Designed for the Web surfer who's constantly forgetting login IDs and passwords, American Power Conversion's (APC's) $59.99 Biometric Mouse Password Manager provides one-touch access to all password-enabled programs and Web sites and can also lock down sensitive information stored on your computer. The package includes a rather drab mouse with an embedded fingerprint scanner along with software that keeps track of your logins and passwords. This multiuse device is worth the investment for Internet Explorer devotees with an abundance of passwords to manage, but users with Macs and non-IE browsers are out of luck.
Once you install the OmniPass software from the bundled CD, you're asked to register your fingerprint; the application lets you input up to 20 unique users or fingers to scan. A small groove at the center of the mouse houses the sensor that scans fingerprints, and in our tests, it was foolproof. The OmniPass software lets you store an unlimited number of passwords, and it also enables one-touch file or folder encryption--just right-click the item you want to protect and select OmniPass Encrypt File, and the next attempt to access the file will require a finger scan for authorization.
When we used the Biometric Mouse to sign in to Yahoo Messenger, an OmniPass pop-up window emerged from our system tray, asking if we wanted to save our login information. After entering and saving our information, we were able to subsequently log in with just the swipe of a finger.
Users of Mozilla Firefox won't have it so easy, however. When we tried logging in to our Gmail account through the browser, the software failed to recognize the login page. We switched to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and OmniPass instantly recognized the site and saved our login information. APC says it will add Firefox support this fall, but for now Firefox users will have to switch to IE for compatibility.
The USB-based mouse has a nice glossy finish, but the device's stale gray-and-black exterior gives it a generic, corporate look. The Biometric Mouse is comfortable and has a high arch for good support, but the indent for the fingerprint scanner is noticeable under the palm and may be distracting for some users. The left- and right-click buttons give a fairly loud noise when pressed, and the scrollwheel also gives an audible and tactile response when it's rolled; for a mouse of this price, we'd like to see an additional button or two for more functionality.
The Biometric Mouse is backed by a two-year warranty. APC also provides toll-free tech support from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.