Introduction, Specifications and Pricing
For quite some time now, the peripheral market has been continuously flooded with wireless or travel style mice from many manufacturers around the world. The real issue for manufacturers at this point is finding a way to stand out in the crowd. With this in mind, the R&D team over at SEENDA has decided to try their hand at making dual purpose mice, so the customer may be able to save some space while traveling, and get more bang for their buck. The thought of dual purpose mice makes us immediately think back to the Genius Energy Mouse, a long life wireless mouse that also provided a battery bank option that allowed you to charge your mobile device directly from the mouse.
SEENDA is quite new to our ever growing list of companies that offers us samples, but just by looking at their webpage, it is easy to see what they are all about. On one hand, they plan to make comfortable, useable, fashionable products. On the other hand, their main goal seems to be combining technologies to offer their customers a better user experience, and changing the way we think about using technology in our daily lives. On paper, this all sounds well and good, and today we are hoping for an experience similar to our experience with the Energy Mouse, where we were pleasantly surprised with what we got. We are hoping to have a great experience with our SEENDA product today.
The blend of technologies that has us here deals with both the peripherals market, and the mobile market. Today we are looking at a 2.4GHz wireless mouse incorporated with Bluetooth, a speaker, and a microphone. Why would one want to mix these technologies? Well, anyone that frequently travels with a laptop usually packs some sort of wireless mouse as well, so we understand the basics right out of the box.
Now, when it comes to the Bluetooth bit, that automatically screams for connectivity to mobile devices, and the IBT-C04 Music Mouse naming directly alludes to the fact that there has to be a speaker in this design as well. However, SEENDA also took this one step further. Since they already planned to pair this mouse to a mobile device, they also added a microphone, and not only can this be a music mouse as described, but you can actually hold conversations via the IBT-C04 as well.
Working with the information that SEENDA provides for the IBT-C04, we don't have a whole lot to go off of. At the top, we can see they display the IBT-C04 naming, and describe it as a music/phone mouse, which we have addressed. Then we jump right into the list of features. Here they cover the 2.4GHz wireless technology, adjustable DPI, Bluetooth speaker, HD sound, the calling function, Siri voice notifications, and the 900 mAh LiPo battery. The battery takes roughly four hours for a full charge, and provides roughly sixty-five hours of average use, as we saw with our sample.
On the more technical side, while all versions are built from ABS plastic, and offer a side grip area for the thumb, this right hand mouse comes in a total of five color choices, or a black version, which we received. All version of the IBT-C04 are 121mm from nose to tail, 70mm wide, and stand only 38mm tall. The IBT-C04 weighs in at 125 grams without the charging cable, or nano receiver. Lastly, we see that the version of Bluetooth used is indeed the latest 3.0. What we are not told is that this mouse uses a Pixart optical sensor for its tracking, and OTM main switches (which are new to us) in its design.
Like a lot of the reviews we have seen lately, the one thing that will definitely turn heads and make someone splurge, maybe even as a holiday gift for the person who already has everything tech, is definitely the pricing. While the IBT-C04 is tough to locate, we were able to find older models on Amazon.com, so we know there is potential for listings to pop up there any day now. What we saw there was pricing that will make this mouse something you won't mind trying out. With the original listed at $19.99 to $26.99, even nearly $30 is easy enough on the wallet to give this a try for yourself, or as mentioned, it's well within the "Secret Santa" budget. The only thing left to do now is get a close look at exactly what we are getting with the SEENDA IBT-C04 so that we can offer our opinions, and explain how all of this works.
Packaging, Accessories, and Documentation
Packaging is kept very simple with the use of a clear plastic package and a cardboard insert that holds the mouse and goodies inside of the package for viewing. Around the mouse, we see iconography covering most of the features, and at the bottom in the bright orange area is the product naming with a QR code to visit the product page for more information.
The bottom of the cardboard inside the package is blank, and as for the top of the packaging, only the SEENDA name is offered.
