Designed in Christchurch, the Swiftpoint micro mouse boasts that it will “change the way you use your laptop”. Tech guru Ian Knott plugs the Swiftpoint into his 17” Macbook Pro and puts it to the test.
I’m often a little skeptical of products that claim to revolutionise the way we’ve been doing an everyday action quite successfully for years. But Christchurch-based Swiftpoint Limited claims its home-grown, award-winning mouse will do exactly that, and to a point I agree.
The Swiftpoint is designed to be held much like a pen, but it feels much better than that. Let’s be honest, the prospect of holding a pen for extended periods of time has my fingers aching at the very thought of it. The mouse is lighter than many pens and the grip point is thicker, which encourages your hand to be in a very natural, almost handshake-like position. From there, only a small movement of the fingers, not the whole hand or wrist, is required to perform most tasks onscreen.
Talking wirelessly to a tiny USB receiver, that also doubles as a magnetic docking point, the mouse lasts for 2-4 weeks on a full charge and about an hour off a 30 second ‘RapidCharge’. When transporting your laptop from one room to another, the mouse docks nicely to the receiver, but the connection isn’t strong enough to hold in a laptop bag, so the mouse needs to be stored separately.
There is no ‘off’ switch on the mouse itself. The long battery life is attributed to the fact that because of a clever feature called ‘SmarTouch’, the mouse only works when your thumb and middle finger grip the sides.
The Swiftpoint has two buttons — the foremost being left-click and the smaller one behind it being the right-click. Just to the right of them is the scroll wheel which can be operated with your index finger or, for faster scrolling, the mouse can be tilted slightly to the right and the wheel can be rolled back and forth on the desk or whatever surface you’re using. The two buttons do have secondary functions for productivity: left-click + scroll is zoom in and out, and right-click + scroll is a faster page scroll.
It took me a good day to get used to moving the Swiftpoint around, but after doing a bit of web surfing, word processing and graphic design I was well and truly sold. Returning to a full sized mouse now feels like moving a house brick around the desk.
The Swiftpoint comes with an adhesive Parking accessory that covers your trackpad (provided you’re not using the mouse with your desktop computer — in which case any mousepad or desk surface should suffice) and right-hand side of your laptop’s palm rest (sorry southpaws, but the Swiftpoint doesn’t cater for you as yet).
This Parking adhesive provides a slightly textured surface for the mouse to work on and protects your palm-rest from wear and tear. The Parking accessory also places a rectangular pad bottom-centre of your trackpad that is magnetised enough to hold the Swiftpoint in place between your hands while you type.
While this all works perfectly well and as expected, I still like to use my Macbook Pro trackpad as it has intuitive multi-finger swipes that are second to none. However the trackpad is far less sensitive with the adhesive Parking accessory over it and I had to give it a decent tap to select items.
Eventually it annoyed me enough to remove the adhesive, cut around the magnetic Parking rectangle and just have that stuck on along with a trimmed 3M MP200PS Precise Adhesive Back Mouse Pad to the right.
Now I’m in laptop heaven with the best of both worlds, the precise control of a mouse and a fully usable trackpad for those times when a mouse just isn’t convenient.
For only $99, the Swiftpoint mouse is well worth picking up for regular laptop users and the fact that you’ll be supporting New Zealand ingenuity is the icing on the cake.
For more information on the Swiftpoint visit www.futuremouse.com
Ian Knott has been commentating on various forms of technology for the last 16 years. He’s had columns on gadgets, gaming, computing and digital entertainment in many newspapers, magazines and websites in New Zealand and overseas.