Have you ever wondered if there is something better than a mouse for computer cursor input? I have., and over the past few weeks I have been testing several systems to investigate the possibility. Most of the devices were not sufficient for me to want to drop the traditional mouse and switch over. However, Contour Design has created several "roller" mouses that are surprisingly good. For some people the roller mouse design can become their new and more comfortable mouse. Below you can find information, images, and comparisons regarding the Red plus and Pro2 models.
RollerMouse Red plus
The packaging is very simple and elegant.
The box contents: instruction manual, screws (if you wanted to attach the device to a surface), various keyboard raisers, a key, and the RollerMouse Red plus unit.
The functions of the RollerMouse Red plus. Most of the buttons I used quite a bit, but the Copy and Paste buttons I did not.
You can use a keyboard raiser if you need to. There are various options to choose from.
The RollerMouse uses a bar for mouse input. Moving it left and right moves the cursor left and right. Rotating the cylinder gives you up and down motions. Furthermore, the bar also has a left click built in (which can be disabled if that's what you desire). Note that this is the Red plus version, which has a longer palm rest; there is a Red version which has less palm rest.
The bottom side reveals further customization and attachment options.
My mechanical Max Keyboard works well with the RollerMouse.
Over time it is likely that you will adjust the position of the RollerMouse so that you get the comfort that you need. On the picture we can see the device centered, but as I'm typing this the device is quite to the left so that my fingers can be placed on the starting keys (ASDF and JKL:). When set correctly the RollerMouse is out of the way when you are typing, but it is there for when you need to move. Notice that like with keyboards with TrackPoints the hands stay more on the keyboard than if you had to move your arm and hand to the right. This provides greater comfort than a mouse.
If you don't like the palm rest then you can remove it. You can say that there are three palm rest options: the first one is no palm rest attached, the second would be the Red palm rest (not included in this package), and the third is the Red plus palm rest (as viewed above).
The RollerMouse Red plus is one of the best looking and feeling computer peripherals that I have tried. Yes, the device is expensive, but the materials are exquisite. The buttons feel solid, the roller mouse part is easy to manipulate, the scroll wheel feels well made and does have a middle click (in my opinion the best scroll wheel goes to the Logitech G700s mouse). If the normal settings are not exactly how you like you can do some modifications via the Mouse Speed button.
Contour Design RollerMouse Red plus notes
- The device feels and looks sleek and feels solid. The materials are superb. This should be expected because the device sells for over $250.
- The palm rest is very comfortable. If you dislike it though you can remove it.
- The unit does come with keyboard risers. These risers come in handy when your the style of your keyboard is very flat.
- The mouse bar allows you to move the mouse way better than I thought it would be. At first I thought, because of the side limits, that it would be restrictive--but it's not.
- The roller bar cylinder has a left click, which can be convenient. However, the click on the cylinder can lead to accidental left clicking. You can change the force required to achieve a click, or completely disable it.
- To adjust the roller bar click you must press and hold both the Left click and the Mouse Speed button for two seconds. Then, while holding the buttons, move the scroll wheel up or down to change the force settings. The LED lights indicate which setting you are on. Release the two buttons and that will save your settings.
- The "click volume" of the roller bar can also be adjusted. To achieve this press and hold both Right click and Mouse Speed button for two seconds. Then, while holding the buttons, move the scroll wheel up or down. Release the buttons to confirm the click volume.
- There is a Mouse Speed button that gives you the possibility of changing the speed of the cursor. This is convenient because it allows you to get the feeling of the cursor to be "just right." This becomes more important when you use bigger screens (I use a 30 inch monitor at home).
- The scroll wheel feels very good. There is a nice weight to it, but the wheel itself moves smoothly. The smooth scrolling though does not go on for a while (as seen in some computer mouses). Also, the scroll wheel does have a middle click button. However, if I press the middle click button on the scroll wheel the result is sometimes exactly what you expect and at other times the page is moved (which is quite annoying, and I would consider changing the double click button to perform middle click).
- Just like a normal mouse, if you perform middle click on a browser page and you move the mouse up or down then there will be smooth scrolling. In the RollerMouse doing scrolling in this method just feels better than a mouse.
- The device is plug and play. There are no special drivers and software to install.
- The left, double, and right button are clicky and easy to access. The Copy and Paste buttons are kind of useless.
- The double click button is nice to have when manipulating files in Windows explorer. You can change this button to perform a middle click if that's what you wanted to do.
- To change it press and hold both the Double click button and Mouse Speed button for two seconds. Repeat the procedure to go back to the previous setting.
