Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000
The $40 Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000 (WOM 5000) is comfortable to use (for the right-handed, anyway) and offers a simple but useful assortment of features and niceties. Sure, there are less expensive options out there, but we like the WOM 5000 enough to recommend it to anyone who wants a straightforward, reliable mouse for basic home or office productivity.
Almost identical in design to the--just without the fingerprint reader--the WOM 5000 has a cool two-tone, gray color scheme. A right-handed reviewer found it fairly ergonomic and comfortable. The soft plastic sides provide a smooth and comfortable resting place for the thumb and the last two fingers. The two thumb buttons are well placed--comfortable to click, but not so convenient that you'll hit them by accident. The rubber four-way scrollwheel is easy to grip and move, and we dig the horizontal scrolling capability; however, the scrollwheel doesn't click or provide feedback in any way when you roll it; we sort of missed the tactile response.
Setup on our Windows PC was simple. First, we popped in the two included AA batteries; Microsoft claims they'll last for six months, but we did not test this claim. Microsoft recommends installing the software before connecting the mouse, so we did. It took a minute or so, and even though the PC threatened that we'd need to restart, we didn't, and it didn't seem to matter. When we plugged the mouse-shaped receiver into a USB port (a PS/2 adapter is also included), Windows recognized its kindred hardware immediately, and we commenced mousing. Setup on a Mac was a bit slower and more complicated: we had to install software, and configuration options weren't as plentiful.
Once you've installed the software, the Mouse control panel displays the battery level and the signal quality, lets you adjust vertical and horizontal scrolling settings, and offers configuration options for all five buttons--you can choose from 30 preset actions or have the button launch an application. The WOM 5000's other interesting feature is its magnifier. Click one of the thumb buttons, and a square box appears onscreen, magnifying its contents about 2.5 times; for those who work with huge spreadsheets or on high-resolution monitors, this feature could be truly useful; we became bored with it in about 11 seconds.
When we kept our mouse and receiver within about nine feet of one another, the WOM 5000's performance was very good; going any farther than that brought our mousing to an end, so the WOM 5000 might not be the ideal choice for a big conference room. The mouse's 1,000dpi (dots per inch) rating--about average for mice in the $40 price range--delivered smooth, precise, and uninterrupted performance. Gamers who require a higher dpi and more programmability options should look to the slightly more expensive.
Microsoft offers a three-year limited warranty on the hardware and free phone and e-mail support for the first 90 days--after that, support will cost you $35 per request. Online self-support, downloads, and updates are also available via Microsoft's support Web site.