At first glance, the Macally Turtle appears to be simply an attractive wireless mouse - perhaps a bit small and light for desktop use, but a good size for a welcome traveling companion for your laptop.

Examine the Macally Turtle's belly, however, and you'll learn its secret: inside a flip-open compartment is a USB plug and ribbon cable on a spring-loaded reel. At 30in, the cable is plenty long enough to reach left-side laptop ports if you're a righthanded mouser.

Although convenient, the Macally Turtle's cable system isn't perfect.

There's a miniscule slit in the front of the Macally Turtle's flip-open door through which you're supposed to thread the cable before closing the hatch - and if you're ham-handed, you'll find that doing so isn't as easy as it sounds.

Also, the spring-loaded reel frequently decides to stop reeling before it has hauled in the entire cable; in fact, the only way to get the Macally Turtle's cable to reel in correctly is to let go of it completely and allow it to snap back in - a routine that more often than not raps you on your mouse-holding knuckles with the flailing USB plug.

Cable-reeling mice aren't new, but what sets the Macally Turtle apart from its peers isn't its cabling convenience, but its driver software. Macally's Input Manager driver software is a marvel of versatility.

Each of the Turtle's button and scrolling capabilities can be mapped to one of 22 different actions, including the normal assortment of clicks, plus custom key combinations, application and URL launching, and eight different scrolling variations.

What's more, you can set different scrolling operations for normal scrolling as well as scrolling while pressing the scrollwheel - you could, for example, scroll normally with a standard forward/backward wheel-roll, but launch an app with a forward press-scroll then quit it with a reverse press-scroll.

Ergonomically, the Macally Turtle is more comfortable than many mice in its class. The ambidextrous gadget has easy-to-grip bumpers on both sides; its 800dpi laser tracking is well balanced for speed and precision; and its left and right buttons respond positively to gentle pressure - although its scroll button requires a stronger shove.

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Macally Turtle: Specs

  • Turtle Portable Retractable USB Mouse
  • Wired
  • Laser Movement Detection
  • 3 buttons
  • Scroll Wheel
  • USB
  • 101x51x38mm
  • 70g
  • Turtle Portable Retractable USB Mouse
  • Wired
  • Laser Movement Detection
  • 3 buttons
  • Scroll Wheel
  • USB
  • 101x51x38mm
  • 70g

OUR VERDICT

At £20, the versatile, comfortable Macally Turtle is a steal - we'd pay that much for its powerful driver software alone.

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