Back in 1963, Douglas Engelbart created the first mouse – and then not much happened for 44 years. But with the Mobile Memory Mouse 8000, Microsoft has finally got us excited at the idea of a new mouse.
It doesn’t look particularly exciting, although the rounded puck shape is surprisingly comfortable. It adopts the conventional two-button-plus-scroll wheel design, although there are an extra couple of configurable buttons on the shoulder that can be clicked with the thumb, and the scroll wheel can move horizontally as well as vertically.
Where it gets interesting is with its wireless abilities. For one thing, it’s a dual-mode device; it can connect via Bluetooth or its own RF protocol. The latter obviously mandates the use of a dongle, and the one that comes with the 8000 looks like the standard pack-of-chewing-gum-sized affair. Ah, but while it may look like the standard USB receiver, it actually packs a gig of storage as well. 1GB isn’t much these days, but it’s big enough for presentations or as a handy sneakernet.
And there’s one last trick. The wireless mouse can also become a ‘wired’ mouse: a cable with magnetic grips at either end can tether the mouse to the Mac via the wireless receiver. It’s still operating as a wireless mouse, but the cable means that the Mac is now charging the single AAA cell in the mouse.
In use it’s agreeable, even if the acceleration algorithm occasionally seems a little erratic. The configuration panel is easy to use, and you can define per-application behaviour preferences. By default, one of the shoulder buttons is configured to activate OS X’s built-in screen zooming, a welcome feature.
This is really the perfect mouse for the road warrior. It works with Bluetooth and includes a gig of storage and an innovative charging lead. Thoroughly recommended.