The Penclic D3 looks like some sort of futuristic Arthurian device. It resembles a fountain pen jammed into the centre of a tiny travel mouse, and in many ways that’s exactly what it is. Instead of the Sword in the Stone, it’s the Pen in the Mouse.
Ostensibly designed as a device to ease RSI and stress-induced ailments like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it’s safe to say that if you’ve spent most of your life using a traditional mouse, this is going to seem pretty weird to begin with. Getting your grip sorted is the first step, and it’s worth actually just removing the mouse from its stylish packaging and playing about with positioning with it completely unplugged. The fat, pen-like shaft of the device connects to the base (basically an optical mouse) with freely-rotating ball-in-socket joint, and this allows for you to really settle into the right grip for you.
There are two large buttons and a clickable scroll wheel on the shaft, just like a regular mouse. But it’s worth playing around with what feels natural. As a right-handed individual, I found myself rotating the shaft anti-clockwise, and gripping it with my wrist resting on my mouse mat, my index finger over the right button, and my thumb over the left. You can switch the functions of the two, and that’s exactly what I did, meaning my index finger did most of the clicking.
It’s set to the highest DPI out of the box (1600 DPI), and though that number doesn’t seem very high, it was far too fast for my liking. Thankfully, there’s a three-way switch on the base, and I found the 1200 DPI mid-range option to be the happy medium I desired.
There are no big sweeping moves with this thing, it’s all about fluid, small movements, and it takes some serious getting used to. I received this item in December, and I hated it on my first try. It felt clumsy and alien and I got a bit angry with it and ran away. I ate a bunch of mince pies, drank a load of mulled wine, and then tried it out again. It felt much smoother when I was drunk, probably because my brain wasn’t getting in the way.
A couple of weeks of sober use later, and the D3 really came to life. It helps that the movements are familiar, although it must be said that I rarely use a pen these days. The D3 is better at some tasks, though, than a regular mouse. If you don’t have a graphics tablet, for example, but spend a fair bit of time in Photoshop, you might find the D3 to be really very useful for precise work.
It is super comfortable, once you get over the initial shock of the learning curve, and remarkably fast. Though there are Bluetooth and Wireless (dongle) versions, the D3 is wired, though cheaper because of it, and I never really found the cable getting in the way. It does away with the extra buttons and clutter of its predecessor, too, and that makes for a simple, straightforward, plug-in-and-play device. That being said, I would suggest fiddling with the base switch and the Mouse settings in Windows early on to find the best sensitivity to suit you.
If there is a criticism, it is that the shaft buttons are a little spongy. It feels good in the hand, and is great when moving the cursor about, but clicking isn’t quite as smooth nor responsive as it could be. It’s less of a problem for the thumb button, where right-clicking tends to be a little more deliberate, but I found myself growing more and more frustrated with the sponginess of the button below my index finger.
It’s a really sleek and stylish piece of kit, though. I like the rubberised, contoured texture around the buttons, too. My hands can get pretty sweaty cradling a regular mouse, but there were no such issues here. It’s also a pretty neat little device for strategy games, although I can’t say the same for my initial tests in Titanfall 2. I switched back to a regular input pretty quickly.
Sadly, that’s actually the truth for most of my PC activities. Though impressive, I guess old habits die hard, and I’ve since switched back to my regular mouse. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look, though. You can pick up the corded D3 for £49.99 over on Penclic’s website, and I’d strongly recommend it for those prone to RSI, not to mention casual Photoshoppers.