Penclic Mouse B3, first take: Getting a grip on repetitive strain

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Computer mice come in all shapes and sizes, and with all manner of features. Few, though, are as un-mouse-like in appearance as those from Swedish firm Penclic. As befits the name, these devices look more pen-like than rodent-like. There are various versions, all with a similar design, some wired and some wireless. The Penclic Mouse B3 connects to your computer via Bluetooth. The idea is that a more natural pen-style grip will help you avoid mouse-related ailments like RSI (repetitive strain injury) and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Setup is straightforward, which is a good thing, as my review device, which was in standard retail packaging, came without any sort of setup guide. This information is easily found at the Penclic website, but it really should be included with the product too.

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The Penclic Mouse B3 is a wireless (Bluetooth) mouse with its controls on a pen-like stalk. (Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet)

The Penclic Mouse B3 is powered by a single AAA rechargeable battery, which is charged via a provided USB cable. A light on the top plate flashes green while the battery is charging. A fully charged battery should last about a month, and the light flashes red when a recharge is needed.

I had no problems making a Bluetooth connection to my laptop. A small Bluetooth button on the bottom of the mouse needs to be depressed to initiate a connection. You know it's primed because that battery charge light adds a blue flash into the mix. Thereafter the work is all on the computer side. I had everything up and running within a few seconds of opening the packaging.

The pen-like section houses two buttons and a scroll wheel that also depresses for a middle-click feature. Although it looks like the pen-like section can be removed from the base, it's actually fixed there permanently. It can be rotated in its socket so that the buttons and scroll wheel are in the most comfortable position for use. This makes it usable both left- and right-handed users.

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You slide the whole unit around using the pen attachment, which rotates in its socket to cater for left- and right-handed users. (Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet)

To move the cursor on-screen you slide the whole unit around. There is a three-position button on the underside that allows you to select between 800, 1200, and 1600 dots per inch (dpi). Oddly the mouse reverts to 1200dpi if it's switched off, so if you prefer one of the other two settings, you'll have to use the underside button every time you sit down to use your computer. That's an unnecessary hassle.

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The mouse buttons are sizeable and it's impossible to avoid holding onto them while manipulating the Penclic Mouse B3 around a table, so you'll need a pretty light grip to avoid accidental clicks. I found this a little awkward to get used to. I also have some questions about build quality. For a device that costs £79.99 (€99.99), I'd have liked the battery charge cable to fit more snugly, and the whole unit to feel more robust than it does.

Transportation might be an issue, too. A drawstring bag is provided to protect the Penclic Mouse B3 when you're on the move, but I worry that the ball joint connecting 'pen' to the base might be vulnerable. Penlic does sell a more sturdy padded travel case for €15.

The concept of a pen-like mouse will appeal to those who suffer from, or are wary of falling prey to, RSI, and Penclic's device certainly deserves its place in the mix of various ergonomic mouse designs.

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    Specifications

    General
    Max Operating Distance 16.4 ft
    Buttons Qty 3
    Orientation right and left-handed
    Input Device
    Connectivity Technology wireless
    Interface Bluetooth
    Movement Detection Technology laser
    Movement Resolution 1600 dpi
    Performance realtime sensitivity switching 800/1200/1600 dpi
    Buttons Qty 3
    Max Operating Distance Up to 16.4 ft
    Miscellaneous
    Included Pointing Device Accessories micro-USB cable
    Color white
    Color Category white
    Battery
    Type AAA type
    Run Time (Up To) 1 month
    Form Factor AAA type
    Manufacturer Warranty
    Service & Support Limited warranty - 2 years
    System Requirements
    OS Required Apple MacOS X 10.1 or later, Linux/BSD, Microsoft Windows XP or later
    Header
    Brand Penclic
    Product Line Penclic Mouse
    Model B3
    Packaged Quantity 1
    Compatibility Mac, PC
    Dimensions & Weight
    Height 5.5 in
    Weight 1.45 oz
    Service & Support
    Type 2 years warranty
    Service & Support Details
    Full Contract Period 2 years
    Type limited warranty

    Topics: Productivity, Hardware, Reviews

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    Where To Buy

    Penclic Mouse B3 - pen mouse - Bluetooth - white

    Part Number: B3-2051

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