Size matters. Remember the time when your were out with grandpa wanted to make a call and had to go look for someone with a gigantic mobile phone? Thankfully, smartphones are so common nowadays that everyone carries one, and they fit in your jeans pocket without awkward bulges.
It is great that products are ever shrinking in size to be increasingly portable. But there are times when this goes to the extreme. The most famous being Apple’s pursuit of making the thinnest products at the expense of functionality. We have another product to add on the list of Honey, I Shrunk the Product.
While the rest of the industry tries to design products with better ergonomics, ZeroMouse thinks different and tries to be as small as possible. So much so that it prides itself as the “world’s smallest wireless mouse.”
What is it
ZeroMouse is, as the name alludes, a mouse that gets zero points from me. It calls itself the world’s smallest wireless mouse. It tries to get away with making a mouse as small as possible while retaining enough space for a click button. It can literally fit one finger, unless you’re Edward Scissorshands.
Measuring at only 13 x 24 x 46 mm, ZeroMouse is tiny. But it tries to be more by being able to operate as a presenter remote (which honestly any mouse can do as well, they just aren’t the right form factor), and also a laser pointer.
What problem does it solve
This is where things get interesting. ZeroMouse doesn’t really solve any problems but it tries to position itself in a way that makes it seem like it does. I’m a marketer too but I don’t stoop to such tricks to try to mislead potential clients. Check out the image below.
ZeroMouse is trying to claim that it can transform your cluttered desk if you own it. But does it? Things still look as messy if you replaced the wired mouse in the upper image with ZeroMouse. And, come on, anyone who uses their laptop with their mouse and keyboard wires in such a mess have bigger problems than having the wrong mouse.
So they use an old PC laptop, an old iPhone, throw all sorts of things on the desk and plug in a wired keyboard and a wired gaming mouse to create the cluttered look. Then they contrast it with a clean, well-knolled image that has a shiny new MacBook Air and the latest iPhone. No wired keyboard. No stains on the laptop. No coffee cup or mug. No random pencils and other clutter. Not even, gasp, a mouse pad.
Okay, I get it. ZeroMouse is trying to be the solution if you think buying a new mouse can solve your clutter issue. Place it on your desk and all your desk magically becomes tidy.
Who is it for
I didn’t want to answer this question for fear of offending the thousand over backers who supported ZeroMouse on Kickstarter. Then, curiosity got the better of me and I wondered how many of those backers are real.
I did a quick calculation based on the number of backers for each reward tier and the total came up to $57,901. That’s almost $2,000 off from the actual funding of $59,404 on the campaign. So we can assume that most of the backers are real.
Evidently, there’s a market for people who enjoy torturing their hands with such a tiny mouse.
Is it innovative
If you define innovation as thinking differently, then I guess ZeroMouse qualifies. But should products be different just for the sake of it? Or even make false or misleading claims?
We design and develop products. Our top priority is always user experience. By throwing ergonomics out of the window, ZeroMouse doesn’t give two hoots about usability. It wants to be the world’s smallest wireless mouse.
It is a novel product that could potentially be a conversation starter. But the first thing you should do when you get the mouse is to use it to increase your insurance coverage.
Jokes aside, this is rather ridiculous product to exist in 2021. ZeroMouse works with your smartphone, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Both your smartphones and tablets come with multi-touch screens. It makes more sense to smush your finger around the screen than contort your hand to use the ZeroMouse.
Laptops come with trackpads and they basically operate just like ZeroMouse would. But they don’t need extra space for you to use. They are built right into your laptop. Check out how ridiculous the ZeroMouse look in the video and GIF below when the guy wiggles it right beside the trackpad. You don’t need to find, let me quote ZeroMouse, “a cramped space like the desk edge, laptop, or even on your jeans.”
And the designers definitely didn’t consider the fact that such a tiny mouse would get lost pretty easily. Or they would have at least built in a Bluetooth tracking function.
Is it worth it
The retail price for the ZeroMouse is $95. That’s an insane price for a mouse. A portable mouse costs only $10 on Amazon. Would you really want to pay almost 10 times more just so you can get carpal tunnel?
It is just hilarious to see the campaign claiming that its ergonomics can help you avoid health issues, when its design clearly will cause these problems. How’s that for being responsible and ethical?
What are the alternatives
Do I need to answer this question at all? There are tons of mice in the market. Gaming mouse. Mouse designed for graphic designers and so on. Portable mouse have been around for ages and they work great. At least they try to balance portability with minimal compromise to ergonomics.
TL;DR: There are certain things you don’t want to be small. Your mouse is one of them.
When you try to go to an extreme you sacrifice something. Trying to be the world’s smallest wireless mouse almost inevitably means ergonomics would be poor.
I prefer to avoid diving too deep into Kickstarter campaigns because creators should be encouraged, no matter how mediocre the product or ideas might be. However, if a project is blatantly misleading, I feel that I should write about it to help inform my readers.
The shameless use of misleading before and after images irked me. I always felt that brands that do this are lacking in their product features and advantages, hence the need to resort to underhand tactics to mislead consumers.
And the irresponsible claim that the ZeroMouse is ergonomic is unforgivable. If they really conducted ergonomics studies and can ensure that the product doesn’t have a potential to cause injury from long term usage, then they should show the consumers the test results. But, honestly, if you have to cramp your hand into such a small device and use it for long periods of time, it’s rather far-fetched to think that it doesn’t put a strain on your wrist and fingers.
Hi, I’m Big Cat.
I’m a young lion that identifies as a bear. Not a brave lion. No cat jokes.