Think Outside Stowaway Travel Mouse review: Think Outside Stowaway Travel Mouse

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The Good Compact and travel-friendly; easy installation; numerous customization options.

The Bad Doesn't work with Palm devices; may be too small for users with bigger hands.

The Bottom Line With its compact size and ease of use, Think Outside's Stowaway Travel Mouse is the perfect travel companion for the road warrior.

7.6 Overall

Think Outside Stowaway Travel Mouse

Earlier in the fall, we were impressed by Think Outside's Stowaway Universal Bluetooth keyboard for PDAs. Now the company has come out with a follow-up hit: the Stowaway Travel Mouse. Operating via Bluetooth, the mouse is currently compatible only with Windows Mobile devices (along with some notebooks and smart phones), but this $80 gadget is a great addition to any road warrior's arsenal. That said, if you just use your PDA for organizing your contacts and appointments, you're better off sticking with the included stylus.

The Stowaway Travel Mouse is just downright cute. At 3.7 by 2.1 by 1.3 inches and 2.6 grams, the device is easily transportable and will hardly make a dent in your briefcase or bag. Plus, it comes with a nice carrying case for safekeeping. The mouse has a sleek, black exterior, and its rubberized casing makes it easy to grip. Aside from size, it resembles a regular PC mouse, with standard left- and right-click buttons and a scrollwheel, and the battery compartment resides just below these main controls. There's also an on/off switch, a button to make the mouse discoverable to the PDA, and an LED that glows green when the mouse is ready for pairing. The clear bottom of the device illuminates red when the mouse is in use.

We paired the Stowaway Travel Mouse with the HP iPaq Pocket PC H4150 and the Dell Axim X30, and overall, installation was a snap. After you insert the installation CD and make a few clicks, ActiveSync transfers the driver onto your PDA. Afterward, you'll find two icons--Stowaway Keyboard and Stowaway Travel Mouse--under the Programs menu. You can also choose to have a mouse icon appear on your Home screen so that you don't have to fish through the menus to fire up the software. Several onscreen prompts then walk you through the initial setup. If you run into problems, there's also an excellent user guide on the CD.

To start using the mouse, just flip the power switch and depress the button that makes the device discoverable (your handheld's stylus should do the trick). After selecting Enable, your PDA and mouse should connect. We hit a couple of hiccups on the X30 when it couldn't discover the mouse, but after tinkering with Bluetooth connections under the Settings menu, we were good to go. The device worked flawlessly on the H4150. Under the Mouse utility, you can also adjust mouse speed and assign each button (left, right, and scrollwheel) to a function such as Mouse Click (naturally), Scroll Up, or Scroll Down. Alternately, you can set it to launch applications such as Contacts, Calendar, Pocket Excel, and a myriad of others.

The mouse felt comfortable in our hands, although a couple of users with bigger hands said the mouse was too small. Still, it's easy to navigate through your PDA's menus and programs with the device. Again, if you just use a handheld for basic PIM functions, you probably won't have much need for the mouse. As for battery life, the Stowaway Travel Mouse operates on two AAA batteries (included). According to Think Outside, the device should last several weeks when used three to four hours a day. There is also a power-saving mode that kicks in after about five minutes of inactivity to conserve battery power. We've been using the mouse for more than a week and haven't had any problems.

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