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This will be the 46-day, 8 state, 3 operating systems and countless operating system update review of the Rocketfish Twister Notebook Mouse… a little notebook mouse with a twist that I truly thought that I would not like in the least.
I was quite wrong.
So let’s start with the technical details first:
- Wireless RF 2.4GHz technology provides a clean, cable-free work surface
- Patented slim-ergonomic flip design transforms the mouse from ultra-portable (flat) to ultra-comfortable (curved to the hand) with just one twist.
- World’s smallest 2.4GHz micro receiver stows in mouse for easy portability.
- Patented Intelligent Multiple Channel Hopping (IMCH) promises uninterrupted wireless connectivity even in the busiest wireless environments.
- Patented 3D Flat scroll panel provides smooth and silent scroll operation.
- Programmable side button enables horizontal scroll function for enhanced fingertip control efficiency while viewing documents or browsing the Internet.
- Includes soft carrying pouch.
Now, what does that mean to the average user… a lot actually. But let’s start with who exactly Rocketfish is first.
Rocketfish is the somewhat newly launched internal brand for Best Buy, huge American retailer and purveyor of all things gadget and electronics. With their entry into the electronics area, I’m quite sure they’ll see niche gaps here and there that aren’t that well observed by the big electronic manufacturers or are pretty much prime to be tacked-on, multiple sku sales for the retailer. Either way, it’s honestly a pretty good way to get your name into the minds of other people… if only they knew that Rocketfish was the internal product line. Something that while within their stores, I’d say would be nigh-impossible to figure out.
Commentary aside, I was sent this funky little mouse to try out in the first part of June, right when I had to start traveling for my summer contracts. On my laptop, I started out with Microsoft Windows XP SP2, then switched to Microsoft Windows 2003 Server SP2 and finalized on Microsoft Windows Vista Business. And during each of these operating system changes, this little funky mouse came along without any issues. The supplied software comes on a mini-CD, or 80mm CD which carried all of the operating system drivers I needed without need to download.
Two AAA batteries are also included in the box as well, alongside the aforementioned soft pouch – reminded me much of the same stuff that Sony used for their PSP pouch – as well as the small RF adapter which operates on the ever increasingly crowded 2.4ghz band… the same band as most 802.11b wifi, some cordless phones, Bluetooth, among other wireless protocols. So the first thing I anticipated was constant interference while using Bluetooth transfers to my laptop or while using my Bluetooth earpiece with my cellphone or if I were forced to use the slower 802.11b wifi access for my laptop. To my surprise, no interference could be detected at all.
In Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista, the mouse was found very quickly. But the mouse does indeed have drivers that are needed for the mouse’s scrolling interface. Instead of a mouse wheel, which I usually end up having to clean the gunk out of every now-and-then, they went with a smooth-as-ice gliding surface/plane instead. Again… my initial thoughts on this was that I would not like this implementation. Again, I was quite wrong. Sliding my finger up and down the smooth mouse scroll plane was quite intuitive. I’d liken it to moving a sheet of paper up and down, fully in control of the speed and I could stop on a dime.
I won’t lie… I have pretty big hands. A lot of the notebook mice that I’ve used in the past, including the Microsoft brand, tend to try to fit into the palm of my hand and I then have to curl my fingers backwards like hooks just to click on the buttons. The Rocketfish Twister Mouse actually forced the base of my palm onto the table and the mouse fit more comfortably into the top part of my hand. The small little twist situates the mouse into the top part of your hands, easily. Barring a wooden table with splinters waiting for my palm, the placement of the mouse actually meant that my fingers were doing the driving and it made for a much more relaxed experience. Simply put, I wasn’t using my wrists as much and save a sticky or prickly surface, the mouse worked great in my hand. In fact, I’d easily say that this was the most comfortable small mouse I have used since I lost my ol’ portable IBM scroll wheel notebook mouse that had outlasted 4 laptops, 3 continents and 2 companies.
The RF Adapter, which fits snugly into the body of the mouse means that all you will have to do is carry the small neoprene/foam pouch, twist the bottom half of the mouse to get it ready to use – I had tried to move the mouse around while still flat… I don’t recommend it at all – and then push in on the area where it “hides” into the mouse to pop it out which also turns on the mouse as well. Slap in the RF adapter into an unused USB slot and you’re up and connected and using the mouse within moments.
For you Vista users, it does place a rather “hideous” mouse icon – read: it could stand to be more polished and “pretty” like the rest of the Vista icons – in the system tray that once clicked will open up the mouse behavior settings. It can be accessed via the Control Panel or via the mouse driver application that will be situated in the Program portion of the Start Menu.
After all of this ranting… is this thing perfect? No. The placement of the extra button, automatically set to Page Back, should be placed lower towards the front of the mouse. Installation in Vista takes a bit too long the first time and it requires a reboot… which isn’t a big deal but I’m quite sure that could have been avoided. Even Microsoft is avoiding unnecessary reboots now. The small size might end up being a bit too small for some big hands – I can palm an official NBA size/weight basketball easily and it honestly “fit” my hands, but if you have longer fingers than palm, you might find that too much of your palm is dragging on the table. The small green LED that shows that it’s on/connecting is so faint that unless you’re flying and it’s completely dark – which is the absolute first time I saw it actually – you’ll not even notice that it’s there at the top part of the smooth scroll plane. The left and right click areas of the mouse would benefit from a very slight indentation or at least a small dot just like the F and J keys on a keyboard. In the dark, my right click finger might slip onto the scroll plane sometimes and I’d end up down-clicking on the scroll plane and going to the next window/next application.
Battery life so far seems to be tops though, I’ve yet to change mine out. Once you replace the RF Adapter into it’s little “cubby hole”, the mouse turns itself off, thus saving your battery… quite a smart design in my honest opinion. All in all, I’d give this funky, but cool, mouse:
– 4 out of 5 (Recommended)
You can purchase the Rocketfish Twister Mouse here at Best Buy.
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