The growing number of peripherals that use USB to charge, pair, and activate a wireless connection can create a traffic jam of dongles that forces you to choose between devices. Hewlett-Packard's $60 X7000 Wi-Fi Touch Mouse eliminates the need for a USB receiver by pairing with a Windows 7 computer though compatible wireless networking adapters. That sounds great in theory, but the mouse's everyday usability is marred by an oversensitive touch wheel that creates more problems than it solves.
Unlike its travel-friendly, ambidextrous linemate, the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse, the X7000 has an ergonomic molded shape that doesn't work for left-handed users, but certainly offers a comfortable mousing experience for right-handers. The slanted angle and the thumb rest on the left side mimic the lines of Logitech's Performance Mouse MX, though HP's thumb rest doesn't double as an extra button like the MX's does. Finally, HP claims the mouse can last for nine months on two AA batteries, but I can't verify that until the Doc finishes repairing my DeLorean.
HP's instruction sheet indicates that the mouse only works with compatible Windows 7 wireless adapters, and you can find a list of these devices on Microsoft's Web site. I tried to install the X7000 on an IBM laptop running Windows XP and wasn't able to get through the driver installation required to proceed.
Shifting my testing over to a Windows 7-based HP desktop, I was able to install using the disc and followed the onscreen instructions to pair the mouse with my Wi-Fi card. The process took less than 5 minutes and required a simple button push on my end to activate the pairing. Although your wireless receiver needs to be in the "on" position to link up, it doesn't actually require a network connection to work.
Like many mice before it, the HP X7000 features a rectangular strip that rests between the two buttons where you normally get a tactile scroll dial. That area attempts to replicate scrolling with touch sensitivity, but it also doubles as a third button that activates autoscrolling. Touch-sensitive scroll strips are typically a harmless novelty, but in this case the strip is hypersensitive, making it prone to accidental clicks if you leave your finger on the dial too long.
Other annoyances that limit the usability of the X7000 include the inability to mouse left and right using the touch sensor and a brief but noticeable wait time while the mouse reconnects to a network card after you wake the computer up from sleep mode. Also, the center touch panel is only slightly raised above the left and right buttons, so it's not as easy to feel out the demarcations without actually looking down at the mouse.
The HP Mouse Control Center that installs with the driver software lets you change the scroll resolution, the pointer speed, and the specific functions of the five buttons (left click, right click, middle press, and two side buttons), but you can't remap them to launch specific applications or perform keystroke combinations--the Logitech Performance Mouse MX can do both using its SetPoint software.
Although connecting through Wi-Fi is a valuable capability, given its combination of hardware limitations and performance failures I wouldn't recommend the HP X7000 Wi-Fi Touch Mouse.