Not content with simply controlling the software side of your PC experience, Microsoft also wants to be your peripheral provider of choice, offering a variety of mice and keyboards. One of three new laptop mouse models, the $49 Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 can operate without the need for a USB receiver, thanks to the built-in Bluetooth technology found in most (but not all) laptops today.
At 3.5 inches long, it's smaller than a desktop mouse but not as thin as, say, the Kensington Ci75m. The Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 is easy to hold--it curves up to meet your hand--and is 1.5 inches tall at the thickest part, in a design Microsoft calls "ergonomist-approved."
While Microsoft wants you to install its custom driver software, the mouse functions perfectly well without it, and our Bluetooth-enabled laptop was able to find and lock into the mouse within seconds. Power is supplied by two AAA batteries (included in the package), and there's an on/off switch on the bottom of the mouse to save power when, for example, it's sitting at the bottom of your laptop case.
Unlike many of the other laptop mice we've seen, this model includes a welcome side button for your thumb, which most Web browser software recognizes as the universal command for going back a page.
For smaller hands, the Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 could even be a good desktop mouse, but in our average-size paws, it might become uncomfortable if we had to use it as our only input device. But for short-term laptop use, its curved design is an improvement over flat models we've tried. Still, it's short and rounded, and really not the most elegant mouse design we've seen.