iOne Scorpius N4 Mouse/Number Keypad Review

Sagittaria - 2007-01-25 20:16:53 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: Sagittaria   
Reviewed on: January 29, 2007
iOne
iOne
Price: ~$35 USD

Introduction

At some point or another, everyone found laptop keyboards to be ridiculously small, lacking both a decent mouse and a number pad. Now comes iOne's Scorpius N4 with a full featured number keypad and a mouse. That's right, they combined it into some sort of a num-mouse! This seems like a very cool idea! It saves space and rescues you from the horrors of a small keyboard! Let's see what happens.

What about iOne? I've never heard of them up until a few days ago, but after doing some research, I found that they are a subsidiary of Itron Technologies, who has been producing computer input devices since 1984. The company sells its products all over the world at competitive prices. I'm surprised that I've never heard of them up till now!

Closer Look

The package of the the monstrous mouse.



It comes in a tabbed plastic and cardboard package, and as you can see, it looks pretty cool!



Popping everything out of the box reveals a short instruction guide (which you probably won't need) and the device itself. It comes with a fairly short cord at about two and a half feet long. This is a good length for most laptops, so it will not get in your way and you can always extend it if you need to.



The combination in all its glory. The keypad itself uses the slim style laptop keys, but it is indeed a full size keypad and more! The few useful extras include a backspace key and a triple zero key. You have the left and right mouse buttons at the top, along with the scroll wheel. On the left side is the mode button, which allows you to use it as a keypad only, mouse only, and of course, both. It is a laser mouse, 400 DPI in fact. Not the greatest, but good.

Closer Look Continued

What about size?



Well, it is a bit larger than the average number keypad. From the left, a iOne Gemini R16 mouse, the N4 in the middle, and on the right, a standard 3.5" Western Digital Hard Drive.

The lights:


The lights are your standard green LEDs, nothing too flashy. Starting from the left: Number Pad, Mouse, Keyboard. I don't know why they included two lights for the number pad, I guess for looks. Now, let's install it!

Installation

Installation Setup
IBM ThinkPad R40 Laptop
CPU Intel Celeron 1.8ghz 478 Varient
RAM 512mb DDR PC-2100 SO-DIMMs (2x256mb)
GPU Integrated Graphics by ATI Mobility
HDD Hitachi 20gb IDE 4200rpm 2.5" 2mb
USB Hub Micro Innovations USB2.0 4 Port hub
OS Microsoft Windows XP SP2



It's a USB device, so just plug it in. Windows XP and 2000's plug-and-play will take care of the rest.

Testing

Unfortunately, the mouse was clumsy with its awkward square shape. It will take some getting used to at first, but it will still be clumsy and awkward to use. In games it was even worse. In Half Life 2 Episode 1, I was unable to hit anything as well as I would have with a dedicated mouse. Nonetheless, it is a definite improvement over the touch-pads of most laptops!

As for the keypad, it worked...sort of. A keyboard is designed to be unmoving, while a mouse is meant to move easily. So when you try and use the keypad, it would move all over the place. I somewhat mastered punching numbers down by keying straight down which solved the problem, but became awkward to use. The mode button came into play here so that the pointer would not move all over the screen. But as before, it is a definite improvement over the scrunched up laptop keys.

Conclusion

It was a good idea on paper. Both the number keypad and the mouse aspects of the device were better than a laptop touch-pad and keyboard. But it's just not as good as a dedicated solution. It does save space and USB ports though, so it's up to you whether you want a combined device or two dedicated ones instead. But who really needs a number pad in the first place? Unless you really need it, I'd say just buy a good mouse and make do with the number pad on your notebook when you do use it.

Pros

Cons