On the back, things start out with the product naming before the features are listed again, but this time in multiple languages. The images to the right show the nano receiver in a USB port, the speaker atop the mouse, its charging port, and where the microphone is located. At the bottom, we also see that this mouse ships with a one-year warranty.
After removing the inner packaging and cutting the cardboard open, we slid the mouse and the instructions out. In the thicker, lower section of the packaging, you will find the short charging cord, and the nano receiver sitting next to the mouse.
As for the instruction sheet, it does tell you to charge the mouse first, then turn it on to pair it. It also explains how to use the mouse, and even though it specifically mentions iPhones all the way through it, the IBT-C04 did work with any device we had in the office with Bluetooth capability.
SEENDA IBT-C04 Music Mouse
On the left side of the IBT-C04, we find a large rubber section that is ribbed for added grip. Just above that, we find three buttons, one to accept a call, one to turn the volume of the speaker up, and one to turn it down. We also see that this area is surrounded by very shiny black plastic to mix up the textures a bit.
Looking at the heel of the mouse, we see the center section of the IBT-C04 is textured all the way from the heel right to the right and left click buttons at the front. Where the top and bottom halves come together, there is a tiny hole for the microphone, but with all the black on black, it is almost indistinguishable in this image.
Moving up the heel of the mouse to the top section, we run into four larger oblong holes surrounded by rays of tiny round holes to allow sound from the speaker underneath to pass through.
The right side of the mouse has the shape of the rubber insert the left side offers, but this time the entire side is molded from that shiny black plastic. While it would appear to be slick and hard to pick up, there is an inward angle to this side that makes grabbing it much easier.
From the front of the IBT-C04, we can see the camber of the design for a more ergonomic feel during use. As you move left across the front as oriented in this image, the center is the furthest point forward, and gently curves to both sides. The lower section of the front is where the charge port is located; this is where you plug the cable into the IBT-C04.
Between the two main buttons, we find the DPI adjustment button in front of the clear, rubber banded scroll wheel. Behind that is where SEENDA puts its name, and for added design, the left and right buttons have been stepped down with defined body lines.
The last bit to cover outside of the IBT-C04 is the underside; this there we find three PTFE feet to support and allow this mouse to glide upon. The large section at the base is just a screw cover, and not a foot. Near the top, we have the optical sensor eye, and switches to either side of it.
As for the tiny switches, the one with speaker icons enables the Siri voice, and turns Bluetooth on and off. The lower switch is for the IBT-C04 power. If the lower switch is on, the mouse still works, no matter the position of the audio switch.
Inside the IBT-C04
Opening things up was not so easy, and we do not recommend you attempt this; if you do, you risk damage to the body, as well as potential damage to the wiring by pulling it apart. On the left side, we see the four Ohm 3W 30mm driver used for sound production, and following the wiring, we see a tiny microphone glued into the heel.
As we dig in to see all of the switches, we find this trio used for the left side buttons. These are an unusual design of pad style switches with long black stems, and we found no branding on them.
The left click button uses this white OTM branded switch. These are slightly tougher to press than an Omron switch, with the same level of noise. As for their longevity, little information is out there for this brand, and to be honest, they only have to outlive the warranty.
To handle the Bluetooth traffic within the IBT-C04, they have chosen to use the iSSC Technologies version 3.0 with noise and echo reduction, which is stated to get ten hours of playback with only 120 mAh of LiPo power. So, with a full charge, there is roughly 75 hours of audio potential.
To control the tracking and movement, SEENDA has gone with the Pixart PAW3205DB optical sensor for its low-power capabilities. This sensor offers up to 1600 CPI resolution, but as to the specific DPI settings of the button, they are unspecified for each of the four levels.
Of course, as we make it back to the front of the mouse to look at what is under the right click button, we again find the match to the other OTM white point switch.
To power the mouse, or the Bluetooth aspect, or both at the same time, that is handled by the SDL 063443PL 1S LiPo pack. While the model number comes back to an 850 mAh battery, this 3.7V pack is specified to be a 900 mAh version.
