Review: Penclic Funktioner B3

Reading Time: 4 minutes
c. S.W. Sondheimer
c. S.W. Sondheimer

I’m not generally one for the tech paraphernalia. Why? Well, I am a champion destroyer of expensive electronics. No matter how far away the fluids are, they find my keyboard or that errant exhaust port and BOOM! No container of rice will save me.

Also, I lose stuff. I don’t mean to and it’s odd because I’m actually quite an orderly, careful person, but since I’m not used to having fancy electronic toys, they sort of fly out of my mind. Third: I already have enough crap in my bag and on my desk. If I allow a preponderance of practical things to occupy space on my desk, where will my Funko collection go? WHERE??!!

That said, I spend a lot of time on my computer, which means I spend a lot of time with my wrists bent unnaturally or leaning against the rounded but still inconsiderately protruding edges of my laptop. I tried a foldable stand at one point, but it just made the setup more awkward and it wasn’t as portable as promised in the Kickstarter campaign, so I resigned myself to discomfort during long writing/researching sessions (okay, fine, some of them are long chat sessions, don’t lie, you do it too). I’ve also tried the Mac Wireless mouse but that wasn’t all that much more helpful and it so a very expensive paperweight when I can find it, which is less than half the time.

The moral: for me to dedicate a section of my brain, and my limited space allotment, to a device of some sort, it has to be good.

The Penclic Funktioner B3 wasn’t even on my radar as such a thing until an offer to review the product came down the GeekParent pipeline. I figured “what the heck;” since joining the team, I spend even more time at the computer than I did before and I’m definitely experiencing more wrist pain and hand cramping than I did a year ago.

Conclusion: I love this thing.

As I usually do, let me get the “stuff which was not my favorite,” out of the way. Fair warning, most of this stuff is nitpick to the extreme, but this is supposed to be a review not a gush. The Penclic B3 base is a nice width but the 360 joint that connects it to the joystick/pen bit is a little loose; I get the joint needs flexibility to fulfill its function, but the joystick tends to flop when I let it go and occasionally tips the whole device over. Very occasionally. Um… I wish it came in silver so that it matched my computer? I wish the Bluetooth connection button was a little bigger because I have big hands and short fingernails so it’s a little hard for me to get to, though if I could find one of my millions styluses, I imagine I could resolve the issue quickly. Erm… there’s a silver ring in the middle of the joystick/pen that seems to be cosmetic and I don’t love the way it looks?

Seriously, I’m reaching.

I love pretty much everything else about this little guy. The shape is really ideal for someone who spends a lot of time at at the computer. The base glides really smoothly on even my scarred-up table while the pen shaped grips lets you keep your fingers and wrist in a much more natural, less fatiguing position. The triggers and the track wheel are at thumb height, which means you don’t have to hyperextend your knuckles to get to them nor do you have to arch your wrist sharply while scrolling.

c. S.W. Sondheimer
c. S.W. Sondheimer

I also like being able to choose whether to utilize “natural” or “mirror” directionality on the device. As someone with a usually-but-not-always-corrected-especially-when-I’m-tired-which-is-usually-when-I’m-writing hand/eye coordination disorder, devices that “mirror” are difficult for me to use (this is why I don’t play video games for those of you who have been wondering). The ability to change this particular setting also means the device is ambidextrous, which is important in my house as we have two ambidextrous kids, one of whom is right dominant and the other who is left dominant but often uses her right hand because it’s what she sees everyone else doing; this one device can be tailored to feet everyone’s needs

The track wheel on the Penclic is far more responsive than the trackpad on my MacBook Pro, which wasn’t all that sensitive even when it was new and it’s definitely not new any more.

That Mac bluetooth mouse I mentioned before? It loses connection every two minutes or so, which is really, really irritating. It also has a pretty limited range and it’s very picky about which surfaces it will respond to. The Penclic has a much better range so I can place it where it feels right to me, has yet to lose a connection while in use, and I’m pretty sure I could run it over gravel and still navigate a website. The battery life is excellent – I think it’s only quit on me once so far and I’d written for several hours, forgotten to turn it off when I walked away, and then come back to write for at least another hour.

The charging cord is on a spool and is retractable, which seems like a silly little detail but is actually pretty genius. Because the mouse itself is light and pretty tough (I sometimes catch myself tapping it on the table while I’m thinking and it doesn’t seem to have done any harm). I’m planning to take it with me when I travel but when I travel, space is usually at a premium and the pouch where I keep my cords is already pretty tightly packed. If I had another cord I had to wrap without kinking, find a tie for, and manage to fit in said pouch, I’d probably leave the Penclic at home. Because the cable is neat, compact, and self-contained? Yahtzee, this thing is definitely joining the mobile arsenal as well as the home one.

I think I’m going to appreciate the Penclic even more after the upcoming month of grueling word sprints. Every little bit helps come NaNo.

Disclaimer: GeekMom was given a demo unit to use for the purposes of review.