Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000Platform: PC Games
Category: Mice & Trackballs
I have to say that since the introduction of Microsoft's proprietary BlueTrack technology I have been quite fond of any mouse that utilizes it. The ability to use a mouse that on virtually any surface is pretty cool, the only enemy being glass or mirror based surfaces. Microsoft has continued to release different versions of their mice that integrate the BlueTrack technology. Most recently I had a chance to review the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000. It was released in late 2009, and we know we are somewhat behind in getting to review this product, but given that some of our readers have asked us about it we thought it was prudent to review the unit so we asked Microsoft for a review unit and they sent us one.
What is in the Package?
Once you open the package you will find that the mouse itself along with a nano transceiver, single battery, Intellipoint 7 software, and some "very to the point" instructions. I should also note that this mouse comes in multiple colors including white, lime green, pink, blue, teal and a greyish black. I received the greyish black one as my review sample.
The Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 relies on 2.4 GHz technology for its wireless feature. Along with the standard frequency, it also offers up the aforementioned nano transceiver. This is a critical feature in most mobile mice offered in today's market. The receiver is about the size of a thumbnail. What is great about this is that the small footprint of the transceiver allows you the ability to leave the it plugged into your laptop or netbook's USB port without fear of breaking the darn thing. Should you choose to though, you can unplug it and slide it into a slot on the bottom of the mouse.
Microsoft also claims that one single "AA" battery will last 10 months. Now I didn't have the mouse for 10 months, so I will just have to take Microsoft's word for this. That being said, I have been using one of Microsoft's earlier BlueTrack mice, the Explorer Mini Mouse, on a daily basis. This mouse usually gets 5-7 hours of use daily, 5 days a week, and the "AA" battery is good for 3-4 months. I reviewed Explorer Mini Mouse quite sometime ago and the claim back then was that you could use the mouse for months at a time. So I do know that they can extend the life of a mobile mouse's battery indeed. With the Mobile Mouse 4000 there are some notable features which could extend the life. There is an off button so you can turn it off when you don't expect to use it on a regular basis. The other power saving feature is that the mouse is very limited in lighting features (e.g. blue ring around the mouse) that seems to be featured on other BlueTrack mice. The only light you'll see separate from the blue lens itself is the "low power' indicator letting you know when it is time to change the battery.
I should also note that there is also the typical scroll wheel along with only one side button. The latter may disturb people that are accustomed to multiple buttons on a mouse, but what people have to understand is that this is a portable mouse that seems to be geared for those users who use their computers on the run. The mobile footprint is seen as minimalist and there is only one side button to accomplish this.
What is this BlueTrack Technology?
As has been the way with past reviews that I have written about any BlueTrack enabled mice, I think it is VERY prudent to explain what Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology is all about before I get into my impressions. Given that this is not my first BlueTrack enabled mouse that I have reviewed I will just pass on what the good folks as Microsoft have to say about this technology. They have the best understanding of what BlueTrack is all about as they the ones to market it. So on that note, I quote the following from Microsoft's website as it gives a pretty good explanation:
BlueTrack Technology—How It Works
Microsoft-Designed CMOS Chip
The Explorer Mouse uses a proprietary, Microsoft-designed complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chip with advanced algorithms and pixel architecture for more precise tracking. It is Microsoft's fourth-generation application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) using CMOS technology.
Blue Specular Optics
Microsoft's proprietary high-angle imaging optics generate more exact surface images—even of shiny surfaces such as granite and marble—instead of blurry, out-of-focus images, as can be produced by many of the leading laser mice. And blue light helps create high-resolution, high-contrast images for better navigation.
Four Times Wider and More Diffuse Beam for Better Imaging and Tracking
The wider beam enables illumination of a larger surface area and allows more light to return to the sensor. This helps for tracking on irregular surfaces such as carpet, where a smaller beam could get lost between the individual fibers. The BlueTrack Technology light source is optimized to provide illumination at the tracking surface that is more uniform than current laser or optical mice.
This illumination is accomplished by using a new optical element, never before used in a mouse. The light source is encapsulated in a diffusing optic that smoothes out hot spots within the illumination profile. While the concept of diffused lighting is well known, the application of diffused light sources to mice is a Microsoft proprietary technology.
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