updated 04:50 pm EDT, Thu October 9, 2008
Laptop computers must rely on trackpads to save space. While many people are perfectly happy using a trackpad, many more prefer using a mouse for greater control and comfort. Carrying an ordinary desktop mouse can be cumbersome due to its size and cord length, while special mice for laptops are often compressed in size to make them easier to carry. If you prefer to use a mouse with your laptop without making any compromises, consider Microsoft's Arc Mouse.
Unlike most laptop mice, this product is as full size as a typical desktop mouse (4.44 inches long vs. 4.33 inches for Apple's Mighty Mouse). Instead of a cord that can get tangled up or restrict its placement, this device includes a wireless transmitter that plugs into the USB port of your computer. Two AAA batteries (included with the product) can power it up to six months. As soon as the batteries need changing, a red battery indicator lights up in the middle of the mouse so you can't miss seeing it.
The wireless transmitter has a range of approximately 30 feet. When you need to travel, you can unplug this transmitter and slide it into the bottom of the mouse where a special slot holds it in place with a magnet. To further secure this transmitter, a hinge in the middle of this device folds in half, serving the dual purpose of making the item smaller and easier to carry while also covering up the transmitter to insure that it doesn't fall out of its protective slot.
To make carrying this item even easier, Microsoft provides a pouch with two magnetic strips at the opening. After shoving the mouse into its carrying pouch, just press the two sides together and the magnetic strips clamp the pouch opening securely shut.
Like most mice, this one includes a left and right button along with a scroll wheel. In addition, the left side provides an extra thumb button (for right-handed users), which is similar to pressing F9 to display all open windows as thumbnail images on the screen.
Besides its ability to fold itself in half when not in use, the second most impressive feature is its optic BlueTrack technology, which allows for accurate movement across various surfaces such as carpets, granite, wood, or practically any flat surface at all.
If you want a mouse for your laptop, this $59.95 Arc Mouse gives you a full-size mouse that folds in half for easy carrying. Its ergonomic shape, wireless transmitter, and ability to handle any surfaces makes it ideal for use in all kinds of environments. Because the Arc Mouse is bent in a curve, it can feel strange to have your fingers slip underneath the mouse instead of touching its sides. Despite this minor difference in feel, the Arc Mouse is a unique laptop mouse that frequent travelers will likely depend on.