Clicking, scrolling, swiping, tapping. We use out fingers day in, day out to communicate with our
evil robot overlords much-loved technology. Inevitably though, over time, the way we use our devices can start to cause strains on the body.
RSI’s (repetitive strain injuries) are common place these days. From scholar’s neck – a disorder resulting from sitting hunched over laptops and mobile phones all day (but makes you sound really clever) – to tennis elbow (Note: not always a result of tennis), we are at risk of developing any of these conditions if we don’t address bad tech habits out early.
There hundreds of ergonomic products out there that can help us merge with the machines more safely and comfortably. One of those products is Penclic: A strange looking mouse that’s designed to take the stress out of wrists, thereby preventing painful injury.
Penclic D3 Review
So let’s just get the obvious out the way: For a mouse the Penclic looks odd, and the first use feels even stranger. It doesn’t quite work how you’d expect., or at least how I expected when it was sat in it’s lovely packaging.
I assumed that I had to hold the pen and tilt it to move the cursor around the screen, but no. It actually works like a normal mouse – as in you move the entire unit to move the cursor on screen – but Instead of laying your fingers flat out, you guide it using the pen. An action that feels so wrong at first, but try to imagine you’re using a regular pen with a small chunk of plastic stuck to the end and you’ll be whizzing around the web with pinpoint accuracy in no time. Well, I would have been if it wasn’t for my left and right click being back to front. An easy fix, but for me it was just another element of confusion that resulted in an extra 10 minutes of brain farting.
Guiding the Penclic felt much more natural once I had the hang of it, and the wrist tension relief was noticeable immediately. I tend to get a lot of tension in my upper arm and shoulder from my mouse but there was nothing at all with the Penclic. The adjustable pen allows you to shift wrist and arm position on the fly without causing the arrow on screen to freak out.
Ok, so I had the movement down but the buttons would take a little longer. The left and right click buttons run half the length of the pen, meaning as you’re gliding the unit around the desk, it’s easy to knock them with the sides of your fingers. I found that accidental clicks were lessened by holding the pen slightly higher up the stem, but for some reason, I still kept hitting that pesky right click.
The scroll wheel feels much more intuitive on the Penclic D3 than on my usual mouse. Imagine rolling a ball between your thumb and forefinger and you’re close to the D3 scroll wheel action; Very smooth.
There’s hardly any weight at all to the Penclic D3 which is great on your wrist, but it makes it feel cheaper than it should. The USB connector cable is much thinner than what I’m used to with a braided cable. This doesn’t affect usability in any way, but you might want to be extra careful of trapping and over-bending it.
After a few hours, I went back my usual mouse to compare and oddly enough, within a minute or so my shoulder started twinging. Is this a sign that my regular mouse is causing serious problems?
The Penclic D3 is a nice alternative to a regular mouse for those worried about RSI’s. I much prefer this over a laptop tracker pad – I loathe tracker pads – but I’m not ready to completely give up my mouse just yet. The main reason being that the Penclic has a lower DPI at 800-1600 whereas mine is 6000, making it a more sensitive mouse which is important for gaming.
My favourite thing about the mouse is how it allows you to hold your arm in a natural pose. It doesn’t have to be stretched waaay out from your body (you should avoid this with any mouse if possible, but I always find myself doing it anyway). I can see myself swapping to this mouse when my hand gets tired though, or even if I decide to fire up a drawing programme but cba to set up the drawing tablet.
The Penclic D3 mouse provides a comfortable mouse experience. If you are on the lookout for a lightweight mouse that doesn’t cause wrist, arm or shoulder pain then try it out. The writing action and cursor accuracy will leave you feeling like a maestro of the internet.