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June 7th, 2000


Perfit Mouse USB
Contact And Other Information
Manufacturer: Contour Design
Product Home Page: Perfit Mouse
Description: USB mouse
Address: 354, North Broadway
Salem, NH 03079

USA
Price: US$99.95 at Contour Store
Telephone: (603) 893-4556
Fax: (603) 893-4558
Requirements: Available USB port
System Used For Testing: G3 All-in-one
Mac OS 9
USB adapter card
[Review]
The Perfit Mouse-USB, The Rodent Of Choice

Perfit Mouse USB
by Michael Munger

Introduction

Contour Design's Perfit Mouse is more than just a 3-button ergonomic pointing device that comes with Mac-programmable software. It's an entire system that includes mice in a wide variety of sizes, with variants for left-handed and right-handed users. Needless to say, there are also several flavors: the iMac colors and a graphite version.


Before You Buy!

Just as if you were buying gloves or shoes, you measure your hand with a special scale to find the mouse which perfectly matches your hand's size. Respecting the scale is a key to take full advantage of the ergonomics of the mouse.


Installation

First, plug the mouse into the USB card. USB-native Mac users, plug it in the same port as your default USB mouse. Then, install the Contour Overdrive software, which lets you program the mouse for extensive customization. Restart, and everything is ready to go.


Ergonomics

This is where the strength of this device becomes apparent. At first, its shape seems awkward since everybody is now used to those round and very small mice we like to refer to as the iPuck. The Perfit Mouse is huge and its shape is unique, as you can see from the photo. Using it for a few weeks convinced us that this is a good thing, though. Its curves adapt to your fingers, to the deepest parts of your palm and to the overall shape of your hand. The thumb rest is more than nice.

As the mouse is big and adapted to your hand, you should place it in a position of rest when you handle the mouse, as if you had placed your hand around your knee. No need to clutch the hand to grab the mouse, just cover it with your fingers and palm. You move the device by using your wrist instead of your fingers.

After a while, you will notice that the usual pain virtually disappears. The reason is that most mice are too small, forcing your fingers to take an unnatural position and making ritual clicks a slow pain-inflicting process. With the Perfit Mouse, clicking is pushing down lightly when your hand is in a position of rest, thus preventing sore arms.


Software

The main feature of the Contour Overdrive software (see screen shot) is to program the mouse. You can adjust its global settings and also application-specific settings. The three buttons can use a variety of clicking and keyboard operations combined such as double click, click lock, control-click, shift-click, scrolling, KeyQuencer Macros, etc.


Contour Design USB Overdrive

Another handy feature allows you to adjust the pointing speed with 16 options. It might seem useless at first, but if designing in Photoshop requires you to slow it down, you can do it. You should note that since the mouse is bigger than most competing products, pointing can seem slower because it takes a slightly bigger effort to move the pointer as fast as with the Apple USB Mouse. We adjusted the mouse speed to "Medium 80", which proved a perfect setting for our needs.


Strengths

  • Apart from great ergonomics and programmable software, the Perfit Mouse is easy to use. Unlike several multiple-button mice, there are no unwanted clicks since the three buttons are on top of the device. They are resistant enough that they will click only when you want to click them.
  • People will make faces when they look at the Perfit Mouse on your desktop, but the overall design is clean, and the device uses great plastics. Our test unit was the Graphite flavor (as on the photo on top of the page) and it looks fine.


Weaknesses

  • The biggest weakness we could find was not related to the use of the product, but to its price. At US$99.95 ($89.95 for pre-USB Macs and up to $129.95 for other platforms), this device is expensive.
  • Users who seek exotic devices with 5 or 6 buttons will feel disappointed since this mouse focuses on ergonomics and provides 3 buttons only.
  • There was no documentation provided with the product when we got it, but Contour Design tells us that they are now including a booklet with each unit.


Mouse surface companion

Many users pick the UniTray to go along with the Perfit Mouse since both have matching colored plastics. Basically, its surface doesn't pick up dust, which allows you to use your mouse for months without cleaning the rollers, and its wrist rest is made with a gel that makes it comfortable. Moreover, you can roll the mouse over the wrist rest until the ball gets over it. Contour Design sells it for US$19.95


The UniTray


Conclusion

This mouse is a little pricey but worth every penny, chiefly because its ergonomics reduce the pain related by extensive use of the computer. This combined with its features makes me think that professionals who use their Macs as work stations and want the highest degree of comfort will want the Perfit Mouse.


Final Score (Maximum Score is 5 Gadgies)
4 1/2 Gadgies
Pros Great ergonomics
Nice driver software
Easy to use
Looks Good
Lots of sizes and flavors
For lefties and righties
Cons Expensive



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