Review: Contour UniMouse
When I was told I would be receiving the Contour Design UniMouse, I was expecting it to be a typical 2-button/scroll wheel optical mouse. After opening the packaging and connecting it to my iBook, I was immediately surprised.
I already had high standards for performance, as I was using an Apple Pro Mouse before and have used various other mice from Logitech, Microsoft, and the the Micro Innovations mouse marketed by IBM. I knew what I liked in a mouse and would say that my criteria were quite strict.
The Apple Pro Mouse I was using was a trade-off, more or less. I gave my parents my Logitech mouse to use on their G4, since they were “switchers” and liked the extra button and scroll wheel. I took the Pro Mouse and started using it, since I could get by with command- and control-clicking and the scroll wheel on my keyboard.
When the FedEx box from Contour Design arrived earlier this week, I was puzzled when I opened it and saw the mouse’s odd shape. Rather than being the same at the “head” and “tail”, like the Pro Mouse, or having a big hump in the middle, like the Logitech, it is teardrop-shaped. The teardrop shape is nearly opposite that of the classic Apple ADB Mouse II, with the point of the drop much more distinct and facing the user’s wrist. On each side are comfortable rubber grips. The ridged scroll wheel doubles as a third button (command-click by default on OS X). The mouse is advertised as being plug-and-play, and it is.
Put plainly, this mouse is quite comfortable to use. You can rest your hand on it and don’t have to squeeze, as is required with the Pro Mouse. The cable is nice and long, making it great for tower or portable users. The mouse also doesn’t creak when you put a lot of pressure on it, unlike some of the Logitech mice I’ve used.
After less than a day using it, I was back to my old multi-button habits — using my middle finger to open links in new tabs, right-clicking stuff again, and not being made fun of by my Wintel contemporaries ;-)
The software for this mouse, although not required, allows for further customization of the its behavior. The software, which runs as a background-only application, is rather slick. Specific actions can be assigned to either button or to the scroll wheel. Furthermore, the scroll wheel can be assigned different actions depending on whether or not it is “clicked.”
This mouse also looks great. It’s not nearly as pretty as the Pro Mouse, but it matches the bright-white-and-dark-blue color scheme found on an ever-increasing number of current computer accessories, and it goes well with my Logitech keyboard and my Canon i450 printer.
When Contour Design released the original UniMouse a few years ago, it was the answer to the iMac’s less-than-popular hockey-puck mouse. That mouse was considered to be very good by many, although it did not have a scroll wheel. In this case the sequel is better than the original.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
Get the UniMouse — it costs slightly more than some other inexpensive USB optical mice, but it’s much more comfortable and nicer looking.