Low End Mac Reviews

Contour UniTray

Dan Knight - 1999.07.29

Does anybody make the perfect mousepad?

I don't think there is such a thing. I've used a lot of different ones over the years: the rubber backed fabric pads, the Apple plastic pads, the 3M textured pad, a nice M.C. Escher pad, the Mac Professionals Book Club pad, and who knows how many others. Most are okay, but nothing you'd care to invest money in.

Mousepads have their problems. If they're too thick, your wrist rubs against them. And sometimes the mouse cable catches on the corner of the mousepad. And they get dirty.

I've seen some clever designs, ones I wouldn't want to use. I remember one that was round and had a springy thing to hold the mouse cord out of the way. I think it even had a wrist rest. But the cord holder tended to get in the way of smooth mousing.

The Mac Professionals Book Club mousepad was great, until it started chipping on the edges and catching the mouse cord. Now the corners are turned up. Too bad, because it was a nice pad.

I really liked 3M's flexible pad. It was very thin and had a textured surface. It was also impossible to clean and started to warp and get bumpy over time.

The most promising basic mousepad I've seen is the thin plastic MacPad, which was shown at Macworld Expo. It's textured and easy to clean. They've promised to send me one for review; I'm looking forward to it.

Until then, I'm using the Contour Contour UniTrayUniTray I bought at Macworld Expo. It's about 0.6" high, has rounded edges (so it won't snag your mouse cord), has a textured surface, and has a gel-filled wrist rest.

I'm becoming a fan of wrist rests. I have a nice foam one by my keyboard. It's just the right height for resting my hands.

Contour Design solves the height problem on the UniTray with two inserts that can sit beneath the gel wrist rest. With no insert, I find the wrist rest just a bit low. It shipped with the 6mm insert, which I found too high. The 1mm insert seems just perfect, especially with the Contour UniMouse, which is a bit higher than many mice. (After a year-and-a-half, it remains my favorite mouse.)

The UniTray is also longer than it is wide, recognizing that while your screen is horizontal, the mouse itself is vertically oriented. Very smart.

I'm very impressed with the design of the UniTray, which comes in all the usual Mac and iMac colors. My hand moves comfortably from keyboard and wrist rest to mouse and mouse pad. The gel provides a nice level of support comfortably.

If you're looking for a better mousepad, the UniTray is a definite contender.

  • The Macsense keyboard is avaiable in any of the old iMac flavors from Outpost.com, MacMall, and other vendors for about US$20.

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