The single greatest selling point of notebook computers is that they’re portable. Although many people find the standard trackpad on iBooks and PowerBooks almost unusable, most travelers are unwilling to weigh themselves down with a mouse and mousepad. However, optical mice are giving the Mac user on the go another option. There are several compact optical input devices on the market that work on any surface. Among the best of these is the Kensington PocketMouse Mobile Optical Mouse.
Cute as a button
The PocketMouse has all the features one would expect from a third party mouse–two programmable buttons, a scroll wheel, an optical sensor, and driver software. Yet its main attraction is its miniscule size. The PocketMouse, at 3.5 x 2 x 1.5 inches long, is roughly half the size of the Kensington Mouse-in-a-Box Optical, a similarly equipped, full-size mouse. What’s more, users aren’t paying a premium for the compact size, it costs only $5 more than the Mouse-in-a-Box Optical, and is in the same price range as other optical mice designed for the road.
Two aspects set the PocketMouse apart from similar products: form factor and software. Compared to other travel mice, the PocketMouse is sturdier. The extra weight feels right in the hand and gives you more control of minute adjustments. The symmetrical PocketMouse is set up for both the right-handed masses and southpaws. Contoured edges further add to the mouse’s comfort.
Kensington’s MouseWare software is the best in the industry yet they don’t include it in the box. Once you’ve downloaded the software from their web site, you can customize your Kensington mouse by programming buttons for application specific settings. Pop up windows warn you when you’ve been working too long without a break to help prevent repetitive stress injuries. Kensington is also among the first to port their software over to OS X. As of presstime, the beta software still had some kinks, but Macworld applauds the effort, and notes that at least the tracking and single button are fully functional with OS X 10.1.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
The PocketMouse is great for travelers who don’t want to use a trackpad. It even makes a decent desktop mouse, although we’d suggest something larger for stationary machines.
Business Card Silhouette: The PocketMouse is the length and width of a business card. It’s height of 1.5″ keeps it portable.