by Andrew Johnson, Alaska USA
Let’s face it. For most people, a touch pad or pointing stick just don’t measure up to a real mouse. If you find yourself looking for a good portable mouse, check out the Microsoft wireless notebook optical mouse. This three button scrolling “mid sized” mouse has a few features that might make it the right choice.
The Microsoft wireless notebook optical mouse is a USB RF mouse designed for notebook users. It is thus smaller and only has a small USB receiver rather than a corded receiver, which I always thought contradicted the whole wireless thing anyway. My notebook stays on my desk most of the time, but I like to keep wires to a minimum.
I call this a mid sized mouse because the front is the approximate size of a regular full sized mouse, but it is an inch or two shorter. Overall it’s larger than the smaller “mini” mouses available (FYI: mice are little critters, mouses connect to computers).
Microsoft wireless mouse and receiver side-by-side, notice the storage area within the mouse for this receiver
There are several advantages of this slightly larger design. For one, your fingers fit more naturally like a full sized mouse, and it is also large enough to accommodate a single AA battery. AA batteries are a little more common, plus one AA battery has slightly more capacity than two AAA batteries, making it a more economical choice since the price is usually the same.
Also, the mouse is large enough to provide storage for the USB receiver. This makes it harder to lose the small receiver.
Microsoft wireless mouse with laptop in the background (view larger image)
Being a mid sized mouse, the comfort level falls pretty well between micro and full sized varieties. I like how a full sized mouse lets me rest my entire palm on it, but this is still much more comfortable than a micro mouse.
Microsoft put some thought into this mouse. Unlike most similar models, there is no power switch. Snapping the USB receiver into the base of the mouse for storage turns off the mouse, eliminating the need for a power switch. However, this can be a disadvantage. My notebook stays on my desk most of the time, so I don’t need to disconnect the USB receiver when I leave. With no power switch, I can’t shut the mouse off, which will run its battery down faster.
Speaking of battery life, Microsoft claims 3+ months from a single AA battery. The mouse has power saving features that ensure this. The red LED has several brightness levels which it adjusts depending on the surface. When not used for a while, the LED begins to blink on low brightness, so the mouse can “wake up” nearly instantly without clicking a button.
The Microsoft Optical Wireless mouse performs well on many surfaces: paper, wood, leisure suit, bare leg for those times when you check your email in the morning wearing just underwear, etc. The mouse is accurate and the scroll wheel has a good feel.
Wireless range seems to be about 6 feet. Rather than getting gradually worse at a longer range, it just quits. At 6 feet everything’s fine. At 7 feet: nothing. This is kind of nice. It’s easy to tell if you are in range.
- Comfortable for a small mouse
- USB Receiver snaps into mouse for storage
- Uses single AA battery
- Long battery life
- Decent range
- Good price: about $30 street.
- Must snap USB receiver into mouse to turn mouse off. This is only an issue if you are using it as a desktop mouse and don’t want to unplug the receiver every time. I would trade in an instant if there was an identical mouse that turned itself off and woke up with a click or movement.
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