November 1996 Reviews TOC
By Hailey Lynne McKeefry
Time after time, various manufacturers have tried
to improve the mouse, that icon of the graphical user interface.
The latest is Vector with its UNIA mouse, and the company certainly
slices the loaf differently. Its new device embeds a keypad on
top of the unit so you can perform keyboard functions without
removing your hand from the mouse. If you do a lot of data entry,
switching back and forth between mouse and keyboard may now be
The UNIA gets good marks for its innovative design,
offering four operating modes: a regular mouse mode, a numeric
keypad mode, a 15-function key mode (activating the same commands
as the F1 to F12 keys, and the Start menu and Win95's right-mouse-button
commands) and a character mode. Character mode provides access
to symbols, including the plus sign, arrows, parentheses and the
Switching modes was simple once I got the hang of
it. The 10-key mode is the default, but I switched to character
mode by clicking the middle mouse button and then to function
key mode by double-clicking the same button.
Other buttons on the mouse's top provide Ctrl, Alt,
Tab and Return keys; a side button acts as a shift key. I didn't
inadvertently hit the buttons on the mouse's top, but a snap-on
shield is included for more heavy-handed users.
Although the keypad was useful, I didn't appreciate
some of the UNIA's other design features. For example, the unit's
figure-eight shape (wide at top and bottom and narrower in the
middle) felt much too large in my hand, and when using the shield,
the mouse was especially cumbersome. The right and left mouse
buttons have curved indentations designed to guide the fingers,
but my hand was uncomfortable in that position.
If I used only a word processor, the UNIA mouse probably
wouldn't be my first choice. But when I switched into Excel to
enter figures into a spreadsheet, it beat a traditional mouse
hands down. With practice, this mouse could definitely reduce
data-entry time, which would compensate for its bulkiness.
Pros: Mode select
Platforms: 3x, 95
Vector Research Group
408-298-7898, fax 408-298-8087
WinMag Box Score 2.5