Offering wireless convenience without the clutter of cables, or the hassle of a recharging station, this battery operated USB mouse gives up to 6 months usage from two standard AA batteries according to Microsoft with the power saving being the main improvement on its predecessor.

The mouse is driven by high-performance optical technology. This gives greater accuracy than a standard mouse and control. In tests we found its performance certainly better than using the old mouse ball version and it therefore came into its own when using design packages.

This model is only compatible with Windows XP and 2000 on the PC and for users of OSX or above on the Mac. With all three operating systems it's a case of simply plug and play with no driver required. For Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional or XP you'll need a basic 128 MB RAM, 35 MB of available hard-disk space and a CD-ROM drive. There is a converter included for the round mouse port (PS/2 compatible) otherwise it's USB 2.0. For Mac OS 10.1 to Mac OS 10.2.x (excluding Mac OS 10.0) you'll need 15 MB of available hard-disk space which for a mouse program does seem a little hungry but with hard drives constantly expanding should present too many problems.

A good, ergonomically designed shell makes this a comfortable option for most hands and it is suitable for left handers too. The rubberised coating helps cut down on the sweaty palm factor and the well-placed buttons and scroll wheel offer a few bits of snazzy functionality.

While the buttons aren't programmable, the scroll wheel button switches between active windows and the scroll wheel tilts left and right too- great for scrolling horizontally, moving between buttons on the toolbar or moving across expanding menus.

With a practical range of about ten feet, this is ideal for presentations on a notebook, cueing up MP3s from the armchair and great for the space-conscious traveller. The base unit is attached via USB cable, rather than a dongle, allowing best positioning of the receiver to maximise the range.

Verdict

Overall this is a very comfortable to use mouse for the left or right-handed user. For the style conscious there is a range of colours are available including a leather version for the business executive - we personally like the Periwinkle blue however (see images). For those looking to upgrade your mouse, this is an all round solid buy and it's good to see Microsoft shaping up on price and performance in the peripherals market.