When it comes to input peripherals and especially pointing devices, the end-user options are almost limitless. Our recent mouse reviews and reviews have focused heavily on gamers and enthusiasts, but it's important to keep in mind that not everyone falls into this particular demographics.
Today we're going to look at three mice that aren't necessarily as high quality or feature rich as some we tested earlier. These wireless mice are smaller and simpler, but they all have one special characteristic – their sensitivity to touch.
Meet the competitors: Arc Touch from Microsoft, Eclipse Touchmouse from Mad Catz and Cue Wireless Multitouch from SpeedLink.
While all three could easily be used as full-time desktop mice, I'd guess most would consider them to be laptop companions on the go because of their small footprint and wireless connectivity.
Mad Catz Eclipse Touchmouse
The Eclipse Touchmouse is a small Bluetooth 2.0 enabled mouse with brushed aluminum on the top and a soft black rubber material on the sides and bottom. Entries are made using conventional left and right-click buttons. However, the scroll wheel has been replaced by a 4-way touch scroll pad.
The touch scroll pad works similarly to a normal scroll wheel. Slide your finger up and down the length of the pad to scroll up and down the screen. In addition, you can scroll from side to side for the same effect horizontally.
The touchpad is also clickable and offers gesture commands in any of the four directions when pressed. If you hold down the touchpad and move it up, a new browser window will open. Swiping left moves you back one page, right moves you forward, and a gesture down updates the currently active page. I'm not the one who really uses touchpad gestures on a notebook, but the gesture system on the Eclipse was very useful and I've used it a lot.
On the underside of the Eclipse there are two small feet and one large foot that extends the width of the mouse. The 1600 DPI laser is located near the top of the mouse. On the right side in the middle there is a small LED activity light and a connect button.
The single AA battery is located in the bottom of the mouse and can be installed by unscrewing the left silver cap. The single battery configuration is different from the other two mice available that use two AAA batteries for power.
A quick start guide in several languages and a driver CD are also supplied with the mouse. It is noticeable that there is no Bluetooth receiver, ie you can only use this mouse if your system has built-in Bluetooth or if you provide your own receiver.
To pair the Eclipse with your Bluetooth-enabled computer, press the small button on the bottom of the mouse once to turn it on. Then press and hold the button for three seconds to enter pairing mode. Go into your bluetooth manager on PC and search for the device to pair the two with each other. The mouse is truly plug and play, so you don't have to use the software that came with it if you want. That's nice, but it limits control over the device. The included software is very simple and only allows you to adjust lines per scroll notch and scroll speed.
As a notebook companion, the Eclipse gets the job done and the gestures are a nice touch, but otherwise I wasn't particularly impressed. The mouse is very light – almost so large that it feels cheaply built. Combined with the small footprint and unique design, it was not very convenient to use.
The touch scroll pad was hit or missed in the scroll department. Sometimes it rolled relatively smoothly, sometimes it was nervous.
The Eclipse touch mouse did not perform well when testing Bluetooth range for HTPC applications. When the range was 6 inches or more, the mouse pointer on the screen was very jittery. Upon returning to about 15 inches, the boundary became unusable. Bluetooth has a range of 30 inches, so this shouldn't be a problem.
This problem can be attributed to the mouse or receiver built into the notebook I am using (Lenovo IdeaPad U260). If it is the notebook, you still need to point your finger at Eclipse so that it doesn't include a receiver for the mouse.
The Eclipse Touchmouse is available for approximately $ 48. While the mouse looks very modern and is easy to carry around, in our opinion there are better options if you want some touch functionality for your mouse.