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SENGU SG-MU1055-N review: A bamboozling proposition

Expert Reviews Staff
25 Sep 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
14
Inc VAT

Made from bamboo, the SG-MU1055-N is both eco-friendly and extremely affordable, although that cheapness brings cutbacks

Pros 
Eco-friendly
Very affordable
Cons 
Basic features
Not particularly ergonomic
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Going green, where computers are concerned, usually comes down to limiting usage and installing more energy-efficient components. Environmental concerns rarely affect the more general construction of PCs and PC parts, which is why the SG-MU1055-N is such an interesting little mouse.

SENGU SG-MU1055-N review: Design

The entire outer shell – from the main bodywork to the left- and right-click buttons and the segmented base – is made of bamboo. Anyone wanting to cut down on their plastic usage, and subsequent waste, should take note: this mouse is almost unique in that most of it will compost and biodegrade, not to mention the fact that less plastic needs to be produced in the first place.

There are other benefits to the plant-based design, too. At £14, the SG-MU1055-N costs a relative pittance, and is by far the cheapest mouse of the seven here, but it doesn’t feel like it. The smooth finish borders on luxurious, and since bamboo is stronger than plastic, there’s absolutely no bending, flexing or creaking, as you’d get from most cheap mice.

It also looks pretty, with the fibre layers forming subtle concentric circles from the top to the bottom. According to its packaging, the SG-MU1055-N is ‘handmade’, but we suspect more along the lines of handmade by a worker in a factory than an artisan in a workshop.

More generally, it simply feels nice in the hand. Despite the toughness, it’s not overly hard or harsh, and like the Rapoo MT550, it’s compact without being too tiny. The top curve is positioned more towards the centre than the rear, so it makes up for the lack of true palm grip support with a comfortable shape for laying your fingers flat. The symmetrical shape makes it just as suitable for left-handed users as right-handed ones, too.

SENGU SG-MU1055-N review: Features and design

Sadly, while there is an elegant simplicity to how the SG-MU1055-N looks, there’s only so much disguising the fact that the functionality of this mouse is as basic as can be. It connects via a USB cable, which is very much not made of renewable resources, and its list of inputs amounts to just two main buttons, the scroll wheel and the latter’s integrated middle-click. There aren’t even any side buttons, which could charitably be said to help the SG-MU1055-N’s ambidextrous credentials, but will quickly get frustrating if you’re already used to having them at your thumb tips. Losing the ability to quickly skip back and forward when navigating is an inconvenience that’s not to be underestimated; we felt considerably slowed down by having to manually click on navigation icons instead.

Part of why this is so unfortunate is that the few buttons you do get are surprisingly decent; Sengu hasn’t just put a bamboo shell on top of some sub-par mechanisms. The left- and right-click switches have a satisfyingly chunky action, and the scroll wheel – if looser than we’d like – is accurate and easy to use.

There is one component that could be better, however, and it’s a big one: the sensor. For the most part, this behaves as well as a budget optical sensor could be expected to, but it’s also set at a lowly 800dpi. Even if that’s good enough for a laptop screen or small desktop monitor, on larger, higher-resolution screens, it’s neither as fast nor precise as a mouse running at 1,600dpi or higher.

More worryingly, we occasionally noticed the cursor wobbling slightly at the end of a mouse movement – never enough to cause a full-on misclick, but enough to suggest the sensor might be the victim of corner-cutting.

There’s no way of changing the dpi, either, as there’s neither an onboard switching button nor any accompanying software. That also means the personalisation features it’s easy to take for granted on more expensive mice – remapped buttons, native macro support and the like – are absent from the SG-MU1055-N.

Going back to the physical design, the ergonomic strengths we’ve mentioned aren’t diminished, although there are some shortcomings as well. Both the left and right edges are angled almost straight downwards, so there are no concave spaces for your thumb, ring or little finger to sit, let alone any proper protruding rests.

Furthermore, even the most casual environmentalist will note that for all its biodegradable bamboo, the SG-MU1055-N is still filled with conventional electric components. It’s impossible to have a mouse, or any kind of powered PC peripheral, that’s made entirely out of renewable material.

SENGU SG-MU1055-N review: Verdict

That said, it is a small step towards greater sustainability, and the more pleasantly tactile nature of bamboo compared to plastic still applies. This is one of a few reasons why the SG-MU1055-N manages to cling on as a nifty budget option, even with its lack of features and low-resolution sensor.

For one thing, neither of these problems is remotely rare, or even particularly unexpected, for a sub-£20 mouse. The only thing that really stings is the lack of side buttons, but again, they’re a common omission on dirt-cheap mice.

In fact, since its faults are shared with its closest rivals but its biggest benefits – the materials, attractive aesthetics and strong build quality – are much more exclusive, the SG-MU1055-N ends up being one of the best mice we’ve used at around this price point. It’s still merely OK compared to what you can get for £30 or so, but it’s not a bad choice if you absolutely have to keep costs down and want to do your bit for the planet.

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