Two dozen mice later, today I'll be looking at something completely different than anything else I've used to date. HP's new Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse cuts the cord and eliminates the need for a USB dongle or Bluetooth radio. This small pointer connects to your notebook's wireless connection with a proclaimed 9-month battery life.
The ambidextrous HP Wi-Fi mouse comes with everything you need to get started: the mouse itself, two AA batteries, a quick start guide and a driver installation disc. The batteries came installed in the mouse with a pull-tab to prevent them from discharging prematurely while sitting on the store shelf.
As with most mobile mice, the HP's new arrival is a bit smaller than your standard desktop mouse. The top deck is plastic with a glossy metallic blue and grey paint scheme. Grey accents encompass the mouse while the bottom half is wrapped with a grippy black rubber material.
On top, we find traditional left and right mouse click buttons, as well as a clickable scroll wheel that tilts left and right. The center of the scroll wheel is translucent and glows white under certain circumstances. The wheel is a bit unique in that there are no "notches" felt when scrolling. This is similar to what we found on the Microsoft Laser Mouse 7000, but the difference here is that the wheel has some friction to it. Microsofts offering was 100% fluid which didnt work in, well, pretty much any situation.
In addition to the buttons on the top deck, there's also one button on each side of the mouse. Since this is an ambidextrous mouse, one of these will always line up with your thumb.
On the bottom of the mouse are two large Teflon-style mouse feet -- one on each side. The adjustable 1600 CPI laser sensor is centered near the middle of the mouse. A blue connect button and on/off switch can also be found at the bottom along with a latch that releases the top cover, revealing the location of the two AA batteries.
The HP Wi-Fi mouse only works on Windows 7 PCs, so Mac users and those on previous versions of Windows are out of luck. It also goes without saying that your computer needs a wireless card. It may seem obvious, but most users wont be able to use this mouse on a desktop since the average PC isnt equipped with a Wi-Fi adapter.
I installed the Wi-Fi mouse on the recently reviewed Maingear Titan 17 notebook. To use the device, you have to install the included driver software. This process went smoothly and I was then instructed to remove the battery tab and pair the mouse with the computer by pressing the blue Connect button. Moments later the computer found the mouse and I was all set.
HP's Mouse Control Center affords basic level control over the Wi-Fi mouse. The Buttons tab in the Control Center shows the connected device and allows you to swap buttons, should you happen to be left-handed. You can also remap buttons to one of several presets such as cut, copy or paste. The Wheel tab allows for adjustments to the vertical and horizontal scrolling speed. The Mouse tab allows you to adjust the pointer speed, provides instructions on how to change the resolution, and displays the current battery status.
Everything leading up to this point has been favorable for HP's Wi-Fi mouse. I like the ambidextrous design, the styling and the fit under my moderately-sized hand. Wi-Fi connectivity is unique and worked great. Not having to fool with a USB dongle or sometimes unreliable Bluetooth connection is refreshing. The mouse tracks just fine and the software allows for adequate adjustments, while the cited 9-month battery life is impressive (we used the mouse just for a couple of weeks).
Personally though, I immediately disliked something about the mouse's button design. The top deck is a single piece of plastic. The problem here is that the click zone extends way too far back toward the palm. I've used other mice with a similar design but they were all full-size models and thus the palm sits much further back on the device.
When I use a mouse, I tend to rest my palm on top. With the Wi-Fi mouse, when you click either the left or right mouse button then release, the weight of your hand keeps the button depressed until you lift weight from your hand. I've highlighted the Wi-Fi mouse's active click zone in red so you can visualize the issue a little better. If you don't tend to put much hand weight on your mouse (i.e. more of a fingertip grip -- see palm vs claw grip styles), this likely won't be an issue, but it's a deal breaker for me.
If you are looking for a new mobile mouse and don't want to fool with dongles or Bluetooth, the HP Wi-Fi mouse is well worth checking into, don't forget it's Windows 7 only though. HP lists the Wi-Fi mouse for $49.99, however we were able to find it as low as $35 at Amazon.