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While desk space often comes at a premium, space in your laptop bag is even more precious. That's why Rocketfish has designed its $45 Twister laser mouse, a flat rectangle smaller than a smart phone, to fit snugly in one of your bag's organizer pockets or even your back pocket if necessary. When you're ready to get to work, a twist of the lower third of the mouse creates a more traditional mouse shape, though we thought its rectangular edges still made mousing a bit uncomfortable, particularly given the Twister's small size. We appreciate the innovative design, and we like several of its features, such as a receiver that stows inside the mouse (also found on the more expensive Logitech VX Revolution) and software that lets you truly customize the mouse's few buttons. Also, people with smaller hands may appreciate the Twister's compact size. But despite these advantages, we found the Rocketfish Twister too small and awkward for sustained use.
The Rocketfish Twister's glossy black case feels sturdy enough to stand up to everyday abuse in your laptop bag, though it also comes with a neoprene sleeve for extra protection. For transit, the Rocketfish Twister stores into a flat rectangular shape that measures 3.4 inches wide, 2.2 inches deep, and 0.5 inch thick--one of the most compact travel mice we've seen and one that's uniquely shaped to fit inside your bag's organizer pockets. We love that the tiny USB receiver fits entirely inside the mouse when not in use; the mouse automatically turns off when the receiver is stowed, which saves power and ensures that the mouse won't accidentally turn on when it's in your bag.
When you're ready to get to work, the lower third of the mouse twists 180 degrees, snapping into an angled position that creates a more traditional mouse shape. This lift is important, as it holds your hand in a position that's closer to neutral. While that makes mousing with the Rocketfish Twister a bit more comfortable, it wasn't quite enough to combat the mouse's boxy shape, which is harder to grasp than more traditionally shaped mice. In addition, the mouse's small size makes it difficult to maintain an ergonomically appropriate wrist angle; our sensitive wrist began to ache after using the Twister for about five minutes. That said, we think users with smaller hands (for example, women who find traditional mice too large) may find the Twister to be perfectly comfortable.
While other mice (even travel mice, such as the Logitech VX Revolution) incorporate volume control , zoom, or other media buttons, the Rocketfish Twister keeps it simple, with just a single, slender thumb button on the mouse's left side. Unfortunately, this button is hard to reach if you mouse left-handed like we do. In a strange shift, the Twister doesn't incorporate a scroll wheel between left- and right-mouse buttons, but rather a smooth scroll zone, as found on most laptop touch pads. While we suspect this is necessary to maintain the Twister's sleek profile, we don't like it--it requires more pressure to scroll than a wheel does and you lose the center-click functionality that comes with more traditional mice.
Setting up the Rocketfish Twister laser mouse was straightforward: we popped two AAA batteries (included in the box) into the mouse, plugged its tiny receiver into a USB port, and it started working right away. (The mouse does include a Connect button on the bottom, but we never needed it.) We like that the Twister's laser allowed for effective mousing on a variety of surfaces, including a desk, a catalog, and even fabric.
To take advantage of advanced features and customization options, you'll need the included Mouse Suite software, which installs cleanly and is easy to navigate. Inside the program, you can map specific actions to each of the mouse's buttons. Mouse Suite lets you choose from a vast list of keystroke, application-launch, or folder-open commands, ensuring that your most frequent action, whatever it is, can be assigned to the mouse. You can also program a button to display the Rocketfish HyperGrid, which launches a small box with buttons for nine Windows functions (such as Open Start menu, Minimize window, or horizontal and vertical scroll).
Rocketfish backs the Twister laser mouse with a standard one-year limited warranty. The company's support Web site offers only a link to warranty terms.