I think many of us know this: you checkin at a nice hotel, go to your room to find out that a) you forget your mousepad and b) the desk has a glass cover on it making almost any mouse unusable.
Of course this is only a worry for those - like me - who think using a mouse is more comfortable than using the so common trackpads we find in most laptops these days.
Both Microsoft and Logitech came up with a solution for this problem - not cheap I have to say from the start, but your hands will thank you after a long day of work.
Microsoft's Wireless Mouse 5000 currently retails for NZ$66 at some online retailers and introduces the BlueTrack technology. It basically works on marble, granite - even on a carpet - by using a wider blue beam and enhanced optics so that it can track the mouse movements better. And it works on glass - mind you not on clear glass but on desks with a glass top it will perform well.
Say what you may, but Microsoft hardware is always of great quality. This mouse is no exception. The material, the finish and the comfort are of high levels.
The Microsoft Wireless Mouse 5000 comes with a 2.4 GHz wireless USB adapter that also works as an on/off switch when attached to the mouse, er, belly. Its shape reminds me of the standard mouse, but the sides have a nice rubber grip and the top is very smooth. The wheel scrolls freely up and down making scrolling long documents quite easy. The scroll wheel also tilts left and right for horizontal scroll.
It will work with no extra software on your Windows Vista or Windows 7 PC, but the Intellipoint software will add some extra functionality, including batter meter on Control Panel and individual control of buttons. Those buttons also include Forward and Previous buttons, one on each side of the mouse - not sure about that, seeing I prefer both on the same side.
Battery life is very impressive and it is still going strong after a couple of months - my previous Microsoft mouse would last more than six months on a full set of batteries (two AA) so I expect this one to last at least that. The official website says at least eight months.
The Logitech M950 Performance mouse costs a bit more, retailing at NZ185 online but it brings additional features. Like the Microsoft mouse it introduces its own enhanced tracking technoloogy called Darkfield. Unlike the Microsoft mouse you can't see the beam - trust me it's there because it works in almost any surface, including glass.
What makes this mouse different from the Microsoft one? First the obvious shape. It's very comfortable to use for long periods. If you use your mouse a lot - developers will like it and keen casual gamers will love it. I know, I have been playing for hours on my PC, all in the name of this review obviously.
Second it has more buttons. There's a button for switching between windows, a button for zooming in and out, plus the expected Forward and Previous buttons. Obviously some of these functions require the Logitech software loaded on your system, but even without it the mouse will work as plug-and-play, leaving some of the ehanced functionality behind.
The scroll wheel works in two modes - a mechanical switch on top of the mouse allows you to have it free for scrolling through long documents, or one step at a time, like traditional mouse devices.
Unlike the Microsoft mouse you have an on/off switch on this mouse - and battery life wasn't - at least with the battery out of the package. However it's a rechargeable battery and you can recharge the mouse directly from a USB port with the provided USB cable. In my experience its single AA battery was completely flat in two weeks of full workday usage, but most new batteries don't come fully charged, so the verdict is not final.
Another advantage of the Logitech M950 is the unified wireless USB adapter. Logitech came out with a very small adapter that you can just leave on your PC all the time and will work with a variety of mouse and keyboards - you don't have to buy those in sets anymore, just mix-n-match by purchasing the combination you want. Quite handy.
My views? If you are like me and have a workstation setup at work/home office and travel mouse then I recommend both. Keep the Logitech M950 for those long hours (of work or gaming) and the Microsoft Wireless 5000 on your laptop bag for your travels. If you must have a single one, I would point to the Logitech M950 today.