Reviewing the ASUS VivoMouse WT710 - A 3-in-1 PC Controller for Windows 8
With operating systems like Windows 8.1 blurring the lines between touch and non-touch interfaces, manufacturers have started experimenting with many interesting peripherals that act as more than just a mouse. One of these devices is the ASUS VivoMouse WT710 - a 3-in-1 PC controller that allows you to perform all of Windows 8.1's touch gestures on its surface, without having to use a touch screen. On top of that, it is also designed to work as a wireless remote for your PC. We've tested the device for a week and we would like to invite you to read our full review and learn more about what this product has to offer.
What is the ASUS VivoMouse WT710?
The VivoMouse, as ASUS presents it, is not exactly a traditional computer mouse, as you would expect. They position this device as a 3-in-1 PC controller - a mouse, touchpad, and wireless remote. What ASUS tried to do with this device is to offer a more intuitive way of interacting with Windows 8.1 systems that do not have touch screens, like a classic desktop or a laptop.
The VivoMouse WT710 uses the 2.4 GHz wireless communication technology and an optical tracking sensor with a 1200 DPI resolution. It is compatible with both Windows 7 and Windows 8, weighs only 115 grams and comes in two color schemes: Grey and Steel gray. The packaging of the ASUS VivoMouse WT710 contains the controller, the USB receiver, 2 AA Alkaline batteries, a USB extender cable and a set of user documents. On the back of the controller, you can find the power switch next to the optical sensor and a button used to remove the cover.
Taking the back cover off reveals the battery compartment and the USB receiver.
Using the ASUS VivoMouse WT710
As mentioned earlier, this device is more than just a mouse. It doubles as both a touchpad and a wireless remote for your PC. Naturally, the first impulse was to use the VivoMouse as a wireless mouse. And so I did. I plugged the wireless receiver into one of the free USB ports and hoped for the best. The first thing that came to my mind while navigating through Windows 8.1 with it was "Something doesn't feel quite right". The grip of this device while using it as a mouse is rather uncomfortable because the grip area is too small compared to the touchpad. The construction of the device feels very weird when you hold it on the desk. I actually believe that the grip would have been a lot better if the gripping area was bigger. The way it's built made me feel as if there were nothing under my hand to grip. On top of this, there is a single physical button in the form of a dial, that activates both left and right click. Unfortunately, the dial is rather big and I often found myself activating the right click instead of the left one or the other way around. All in all, the mouse mode experience was less than I needed for productive use. Moving on, let's see how the VivoMouse WT710 fares as a touchpad. Given the fact that this device was built with Windows 8.1 touch gestures in mind, I expected nothing short of a flawless performance while using it in the modern Windows 8.1 interface. The touchpad works well and the gestures work as expected in most cases. There were, however, moments when it failed to respond to different gestures, even if the driver was correctly installed. The biggest problem that I have found while using it as a touchpad was the device's weight. The VivoMouse is too light to be properly used as a touchpad, especially on a high-quality mousepad, such as the Steelseries 4HD that I have tried it on. Most of the times when I tried doing a touch gesture on it I ended up moving the entire device on my desk. If you are going to use it as a touchpad, make sure not to apply too much pressure on it otherwise, you will be moving it around instead of actually activating the touch gesture. Using the device as a wireless remote, however, turned out to be quite an enjoyable experience. You can switch between Windows 8.1 apps with a simple swipe or scroll through documents, web pages or inside other apps by gliding your finger across the bottom of the touchpad. The tutorial included in the software does its job at explaining how to use these functions. This usage scenario is a great addition to a home entertainment system connected to a large screen and the device is much easier to use like this, given the fact that you have a much better grip while holding it in your hand. Combining this with the Windows 8.1 interface, it makes for a rather pleasing user experience.
VivoMouse Gesture Software
ASUS provides software and drivers that are compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. You can find the drivers on their download page. The software provided for the VivoMouse WT710 is called VivoMouse Gesture and once you install it you are greeted with the main screen, which happens to be the One Finger gesture settings category, as you can see in a screenshot further on. The user interface is split into four categories and you can enable or disable any one of the available touch gestures. The gesture categories are the following:
- One Finger - here you can enable or disable one finger gestures, such as Tap, Activate, Drag, App-switching function, Open Windows 8 Charms bar and Scroll.
- Two Fingers - here you can enable or disable two fingers gestures, such as Show pop-up menu, Scroll and Zoom.
- Three Fingers - here you can enable or disable three fingers gestures, such as Tap, Page up/down, Show Desktop and Show ASUS Mission Manager.
There is also a Battery Settings section where you can enable or disable the Battery reminder functionality. This will automatically notify you when you need to change or recharge the batteries of the VivoMouse.
The software also has a Tutorial mode included, which teaches you how to use the device in order to make the correct gestures. You can see an example of the Tutorial in the screenshot below.
We highly recommend going through the complete tutorial so that you learn how to properly use this device.
This device is the solid proof that it's not easy to build a controller that is a jack of all trades and a master of all of them, too. Using it as a mouse is a rather poor experience and its design doesn't make it ideal as a touchpad either, although it does depend on the surface you are using it on. However, using the device as a touchpad works slightly better than using it as a mouse. The only scenario where this device truly makes itself useful is the wireless remote control. You will like it if you have a Windows 8.1 based home entertainment system connected to a big screen and you want a more TV-like approach towards using it. We recommend testing this product with all of its functions before buying it or buying it from a shop with a good return policy, in case you are not happy with it.