“…a 50/50 purchase in its current form.”
Penclic’s unique mouse design is an interesting bit of tech. On the face of it, the premise is simple. It is a mouse designed in the shape of a pen with the intention of combating common issues caused by traditional styled mice; most notably RSI. Formed with what the creators describe as a more natural grip style in mind, the Penclic mouse prides itself on being one of the only major redesigns of a classic piece of technology on the modern market. The big question of course is does it work?
As a predominantly gaming-focussed publication, I feel that I should start by explaining that this product is not intended for gaming, nor does it work well for it. I tried it out of interest, knowing that this was not its anticipated purpose, but I did not get on well with it, namely due to its responsiveness, alternative layout and general light-use stylisation. Going forward then, I will talk about the Penclic mouse in terms of general, everyday use for tasks such as web browsing, word processing and basic navigations.
Straight out of the very fancy, packaging-heavy presentation case that the product arrives in, it is easy to set up the mouse provided you can figure out how exactly to remove it from its casing. There are a lot of parts going on to protect the mouse and make it look nice and shiny in the box, so it takes a bit of effort to detach it from all of this. Once I had done this, I found it was a simple case of plugging and playing the product and I could quickly begin to find my way around it.
Design-wise, the Penclic mouse looks sleek and smart on the desktop. The real challenge is getting it to stay stood up there. The mouse is very top heavy, and if you don’t secure the base section it easily falls over and moves around a lot, which is not how the product is supposed to function. When you are trying to find your initial positioning for the mouse for best comfort and usability on your desktop, you do not want to secure it down only to unsecure it to adjust it again. Making the mouse work is easier then than actually initially using it.
The mouse is designed with five buttons on the pen section plus a scroll wheel on the base unit. The buttons are easily reachable and simple to navigate with, making this part of the mouse’s operation pretty easy to figure out. The scroll wheel feels a little awkward to reach for with your finger being a little more out of the way. If you don’t need it too much it probably won’t bother you, but if you normally use the scroll wheel more frequently then you might find this positioning awkward to get on with.
Button placement is only as intuitive as the actual use of the mouse. It is a big learning curve to get on with, as the manner of using the mouse is fundamentally different to using the standard bit of kit. You move the pen section around like, well, a pen in order to move the cursor around the screen. It is quite a simple idea, but the new hand position and sensitivity variance that you need to get used to throw you off to begin with. The more you use it, the easier it is to get on with, but it really does take some time to reach this point.
The main drawback I found with this mouse was that it felt awkward to use for longer periods, rather than making me feel more comfortable. The alternate way of having to hold and operate the mouse caused my wrist to ache more quickly than using a standard mouse would. Whilst this may be a simple case of it being a new position which you have to get used to in order to get the full effect, the results are off-putting and will likely turn many users off the idea as a result. Smaller movements are indeed much better for avoiding repetitive motions with the device, but the general holding position caused me more problems than it appeared to solve.
It is difficult to accurately compare the Penclic device to a standard mouse. The core issue is that I have used a standard mouse for as many years of my life as I can remember. For the sake of simplicity, let’s call that twenty. By comparison, I have only experienced the Penclic model for a very, very short space of time. Realistically speaking this time period has probably not been long enough to truly adapt to the alternative operation style which the device demands. It is worth bearing this fact in mind carefully as I offer up my final analysis.
Penclic’s unique mouse is certainly very different to your standard, everyday device. It is very well presented and does not look silly or out of place on the desktop. Its design makes it easy to figure out and operate from the word go, and setup is just as easy on your PC. It is from here however that problems can arise. The need to secure the device in order for it to be used at its best means it isn’t an overly mobile solution. It also makes finding the ideal setup position a big challenge. The mouse is suited well to everyday tasks but certainly isn’t a solution for more demanding ones such as gaming, ruling out some of its potential market. It terms of its core focus on avoiding the problems of RSI, the long-term results are impossible to measure at present. Short-term testing however led to more discomfort than a standard mouse for me personally. This could be down to the fact that I am not used to the adapted holding position, with only a short period of use having passed. In any case, this is likely to put some buyers off, and not knowing what the device’s longer term benefits may be makes the Penclic mouse a bit of a 50/50 purchase in its current form.
- 5/10 (Mr Invision – “Long-term benefits unknown…”)
- Design – 8/10 – A well presented, nice looking device with well placed buttons.
- Setup – 5/10 – Easy to connect to PC but harder to set up nicely on your desk.
- Usability – 4/10 – Easy to operate from the offset, but not suited for gaming and caused more discomfort than a standard mouse during my short period of use.