The concept behind the Wireless Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 is a simple one: integrate the functions of a presentation controller into a standard-issue wireless mouse. Clearly aimed at the traveling professional, the handy all-in-one device seems to do the impossible by keeping the entire setup simple, intuitive and easily accessible. Read on to find out what separates this diminutive demon from the pack.
Features and Design
Leave it to Microsoft to-one up Logitech at the input device game. While this is a rare occurrence, the house Bill Gates built should be praised for releasing what may be the single best notebook mouse on the market. Even though some of the integrated bonuses won’t be useful to the average person on a daily basis, this feature-rich and overall superb-performing gadget is guaranteed to be a very difficult product to improve on. Surprisingly, even supporting packaging is unusually creative, well thought-out and strangely functional (more on this later).
Microsoft clearly considered laptop owners’ most requested features and jammed them all, kit and caboodle, into one must-see package. We’re talking small size/form factor, Bluetooth connectivity, an optional Bluetooth dongle, a carrying case, an on/off switch, laser tracking technology, presentation controls, customizable extra buttons, a laser pointer and an all-around functional design framework. Unfortunately, the gizmo won’t type up your next business proposal or drive the kids to school, but otherwise, honestly, we’re at a loss for ideas on what could be added to this otherwise star performer.
The first thing you’ll notice is the interesting packaging – the Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 is suspended in a plastic shell so that it can be spun around and viewed from all angles. This shell is also a feature of the mouse: the included wrist strap can be woven through a few holes to make a convenient carrying case that is neither bulky nor delicate. There‘s even space for the included, but optional, Bluetooth adapter. The reason for the tricked-out packaging is clearly to show off the bottom surface, upon which are located the presentation controls.
In the box, you’ll find the unit, contained in its case, as well as a Bluetooth adapter, driver disc and wrist strap. The Notebook Presenter Mouse itself isn’t the most stylish or beautiful device of its kind we’ve seen, but it does look quite clean and streamlined. The top surface has three extra buttons, with the two on either side of the regular mouse buttons assignable via Intellipoint software to any one of nearly limitless functions, including zoom, magnify region, and Flip 3D. The button located by the four-way scroll wheel switches the device between Presentation and Mouse modes. However, it’s the bottom surface of the gadget where the magic really happens. Next Slide, Previous Slide, Blank Screen, Laser Pointer, and Volume Up/Down functions are all clearly accessible, as are the tiny connect button and power switch. The intended use is clear: supply standard-issue mouse buttons for regular use, and specialized buttons for use during meetings and other important presentations.
Image Courtesy of Microsoft
Setup and Use
The Bluetooth dongle is paired with the mouse at the factory (a process called First Connect Technology by Microsoft), so there is no need to pair the two manually. The Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 works with the standard Widcomm Bluetooth stack as well, so if you have built-in Bluetooth, you can chuck the adapter in that desk drawer where parallel port cables go to die.
In Mouse mode, the buttons along the bottom surface are rendered inactive, while in Presentation mode, the normal mouse buttons are unresponsive (except the mode button itself, which is a little too easy to accidentally hit). The only confusing part is that the ‘back’ mouse button can be used within PowerPoint while in Mouse mode to turn on the digital ink function, which allows you to draw on the screen. As for the laser pointer, it can be used in either mode and is projected out the front of the mouse. Also, the Presentation mode controls can be used to manipulate Windows Media Player, letting the doohickey double as a nice little remote control with a 30-foot range as well.
Batteries are loaded from the back in the form of 2 AAA cells. We would comment on the gizmo’s overall battery life, but after a couple months of daily use and several presentations (as well as several cats that were very entertained by a magical red dot they can’t catch), we have had yet to replace them.
The device itself tracks on par with other Microsoft mice we have used, and has no lag when waking from power save mode. While we would have been happy with optical technology, the Presenter Mouse 8000 actually uses laser tracking – 1000 dpi, up to 6000 fps (better than some gaming mice, even). The integrated laser pointer is slightly smaller than dedicated ones, and red in color. In terms of presentation button placement, rest assured the setup’s intuitive enough that when we handed the Notebook Presenter Mouse off to people who hadn’t used it beforehand, there were able to quickly pick up the basics without any trouble. The Next Slide button is oversized, and the laser pointer button is slightly concave, providing enough tactile feedback to operate the whole thing without looking to boot.
As for compatibility, the Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 works with Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Mac OSX. We purchased ours only a couple weeks after it was released, and already the drivers were out of date, so it is safe to recommend forgoing the CD install and just downloading the latest software directly from Microsoft during setup. (Vista users, be sure to get the USB stack reliability update, too, linked in the product page.) Also, like all Microsoft input devices, in order to install the software, you’ll have to uninstall any Logitech software on your system.
We cannot recommend a laptop-ready mouse more highly than the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Presenter 8000. Simply put, it is the ideal option for anyone who gives presentations with any regularity. Every possible feature one could ask for is included. If pressed, we would like to see a more stylish design and the ability to coexist with Logitech devices. But honestly, with the number of input devices that have come across our desk, you’d think it’d be easier to come up with a few desirable features absent from this gadget. Not so… the Notebook Presenter Mouse 8000 has just about every extra you can imagine, and implements every functional enhancement flawlessly. Bravo!
• Connects instantly
• Built-in presentation buttons and laser pointer
• Laser technology
• Bluetooth connectivity
• Button placement could be better