- For work, this seems like a good mouse. In many of the previous mouse-like input systems that I have used I have felt frustrated. I have just wanted to reach and grab my "real" mouse." With the RollerMouse I have not had as big of an urge. Over time you do get used to the way it behaves.
- The centering of the RollerMouse and the keyboard will be completely up to you. It seems that over time I have begun to place it slightly off center (a bit to the left of the keyboard).
- For gaming this is not the mouse to have. When using the RollerMouse and playing FPS games you can easily move and look around smoothly, however shooting accurately (pressing right click and then left click) it is simply not possible.
- The RollerMouse seems to excel when you are only manipulating the mouse cursor. It's just easy to move about and click on the things you want.
- The device is dependable. The connection from the device to the computer is solid and Windows does not seem to have conflicts with it.
- The RollerMouse does require a good amount of space. So it's best suited for larger depth tables.
- It seems like using two monitors, in horizontal configuration, does not give the RollerMouse any problems.
- Overall the RollerMouse is quite comfortable to use.
I also ordered the Pro2 version. I was interested in seeing some of the differences and some are very noticeable.
The packaging is simple and effective, but not as good as the Red plus.
The box contents: keyboard raisers, some sticky materials, the instruction manual, and the Pro2 RollerMouse.
You can adjust the raisers for many keyboards.
The unit feels very industrial. It has thicker and shorter palm rest than the Red plus version. Also, the added assembly on the front (which holds the keyboard) does not seem removable.
The mouse portion is very similar to the Red plus version, but there are differences. First, the roller moue cylinder is uniform and has limited access by plastic covers on the side. The scroll wheel is more like that found in a traditional mouse. The Copy and Paste buttons are of a different material. Left, double click, and right click are made of the same material.
The Red plus version had an aluminium finish on the bottom, the Pro2 version has plastic with rubber pads. I like the Red plus design better.
The Red plus version has adjustments for the force on the roller cylinder click and even has "click" volume adjustments--both options can be accessed by a combination of presses on the Mouse Speed button a few other buttons and the scroll wheel. In comparison, the Pro2 version uses a knob to adjust the force on the roller mouse cylinder. I cannot seem to be able to disable the roller cylinder click on the Pro2.
Also on the bottom side: a Switch Settings. The switch on the bottom changed the DPI but also Std and Pro modes. The Pro mode is the default settings. The Std changes the functions of a few buttons (Copy button now does Back, Paste button does a Forward, the double click button does a middle click action).
While the Red plus version seem to be closer to the size of my numberpad/ten keyless keyboard, the Pro2 is more suited for the more full sized keyboards.
Contour Design RollerMouse Pro2 notes
- This is wider than the Red plus.
- The palm rest is thicker than the Red plus. It does feel comfortable though.
- Access to the roller bar is a bit more restricted than the Red plus. However, this prevents accidental clicks on the roller bar cylinder. There is a force settings knob found on the bottom side of the unit. It seems that I cannot replace the click.
- It seems that it is not possible to remove the plastic on the back side. Also, because of the plastic materials, if you were to drop the device on to a hard surface then you are more likely to break something.
- The device sells for about $200, and the materials offered have both good and bad attributes. Which may discourage some people from getting the RollerMouse Pro2.
- The scroll wheel seems crude and harder to access when in comparison with the Red plus scroll wheel. The scroll wheel does have a middle click button.
- The device is plug and play. There are no special drivers or software to install.
- The DPI settings can be changed, from 750 to 1200.
- The DPI settings and the "mode" can be changed by a switch on the bottom side. There are three available settings. The two available modes are Std and Pro mode (Pro is the default).
- Switching to Std mode changes the Copy button to perform a Back action, the Paste button performs a Forwards action, the Double click button performs a Middle click.
- The device is not as sleek looking as the Red plus.
- This is a more "industrial" like device.
RollerMouse Red plus and Pro2 Comparison Images
The palm rest is a big difference among these two devices. When you use either of these devices at home or in the office you have to make sure to have plenty of space. Also, because of the placement the RollerMouse is more comfortable to use than a mouse (when you use a mouse your body is not centered any more).
Note the differences in the roller mouse cylinders and buttons. The Red plus is better in my opinion.
An image showing the height differences.
An image from the other side. You can notice the "evolution" of design--the Pro2 is likely to be the older version.
I have been looking for a good mouse alternative for a while and it seems like most available options are hideous. However, the RollerMouse seems to be one of the better options that get close to the effective functionality of a mouse. Of the two versions that I ordered the RollerMouse Red plus is in my opinion the better choice. I don't think the RollerMouse fully replaces a traditional mouse in all cases, in gaming it doesn't, but it does seem to work well for many other situations.
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