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Bridging The Flash Format Gap With Multi-Format Readers/ Writers

Bonus Review: Atech-Flash - PRO-Mouse - MS-AFT1 & MS-AFT2

The Atech PRO-Mouse concept is, perhaps, the most innovative of the solutions that we looked at in this review.

Atech sent us their new PRO-Mouse MS-AFT1 and MS-AFT2 to look at in this review, as well. The defined review format didn't really fit what we were after, but after some discussion with Atech, we agreed to test the PRO-Mouse MS-AFT2 along with the other devices in this review.

Although we show you a picture of both the PRO-Mouse MS-AFT1 and MS-AFT2, only the MS-AFT2 was tested in our review, due to the fact that our baseline testing required a unit that supports CompactFlash. One of the agreed upon conditions of our review of this product was that we would not be reviewing the mouse itself beyond its cosmetic appearance; thus, this is a review of the card reader/ writer functionality of the MS-AFT2, not an review of the entire mouse.

ModelMS-AFT1
InterfaceUSB
Formats SupportedSD, MMC, MS/MG
Form FactorExternal
Web Sitehttp://www.atechflash.com
Warranty1 Year
Special FeaturesDevice Is A Mouse
Suggested Retail Price$49.99 US
ModelMS-AFT2
InterfaceUSB
Formats SupportedCF Type I & II, MD, SM
Form FactorExternal
Web Sitehttp://www.atechflash.com
Warranty1 Year
Special FeaturesDevice Is A Mouse
Suggested Retail Price$49.99 US

The MS-AFT2 is an innovative solution, to be sure. The MS-AFT2 combines the convenience of a three-button optical wheel mouse and a Multi-Format flash card reader/ writer into one attractive package. And, while it might sound like a match made in heaven, it isn't without encountering a few bumps in the road.

The MS-AFT2 is innovative, and it really doesn't get in the way of the mouse. However, you have to admit that its appearance is a little odd.

The construction of the mouse itself is good, and follows in the Atech tradition of high quality. However, in order to add two card slots to the MS-AFT2, the mouse has a higher and longer slope than many other mice on the market. This will likely lead to some user 'training' time to adapt to the different feel of the mouse.

When a CompactFlash card is inserted into the CompactFlash slot on the bottom of the mouse, it hangs outside a little. This presented a very big problem, as the corners of the CompactFlash module thus dig into the edge of your hand while using the mouse. No matter how hard I tried, I simply did not adapt well to the feel of using this mouse with this CompactFlash card inserted into it. It was just uncomfortable... no way around it. If you have a smaller hand than mine, this might be less of an issue, but I found that I had to remove the card from the mouse before using it, and if this is the case for many users, a mouse with a protruding CompactFlash card is clearly a disadvantage.

Performance of the MS-AFT2 was good, although we noticed that the unit seemed to generate some heat when the CompactFlash slot was in use. And, speaking of the CompactFlash slot, it is important to note that because it sits so low and close to the mousing surface, it is possible that dust and other desk debris could enter the mouse through this opening. That is a no-no, and not a possibility that we like at all.

Overall, we found the performance of the MS-AFT2 to be satisfactory, but based on the fact that I was physically uncomfortable using the mouse, I cannot recommend it. The fact that I had to remove the flash card from the mouse in order to make it comfortable to use is a serious drawback. If you like the concept of the MS-AFT2, our suggestion is that you demo it first with the card inserted to see if you like it, or purchase it from a store that offers a reliable product return policy. We do admit however, that the suggested retail price of $49.99 US makes the combination of a Multi-Format flash card reader and an optical mouse an attractive option, if you can adjust to the physical presence of the flash card inserted in the mouse. Just as a side note, Atech is aware of this problem and says that they have a new redesigned version of the PRO-Mouse that is coming soon which will address these issues and solve the problems that we experienced in this review. You should expect the revised version of the PRO-Mouse to be introduced before the end of the year.