While Microsoft isn't usually the first brand name that springs to mind when you think of computer hardware (software's another story), the tech giant wants to be your peripheral provider of choice, offering a variety of mice, Webcams, and keyboards. Microsoft has a handful of new laptop mice, including the $99 Mobile Memory Mouse 8000, which the company calls the world's "first rechargeable notebook mouse with 1GB of flash memory built right into the transceiver." We've actually seen a gig of flash memory in a wireless mouse dongle before, but the Gyration Pro Gyrotransport doesn't use a rechargeable battery, so Microsoft is technically correct.
With the Mobile Memory Mouse 8000, Microsoft attempts to cram in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink, providing 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth, a transceiver with 1GB of flash memory, and even a rechargeable battery. It's an ambitious package that probably has more than you need, but it could come in handy in a crunch (no empty USB ports, sudden need to sneakernet a file from one machine to another, etc.).
The mouse is short but wide, 3.4 inches long and about 2.5 inches wide, making for a somewhat awkward fit for larger hands. The brushed-metal accents are a nice touch, but the mouse's thickness (1.5 inches in the middle) makes it a tough fit for many of the smaller pockets in your laptop bag. Additionally, the USB receiver doesn't snap into a slot on the bottom of the mouse, like on the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 7000 or the Kensington Ci75m Wireless Notebook Mouse, which means there are more parts to get lost in the bottom of your laptop bag.
The most basic way to hook up the Memory Mouse 8000 is through the USB receiver. It's a little larger than most, but serves triple duty, with 1GB of built-in flash memory and a connection on the end for hooking up the recharging cable. Unlike other laptop mice, which use AA or AAA batteries, the Mobile Memory Mouse 8000 uses a single rechargeable AA battery that can be recharged with an included cable. The cable attaches, via tiny magnets, to the underside of the mouse and the end of the receiver.
If you don't want a USB receiver hanging out of the side of your laptop, you can switch into Bluetooth mode by opening the battery compartment and flipping a small switch. Not all laptops have Bluetooth built in, but for those that do, it's an easy way to hook up wireless peripherals without dongles.
We liked desktop-like extras, such as the two thumb buttons and the four-way scroll wheel, and while a stunted mouse like this may not be comfortable for multihour use, its flexibility makes this a useful tool to have in your road kit.