I’m not a gear head, but when I saw the Motormouse it was love at first sight; I had to try it. When I received it, I was amazed by its size and presence. It immediately became a conversation piece — several of my colleagues inquired about my sweet new wheels. Installation was easy. Inserting two AAA batteries and the 19 mm receiver into the USB port makes the mouse ready for cruising.
The mouse worked well on my PC, but it wasn’t smooth sailing. Although the manufacturer describes the mouse as ergonomic and ultracomfortable, it made my hand hurt during the first few days of usage. Prior to testing the Motormouse, I used a chunky trackball mouse that had surplus space for my hand to roam, so adjusting to a smaller mouse was difficult. After a week, however, my hand was fully attuned with the Motormouse, and I was navigating Web pages and documents with ease. The Motormouse and I were inseparable — until it was time to test it on a Mac. I don’t have a Mac, so I relied on my colleagues in our design and video production departments.
I reluctantly gave up the Motormouse, but 10 minutes later, it was surprisingly returned to me. “I liked the look and the cool factor,” said Paul Williams, senior producer for Government Technology’s GTtv video service. “I wanted to like it, but I missed the side buttons and the top tracking ball very quickly after I started using it. It got me all revved up, then it ran out of gas.”
I was disappointed the Motormouse wasn’t as well received as I had anticipated, and I began to suspect perhaps there was a Mac compatibility problem. So I asked Erin Pace, our marketing art director and another Mac user, to give the mouse a test drive.
A day later, Pace delivered her assessment. “From a design standpoint, it’s a very novel product. With regard to functionality, the button seemed stiff and required more effort to engage. The scroll roller wasn’t very smooth and was a bit oversized for my preference,” she said. “Since I need a mouse that can handle all-day rapid movement and precision, I wouldn’t buy this product.”
I learned that while the mouse doesn’t fulfill other testers’ needs, it fulfilled mine. But I think with a couple design modifications, such as making it a tad bigger and giving the scroll wheel more functionality, the mouse would be even more appealing to Mac and PC users. Despite these nuances, however, the Motormouse gets my vote. So if you’re looking to shift gears, consider taking the Motormouse for a spin — it’s a satisfactory blend of form and function.