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The Citrix X1 Mouse Review

The Citrix X1 Mouse prototype hardware solution is fantastic, it is easy to use, quick to pair and is fast enough to be used in most scenarios. (Long commutes to and from the office?)J:\X1 Review\IMG_0018.JPG

I personally believe this has the greatest benefit for the regular long distance commute but also has potential to also benefit companies from a business continuity (BCP) or a disaster recovery (DR) perspective. Not everyone carries a laptop with them, but you can ‘almost’ guarantee that most people / staff will have a have a mobile phone on them ready to go, especially in health and safety high risk environments like Oil & Gas / Mining / Engineering. Nothing like having a replacement workstation ready to go (well… once you give them an X1 mouse of course!)

The Citrix X1 Mouse addresses a limitation and control issue forced on us by Apple where they don’t natively support Bluetooth mice for iPad or iPhone. (there have been rumours of mouse support since iOS6 – yet here we are at iOS 8.1.3 and still nothing!)

See here:

http://www.technologytell.com/apple/143054/ipad-mouse-support-is-desperately-needed/

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/6573247

This product may have a very limited life if Apple remove these restrictions and as a side note there are no such restrictions on Android devices.

The mouse on its own with an iPad was fantastic (i.e especially when used whilst Commuting and you’ve got fat fingers like mine!?!) however the most testing I tried (below) was when using the phone/s with an external monitor and keyboard & the Citrix X1 Mouse – as a desktop replacement. From an end users perspective this solution is almost no different to staff using their own laptops or desktops from home but it personally feels like the solution is finally a step closer to nearly being able to replace company thin clients & workstations and having users on tablets and phones (especially those with fat fingers) interact with their Citrix delivered apps and desktops ‘as they are used too’!

Testing

Testing wth iPhone 5 (iOS 8.1.3) and iPad Air (iOS 8.1.2) and Dell 19” external display (then later a 30″ 4K Dell monitor)

The Citrix X1 Mouse will only work with iPad3 or iPhone 4s or later but can operate as a normal bluetooth mouse for most other (Bluetooth enabled) devices.

During testing we operated it with an apple ‘lightening to HDMI’ cable on an external display. All functions typically habdled independently to the Apple device screen (when running a Citrix session)J:\X1 Review\image11.PNG

On Apple devices you must use the separate prototype R1 Citrix receiver available (free) from the App Store. If you use the normal Citrix receiver you won’t see the mouse pairing prompts. (Also apparently you can’t or shouldn’t use iOS to pair the device directly) It has three settings for the power button which seem to be Middle = off, Top = On, and Bottom = Also On

You can pair yet another apple device (iPhone or iPad) as a wireless trackpad. From the testing it worked quite well, but at times was very sluggish.

Wireless Trackpad Selection & Pairing Screens

Effectively you have receiver open on your iPad first, and click the 6 square > mouse pairing icon whilst in a session, from your iPhone you open the advanced settings > Wireless trackpad and it will automagically detect the iPad is ready and pair your phone as a touchpad.

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Speed of the bluetooth keyboard typing in the Citrix session (whilst paired with the mouse) was perfect on internal wireless connection and 3G.

Citrix X1 Mouse movement is only slightly laggy and didn’t feel quite as natural as a laptop. I sped the mouse up in the control panel. The bigger the resolution the slower it felt. (possibly more related to the iPhone as Mouse movement ‘felt’ smoother when connected with the iPad) Compared to local and natural mouse it was noticeable enough to be annoying but wasn’t considerable enough to be a showstopper, would be perfect on a long train commute!

Once the X1 was paired, when powering it off and on the mouse would reconnect automagically without prompt or asking to be ‘re-paired’ (This was different for the keyboard – which was annoying when you try connecting to the session only to realise your keyboard is nowhere to be found and you have to use the onscreen keyboard!)

