A computer mouse with a difference that’ll get your hand moving in ways you never thought it could
Q1. What is it? Mouse B3 from Penclic. It’s a really small mouse with a rod sticking out of the top.
Q2. What does it do? Well, this is what Penclic's website says… 'The Penclic Mouse B3 is perfect for both lefties and righties, it connects seamlessly to any pc or mac by bluetooth’. So, the idea is an ambidextrous mouse. Cool.
Q3. How much? £79.99
Q4. Recommend it? No, I wouldn’t recommend this product. Naturally this requires explanation. You’ll find that handily scribbled below.
On the back of their packaging for the ‘Mouse B3’, Penclic proudly state ‘Point. Clic. Go. Repeat. Smile. Done’.
For many reasons this troubles me. Not only do I have no idea what it means, but there also appear to be errors here.
There’s an obvious, and irritatingly deliberate, spelling error hidden inside a bold claim of how easy the not-so-sexy ‘Mouse B3’ is it use.
I spend around 9 hours a day editing video footage and use Apple’s ‘Magic Mouse’ as tool to do so. l like it. It doesn’t have a clunky wheel and fits well in my hand. There are no wires and it pretty lightweight.
So maybe I’m setting the bar a little high but, to be brutally honest, if you’re not setting out to make the best product of it’s kind, especially in the tech sector, then why are you even bothering?
In the world where how your desk appears in your latest Instagram snap is arguably more important than the work you do at it, how a product like this looks is a big thing to get right.
Penclic have kind of ripped off the Apple style a little bit. Clean and white. Yeah okay, you once watched an interview with Johnny Ives, we get it. But they’re by no means the first to do this so, that’s not really a problem.
I’m not a fan of the little LED light on the main body of the mouse. It’s to indicate the mouse status. I.e Bluetooth connected, low battery etc. I think it takes away from the clean look it tries to encompass.
From a design point of view the pen-like thingy is clearly their focus… they’re literally called ‘Penclic’. I’m not mad on it however I think the usability issues I had, which you’ll read more about later, may have contributed to my resentment of it in general.
Sorry, I am but a human.
Actually getting the thing up and running was pretty easy. Batteries in, charge it up, Bluetooth on. It’s as a simple as that really. The instruction manual did state that the Bluetooth device would be called ‘Penclic Mouse B3’… it was not called that. Not a huge problem if you’re at home with va limited number of bluetooth devices in range, but as I work in an office with a few thousand Magic mice lying around it was a little confusing.
Actually using it
As is common with devices your hand isn’t used to this product was a little tricky to get to grips with. I don’t mind that. When PC users jump on a Mac for the first time they’re a little confused, but after a day or so they see the UI is far friendlier. I digress.
I’ve never been a huge fan of instruction manual for products like this. My view, it should be idiot proof. It should work, flawlessly, and the last thing I want to spend my time doing is leafing though the German, French, Italian, Mandarin and Portugese sections of a booklet to tell me how to use a mouse.
I don’t profess to be a tech genius so I’m the perfect guinea pig.
How to use the ‘Mouse B3’ wasn’t immediately obvious to me.
Moving the cursor was easy, just like any other mouse.
Scrolling was a little odd. I had to spin the cheap, plastic-y rod that sticks out the mouse like WALL-E’s dildo, around 180 degrees so that the scroll wheel was facing forwards and make the right-click the ‘primary’ button. Weird.
Clicking in general – far from easy. The positioning of the buttons, at the base of the robot love stick, means that every time you click you move the mouse itself to the left or the right.
This lead to mayhem for me, accidentally dragging and dropping files from one part of my office’s internal network to another.
As the day went on I was able to counter this by pushing back with another finger to balance the force and keep the mouse in a stationary position. This was actually quite a lot more laborious than it sounds and left to a pretty achey hand by the end of the day. While it sounds trivial, it’s not what you want from something you spend so much time using.
With a regular a mouse, where you click downwards, you’ll find that a nice solid desk performs the same task and will never complain.
The battery life of the ‘Mouse B3’ was around 6 hours from full to empty. Not amazing considering that I’m used to my Magic Mouse battery lasting for a couple of weeks with continuous use.
This model is listed on the Penclic website, as the time of writing, for £79.99. That seems a little steep to me.
It’s a pretty premium price tag for what doesn’t really look or feel like a premium product.
Plastic is the obvious choice, of course, for this product but there’s plastic… and there’s plastic. The ‘Mouse B3’ has a pretty cheap feel to it overall. I wouldn’t take much to yank the aforementioned shaft from the mouse itself.
For 80 quid, I’d like it to feel like I’m getting a bit more for my money.
Overall I struggle to see the gap in the market for this product. If you want to use a pen instead of a mouse, get a proper desktop tablet. If you want to use a mouse there are plenty of great options out there. Combining the two, in this instance, had lead to a watered down product where you don’t really get the benefits of either.