Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 2.0 Review

Tuesday Apr 29th 2008 by Eric Grevstad
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You get a handful of point-and-click productivity with Microsoft's newest mouse.

It's hardly a radical idea, but you wonder why no one thought of it before. Microsoft, like its rival Logitech, makes numerous mice designed for use with notebook PCs -- scaled-down devices that don't take much space in a traveler's briefcase, usually with a niche or cubbyhole on the underside to hold the cordless mouse's USB receiver so the latter is less likely to get lost in said briefcase.

However, according to Microsoft, more than a third of consumers prefer to buy full-sized desktop mice to use with their laptops, to avoid having to adjust from a hand rest to a fingertip grip when leaving the office or home. Presto, the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 -- a full-sized, $50 mouse with a USB adapter that snaps into a bottom slot just like its miniature siblings.

To forestall any confusion among mouse model memorizers, we should note that the new mouse takes the name of the model it replaces in Microsoft's crowded lineup, the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 we reviewed in October 2005.

The label on the mouse's bottom adds a v2.0 suffix, but it's safe to assume nobody will experience déjà vu upon seeing the 6000 in a store. On the other hand, at least on the first batch of boxes including our tester's, they'll spot a proofreading problem in the label "Desktop comfort. Moble design."


 Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 2.0
The Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 2.0

A Slippery Slope

Measuring a conventional 2.8 by 4.9 inches, the 6000 follows recent Redmond rodents in offering a right-hand-only ergonomic design that slopes downward from left to right as you look at the mouse from behind, so your index finger is at the summit and your pinky fingertip brushes your mouse pad or desk or airline tray table.

There's a trough or scoop on the right that feels like it's supposed to support your ring finger, though it's too shallow to hold the latter in place; it's all too easy to let that fingertip slip downward so that it, too, brushes the desktop. On the other hand, or rather the other side, there's a roomy, concave rubberized grip for your thumb.

Apart from the ring-finger quibble, we found the mouse perfectly comfortable even through long days of working overtime. Sliver-sized Forward and Back buttons (more like one long button bisected; programmable for other functions via Microsoft's software driver) ride just above your thumb atop the mouse's left edge.

As with most side-mounted Forward and Back duos we try, clicking Forward involves a much more natural flick of the thumb than the tiny but awkward up-and-back motion required to get your thumb on the Back button. In fact, when we flexed our thumb, it often hit the strip dead center and pressed both buttons, so we assigned Back to both buttons in our browser.

The 6000's scroll wheel has a smooth, seamless feel that will disappoint users accustomed to slight clicks during scrolling, but with a little practice we were zooming up and down through our e-mail inbox with no under- or overshooting a target.

The wheel also tilts left and right for horizontal scrolling through spreadsheets or zoom views of images or Web pages, though (as we've grumbled in many another review) Microsoft's driver doesn't let you reprogram left and right tilts to other functions as Logitech's does. The latter's quick sideways flicks remain our favorite Back and Forward.

I'm a One-Mouse Man

The IntelliPoint 6.2 driver does let you reassign all five buttons, counting a click of the scroll wheel, to other functions ranging from the usual undo, cut, copy, paste, or zoom to Flip 3D -- Windows Vista Aero's pretty shuffle-stack of active windows -- or Instant Viewer -- a tamer Win XP version of the same that arranges current program windows on the screen like a geeky art gallery.

More options include launching a specified application or creating and running a macro combination of keystrokes. And Microsoft didn't forget the convenience of program-specific settings, so the same button that's Back in your browser can be Undo in your word processor.

A Magnifier function opens a zoom window that you can drag around the screen for a zoom view of the pixels beneath. A slightly awkward process of holding the assigned button while moving the mouse or scrolling the wheel lets you resize the magnifying lens or switch among several levels of magnification.

Set loose on a crowded desk, the 6000 turned in a fine performance. Its 1,000 dpi resolution -- what Microsoft calls High Definition Laser Technology -- gives sufficient room to move even with just two and a half or three inches of free space next to a notebook. After a few minutes' practice, we were maneuvering as precisely as a Smart car in city traffic.

It worked smoothly on every surface we tried except that nemesis of optical mice, a mirror, while its interference-resistant 2.4GHz radio connection kept the mouse and PC in contact even from the next room with a wall in between.

Travelin' On

A light on top of the mouse glows when its two AA alkalines are growing weak, which we didn't have time to observe -- Microsoft claims some users will see up to six months between battery replacements (or refills if you're doing the green thing and using rechargeable NiMH cells). Such users probably get in the habit of unplugging the mouse's flash-drive-sized USB transceiver from the PC or laptop and snapping it into its niche on the 6000's underside, which automatically turns the mouse off.

Basically, the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 breaks a decade of silence in exposing the secret shame of so-called notebook mice: It's not that much harder to find room in your briefcase or laptop case for a mouse that's two inches larger. As such, the 6000 is a first-class candidate to be your only mouse -- to use both when you're at your desk and when you're moble.

Adapted from Hardwarecentral.com.

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