Last December (2005) I saw a press release of a new mouse that was about to come to market. It had a very simple but unique design that promised to redefine Mobility on the Go! The MoGo Mouse is a Bluetooth-enabled, palm-size mobile mouse that could very well be the perfect solution for folks that dislike carrying a mouse while on the road.
What was unique about this mouse was that it was designed to fit in the PCMCIA slot of your computer while traveling yet while at work, it easily slid out of the slot, had a leg that flipped open to simulate what I thought was the feel of a regular mouse and connected via Bluetooth. What was even better was that you didn’t have to carry any cords for charging because, while at rest in the PCMCIA slot, it charged itself. Of course, since it was Bluetooth, it would communicate with my laptop's built-in BT transmitter up to 30 feet…wow!
This definitely was the first innovative idea on cursor movement in years. I remember my first laptop and trying to get used to the "mini" joystick that was dropped between the keys…I never did get used to it. Then came the touch pad, which for me was an improvement but still, it was not the same as a mouse. I used it, but only if I had to.
I have tried a myriad of different "portable" mice of the years and had pretty much settled on one that has given great service. It is a decent size so I can place it in my pocket if I move from place to place but that was always the rub, I had to carry an addition item as I traveled and even though it was small, it was bulk that I just did not need to have.
If I was sitting at a table or desk, it was great to have the mouse but try to use it on a plane….it was just too much trouble. I’d have to take the mouse out of my pocket, remove a "dongle" to plug into a USB port, turn on the mouse and hope that I could work and not have to pick everything up so the guy sitting next to me could get up and walk down the isle of the plane. More often than not, I would not use the mouse and would begrudgingly use the track pad.
Several months had passed since the press release and I had not heard anything, so I sent a note off to see what the status was on the release. To my surprise and good fortune, I was told that they were about to "roll out" the first set of MoGo mice for review and they asked to have a meeting with me to discuss the product. I was impressed with this means of introducing a new product and I was even more impressed with the one hour meeting I had with Matt Westover, the CEO of Newton Peripherals and Steve Friedberg of MMI Communications.
It was during this meeting that I decided not to take the usual approach to reviewing a unit…get it …try it…write about it. Because they took the time to come and meet me, I felt that before I write about it, I should use it not for a day or a week but after several weeks of use. I wanted to be able to tell you what it was like and how I liked it (or not) after a reasonably long trial period. Well, I met them on June 1st and today is July 1st. For the past thirty days, I have used the MoGo mouse everyday in a variety of different situations. Initially I used it alone then I used it side by side with my "regular" mouse and now, because I am so pleased with its performance, it is the only mouse I use with my laptop.
So, what was my experience like?
I have to tell you that I was excited to meet Matt and Steve and actually get to hold the mouse for the first time. Steve gave me a demonstration on its setup and use and Matt discussed the conception of the idea, the design and evolution process that took place to arrive at the final product and finally, the eventual marketing of the product that will take place. It was a very quick 60 minutes but I was glad it was over… I wanted to try it on my laptop.
Measuring 86 X 54 X 5 mm (3.4 X 2.125 X .21 inches), it is hard to believe that this flat device is a Bluetooth mouse. Almost rectangular in shape, it has rounded edges at the front, narrows towards the middle and expands in the back where you find the PCMCIA connector that is used for charging. A sturdy black plastic forms the skeleton of the body. The top has a metal insert that serves as a cover and because of its design, the insert serves as the "buttons" of the mouse. An opaque plastic strip with a BT logo separates the buttons. As soon as a connection is established, a blue flashing light appears under the opaque plastic letting you know you are connected. The MoGo logo is nicely placed on the rear of the metal insert.
The right rear side has an indentation revealing a tab to press for extending the flip leg. The leg easily snaps open (or closed) and upon investigation, you see that it was engineered very nicely. When it closes, it is closed…it cannot open unless the tab is pressed again. There are two hidden springs that are used to provide tension when the leg is open.
The bottom of the mouse shows the black plastic skeleton with another metal insert that is attached with 4 tiny screws. There is a Teflon strip to aid in smooth gliding as you manipulate the mouse. As you look at the optics, all of a sudden you realize that its design is very unique. On a typical optical mouse, the inset of the optics has a deep recess. It has to be like that for proper reading of the reflection of light. Not so with the MoGo mouse!
The recess of the MoGo optics is significantly less because of its unique design. The "kick stand" which gives a "lift" to the device so you get that similar feel that you would expect with a mouse also provides the "lift" needed to allow for the optics to be read correctly. The end result is that you get an optical mouse that works incredibly well, as well as a very thin form factor. The technical design to achieve this was well thought out!
When closed, the "kick" stand is integrated smoothly into the back of the device. As it is opened, a tiny micro switch is activated that enables the power to the device. A small "knub" on the inside of the kick stand will push the micro switch closed as you place the stand back in its rest position. The "knub" is a very simple yet slick design for powering the device on/off.
The back of the device has a small hole that gives access to another miniature micro switch used for setting the device in pairing mode. It was not marked but if you have dealt with Bluetooth devices in the past, you know what it was for.
As I drove home, I kept looking at this really unique device. It’s the size of a PCMCIA card and was going to perform the functions of a mouse. I kept asking myself was it going to work. My laptop is several years old…one of the first that came out with built-in Bluetooth and yes, I had my share of connection problems. But they all went away one day when I stopped using the built-in software and used Microsoft’s Bluetooth drivers…thank God for Microsoft!
