Review: Smartfish Whirl Mini Notebook Mouse with “Comfort Pivot”

This morning, ergonomic innovation firm Smartfish announced their newest product – the Whirl Mini Notebook Mouse. At first sight (from above), the mouse looks like any other notebook mouse. It has a laser sensor, two buttons and a scroll wheel. But that is pretty much where the comparisons end.

The Whirl is built on top of a pivoting base, and the design means Smartfish is bringing the first truly ergonomic friendly notebook mouse to the market.

Using the mouse takes a little getting used to, because it forces you to work in a way that is completely different from your usual mouse. Instead of resting your palm on the mouse and your wrist on your table, the Whirl Mini Notebook Mouse forces you to make your hand “float” above it.

The first two hours or so were quite annoying – because I’ve been using a mouse for close to twenty years, and suddenly I have to learn how to change that.

But after that initial period, the experience was quite pleasant. There is much less pressure on my palm, and after several hours with the mouse, I felt much less discomfort than I’d normally feel after a long work session.

The mouse operates off two AAA batteries, and its mini USB receiver stores behind the battery cover. Ideally, the mouse would connect over Bluetooth for those of us with a laptop that supports it, but the receiver is small enough to stay plugged into your computer without having to remove it all the time.

The mouse is compact enough to be used on the limited space of a plane tray table, yet large enough to be comfortable for long flights. Thanks to its laser sensor, it won’t have a problem on a dirty table or even on your armrest or leg.

The brain behind this mouse is Dr. Jack Atzmon, a practicing chiropractor who experienced thousands of patients complaining of hand, wrist and shoulder pain, many of which could be attributed to repetitive strain from computer use. This insight helped him develop an entire line of ergonomic computer accessories – including a keyboard and desktop mouse.

The mouse is available in carbon fiber, black, blue, silver, red and white and costs $49.99. This is surprisingly well priced, since it is just $10 more than many other notebook mice.

After two weeks with the Smartfish Whirl Mini Notebook Mouse, I’m confident that this will change the way I use a mouse on the road – without actually making me switch away from the concept of a mouse. There are obviously alternatives on the market, including trackballs and a variety of other devices, but this one has the easiest learning curve and lowest price.

The mouse can be pre-ordered directly from Smartfish and is expected to ship December 1.