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Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse
Compact wireless optical mouse for portability with notebooks.

By Jon Deragon, Visca Consulting
Tuesday December 14, 2004; 3:00pm EST

Anybody that has lugged a notebook case through an airport several times knows the value of packing lightly. Bulky power blocks, a multitude of peripherals and wads of cables all add up to real space and weight issues. So when Microsoft launched its new Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse into the market, it made perfect sense - the need for such a device certainly exists.

The Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse is a full featured mouse, packing the latest optical technology, wireless connectivity and scroll wheel, into an ultra convenient form factor. At less than a 3/4 the size of a typical mouse, its certainly a space saver, but can it live up to what we have come to expect from a full size mouse?

The mouse comes packed with the latest Microsoft IntelliPoint software, mouse, USB wireless receiver, limited documentation and a single AA Alkaline battery. The mouse comes in either a light 'winter blue' (quite attractive), or dark 'slate' color appears almost like a pug version of its bigger brother IntelliMouse Explorer. Ergonomically designed, in a symmetrical fashion it is suitable for both right and left handed users. Two mouse buttons and a scroll wheel are integrated onto the steep sloping front that arches up into the back of the mouse. A silver button disguised as a logo on the back can be pressed and the top of the mouse opens to reveal the battery compartment. The bottom features the optical reader and an absolutely brilliant compartment the USB wireless receiver fits inside during transit. Overall an ingenious design that works hard to use every molecule of space efficiently.

Getting the mouse up and running for the first time is as easy as running the included setup software, plugging in the USB wireless receiver and pressing the 'connect' button under the mouse. All of which can be done in a couple of minutes. Subsequent uses of the mouse simply requires you to plug the USB adaptor into the notebook and you're ready to go. The included IntelliPoint software offers a generous level of mouse customization, battery level and signal strength indicators.

The real test was when we began actually using the mouse for day to day activities. We were completely blown away by the comfort the mouse offered. The mouse buttons had an excellent click feedback, the scroll wheel was firm and accurate yet sufficiently fluent, and the shape somehow made it as easy to use as a full sized mouse. The upper body plastic felt secure and well constructed, the molded rubber lower half added comfort and grip. With the batteries installed the weighting of the device was a perfectly neutral amount so that you feel the device has substance while at the same time not being cumbersome.

During our tests, the mouse tracked our movements and mouse button clicks almost without fail. We had one moment where the mouse did drop its connection momentarily, and then restored back to normal. The mouse was also better than others we have tested for coming out of its hibernation mode it uses to conserve battery life - with literally no noticeable lag time. An excellent feature of this mouse is that when the USB receiver is stored inside the mouse during transit, it puts the mouse to sleep until such time that you need to use it again. Battery life is rated by the manufacturer to be approximately 3 months.

Overall the mouse simply went beyond our expectations, in every aspect. It is amazing how the mouse is able to feel like its bigger brothers, while packing so much into its miniature design. The mouse is compatible with Windows XP, 2000, Me, 98 or MAC OS X, 10.1 to 10.3.x; requires a USB port and CD-ROM drive. The Microsoft Wireless Notebook Mouse retails for $39.99USD, includes an above average 2 year warranty, and is available immediately from major electronics and computing retailers across America and Canada.

PROS - Excellent design and construction quality; comfortable even during extended use; solid mouse button feedback; ingenious USB receiver compartment; great optical tracking and wireless connectivity; well implemented mouse hibernation and battery saving features; ease of installation and use.

CONS - None, however including a protective pouch for the mouse would have been a nice touch.

About The Author
Jon Deragon is president and founder of Visca Consulting, a firm specializing in web site design, development and usability for businesses of all sizes. His many years in the technology industry has enabled him to write quality, in-depth product reviews to assist businesses make more informed technology purchases. He welcomes any questions or comments you may have regarding his company's services, this review or interest in having your company's products reviewed.


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