Rating: ★★★★☆

Pros:

  • Very solid, holds up well in punishing conditions
  • Good feel, high laser sensitivity
  • Rear hinge great for travel and comfort

Cons:

  • May be too big for some users
  • No Bluetooth; requires included dongle

Mobile mice are usually crap. They aren’t built well, they don’t feel good, and they just generally suck. That’s begun to change recently, as manufacturers seem to be figuring out that they hate their own products (which is the surest sign that change is incoming). Ironically, one of the better choices comes from a company just stepping into the mobile computing space, Mad Catz.

Considering companies have failed at making good mobile mice for years, Mad Catz’ first attempt is surprisingly good. The Eclipse Mobile Mouse has a sturdy build thanks to a metal frame and sits at either an incline or flat on a surface thanks to an adjustable back hinge. It takes just one AAA battery and uses a 2.4GHz wireless signal through a USB dongle, which can be stored inside the mouse.


The Eclipse Mobile flat, hinge down…


…and hinge up, at a slight angle

The mouse itself is nondescript. The glossy black top gets ugly with fingerprints, but you won’t be looking at that anyways. Two thumb buttons sit at good distance on the right side (no lefty thumb buttons, this is a right-handed mouse only), and the left and right click buttons have good firmness – they press a little too easily, but not so much that it’s a problem.

Instead of a scroll wheel is a trackball which scrolls in all directions, which I’ve found mostly useless for mobile computing. Sure, it makes sense because the smaller screen will likely require more side-scrolling, but even today’s smallest netbooks are widescreen and running multiple apps on the same screen is very easy. Side-scrolling is not that important, though the option is nice. The downside is no middle-mouse button, so scrolling down long pages is a pain with the Eclipse Mobile.

The Eclipse Mobile is also a 1600 DPi mouse, which is surprisingly high for a mobile mouse that isn’t made for gaming. 1600 is high for most notebooks under 13”, and DPi settings can be changed with the included software. Funnily enough, Madcatz includes a mini-CD with every mouse, even though so many laptops these days lack disc drives. Drivers can also be downloaded from the Eclipse website.

What I most like about the Eclipse Mobile is the back hinge, which can keep the mouse flat on a table or at a slight angle. I keep it elevated because I find it more comfortable that way, then flatten the hinge for transport so it doesn’t take too much space. The included protective pouch keeps the Eclipse from getting banged up in a bag, and after a few weeks of being handled with no care while in my computer bag, it shows no signs of wear or damage.

My only complaint with the Eclipse is a personal one. I’ve found that with some wireless mice, my hand(s) hurts after extensive use (compared to other wireless, and most wired mice). I have the same problem with many cellphones, and no, it’s not an early sign of arthritis, because it occurs only with certain wireless devices. In any case, the Eclipse Mobile is one of them. That does not mean the same thing will happen with you should you use it.

The Mad Catz Eclipse Mobile Mouse is a good buy at $60. It’s sturdy, it’s fast, and it’s comfortable. Smaller hands may not be comfortable with the large size, but it’s a very good mouse to take on the go.



James Pikover

 
Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.