Let's begin by discussing some things we did not have in the images, like the setup and lighting that the IBT-C04 has. First of all, the setup is pretty easy. They say to charge the LiPo first, which took about four hours to do. Then it says to turn on the Siri/audio switch, and the mouse automatically goes into pairing mode for roughly two minutes as you move to whatever device you plan to connect to it.
Once the mouse is paired with your device, the IBT-C04 will say "power on," and "power off" in Siri's voice when the audio switch is moved. Additionally, the blips, swooshes, and even the ringer of the phone, along with any music stream, can all be heard from the mouse, and at a level slightly higher than our test phone supplied. Once that is all done, you can happily go along using it as a mouse while it streams music, and when the phone does ring, you can answer it by just moving a thumb to the phone button on the left side, and carry on about your business.
The mouse had no issues in transmission or reception of our movements, and we found the mouse to be very useful and accurate. The IBT-C04 is also sculpted to fit the hand very well, and will easily slide on any surface; however, clear glass can pose an issue with the sensor's ability to read correctly.
Even without knowing the exact DPI of the four levels, we hazard to guess they are about 600, 800, 1000, and closer to the 1600 max for the fourth level. So, even if the Bluetooth was never used, the IBT-C04 is really good in its basic functionality for any right handed user on the go. The only thing we can really complain about here at all is a slightly gritty feeling to the way the scroll wheel moved; other than that, we really enjoyed our time gaming and browsing with it.
Some may ask why the scroll wheel is clear, and it has to do with charging and pairing only. While the red LED of the Pixart sensor does make a slight glow on the wheel in normal use, it was not so much intended to be that way. The LEDs used in the wheel will illuminate red when the battery is charging, and will turn to a solid blue when it is fully charged. Once the cable is removed, the LEDs go out again, and the only other time you will see them while using the IBT-C04 is when the audio switch is first turned on. When the switch is first turned on, you will see a blue flashing denoting pairing is currently active. Once paired, the LED will again turn off.
As for the audio streaming aspect, we get it, but there is an issue with it as well. The audio is louder than our device of choice, and the sound is not all that bad considering what we have it coming from, but you can't really use the mouse and stream at the same time. Why? Because when you put your hand on the mouse, the palm of your hand blocks most of the speaker, and definitely kills the sound level.
We also tried the conversation aspect of the IBT-C04 out on a couple of occasions. With the mouse sitting on the desk top, my voice was broken up, and sounded pretty bad. After trying again on a pair of phones so we could hear both ends of the conversation, we found it is likely that our foot of distance, and the tiny hole for the microphone do not play well together. It wasn't until we had the mouse level with our mouth that our voices were heard loud and clear. So, what you end up with is one hand holding the rear of the mouse within six inches of your mouth. While this may be handy if the paired device is well out of reach, you will definitely get some strange looks if you do this anywhere but in the privacy of your own hotel room; we are sure of that.
In the end, the IBT-C04 is able to deliver everything SEENDA said it could, and with the low cost we see associated with other SEENDA devices, even without an exact MSRP at the moment, we know trying the device out for yourself will not break your bank. While it is a bit strange in concept, we do see the benefits in a portable mouse of this nature. We also understand the obvious move to incorporate the microphone for phone conversations. You are already Bluetooth connected, so why not?
Unfortunately, we really can't see ourselves using this very often at all. There are instances where this can be handy, like extensive traveling. As a mouse, it works very well for the price; however, it does lack functional side buttons for PC use, and at around $20 to $30, we like the IBT-C04 just as a mouse. The fact that it can stream decent sounding music and can take phone calls may not be what drives you to this product, but these can be a cool set of features for those with the desire and need for this sort of blend of technologies.
|Quality including Design and Build||79%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||93%|
The Bottom Line: Seenda offers the IBT-C04, which is great as a wireless mouse, with great life to the LiPo battery. With it being billed as a "music mouse", we would expect to do both at the same time, and not have to look like we are eating a mouse to hold a conversation.
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