Finally I arrived home, so the test was about to begin. I fired up my laptop (which seemed to take forever), turned the MoGo over, flipped open the stand, and inserted the end of a paper clip in the reset hole on the back of the mouse to begin the pairing process. In an instant, there was a message on my screen saying a device was communicating and it needed a pass code. I entered 0000, the device connected and I was "mousing"! It was that simple and probably took less time than it did for you to read this. I was absolutely flabbergasted that it went so quickly and easily.
The testing begins...
Initially, I just "played around" to get the feel of the mouse. It definitely was different than what I have been used to. When you use a regular mouse, you "grab it...grrrr. It’s sort of a manly grip you have to take just to have control. No so with the MoGo! You can grab it if you want but you don’t have to. You can manipulate it easily with light pressure…just a touch with your fingers will make it move. When you use a "regular" mouse for long periods of time, you can get a tired arm or wrist … but not the MoGo. Why? Because you can easily change how you manipulate it and still maintain absolute control….I like that.
It definitely is a different experience and although I liked it, after using it for about an hour, I went back to using my regular mouse as I started to do some posting. I really liked it but I was not used to it and I was very comfortable using my mouse. So I closed the leg and slide it in my PCMCIA slot to charge it. The MoGo literature warned me about inserting it in my PCMCIA slot for the first time. It indicated that the computer will recognize that something was inserted and will ask if you want to install it. By clicking no and the "don’t ask again" box, Windows will no longer think it is a device. Now it was ready to charge whenever I place it in the slot.
I noticed that the MoGo had a red light glowing while inserted but in a very short period of time it was green, which meant it was fully charged. Of course I had used it only an hour but I was impressed with the speed of the recharge. So I continued to enter text but I kept thinking of the mouse so I took it out , opened the leg, pressed a button and BANG, it connected again….I was (and continue to be) impressed with the speed of connection. A press and you are good to go….it works well!
I am used to using a scroll wheel on a mouse…it is like second nature so I found myself continually trying to scroll but since this version of the MoGo is a two button mouse, scrolling is not an option. I did ask if there was any thought in having a scroll wheel and the reply was that they are working on that for the next iteration. I expect it will be a "touch pad" type of scroll wheel which will make the functionality of this mouse a total package.
So, as much as I use a scroll wheel, can I live without it? The answer is a definite yes! Fortunately, my laptop provides two simple ways to scroll which I had never used. Certainly I would like that feature but I slowly began to get the technique of being without it and I have been fine.
If you were to ask me a couple of weeks ago if I would use this mouse as a primary means of "mousing" on my laptop, I would have answered probably not. My feeling then was this mouse was going to remain in the PCMCIA slot and I would use it when I travel. If you were to ask the same question today, I would reply absolutely. I have become so used to its flexibility and ease of use that it has become an automatic action to grab the MoGo. Do I still use my other mouse? There have been occasions that I have because of what I was doing, it was close by and I just wanted to use it…but they are becoming rare moments.
Storage and Charging
When not in use, the MoGo easily slides into the PCMCIA slot where it will charge as long as the computer is on. If by some chance your mouse runs out of power, a few minutes in the PCMCIA slot will most likely give you enough of a charge to complete your work.
I often take breaks as I am working on my computer so I have routinely placed the mouse back in the PCMCIA slot. I have not experienced any issues with power…it seems to last a long time. On the few occasions that I have left and returned finding that I left the mouse out, an intelligent battery management system has turned of the power to maintain the power in the battery. A simple click and the mouse instantaneously re-connects.
For those of you that do not have a PCMCIA slot, you are out of luck….well, at least for now. I would expect that they might come up with a unique charging system for those that want this mouse but don’t have the ability to charge it….maybe a USB charging cable would do the trick.
If you are looking for a means to Experience Mobility at a higher level, then this is one option to consider. Having the mouse stored in your PCMCIA slot is a BIG plus…one less item to pack in your carry bag. It is innovative, sleek, works flawlessly and is a definite "what’s that you got" item...Yes sir, there is no question that when I want to Experience Mobility, I Go with my MoGo!
Small form factor
Charges in PCMCIA slot
No scroll wheel
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
There has been discussion on the net that the design of the "kick stand" could possibly mal-function and open while inside the PCMCIA slot rendering the MoGo useless and stuck inside the computer. I can not stress strongly enough that these comments were irresponsible and based upon an assumption rather than on fact gathered from actual usage, observation and investigation.
As you slide a card in a PCMCIA slot, it has to be guided perfectly so as to align the connector at the end of the card with the 68 pin connector on the inside. To guarantee this alignment, PCMCIA slots have guide rails that the cards slide in on. The TAB that opens the MoGo kickstand is positioned in such a way that it rests on top of the guide rail. Its position absolutely guarantees that the stand cannot open when inserted in a computer.
In the unlikely event that the mouse were to somehow not ride on the guide rail and at the same time open inside of the computer, the design of the stand would allow for it to close immediately as soon as any pressure was exerted in a removal process.
About the author: Jack spent 35 years teaching mathematics, worked as a Dean of Students, and completed his career as a Principal of a suburban school just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Throughout his years in public education, the computer field has always sparked an interest in him.
In his early years as a teacher, he became proficient with computers by teaching himself "BASIC" with an old HP card reader. Handheld computers soon became his passion where he eventually focused his attention on the HP iPAQ.
Always the teacher, Jack participates in several discussion groups and is currently serving as Senior Editor on Mobilitysite, participates in the Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine Blogs and maintains his personal site, Experience Mobility. Jack brings to the mobile device community, news, events, and reviews that generate the same passion in handhelds that he has had.
Retirement has not slowed Jack down, he finds himself busier today than ever before. Traveling between Massachusetts and Maine, he is continually writing, reading and working with his iPAQ. In addition, Jack serves on the board of advisors for SCOTTEVEST.