The Mouse BT
In our roundup of alternative mice (May 2004), we recommended The Mouse by MacMice as “the mouse that Apple should be shipping with all its desktop Macs”. Now there’s a wireless Bluetooth version available for £57.
It looks almost identical to Apple’s £59 Wireless Mouse (also available as part of a £69 bundle with the Wireless Keyboard when ordering a new Mac), except that it offers three-button/scroll-wheel functionality. (It’s also available in an aluminium-coloured case to match G4 PowerBooks and G5 Power Macs – unlike Apple’s all-white model.) Once you’ve used a scrolling mouse, you’ll never go back to one button – and Mouse BT’s scroll-wheel is one of the smoothest available.
As we said previously, if you like the look of Apple’s mice but simply must have a scroller or more than one button, The Mouse is a great alternative. It has just three parts that touch the desk, so it also gets a lot less mucky than the Apple mouse.
The mouse is equally comfortable for both right- and left-handed users – handy in the Jary household where my southpaw wife and I take it in turns to move the mouse from one side of the desk to the other after each use, which can get messy with a cabled device.
Set-up is easy using OS X’s Bluetooth system preference, and MacMice claims that the two AA batteries run “for weeks”. There’s an on-off switch to conserve power, but I’ve forgotten to set this every day I’ve been using the mouse. If you have a battery recharger, you’ll save money in the long run.
The company claims that Mouse BT is the most dependable Bluetooth input device available, not suffering from cursor-lag, long reactivation delays, and unexpected disconnects. While it never disconnected without me asking it to, I did experience occasional jerky performance from the mouse – and regular unreasonable delays in waking up when I’d left it sitting idle for some time.
I’ve grown used to the Bluetooth idiosyncrasies, but the slightly jumpy nature makes it a bad choice for graphics pros who require an absolutely straight hand. But if the cable binding you to your keyboard is annoying or you need your mouse some distance from your computer (eg. for presentations), this Bluetooth model beats the Apple Wireless Mouse with its excellent scroll-wheel and extra buttons.