The Jelfin gel covered mouse is a 1000 DPI 3 button mouse with a twist. A Gel covered twist. Is it a gimmick or a gadget more than a mouse?
The Jelfin mouse first came to our attention at CES 2010 in Las Vegas. It got a lot of “cute” coverage in the media so we decided to go beyond cuteness and get one to review. If you were to believe the “cute” reviews and news posting the Jelfin Gel Covered Mouse would be one of the breakthrough moments in computing. We suspect most of what was posted about it was nothing more than rehashed company information and that few of the people reporting on it actually tested one.
We could be entirely wrong the Jelfin Gel Covered Mouse might be the greatest thing since sliced bread. We are going to take it for a test drive and give you the straight dope on this cute little mouse.
We’ll go one step beyond that, if it’s a good mouse we’ll keep it. If it turns out to be a turkey we’ll covertly swipe the mouse from the general manager of a local branch of a multi-billion dollar company that has branches nationwide. Then replace it with the Gel Covered Mouse and see what he thinks of it. Should be interesting.
We can tell right off the bat we don’t like the 5 foot cord that comes with the Gel Covered mouse because it’s very thin and in our experience very thin wires on a mouse mean it’s not durable. The round design is supposed to be ergonomic and only testing will tell us if it is indeed ergonomic or just cute. Cute is good if it’s functional, comfortable and viable. If it’s just a cute desktop conversation piece then that’s probably not a good thing considering the $34.95 price tag.
All you’ll find on the Jelfin Gel Covered mouse is a short list of compatibility and specifications. Since it’s not listed as a laser mouse we’ll assume it’s just a plain optical mouse.
- Compatible with Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT 4.0/2000/ME/XP and Mac OS9 or above
- 1000 DPI
- USB Interface
- 1.5 Meter/5 Foot cable
- 6.5CM/2.5inch diameter and 5.6CM/2.2 inch tall
- Gel Cover: Thermoplastic elastometer soft-touch gel cover 5mm/0.2 inch thick at the top
- 5 colors, Cobolt Blue, Crimson Red, Cadmium Yellow, Electric Green and Pink
Since the highest OS listed for the Gel Covered Mouse is XP we went ahead and tested on Vista and Windows 7 and both those operating systems had no problems using the Gel Covered Mouse. We also checked it momentarily in XP and XP had no issues with recognizing it.
At 1000 DPI (non-Switchable) the Gel Covered Mouse is one notch above your garden variety 800 DPI mouse and features a standard USB interface. It has a 5 foot cable and is 2.5 inches across and 2.2 inches tall. The Gel cover is a thermoplastic elastic soft touch Gel cover and has the feel of Gel but it’s a tad sticky.
The Jelfin Gel Covered Mouse comes in a (here’s that word again) cute little can designed for people on the go to be able to carry the Jelfin mouse. Our can arrived with a small dent on the side and the mouse was well protected by the can.
All we found in the can was the plug and play USB mouse and a short pamplet telling us to just plug it in and that placing it close to a fire might produce foul fumes that can potentially be fatal. We would guess that would mean that it’s ok to knaw on the Gel Covering just don’t burn it.
Seen from the front you get an idea of just how small the cord really is. The cord resembles the wires dangling from a set of earbuds and looks to be very delicate. The mouse itself is flat on the bottom and is round like a small ball with two buttons and a scroll wheel.
Seen up close and personal you can see the imperfections in the Gel covering and even imperfections on the surface of the mouse which isn’t a good sign considering the $34.95 price tag.
With the rounded design Jelfin tells you (in the short manual) to use it on a mouse pad or flat surface only. We tried the mouse on a variety of surfaces, a high end mouse pad, the desktop, the arm of a couch, the leg on our jeans and all the surfaces we tried it on the Gel covered mouse worked equally well.
Seen from the back of the mouse you’ll notice a few of those imperfections we mentioned but other than that the back was unremarkable.
The Bottom of the mouse houses the optical sensor and the FCC ID and has two large crescent shaped feet that almost circle the mouse.
Since it’s a Gel covering we went ahead and lifted the Gel just a bit so you could get a look at it. Jelfin advises against removing the Gel covering to many times as it might stretch it. Since it’s a Gel design we would suspect that the Gel covering will need the occasional cleaning as time goes on. Gel has a tendency to hold things like dust and small pieces of paper if they come into contact with it.
There’s really no way to test a mouse except to fire it up and do every day computing tasks and game with it. To that end, we fired it up with our lab laptop then played a little Spider Solitaire. We coded a review or two while using the Gel Covered Mouse, then we fired up HexZilla with it’s i7 980x and 12 GB or ram, and played some Wolfenstein. For the next 4 days we used the gel covered mouse to get a feel for it, also to smooth out the learning curve.
There’s no way around it and there really is no use in mincing words. The Jelfin Gel Covered mouse is very likely the worst optical mouse we’ve ever come into contact with. We’ve had hands on some ball mice that were pretty bad and one mouse from days gone by that had only one button. We would prefer almost any mouse to the Gel Covered Mouse.
The Gel covering on the mouse makes it very hard to click the mouse with any accuracy so heavy gaming with it is just out of the question. Solitaire took on a new level of challenge trying to get the cards to drag to the proper spot. Clicking was hit and miss and required an unusually heavy hand to just make the buttons click at all. The pressure required was so great that just clicking the mouse caused on screen movement of the pointer.
During ordinary every day computing the tracking on the mouse was a little spotty and the tenancy was to overshoot or undershoot and the heavy clicking gave us minor hand cramps several times.
The round shape of the mouse just didn’t feel natural to our hands and draping our fingers over the rounded shape soon got very very old. At one point we suspected that we would end up on a street corner selling apples (grasped by the stem because our finger would seize in that position).
The gel covering on the mouse was littered with imperfections and the mouse itself had pretty obvious flaws on the surface. About the only thing that the Jelfin Gel covered mouse had going for it was the “Cuteness Factor”. While cuteness is a survival technique in the animal world and with small babies it’s not a viable strategy for a $34.95 mouse.
We don’t think we’ve ever seen a product that is as close to a total miss as the Jelfin Gel Covered Mouse. The cuteness makes you want to like it and it is a novelty. It’s a novelty that we would be angry at having spent $34.95 for.
It took a tremendous pressure to activate the buttons, so much pressure that the pointer onscreen would move off target a lot of the time. The Jelfin Gel Covered mouse would make a good conversation starter. So does a small Zen Garden which probably provides more functionality than the Gel Covered Mouse. At least the Zen Garden you can peacefully rake the sand and arrange the rocks calming your nerves. The Jelfin Gel covered mouse is more likely to end up in the desk drawer than on the desk.
We hate to say it but the Jelfin Gel Covered mouse is destined to replace the mouse of the general manager of a local company. He probably won’t enjoy it or even use it but at least we’ll get a chuckle out of the Gel Covered Mouse that way.
|Jelfin Gel Covered Mouse|
Summary: The Jelfin Gel Covered Mouse was a complete miss in the functionality department and a complete hit in the cuteness department. At $34.95 there are vastly superior options for mice unless you just want to annoy the better half by buying it and making them use it.