The external bluetooth keyboard worked natively without enabling the ‘external keyboard option’. Regardless of the options enable in the receiver options menu I was unable to get the Windows key, CTRL + ESC or CTRL + ALT + DEL ever working (Apple and Android) This might be the Bluetooth keyboard we were testing with (Logitech DiNovo Edge) but it was the only Bluetooth keyboard we had!

Sporadically colours of the desktop sometimes went awry (similar to the old school experience of a broken pin in a VGA session) usually only when reconnecting to a session. This occurred regardless of whether I used lightening to VGA or Lightening to HDMI ports. It was experienced more with Lightening port to VGA and occurred on two different dell monitors.

Interestingly you can lock your device and continue using the external screen and X1 mouse, but the keyboard would no longer work (simply passing its keys to the locked main screen) and after the session was idle it would eventually shutdown the wireless and disconnected the session.

Setting the experience to ‘Auto-fit screen’ on iPad and Large on iPhone rendered the best external resolution as well as ensuring that the external display was enabled in the options. Setting specific resolutions, rather than improving things, simply seemed to squash the session into the max available resolution from the iOS device. The iPhone seemed to be capable of a better external screen resolution (or at least it utilised the full real estate of the external monitor)

Best External Display Setting for iPad                Best External Display Setting for iPhone

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Large Resolution: Full Screen Citrix XenApp Session from iPhone @ 1280×720

Auto Fit Resolution: Full screen Citrix XenApp Session from iPad Air – Note its not using full real estate of external screen, increasing the resolution settings would only squash a smaller session into the same real estate – Believe this is iPad Air hardware limitation?)

The mouse would not interact with any menu options of the Receiver on the Apple devices, so it’s purely for Citrix session based use only (annoying when typing username and password or any phone prompts that come up)

This would be an incredibly nifty feature to combine with an external touch screen monitor …. imagine Apple and Citrix boosting their revenue as replacements for PoS devices?

If I disconnected, change receiver display settings, then reconnected it would renderer the external display unusable or black (until phone was restarted, or receiver terminated and reopened)

Orientation of iPhone didn’t affect External display once the session was running  (which is great) but input would pause during the reorientation (1-2 seconds max) however the iPads display would mirror itself on the external display so the orientation was far more important when used with the iPad.

Expanding or shrinking the iPhone screen (different size to how the Citrix session was launched) would make the mouse unusable locally on the device and would no longer be aligned however as the external monitor didn’t resize, the mouse would usually continue to work as expected.

Max resolution for external display for iPad Air was 1024×768 (which is limiting) but on iPhone it was 1280×720 (Tested on a 19” Dell, and a 30” 4K Dell – just to be sure the monitor wasn’t limiting things!)

Very obviously, the apple lightening to hdmi cable doesnt support dual displays!

Wrap Up

I could actually use a Citrix X1 Mouse prototype and Apple device (with external monitor) as a solution in place of my company laptop or desktop especially if I used a tablet / iPad on a regular basis. The feel of the Citrix X1 mouse is not perfect, but its damn close especially for day to day iPad use (long commutes, meetings etc) the acceleration and smoothness of the mouse movement needs improvement especially when used with an iOS device and external monitor and keyboard.

For full time use, at this early stage, I would still be looking for a more traditional solution.

This is one ‘sticky’ product on offer from Citrix that should set them well apart from the competition but only so long as Apple don’t soon offer their own bluetooth mouse support. Should Apple remove the ‘mouse’ limitations of its iOS then there would likely be no need for the X1.

The Citrix X1 Mouse addresses a perfect need (to help replace fat fingers!) especially for time sensitive and frustrated EXECs who, in my experience, usually have at least one Apple device floating around their office somewhere and it is the perfect companion for an Apple iPad.

If I regularly used Apple iOS devices to connect to my Citrix environment I’d be dancing in the street with the release of the Citrix X1 Mouse!

Read more from Citrix http://www.citrix.com/go/citrix-mouse.html

Thanks for reading the Citrix X1 Mouse review!