Thursday, May 17, 2007 2:31 PM
Review: the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000
Andrew Coates already has a review of his Microsoft Wireless Presenter Mouse 8000, so I'll add to his comments in my review.
I've been using it for about a week now, and have formed the following impressions:
- It seems to work well with your inbuilt bluetooth chip (if you have one, e.g. in your laptop). The previous Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse (I think it was the Intellimouse Explorer for Bluetooth) pretty much insisted on you using the supplied dongle, and using the supplied bluetooth software. The dongle defeated the purpose of having an inbuilt bluetooth chip, and the supplied software didn't work with some other BT peripherals I had. So, the experience here was much. much better. It even works well with the Toshiba Bluetooth Stack (which is probably the worst in the world). Additionally because it uses the inbuilt bluetooth chip, there's no need to carry a receiver around (though one is supplied if you need it).
- It's small (this could also be a negative) - smaller than the Logitech VX Revolution (see pictures below)
- Like most of Microsoft's other mouses, it symmetrical, so left handed users will have no problems using it.
- It has the additional presenter buttons on the bottom (back/forward, blank screen, volume up/down, as well as the laser pointer)
- It comes with a hard shell case to store the mouse (and receiver) in. I don't use it, but others might find it useful to protect their A$150 investment.
Sizes: The Microsoft Wireless Presenter Mouse 8000 (far left) compared to (from left to right): Logitech VX Revolution, Logitech MX440, Logitech MX1000, Logitech Dual Mouseman
The Bad (or perhaps "Not So Good")
- The Intellipoint software insists on uninstalling other 3rd party mouse software (e.g. you can't use Logitech Setpoint along with the Intellipoint software)
- The Intellipoint software doesn't seem to cope too well if you put your laptop into hibernate, and the underlying BT stack doesn't reinitialise quickly enough. Instead, Intellipoint crashes when you resume. In Vista, it's a simple click to restart the software, but you'll need to use your touchpad (or another mouse), or keyboard navigation to get to the button to restart Intellipoint
- The mouse is small - and the shape doesn't support the middle of your hand as well as the other mouses (see below). I find that my hand feels stiff and sore after a few hours of use. I might get used to holding the mouse over time though.
- The vertical scroll (at least in Vista) varies widely between applications - in IE a single "tick" scrolls much further than in Word. The Intellipoint software doesn't have an option to scroll "x" lines (or "x" pages) per "tick", just a slider from "scroll a little" to "scroll a lot". Unfortunately due to the inconsistency between applications, this means you need to adjust your scrolling behaviour for each application.
- The scroll wheel doesn't have much tactile feedback/well defined "ticks" for scrolling (unlike other mouses), making it difficult to control the amount you are scrolling in applications where the scrolling is quite sensitive. The smooth scrolling wheel is handy if you are scrolling long distances, but not so useful if you just want to move a page at a time.
- Whilst the mouse caters for both right-handed and left-handed users, I prefer the comfort of Logitech mouses that are geared towards right-handed users (with a groove for your thumb cut out of the mouse - see picture below)
- The mouse requires two AAA batteries (the Logitech VX Revolution requires just one AA battery) making it a bit heavier than the Logitech. You also have to carry two spare batteries in case yours die "on the road"
- The Logitech mouse automatically switches "off" if you put the receiver back into the mouse (there's a small slot to store the receiver in). You also have the option of switching it off manually. The Microsoft 8000 has an on/off switch only, which you have to remember to toggle to turn the mouse off. There's also no battery life indicator on the mouse (the Logitech briefly indicates how much battery is left when you switch it on)
The two Logitech mouses on the right support the whole hand better than the Microsoft Wireless Presenter 8000 Mouse, which doesn't have an "as rounded" shape
The Microsoft Mouse is suitable for use by both left handed and right handed users. However the Logitech VX Revolution is more comfortable (in my opinion) if you are right handed.
I haven't decided whether to keep the Microsoft mouse long term. The presenter features are handy if you are presenting a lot with Powerpoint (or similar application) as it saves you having to carry around a separate presentation device. It is also the smallest notebook mouse I have (though not the lightest). However ergonomically and feature-wise, the Logitech VX Revolution is superior in my mind. The one thing that really lets the Microsoft Wireless Presenter Mouse 8000 down is the inconsistent scrolling speed in applications (combined with the lack of tactile tick feeback). It's made me abandon the use of the scroll wheel in Internet Explorer (in favour of the scroll bars) until I can figure out how best to configure the mouse's settings. That's a big downer IMHO.