The term “digital nomad,” which describes working professionals whose jobs allow them to work anywhere instead of a fixed office location, has been around for almost a decade now. But with the current pandemic making working from home / remote working the new normal for many, the group is likely to grow.
As a freelance writer, I’ve been technically a digital nomad for five years, during which time I’ve worked in probably over 1,000 cafes around the world. So, for someone like me, the portability of our work machine is paramount.
A large laptop with an external monitor is, of course, the ideal setup for me when I have the space and time to prepare. But often I have a last minute job: a document to reread; the latest news that needs to be reported – that just forces me to get down to business on my phone. I even have a foldable keyboard that I carry with me at all times to pair it with a phone if needed.
A Hong Kong startup named KIKR has come up with a new accessory that fits this setup perfectly – it’s a coin-sized mouse that’s the smallest device of its kind on the market right now. .
Dubbed ProLab, the device is a circular-shaped plastic gadget with a mini trackball, like the old computer mice used in the late 80s and early 90s. The ProLab is only half a size. – inch thick and approximately 1.1 inch in length and width. It barely registers on a scale, weighing only 8g / 0.3oz. It’s absolutely tiny.
Using the ProLab mouse is easy. It pairs via Bluetooth, and once connected, the trackball works just the way you want it to – scrolling it moves the mouse cursor. There are four clickable buttons that double as arrow keys and left and right mouse keys.
Most Android phones support the mouse, so pairing it with a phone allows me to navigate the phone’s UI without needing to touch the screen. This comes in handy if I use the phone as a small computer with a keyboard.
Some phone brands, including Samsung and Huawei, have even developed a desktop user interface that turns a phone into a full-fledged desktop computer when connected to a larger monitor.
I find the ProLab to work quite well, although the trackball is so small that it will have to accommodate the finicky scrolling. But for someone who prioritizes hauling as little as possible while still having real productivity tools, this is a handy little gadget.
A KIKR spokesperson told me that they plan to sell the ProLab mouse at a retail price of around $ 59. It will first be in stores in Hong Kong, and probably in mainland China as well.