Genius 400 Wireless Optical Mouse Reviews
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Genius 400 Wireless Optical Mouse

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Good wireless pen shaped mouse with major flaw and no customer support

Nov 12, 2012 (Updated Feb 1, 2013)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Truely wireless, no tablet required, 3 buttons including scroll.

Cons:Powers off after 2 minutes of inactivity and takes 2 seconds to turn back on.

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for something easier to use and more comfortable than a traditional mouse and don't mind it shutting down every 2 minutes, give the mouse pen a try.


For over 10 years I've had a few Wacom pen tablets, not to draw, simply because I found them infinately easier, more comfortable and more accurate to use than a mouse. However I have the bad habit of flipping the pen with my fingers and sometimes drop it, since it contains sensitive circuitry and sensors, they end up not lasting so long and are expensive to replace. They also must be used above a tablet that must be connected to the PC.

While shopping for a keyboard I came accross this Pen Mouse which solves many of the Wacoms dissadvantages:
-Completely wireless, no tablet to connect to PC
-Use it on any surface an optical mouse works
-Costs a fraction of the price of a wacom tablet
 
 It does have some dissadvantages over Wacom tablets though:
-You must glide the pen on the surface but it glides well on a smooth surface (a Wacom pen works up to a half inch or so above the tablet allowing for friction free pointer control)
-Not pressure sensitive, you click by applying more pressure against the tip and you will feel it click (a Wacom tablet detects a wide range of pressures so that the pressure can vary drawing parameters in drawing applications)
-Requires one AAA battery 

The mouse pen uses one of those mini USB receivers that barely stick out which is a great advantage. It takes a short while to get used to and to figure out the best pointer speed to get good accuracy while not requiring too much movement but once set to your liking it's very comparable to a Wacom tablet with the above mentioned differences. At first I had trouble accurately clicking on very small buttons, but by slowing down the cursor speed slightly in Windows it solved the issue and it's now extremely accurate. You click simply by applying more downward pressure until it clicks, you right click by clicking the bottom button, and the top button causes the pen motion to act as a scroll wheel instead of move the mouse pointer and also allows for side to side scrolling. This allows for very accurate scrolling because a scroll wheel limits you to scrolling only a few lines before repositioning your finger, the mouse pen gives you as much scrolling area as the surface you're using it on, I love being able to switch between moving the cursor and scrolling simply by pressing a button, it's actually easier to scroll than with a scroll wheel.

It comes with a program to configure your preferred holding position and gives you 4 options, 2 for right handed and 2 for left handed people. The default is an awkward position and will make the cursor move in the wrong ways by holding the pen in a way that you use your thumb to press the buttons (my preferred way).

The reason you must configure your holding position is that this pen is really a pen shaped optical mouse, and if you hold it at a different angle side to side becomes up and down and up and down becomes side to side, so it must know at what angle you're holding it to figure out how to properly move the cursor. Because of this, you must be sure to always hold the pen at the same angle, for example if you move it while twisting your wrist, the pen will be rotating and the up/down and left/right axis will rotate, causing the cursor to no longer follow the motions you're intending to input. Basically, don't rotate your wirst so the pen stays at the same position while using it and it will work fine.
 
One minor annoyance is that due to size it runs on a single AAA battery, because of this they put stricter power saving features. The pen turns itself off after 2 minutes of inactivity and moving it will not wake it up as it shuts off the optical sensor and light completely, you must click it down or press one of the 2 side buttons to wake it up, it will then take 2 seconds before it operates again. It goes through 3 levels of power saving modes when inactive, when active the light is bright red, when not moving it flashes extremely rapidly to consume less power, after 30 seconds without motion it starts flashing about twice a second to further save power, and then powers off completely after a total of 2 minutes with no activity. I would have liked that it waits at least 5-10 minutes before a full power off but it does wake up quickly.

To use as a mouse this is a great device and similar to a Wacom tablet for mouse use. However I would not recommend this for drawing, it is in no way comparable to a Wacom tablet for drawing. If you're looking for an easier to use and more comfortable mouse I would highly recommend this. If you used Wacom tablets as a mouse like I used to, you'll like this despite the minor differences, and the best part is it costs less than just a replacement pen for a Wacom tablet.

Update: I found the 2 minute power off can become extremely aggravating particularly when writing long text where you regularly put down the pen for 2 minute periods or longer. This means when typing long text, each time I want to use the mouse I must first click anywhere to turn it on, wait 2 seconds for it to turn on, then click where I actually wanted to click, this may not seem like much but when with any other mouse you can do that in a single click, it gets incredibly frustrating.

I've complained about this to the company and asked if there's a secret way to reprogram the ridiculous 2 minute power off or if they're planning a revised model with a power off time that makes more sense like 10-15 minutes, or at the very least 5 (or fix the issue causing it to take 2 seconds to start working after power on).

Considering my optical mouse which runs on one AA NEVER EVER powers off, there's no excuse for such an absurdly short power off time, especially when it takes at least 2 seconds to start responding again.

To this day, months later, the company has ignored my messages.
 
Unless you don't mind no support whatsoever and having your mouse to a complete shut down every 2 minutes, I would not recommend this pen.


Recommend this product? No


Amount Paid (US$): 30


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