IT CAME IN THE MAIL

It Came in the Mail

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Microsoft Mobile Memory Mouse 8000, a wireless laptop mouse combined with USB memory.

AIMED AT: Travelers who need freedom from USB-hogging devices.

HOW MUCH: $100

BUT DOES IT WORK? Two of the most useful laptop accessories are a mouse and a flash drive. But running both devices often uses up a laptop's only two available USB ports. In a "you-got-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate" moment, Microsoft has combined the two.

Flash drives are useful for moving files between computers and making backups of files created while traveling. Mice can be easier to work with than the touchpads and pointing sticks built into most laptops. This device provides a wireless mouse and flash drive while taking up only one USB port, so you can run another USB device, such as a digital camera or MP3 player, without having to lug around a USB hub.

The five-button gadget uses a laser for smooth and responsive tracking, even over such irregular surfaces as airline tray tables and pant legs. It has a rechargeable AA battery with a battery monitor, and it can also work as a Bluetooth mouse when paired with a Bluetooth laptop. The scroll wheel not only rotates for vertical scrolling, but also tilts side to side for horizontal scrolling. Software extras let you magnify portions of the screen and quickly flip through programs.

The short, stubby shape does not make for the most comfortable mousing experience, but it felt fine even on a long flight. It's available for right-handed PC or Mac users.

-- Daniel Greenberg

Microsoft Mobile Memory Mouse 8000 is available from http://www.microsoft.com/hardware.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company


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