Two Bluetooth mice with multiple buttons. (August 2nd, 2007)
Product Manufacturer: RadTech
Price: 49.95 USD and 59.95 USD
- Works well. Software adds more capabilities. Multiple buttons on both mice.
- BT600 pattern on white rubber surface. BT100 a little clunky looking. Plastic construction may not withstand any abuse. Higher DPI mice can be found for same price. BT100 control buttons have no markings for on or off.
Radtech is an experienced Macintosh vendor who sells a variety of products. From their site you can buy hard drives to laptop and iPod cases, with a few headphones, cleaner products, and feet for your MacBooks thrown in for good measure. They also sell a selection of affordable Bluetooth mice, the topic of today's review.
Wireless Bluetooth miceThe BT600 is a full-size 5-button wireless mouse with scroll wheel for $60 USD, which is comparable to some of the other wireless mice available. Ilene tested the BT100, which is a much smaller mouse that fits her small hands better, but does not look as elegant as the BT600. The BT100 is also $10 cheaper and is made to carry around. For another $10, you can purchase a rigid clamshell zippered case for the BT100.
Both mice have 800 dpi optical tracking, which makes them very precise for most daily work. While that is about 200 dpi less than Logitech and Microsoft's offerings, it is certainly enough for most users' needs.
You charge the NiMH batteries with the USB cable, both of which are included in the package. I found that the batteries don't run down frequently, but after about 45 minutes to an hour the mouse goes to sleep and needs to be woken up by moving it or clicking on one of its buttons. Ilene was not very happy with the included Novacell 700mAh batteries and found better performance when they were replaced with Energizer 900mAh AAA rechargables. Part of the problem lies with the lack of ON/OFF markings on the BT100 mouse, so it is easy to leave the mouse on by accident and run down the batteries.
Pair the MouseDon't expect your mouse to wake up immediately on the first click; it needs to re-establish pairing with the computer. What's interesting is that if I'm impatient, move the mouse, click, and then it re-pairs, all the motions I have stacked up while waiting now take place in rapid-fire procession. Click once, watch for the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar to show you the mouse is re-paired, and then use normally.
The BT600 power switch is a push-button located right on top at the center of the mouse body. On paper, this would seem like it might get in the way or you might push it accidentally. In practice, there was no such problem. The BT100 power switch is on the bottom of the mouse, but recessed so that there is no way to accidentally push it.
Customize the ButtonsAll functions of the BT600 mouse work fine without any special drivers - except buttons 4 and 5, on the side of the mouse. If you want those buttons to work, download the driver from Radtech's site, and reboot. If you had paired it without the driver installed, delete it from your paired and favorite devices in the Bluetooth System Preferences, and then re-pair it. The nice thing about Radtech's driver is that all of the buttons are assignable, including some combinations of them. You can customize either mouse for all applications, or only particular applications, so you have a wealth of control. The BT100 has only three buttons, but those are also customizable through the RadMouse system preference.
Construction and LookThe BT600 is silver plastic with white rubber laid over the top. The white rubber has a pattern in it which mirrors the pattern printed on the packaging. This pattern looks like something I would have seen in a 1980s music video. Fortunately, you don't look at a mouse when it's under your hand and you're looking at the screen. The BT100 is white plastic with silver trim, two clunky-looking buttons, and a receded grey scroll wheel, but its size makes it very easy to use if you have small hands. (Top picture in graphic on right side of article.) One note of caution, these mice are not made for batting around. One good drop off a table might very well break them. A short drop did permanently disable a BT300, which is another mouse in the RadTech Bluetooth line.
Overall, both mice worked properly and reliably with or without the software. In the marketplace, the BT600 is ten dollars more and 200dpi less than Logitech's V270 Bluetooth mouse, but has the additional buttons. When compared to the Razer Pro Click 1.6, which has a 1600dpi sensor, the price seems a bit steep. I found that the 800dpi is precise enough for most of the work I do, but may be lacking for some games or fine photo editing work. I did not find a situation where the mouse was not accurate enough to work well.