I use a MacBook Pro on a daily basis, and I prefer to use a mouse than the trackpad. I find most mobile mice too small or too light, and for a while, I used Microsoft’s Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000 Special Edition ( ). However, for those times where I’m spending several hours at a time in front of the computer, I prefer a mouse that’s bigger than the 3000. I recently gave Microsoft’s new Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000 an extended ride, and was impressed.
Measuring 2.4 by 3.8 by 1.7 inches, the 6000 is a little wider and taller than the 3000, which makes a world of difference to me when it comes to comfort. While I didn’t have difficulty using the 3000, I was always conscious of its smallness. Not so with the 6000. The 6000 carries most of its weight in the middle and bottom of its body, which suited me fine. I didn’t have any tracking problems, and I liked how the mouse felt when moving on most surfaces.
The 6000 uses Microsoft’s BlueTrack Technology, which, according to Microsoft, allows the mouse to be used on almost any surface. My experience with the 6000 was similar to that of another BlueTrack-equipped device, Microsoft’s Explorer Mouse ( )—it worked on a wide variety of surfaces, and I was surprised that the 6000 kept tracking even when used on a glass window. The few surfaces that prevented the 6000 from tracking—an optical disc, my iPhone screen—aren’t surfaces you’d seriously consider using as an area for your mouse.
As a deal breaker for some users, the 6000 uses a wireless 2.4GHz RF signal, not Bluetooth, and Microsoft doesn’t offer a Bluetooth version of the 6000. Personally, I don’t have a preference. I do find that some Bluetooth mice take a second or two longer to reconnect with my MacBook Pro after waking from sleep, and that RF mice feel like they reconnect instantly, but quibbling over a few seconds is trivial. I don’t have a problem using a USB RF receiver, which the 6000 requires, and many RF receivers are small like the 6000’s, extending about a quarter of an inch when plugged into a USB port. That’s small enough to leave in my MacBook Pro when not in use. Or you can plug the receiver into the storage port located underneath the mouse.
The 6000 has five buttons: your standard left and right mouse buttons, the scroll wheel button, and two buttons along each side of the mouse. The scroll wheel isn’t notched but rolls smoothly, and it can be nudged left or right for horizontal scrolling. The button feel solid when you click them, and don’t require much effort. Micorosft uses rubber on the sides of the 6000, which provides a nice grip.
The buttons are programmable through Microsoft’s IntelliPoint software, which installs as a System Preference pane. Microsoft includes version 6.3.1 of its IntelliPoint software on a CD, but don’t install the 6.3.1 software; I encountered an error message when installing the software on Snow Leopard, though the software still appeared as a pane in System Preferences. Go to Microsoft’s Web site and download IntelliPoint 7. If you’re running Snow Leopard, IntelliPoint 7 is compatible with the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the OS.
The 6000 uses one AA battery. Microsoft says a that a battery should last “up to 10 months.” I had no power problems during my testing.
The one drawback to the 6000 is purely about comestics and doesn’t affect the functionality of the mouse—it’s about the glossy finish on the mouse body. The glossy black, combined with the the shiny silver detailing, makes the mouse look sophisticated, but I scratched the glossy surface while removing the 6000 from its plastic packaging. And the finish started to lose its luster after repeated stowing in my backpack.
Macworld’s buying advice
The Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000 is a nice mouse, nice enough to be used on a regular basis, not just when you’re traveling with your laptop. If you use Snow Leopard, be sure to download the IntelliPoint driver software.
[Roman Loyola is a Macworld senior editor.]