Logitech iFeel Mouse
[ Review Comments | Screenshots ]
MSRP ($US): $39.99
• Logitech® Mouseware® software (included)
• Microsoft Windows® 98, Windows® ME, Windows® 2000
• Available USB port or powered USB hub
• CD-ROM Drive
iFeel Mouse combines Immersion's TouchSense technology into the case
of Logitech's Optical Wheel Mouse, a rather comfortably sized, symmetrical,
3-button optical mouse with a scroll wheel.
If you have never heard of Immersion
before, they have been developing force-feedback technology ever since
the first force-feedback controllers came out on the game scene several
years ago. The similarities between the two technologies ends there
however as this is no mere force-feedback mouse. This new TouchSense
technology is a tad more refined in the hope to create feedback textures
for mice by using small motors capable of rumbling at varying frequencies.
Logitech is the first to offer this
technology to the retail market as a whole, although I have since read
that there was once an even earlier offering from them in the form of
Force Feedback Mouse, unfortunately this one was attached to a base
and rather a niche' product. Although much more powerful action, the
wingman ff mouse offers much less refinement in it's movements than
the iFeel does, and it looks rather constraining looking as it is attached
to a base. The iFeel however is free moving and optical, so plush carpet
mousing is possible.
out of the box (With a flashy red light!) I enjoyed the cool purplish/blue
coloring to the upper molding. The case's size was a rather comfortable
fit for large and small hands alike as I asked my wife to try it as
well and she was rather happy with it's size as compared to the bulky
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer. Unfortunately this is a USB only mouse,
so users whom enjoy the increased PS/2 rate will not enjoy this, along
with all other optical mouse models. For those extreme gamers whom want
that extra sensitivity in FPS games, go for the Razer Boomslang.
Upon placing the CD in the drive installation
went smoothly. I plugged in the mouse and Windows ME picked it up nicely,
then on to software install which includes the famous Logitech Mouseware
as well as the Immersion software. In its default mode, the mouse's
feedback on my desktop felt like a tiny ball-bearing was sliding, bumping,
and grinding around inside it's housing. It’s actually a very subtle
response, and can get a tad annoying after you get over the 'cool!'
factor, but again, this is just it's default setting.
The 'Modes' & Inner Workings
The included Immersion Desktop software
(Be sure to update) lets you fine tune the feedback you get from the
iFeel experience. You have choices like Metallic,Sonic Vibe, Spongy,
Steel Drum, and Rubbery. You really need to play with these to truly
appreciate the full potential of this fun technology. The software is
very easy to use after a bit and fun to make your own custom themes.
How does it work? After reading some highly
technical garbage on the topic, I discovered that the mouse itself has
a mechanism in it known as a High-fidelity Harmonic Drive Engine. This
engine is in turn controlled by the use of the Touchsense software and
To lay it down in easy terms, all of your
mouse movements are transferred to an API, sent to the driver, which
then controls the feel of the mouse and the way it moves. The actual
movement felt in the mouse is generated by frequencies and amplitudes
sent to the engine which makes it vibrate. Multiple tiny motors are
what really make this piece unique from traditional force feedback technology.
iFeel In Action
first thing we tried was a spot of surfin' the net, first stop of course
was our own GCC. When scrolling over a link in the news, the mouse would
give off a light 'kick' to alert me of the selectable item. Choosing
the pull down menu options would result in a stronger vibration allowing
me to 'feel' the difference between links/menu.
Although I must admit surfing GCC was
very amusing in the Spongy custom mode I had setup (Was laughing and
clicking for 40 minutes), I would say the most fun was had by far at
the Immersion Touchsense-activated sites. Immersion has a partnership
program for adding this feature to your website (Hmmmmmm) and quite
a number of awesome sites are listed on their hompage. My personal favorite
of these was FrogIt,
a TouchSense-activated version of the classic Frogger!
Games are a whole other world when it
comes to iFeel. I will say now that non-enabled games do not work as
nicely as the ones that have the built-in Immersion support or a patch
which can enhance some preexisting games. The most basic level of support
though results in a bland rumble effect that doesn't add anything to
the game. Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force for example worked in a very
mundane manner. When you would fire a photon it feels the same as firing
a phaser, a cheap lil 'pong!' feeling left me a little disappointed.
I then found out this game was better supported with a Quake patch.
Wow! Holy $#%! That about sums up my reaction
to the games that ARE supported directly by the software. I fired up
Elite Force again and each weapon had its own feel to it! During the
movement of the character you could feel his footsteps, when you jump,
the mouse gives off the feeling of your impact upon landing. Photon
jumps in EF were absolutely amazing feeling with the iFeel in my hand.
Black & White is particularly detailed
with it's iFeel interaction. Game functions including moving the onscreen
icon over gold/silver scrolls, signs, spells, or other special items
cause the mouse to shake, which is VERY useful when you're trying to
locate those pesky little items within the landscape. Creature stroking
also provides an interesting effect, try it out!
The games currently supported (Typically
by patch on Immersions download
- Battlezone II
- Black & White
- Gruntz Mod
- Heavy Gear 2
- MDK 2
- Slave Zero
- Soldier of Fortune
- Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
- Tribes 2
- Unreal Tournament
The Bottom Line
The iFeel is a rather impressive optical
mouse. I once again stress this is no extreme gaming mouse, yet a very
enhancing and entertaining toy. As with all optical mice, quick, jerky
movements can skip the mouse movement a bit and lead to a little jumpiness
if not used properly. Overall I would buy this mouse again as it provides
a very good quality mouse, with a unique feature for a mere $10 more
than regular mice. I actually got mine for the same price as the bare
optical mouse from Microsoft. I also see this technology greatly enhancing
the lives of those with vision impairment. Imagine someone that normally
squints at a screen using one of these 'bumpy' mice. That's about all
I have to say about that....
(`Smaug) Reinhart - 5/3/01
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