finding the perfect mouse

The computer mouse, ever since it was invented at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963, has pretty much been a requirement for using a computer. It has gone through various changes over the years, moving from using a mechanical ball to lasers. When I started using a laptop for work, I wanted to find the best solution for a mouse that travels back and forth with me from home to work every day. The saga continues to this day..

I started out with what is known as a “wireless mouse.” What this means is that although the mouse has no wires, it still requires a little dongle attached to the USB port of your computer. This is fine for a home PC (in fact my home PC has one of these), but if you are traveling with your laptop every day it becomes a pain to disconnect and reconnect the dongle all the time. Not to mention that if you forget to take the dongle out and put the laptop in your bag, you can easily break it.

The first mouse I used was the Logitech Cordless Optical Mouse. This mouse is smaller relative to most other mice. I really liked that because it fit into my bag easily. I used this mouse for about a year. It served me well, but I never really liked its bulky shape and the way it went clack-clack when I clicked its buttons.

When I got a new laptop with Bluetooth on it, I decided to try to do away with the dongle and have the mouse be truly standalone. Bluetooth is a great technology, but it sucks up a lot of power. When I did my initial search for Bluetooth mice, I looked for one with an on/off switch on the bottom. Most mice put themselves in a “sleep” mode after some period of non-use, but if you put the mouse in a bag it will sometimes turn on when you don’t want it to. The on/off switch prevents this by allowing you to switch off the mouse when not using it.

What I ended up with was the Kensington PilotMouse Mini Bluetooth. This mouse is even smaller than the Logitech, and I got used to having a smaller mouse to carry around. It has an on/off switch as well as a sleep mode. The mouse, like the Logitech, takes two AA batteries for its power. I have used this mouse for a few years now and love it.

However there is a gotcha with this mouse, as of course you already knew (or this post would be over by now). The batteries only last about 2 weeks with daily use. I thought about buying rechargeable batteries, but they need to be taken out in order to be recharged. For some reason this doesn’t bother me for my camera, but for my mouse I have an aversion to doing this all the time. Rechargeable batteries may not even work. I know someone who bought this same mouse (on my recommendation) and could not get rechargeable batteries to work in her mouse.

So that has been the status quo until a few weeks ago when I got fed up with this bi-weekly battery find-and-replace. So I decided to do some research online. I was surprised to find that there were not that many resources about this kind of problem. Sure, there are some message board posts, but there was nothing that addressed all of my issues (bluetooth, portability, on/off switch, battery life, etc).

I finally came across two small bluetooth mice that come with detachable mini-USB plugs. The detachable plug means that you recharge the mouse batteries while using the mouse. These mice are the Targus Bluetooth Laser Mouse AMB03US and the Radtech BT500/BT550. I decided to go with the Radtech based on many unfavorable reviews for the Targus on Amazon. People complained about lag time in waking up from sleep mode and frequency of sleep mode coming on to begin with.

So I ordered the BT500 from Amazon, and when it came I realized that I had gotten the wrong one. Apparently there is a rechargeable BT500 which comes in silver and a non-rechargeable one in blue. That just goes to show that you should double, no triple, check everything you buy online.

I decided to try out the mouse anyway. I was shocked at how small it is. The mouse is way too small to be comfortable. I mean, it is the size of two of my fingers put together. My hand literally hurt after I used the mouse for more than ten minutes! I was going to return for the rechargeable version anyway but now I had to decide whether I even wanted its same sized sibling.

After doing even more research I found that Radtech had two older brother mice to the BT500, the BT550 and BT600. The BT550 is billed as a “medium-size” mouse and the BT600 is a “full-size” mouse.

I settled on the BT550 as the BT600 seemed too large and bulky for my needs. I was not disappointed. Here is a picture of all three mice. They are, from left to right, the Kensington, the Logitech, and the Radtech.