When you bring your notebook and mouse with you on the road, you never know if you're going to be using it on a Starbucks counter, a tray table, a hotel bed, or maybe even a beach mat. The Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse with BlueTrack Technology works on virtually any surface, which makes taking your mouse with you on the go easier than ever.
At 3.8 x 2.8 x 1.6 inches, the Explorer Mini is compact enough to tote anywhere, especially with the carrying case that comes included with the mouse. The small USB transceiver stick pops easily into the bottom of the mouse when not in use, and turns the device off to save battery life.
The smooth, ergonomically designed Explorer Mini fit perfectly into our right hand. The left side has a deep groove to comfortably accommodate our thumb, along with two skinny, horizontal buttons above it that act as Internet controls. A four-way scroll wheel and thin line separate the right- and left-click buttons, and the right side has another groove to wrap our ring finger and pinky around. The bottom of the mouse also glows bright blue when in use.
The smaller form factor of the Explorer Mini is perfect for petite fingers, but the larger model, the Explorer Mouse, might work best for those with larger hands.
Microsoft claims that the Explorer Mini can go just about anywhere, thanks to its BlueTrack technology, which uses new algorithms, pixel architecture, and blue optics to yield more precise trackings, as well as more exact surface images. We tested the mouse on a variety of surfaces, including marble, granite, carpet, and a microfiber couch; While it doesn't work well on glass or clear plastic, the tracking was steady on everything from a desk to fabric to linoleum. While the mouse moved more accurately on smoother surfaces, tracking over rougher planes was still spot on.
The Explorer Mini's buttons were very responsive, and the side buttons are accessible without causing accidental clicking. The scroll wheel worked like a charm: It moved quickly and easily.
While the mouse performs basic functions without installing the software--plug in the USB transceiver and you're ready to roll--the included disk offers a few extras, such as the ability to program the Explorer Mini's buttons to open various programs. It also includes utilities such as Windows Flip 3D, a one-touch tool to quickly switch among open applications. Some of the additional functions available on the disk, such as the Gaming Toggle, Instant Viewer, and Macro Editor, are helpful, but aren't altogether necessary.
The Explorer Mini is powered by one AA battery, which should provide up to four months of use.
Overall, the Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse with BlueTrack Technology offers a lot of control in a sleek, compact design. It's comfortable to use and can go just about anywhere, although it did make our fingers a little tired after prolonged use because of its small size. It's a very good option for someone looking to take their notebook off their desk and out into the real world.