While laptops have a built-in trackpad or similar device for navigation, many users say that for extended computing, they still prefer using a conventional computer mouse, although most are not particularly designed for on-the-go computing. Instead, many manufacturers offer mice specifically designed to be portable. Some are merely mini versions of standard computer mice, while others are designed to be folded. These laptop mice lack the extra features of a full-size mouse, such as advanced programmable buttons and horizontal scrolling, and they may not be ideal for long-term use. But for short periods of use by business people and travelers, they are ideal.
The wireless Microsoft Arc Touch (*Est. $35) is a pick of multiple review sites for its graceful, unique design and its use of a multitouch slider instead of a center mouse wheel. "Microsoft has come up with a unique new product in the Arc Touch Mouse, thanks to its clever, convertible design and its touch-sensitive scroll wheel," CNET's Chris Brown writes. The Microsoft Arc Touch folds flat for storage, which turns it off, and curves into an arch for use, which turns it on. It features Microsoft's BlueTrack technology, which allows it to be used on nearly any surface successfully, reviewers say. They praise the responsiveness of the center touch strip and the overall design and look of the mouse. A few complain that the arch of the Microsoft Arc Touch gets uncomfortable after awhile, though others say it's comfortable even for the long haul. Some find the buttons hard to press, and most say they miss having forward and back buttons under their thumb.
Still, "if you're not too concerned with ergonomics and just want a compact and unique mouse to always have with you, the Arc Mouse Touch is a solid choice," TechCrunch.com writes. More than 400 users on Amazon.com award an average of 4 out of 5 stars, with about half giving a perfect score.
Another portable laptop mouse designed for laptops and travel is the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 (*Est. $15) . More than 280 users at Amazon.com give it 4 stars out of 5 for its compact design and ease of use. CNET reviewer Justin Yu praises its BlueTrack sensing technology, allowing it to operate on a variety of surfaces. He awards 4 out of 5 stars, writing, "With a small footprint and a variety of stylish colors to choose from, this mouse makes a useful (and worthy) addition to your mobile arsenal." Available in a wide array of colors, the Mobile Mouse 4000 is small enough to toss in a laptop bag and has a discreet USB wireless receiver that conveniently fits in the underside of the mouse for transport.
For travelers and laptop users confined to small spaces, critics say the Swiftpoint Mouse (*Est. $70) is a notable choice. Designed to work directly on your notebook's palm rest, the wireless Swiftpoint earns high praise and an Editors' Choice award at ComputerShopper.com, where reviewers say it requires little room to maneuver in locations "where having a mousing surface next to your laptop isn't feasible, such as on a plane or train tray table."
Computerworld.com's Barbara Krasnoff finds the Swiftpoint laptop mouse a worthy alternative to touchpads, noting that in comparison, the Swiftpoint is "simple to operate and much better for long computing sessions," while editors at Notebook.com describe it as a "useful and fun alternative to the touchpad." At Amazon.com, the Swiftpoint travel mouse receives 4.5 stars out of 5 from a handful of users who like its mobility and ergonomic comfort, though others say the pen-like grip is initially awkward.
Most reviewers like the Swiftpoint laptop mouse's scroll feature which lets users navigate through web pages and documents by simply tilting the mouse to the right and rolling it along the palm rest. In addition, a 2.4 GHz USB receiver doubles as the mouse's charger, providing an hour's use from a 30 second charge, while a full 90-minute charge can deliver up to four weeks of use, according to Swiftpoint's website. But some reviewers caution that the USB dongle dislodges easily during transit.