Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000
This mouse is a Microsoft innovation in the field of rodents for portable computers, a territory the company helped start with some highly ergonomic models. The Notebook 8000 is compact and rounded, with a pleasing appearance that grabs you right away. The combination of lacquered gray, gray metal, matte black and rubberized gray is quite snazzy-looking, and in fact works better than it does on equivalent desktop mouse models. Its small size might suggest deficiencies in the ergonomics department, but that's not at all the case, especially because of its forward-tilted profile. While it might not quite match the ergonomics of the best models in this category - the Logitech V450 and the Microsoft Wireless 3000 - it's still very good, and represents a fine compromise between comfort and size. Working with it for a couple of hours at a stretch should be quite possible.
The groove along the back doesn't make it more difficult to hold the mouse, as is the case with Microsoft's other mobile laser mice. The two additional buttons on either side of the body, however, aren't very easy to access. And I won't spare you mention of my pet peeve - the omnipresent 4-way detentless scroll wheel, which is even less precise in this notebook version. It's very hard to control accurately, and the horizontal scrolling is all but unusable due to the small size of the scroll wheel. A simple detented wheel would have been preferable.
The foregoing description only covers the tip of the iceberg, as it were. Once you turn the mouse over, that becomes clear. What are all these odd little buttons? Well, on one side, the 8000 is a mouse; but flip it over and it becomes a multimedia remote control and presentation pointer. Here's how it works: just press the button behind the scroll wheel to toggle between the mouse and command functions, then turn the mouse over and you can operate the buttons with one hand.
Two uses for this are immediately evident. It's an effective business tool for PowerPoint presentations, since once the computer is hooked up to the projector, you can change slides from the back of the room, and even point out details using the built-in laser. Using combinations of buttons, you can even make direct annotations, such as outlining an item in red. For multimedia use, you can remotely control any music or video player, or a photo viewer, with pause/play, forward, reverse and volume controls. For example, if you use your notebook with speakers as a source of music in your vacation home, you'll be able to operate the whole system remotely. What's more, the handling and ergonomics of the remote control function are excellent.