One of the most annoying things about using a wireless mouse is having to change the batteries. A one-battery mouse has to be changed pretty often and a two-battery mouse tends to be heavy. The laws of probability always seems to go awry when you are in the middle of something important that you can’t tear yourself away from … and then the mouse cursor starts to act unresponsive. Most of us will struggle on for awhile to finally tear ourselves away from what we are engrossed in to go and hunt for batteries.
Well, this hunting for batteries appears to be now a thing of the past. Genius has come up with some pretty innovate products that we have evaluated, and their new ECO Blue-Eye Wireless Mouse package as pictured from their web site promises to be “battery free”. How is this even possible?
The Genius ECO Mouse uses a fast-charging “gold” double-layer super-capacitor in place of batteries and to recharge it. The end user plugs a supplied USB cable into the PC and a micro-USB plug into the mouse. Charging time is about three minutes and the practical use time between recharges is 6 hours. Is this really an advantage over using a regular wireless mouse with rechargable batteries?
The Genius ECO mouse was originally priced at $49.99 but at time of writing you can buy one at Newegg for $28.99 plus $2.99 shipping. Is it a good value considering a decent wireless mouse can be bought for twenty dollars? Well, we put this mouse to the test for months and found it was actually was very convenient but it may have one potentially fatal flaw.
The ECO mouse comes with instructions, a mini-CD with drivers, the USB transmitter, and the mouse whose shell opens to store the transmitter when it is being transported or not in use for a long time. The drivers are not necessary for excellent functionality as Windows 7 supplies the necessary drivers automatically.
Besides the mini USB transmitter, you get a USB mouse cord for recharging that uses a mini-USB plug to charge your mouse in about 3 minutes. The shell easily detatches to reveal what is under the cover and it is where you can safetly store your mini-transmitter.
This seven-button ECO mouse looks very similar to the Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 and sports the same classic black and silver business professional look. The mouse is built for a right hander and there are also a couple of buttons the thumb can easily find and use – maybe it is too easy to click them both at the same time. There is rubber on the thumb side for a better grip. It is very comfortable for this editor to use as a daily-use mouse.
On top is the scroll wheel and two buttons – one for dpi adjustment and the other for “free wheel” scrolling. The right side is plain and the scroll wheel is accurate. It is a comfortable mouse and is designed for an average to larger hand. Using the mouse felt natural in a short time and although it was a very good “every day” mouse, it is not particularly suited for demanding 3D shooters.
Four hot keys are used including previous/next page, flying scroll and dpi can be adjusted between 800 and 1600 dpi. The bottom of the mouse does not open and there is only an On-Off switch to turn it off. The latch opens the top shell of the ECO mouse.
Above is a good view of the micro-USB plug and the source of a potential fatal issue for us.
The laser is blue which means that it is quite tolerant and forgiving of the surface over which it tracks. We had no issues using this mouse on many varied surfaces although it did not like one particular hard plastic mouse pad that we use.
The range of the mouse is good – plenty for any large room and Genius claims with its 2.4GHz wireless technology, the ECO mouse is useable up to 15 meters away from the transmitter. We did not test this extreme distance out.
Here is a picture of the mouse with the charging plug visible at the bottom of the picture. The gold capacitor is rated to 100,000 charges which means the mouse should last for years. The Genius warranty covers the ECO mouse for 1 year, parts and labor.
Below we see it with the charging cord plugged into the mouse. About three minutes is all you need for a full charge from any PC or USB outlet. If you are using a notebook PC, you will need two open USB ports – one for the ECO mouse transmitter and one for the cable. A later iteration of this mouse should be able to plug into the same port as the transmitter for real convenience.
Below is the ECO mouse recharging. The LED first flashes to let you know that the charge is low although you almost never tend to see it as your hand covers it. The red LED becomes solid when it is plugged in and then goes out after about 3 minutes when the capacitor is fully charged. In about 4-6 hours you will need to plug it in again for another 3 minutes. Fortunately, it can be used as a corded mouse while it is recharging immediately after being plugged in so the only time you lose working is the few seconds it takes to plug in the USB charging cable.
We loved this mouse and took it with us when we visited San Francisco for Nvidia’s Kepler Editors Day and to their GTC 2012 the next month in San Jose. The only minor irritation is that the charge lasts for only about 6 hours and that means charging twice a day for us.
A Possibly Fatal Flaw
However, after using the mouse daily and not being particularly careful with it, the mini-plug inside the mouse broke rendering it useless as it cannot be charged again.
As you can see from the above picture, the plug can break through much use. Although we like the ECO mouse and the innovation it brings to a wireless mouse, we cannot recommend it for heavy daily use, except perhaps to a casual user or to one who is very careful each time the plug is inserted. We made Genius aware of the issue and hopefully the ECO II will address this important issue.
Well, that is a tale of two mice. Expect a EVGA Z77 FTW motherboard evaluation this week as we pursue our goal of 5.0GHz for Core i7-3770K using the Thermaltake Water2.0 Pro. We are also looking forward to returning to regular driver evaluations this month with a special article and have made ABT news a regular feature. Make sure you check ABT’s forum to keep up with the latest.
ABT Senior Editor
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