier and by the third day felt like it gave more close control than a mouse for some tasks. The learning curve, while slow for a modern technology, is actually remarkably fast for a new input method, thanks mainly down to the fact you are using a movement you are familiar with from writing.
Whether or not you learn it at the same speed, slower or faster will vary from person to person, but I am confident with enough repeated use anyone who is capable of handwriting will be able to use it as a mouse. The real question here however, will be if you are willing to persevere with it to find out what it’s like at its best.
After using it for three days I am already seeing a benefit in lots of ways and while quick fine control may still be a little way away, I am around as fast and accurate with it as I am with a normal mouse – with the added potential of more control to come.
At around £50 it’s not a cheap mouse, although it also isn’t nearly as expensive as some gaming mice either. If you’re just a casual user it may seem a bit too much, but you will certainly feel the benefit over some cheaper options. If you do have issues around RSI it could be a particularly good investment, although it’s hard to say how much of a difference it will make.
It is an unusual device that will likely be a love or hate product for most people. Once you get used to it is just as good, if not better, than a standard mouse but many people will not want to put in the time to learn to use it. It may well fall into the category of solving a problem no-one thought they had, which would be a shame as it is a very well made product, but trying to overturn something as ingrained as the standard mouse is a big ask.