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Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse (Slate) review: Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse (Slate)

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The Good Receiver stows nicely into the bottom; compact size; easy setup.

The Bad Less comfortable than a full-size mouse.

The Bottom Line A worthy alternative to a laptop's built-in pointing device, this downsized mouse is convenient for travel, but it sacrifices some comfort for its compact size.

8.0 Overall

Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse

Just slightly larger than the actual animal, the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse is a great USB-enabled companion for your laptop, or even your desktop--Macs included. For around $45, notebook users can forget about built-in touch pads or old-school pointing sticks and have a fully functional programmable mouse--and no worries about cords.

With basically no setup, your mouse will be up and running. Just plug in the receiver to your USB port and start using it. Then configure the buttons as you like from your control panel, just as you would with any mouse.

The sheer tininess of this mouse and its portable design elements make it perfect for travel. It will easily fit into your laptop bag or a pocket, and the receiver conveniently snaps into the bottom of the mouse, conserving the battery and ensuring that you don't misplace the receiver, which is about the size of key fob. According to Microsoft, the receiver will sense your mouse up to three feet away, but in tests with a fresh battery, it still was fully functional at a distance of more than five feet. There's no recharging this pint-size pointer. It runs off of one AA battery which Microsoft claims can last up to three months (assuming you're careful about replacing the receiver when the mouse isn't in use).

The optical nature of the mouse and its standard two-button/one-scrollwheel design add accuracy and usability for the majority of laptop users coping with uncomfortable touch pads and the lack of a scrollwheel. The small yet stylish design is ergonomic and fits both left-handed and right-handed users, but it's less comfortable than most full-size mice and is perhaps better suited to a child's hand size.

At 3.18 ounces (with battery), the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse is only slightly lighter than similar full-size wireless mice. Their dimensions vary, but they usually come in at less than 5 ounces with two AA batteries.

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