When a product looks – and this is a technical term – a bit mental, a reviewer's first instinct is to try extra hard to make sense of it, to give it a fair review. Despite this, and after weeks of use, we're still going to call the Orbita Mouse a bit mental.
The whole circular mouse sits on a disc, and can spin freely. The idea is that you can dial it around to scroll through documents, jog through movies, spin the world in Google Earth and more, just by rotating the Orbita Mouse.
All in a spin
Move it slowly for relatively fine control, or give it a flick and let it spin several full circles. You can also press and hold the little grey button on the top to switch to scrolling horizontally rather than vertically. It's a little clunky but it manages to do the job.
It also promises to work as a regular mouse, and once you have calibrated it, 'up' is 'up' regardless of what angle the mouse has been rotated to. This can get irritating. We hadn't actually realised until we used a mouse that always knows exactly where the vertical line is, that often we would slightly angle it to follow the line of our arm and then adjust it to compensate; you can recalibrate at any time. It's a difficult thing to explain, but the upshot is that using the Orbita as a normal mouse can feel incredibly inflexible.
Even more annoying, however, is the mouse's system of right and left-clicking. The entire top surface clicks – there are two main 'paddles' to it, and you get a better click if you hit them directly – but without constantly feeling or looking to check, you can all too easily click the horizontal scroll-lock button or the orientation button.
Worse, right-clicking is done with buttons around the base of the rim, and we hit them by mistake, and missed them when trying to click.
This is more 'a jog wheel that can double as a mouse' rather than a mouse that can spin. It's too large (you'd think folks would have learned from the fiasco of Apple's puck mouse) and frustrating to use. And it's hardly cheap.