Have Mouse, Will Travel 

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Not all mice are created equally otherwise we would be deprived of the luxury of choice.

Some would say a mouse is a mouse but I would disagree. We are not talking about the small, fast moving, skirting board loving rodents but the pointing devices that are found on many desktops. Once a plain, large and basic functional device, the mouse has taken onboard so many design concepts that it is difficult to remember them all but it does show that there is a wide range of mice out in the wilds of computerland.

For a start there are those with two or three buttons; wheeled versions; tail-less as in wireless/Bluetooth connectivity; optical rather than ball operated; those with built-in fingerprint recognition; and dual functionality with light beam pointing technology. The list does not stop here as there are models for the desktop and notebook arenas; units decorated in garish colours; models featuring tilt wheel technology for sideways scrolling; plus mice than consider themselves as the ultimate fashion accessory by bearing the designer’s name (Philippe Starck is to blame).

Now let me introduce a new addition, courtesy of Microsoft, to the growing mouse fraternity. This is the wireless, notebook, optical mouse available in slate or midnight blue. While not exactly sporting new features as we have seen other mice using the various individual elements before, this device does pack all the technology into a compact size (9.5 x 5.2 x 3.7cm) making it ideally suited as a companion for those travelling with a notebook. Not only is this mouse small but it also features a recessed area in the base of its body that can house the receiver, for easier transportation, when it is not in use.

The receiver fits into a USB port and can be adjusted to achieve the optimum performance. This is just a matter of making sure the antenna is parallel to the base surface. Using the latest 27 MHz wireless technology, the receiver is intelligent enough to recognise and inform the user of the presence of possible interference from other wireless devices and can offer help to eliminate the problem – useful when travelling on a train with other notebook users or the local coffee shop. It can also keep a check on battery life in the mouse.

The mouse is powered by a single AA battery which comes supplied with the product. In order to save on battery life, the mouse will automatically turn itself off when the receiver is fitted into the recess. It should also be remembered that with optical technology the mouse prefers to work on a surface that contains detail so avoid plan mouse mats and reflective surfaces.

This mouse will work on Windows 98SE or later and Mac OS 10.1 and later and is priced at £39.99. The mouse feels comfortable in use with its curved body, two buttons and rubberised wheel. Although primarily aimed at road warriors, it is suitable for all users.

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