Swiftpoint GT Mouse combines intuitive touch gestures with the precision and convenience of a mouse. Some have proclaimed the Swiftpoint GT to be the best mobile mouse available. While I can’t speak to that, I’ll say this much: If I were a maker of mobile mice, I wouldn’t want to try to compete with it on features and design.
This is not a make-do mouse
My biggest surprise with the Swiftpoint was that I could actually use it as a full-blown mouse to get real work done, not just fumble along in my second-rate mobile setup and wish I was at my desk. On several occasions during the evaluation period, I’ve actually chosen to work certain tasks on my laptop at the dining room table rather than going back to my home office.
Today’s mice tend to have lots of buttons, and that’s great, but Swiftpoint understands that to have a real pointing device, you only need two – right and left-click, and, crucially, a scroll wheel. So rather than cluttering up a small chassis with lots of barely-usable miniature buttons, Swiftpoint concentrates on just those necessary things.
The Swiftpoint scroll wheel is especially deserving of commendation. Too often, makers of small mice succumb to the temptation of the obvious when they add a scroll wheel: “Since the mouse is scaled down, let’s scale down the wheel as well.” There’s just one problem with this obvious approach: it doesn’t work. Tiny scroll wheels are a pain to use – literally a pain in some cases; the coin-like diameter of the smaller ones feels nearly sharp on the finger tips.
Avoiding this pitfall, the Swiftpoint gives its scroll wheel the space and attention it deserves. The wheel is large (larger than the buttons) and easy to access with your forefinger while mousing. Thinking outside the box on this one, they placed the scroll wheel in an entirely new position – on one side of the mouse, but oriented normally rather than sideways. Since the lack of a scroll wheel is one of the main challenges built into computing on the go, it’s crucial that a good mobile mouse get this right, and Swiftpoint nails it.
Hand comfort to go
The Swiftpoint isn’t large and lumpy like a typical “ergonomic” mouse. It isn’t vertical, and it isn’t adjustable in any way. It is, nonetheless, one of the most comfortable pointing devices of any size that I’ve ever used. It reminds me of a pleasant cross between a DXT mouse and a Penclic, with fingertip control and a slight horizontal slant to its working angle so that your wrist isn’t totally flat. Movements small and large are smooth and easy.
Toting the Swiftpoint
The Swiftpoint GT comes with a nice zippered box, semi-hardshell and line with foam form-fit to the mouse. Points off for the fact that this box is rather fat and blocky, and doesn’t tend to slide well into the front pocket of a laptop bag. (The user might possibly be intended to clip it on instead, using the included miniature carabiner.) Points on for its quality feel and relatively stiff resistance to crush force. The Swiftpoint is not an inexpensive device, and having a good protective case for it is a great idea.
The dock of pure genius
The ubiquitous USB wireless receiver, generally no more than a USB connector with a tiny circuit box attached, gets an innovative upgrade with the Swiftpoint GT. Rather than simply connecting the wireless mouse, it serves as charger and holder for the device. When you’re not using the mouse, it clips magnetically to the charger and is thus attached to your laptop.
It’s important to understand the proper use and limitations of this handy little dock. It’s not intended to attach your mouse to your laptop such that they can be thrown in a bag together and carried that way. The mouse breaks free from the attachment too easily for that – and that’s a good thing, because the alternative would likely involve breaking the charger in the event of a drop.
When transporting the Swiftpoint, you should use the case, or at least take the mouse off and throw it in a separate pocket of your laptop bag. You may be able to leave the charger plugged in all the time, though, as its small profile makes snagging/breakage unlikely. (Mine just barely slides into my snug laptop bag.)
While you shouldn’t leave the Swiftpoint on its dock when bagging your laptop for travel, the dock comes in surprisingly handy for shifting the laptop around on a work surface, while carrying it from room to room, or during times when you’re not using the mouse but don’t want to bother putting it away. It is, in any case, certainly more desirable (and less bulky) than one more charging cord to keep track of.
Working within very small limits
While working on the couch with a cushion for a mousepad, I discovered a problem – not with the couch surface, which worked fine, but with the little sunken “seam” where the main cushion of the couch joins up with the flexible recliner part. As you might expect, this seam proved to be in just the wrong position, forming a miniature gorge into which my Swiftpoint would quickly fall if I let my arm find its most comfortable position.
Being a typical lazy user, I looked around for something within arm’s reach to use for a bridge/mousepad, and found my phone. Now the smooth, usable space on the back cover of my LG Stylo is a square of about 3 inches. Does that sound like enough space to you? It did to the Swiftpoint, which worked perfectly within those limits to drive my 12.5″ laptop display.
A gesture mouse in what sense?
If you haven’t yet seen it in action, the “gesture” aspect of the Swiftpoint can be a bit difficult to get your head around. On touch-enabled devices, the Swiftpoint is capable of sending similar signals you would normally send with your fingers – the difference being that the Swiftpoint does this without coming into contact with the screen.
To enable gesture use, you’ll tip the Swiftpoint mouse slightly to the right while using it, which puts a slanted secondary surface into contact with your work plane. This depresses a small button on the aforementioned surface, which activates the gesture magic. Small caveat: this won’t work well on a soft work surface such as the aforementioned couch cushion, as a relatively hard surface is required to actuate the button.
There are a couple of things I’d like to see happen with this excellent product to make it even better:
- A lower price point. I’m not saying the mouse isn’t worth $150, but a sticker like that is going to severely limit its penetration among the mass of mobile users, most of whom would underestimate their need for this device.
- A Bluetooth version. The charger/dock is one of the best things about this mouse, but some laptops have a limited number of USB ports. My Dell ultrabook has two, which is just barely enough to run a presentation with a USB projector hookup and a mouse at the same time. Add one more device and I’d be out of luck. My laptop does have Bluetooth, and these days most mobile devices do as well. Why not offer a version that leverages the built-in connectivity on existing laptops and tablets?
My final wish for the Swiftpoint is actually a wish for the people reading this: I wish all of you could have one!
Disclosure: This review was made with a free sample from Swiftpoint.
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