Are you fed up with the pointing options that come with most notebooks? Have you tried a wired mouse with your notebook and found yourself getting too tangled to work? Maybe you need a wireless notebook mouse. DMOS takes a look at the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse, and finds a lot to like.Today on DevHardware, we’re taking a look at the newest member of the Microsoft mousing clan. Instead of a tricked out Explorer though, it’s at the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of opulent, it’s minimalist. We’ll soon find out that works well for it.
Laptops have traditionally had their inputs from users through devices integrated into the computer itself. Whether this be with the keyboard, touchpad, or thumb pointer, they all have to be shoved into rather small space and profile. This makes doing any kind of screen oriented task difficult, and I at least despise trying to “work” on a laptop. I know every keyboard shortcut in the book, but there’s just some things that need to be done with a pointing device.
And for many of them, an “eraser head” as made popular on IBM laptops for example, is a horrible experience that I would never care to deal with again. The touch pads are a step up in general usability, as long as you aren’t trying to do anything terribly precise. They suffer from inaccuracy. They also are generally a pain when attempting to type. The number of times they’ve taken a brush from my thumbs and placed an “enter” on the screen while in the middle of a word or sentence is pretty much around the same count as the last found Mersenne Prime at this point. Some laptops come with a handy “defeat” button that allows you to turn off the touchpad while typing, but all of the ones I have had the dubious pleasure of dealing with lack this feature.
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Microsoft Optical Notebook Mouse Review – Get a Mouse
So, after becoming increasingly bitter towards the available integrated input devices, what to do? Well, the obvious option is to get a mouse. My first attempt at this was to just toss an old ball mouse I had hanging around in the bag. Big mistake. With mechanical parts to get bashed against one another, not to mention the mouse’s ability to inhale any lint, dirt, or stray strings, it was next to useless. However, once again disappointment reared its ugly head. While at least this time it was a reasonable excuse for a pointing device, it was far from the wireless optical mice with which I’ve grown accustomed to using on desktops.
While it’s essential to sit close to the laptop in order to use the keyboard, presentations and such don’t require much more than some well placed mouse points and clicks. So too with basic tasks like Web browsing, which, with a wireless device, would allow for my usual reclining angle with feet up on the table, and the mouse resting on my thigh, without an extremely long cord. Which of course I’m sure I’d eventually find a way to get tangled up in, and then proceed to dump the laptop on the floor.Don’t laugh, I’ve done dumber things in my day. I can be quite the douche bag when my attention isn’t where it should be. So, with the “wireless” freedom that is prevalent in laptops these days, why suffer with a corded mouse? The answer of retiring one of my other desktop duty mice and putting them to mobile duty didn’t seem terribly appropriate. They are generally pretty large and heavy. I’m a big guy, but the laptop bag is not. And until I get myself a nice 12.1″ Centrino laptop, I’d rather not add any more weight than necessary to what I have to port around already.
As well, the receiver for those mice is corded itself. On the MX1000 it is such an odd shape, thanks to its need to support the mouse itself while charging, that it’s a deal breaker. I’d have it snapped apart in one tour of duty. So all the solutions on my desk were one way or another not suited to mobile duty.
Microsoft Optical Notebook Mouse Review – Receiver and Battery
On the bottom you find some interesting attachments. The mouse connects to the computer with a small USB radio receiver, but when the device is not in use it snaps to the underbelly of the mouse itself. No more cord winding. The receiver also functions as an off switch, in order to keep battery use to a minimum. While there is apparently some power saving circuitry within the mouse, it only had four modes that I noticed. These were full on, a fairly high cadence flash, then a lower power constantly on beam, and finally a low power flash. In any event, it does only require one AA battery, and it doesn’t kill it off immediately. I don’t have any numbers on how long the battery actually will last in normal situations, as I haven’t managed to cycle it yet, even while using a rather old and dodgy rechargeable battery.
To get access to the battery door, you push in the cross hair logo at the back, the part that’s normally lit up in MS mice. Popping that up, you can see where the single battery goes in the compartment. It’s a fairly flimsy door, but as long as you aren’t dropping it on a hard floor too often, it should survive. With only one AA inside of it, as well as its diminutive dimensions, the Wireless Notebook Optical is very svelte in the weight department. Compared to real wireless mice, it’s a pleasure to just port around, though as a result of its construction it does feel somewhat cheap. There is no soft rubber to touch, or sense of heft telling you that you got a lot of material for your dollar.
In use though, the mouse is a huge step up over anything integrated into a notebook. It also performs similarly to the standard cheapo Logitech optical mouse. It’s not the most precise of devices, but it’s certainly capable of general mouse duties. I think it’s more let down by its lack of size than anything else when you attempt to do tasks requiring precision accuracy.