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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Consumer Hardware & Components > Bluetooth Mice - why having a power switch is not as important

Bluetooth Mice - why having a power switch is not as important
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PLin
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Jul 9, 2004, 05:04 PM
 
I want to point out something that many people seem to misunderstand regarding the lack of a power switch on certain Bluetooth mice, such as the Macally BTMouseJr.

USB mice were notorious for draining batteries when you traveled with them, since the optical sensor always sensed movement, causing the mice to always be powered on while in your bag.

In contrast, if designed correctly, Bluetooth mice are able to sense that there is no Bluetooth link between the mouse and the computer that it was paired to. Although there is no power switch on the Macally BTMouseJr, when you turn Bluetooth off or sleep the PowerBook, the mouse will power off automatically after a few seconds. If you pickup the mouse, you will see that the light remains off.

Clicking the mouse button will wake up the mouse, but if it still does not sense a Bluetooth connection, it will power off again after a few seconds. Even if it gets thrown around inside of a bag and gets clicked accidentally, you are only losing a few seconds of battery before the mouse powers off again.

I have used the BTMouseJr. for about a month now, and the battery is just starting to run low. I frequently take it with me, and I see the light come on momentarily if one of the buttons gets clicked accidentally, but battery drainage is minimal. In comparison, I've taken wireless USB mice with me before, which will become dead in a matter of hours.

I don't mind having to change batteries occasionally. What I don't like is not having batteries ready when a mouse suddenly dies with no warning. With the BTMouseJr., the blue LED of the scroll wheel begins to blink occasionally when the batteries are starting to get low, so you know you should plan on having a replacement set ready.

Although there may be other Bluetooth mice on the market with a power button or other features, it's hard to beat the price if this mouse, which retails for only $49 and comes with a 3 year warranty. The Kensington PocketMouse Bluetooth retails for $119.99 with a street price of $69.99, and the unreleased Bluetooth mouse by MacMice.com will also cost $69.99.

Note, the Microsoft Intellimouse Bluetooth does not seem to automatically power off. I'm not sure if the Logitech MX900 does either. All I am saying is, don't rule out a Bluetooth mouse just because it does not have a power button without finding out first whether or not it has an automatic power off feature.

Peter
BT Boutique
www.btboutique.com
Technohappymeal
www.technohappymeal.com
     
f1000
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Jul 9, 2004, 11:25 PM
 
Just remove the mouse's batteries or add a paper shim between one of the batteries' terminals and its connector. That'll solve battery drainage issues during transport.
     
PLin  (op)
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Jul 10, 2004, 05:21 AM
 
Yeah, that's true, but most people wouldn't want the hassle of doing that if they take the mouse with them on a daily basis. I actually used to use your method when I traveled with a USB wireless mouse.

My point was that for some Bluetooth mice, such as the Macally mouse, it's not necessary to worry about it even though there's no physical power switch.
     
Casper Crane
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Jul 11, 2004, 05:43 PM
 
regarding the Kensington PocketMouse Bluetooth...

i didn't even know this was released. can anyone review it who has used it?

i like the MouseWorks software so much, but I need a bluetooth solution. If the StudioMouse came in Bluetooth, i would replace my RF version in a second.

how does the PocketMouse Bluetooth compare in size with the new MacAlly and the BlueTake?

does it track as well as an RF mouse?

much obliged.
     
pbarton
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Jul 11, 2004, 07:37 PM
 
I have been using the Kensington Pocketmouse Bluetooth for the past few days. So far, it is living up to my expectations.

I have the Mouseworks software installed. I do find it interesting that no software CD is included in the package. A section in the manual directs you to their website to download the software. (At least you are assured of having the latest version). As to the tracking, I am unable to tell the difference between this bluetooth mouse and the old wired Pocketmouse or the wired Optical Elite. Response is perfect and tracking is smooth.

The Pocketmouse Bluetooth is slightly larger than the wired Pocketmouse. It is of course heavier due to the two AA batteries (alkalines included). I have not used the MacAlly or Bluetake so I cannot provide comparison.

Pairing was a very simple process. I have yet to experience a dropped connection.

When you sleep your computer, the bluetooth connection is severed and the mouse turns off (There is no hard "on/off" switch"). When you wake your computer, a simple button click wakes the mouse and re-establishes a bluetooth connection in under a second.

Unsure of battery life at this point. I'll repost when the alkalines drain and then I'll switch to rechargables and let you know the results.

I purchased this directly from Kensington for $69. A few sites list it for much less, but no one else seems to have stock.
     
PLin  (op)
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Jul 11, 2004, 10:26 PM
 
Originally posted by pbarton:
When you sleep your computer, the bluetooth connection is severed and the mouse turns off (There is no hard "on/off" switch"). When you wake your computer, a simple button click wakes the mouse and re-establishes a bluetooth connection in under a second.
So the Kensington PocketMouse Bluetooth seems to have the same auto-off feature as the Macally mouse then. Since there was no mention of a power switch on Kensington's website or on the datasheet for the product, I called tech support to ask them about this. The tech told me that there was a power button on the underside of the mouse. He must have been clueless or something. Or, maybe he was referring to the PIlotMouse Bluetooth, which is due at the end of the month.

Peter
     
pbarton
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Jul 11, 2004, 10:59 PM
 
The only button on the bottom of the mouse is the "Connect" button which puts the mouse into "discover" mode. This is only used when first pairing the mouse and the computer. (The scroll wheel lights up to indicate that the mouse is in "discover" mode.)
     
Casper Crane
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Jul 12, 2004, 12:08 AM
 
thanks for the replies.

sounds like a good mouse. does the MouseWorks software allow you to set chording preferences for the two buttons?

oh, and is the scroll wheel clickable?

i think i'll pick one of these up before my upcoming travel.
     
PLin  (op)
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Jul 12, 2004, 12:48 AM
 
The Kensington PocketMouse Bluetooth doesn't seem to have any advantages over the Macally BTMouseJr. Both seem to be based on similar designs... connect button on the bottom, and scroll wheel that glows when in pairing mode. The Macally mouse scroll wheel also begins to light up and pulse faster and faster when battery life is getting low. I wonder if the Kensington mouse does that too.

If the two mice are so similar, then I would have to say that the Macally is the better buy at $49, since the Kensington costs 40% more at $70.

We have plenty of Macally mice in stock at BT Boutique, and we should be getting a few Kensington mice this week. Shipping is free right now.

Peter
BT Boutique
www.btboutique.com
Technohappymeal
www.technohappymeal.com
     
pbarton
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Jul 12, 2004, 07:44 AM
 
The Mouseworks software does allow chording and the scroll wheel is clickable and programmable.

I would disagree that the Kensington shows no advantage over the MacAlly. For me, the Mouseworks software makes all the difference. The built-in MacOS HID mouse driver does not offer the control over tracking and acceleration that Kensington provides in Mouseworks.

That makes it worth the extra money.

FYI, Buy.com sells the Kensington for $55. However, they currently have no stock.
     
-Q-
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Jul 12, 2004, 11:37 AM
 
I would have to agree that the Mouseworks software is a big differentiator when comparing it to the MacAlly Jr. The flexibility of that software truly allows for the user to really maximize how they interact with their mouse and their computer. I've always been disappointed by other companies' efforts in mouse software when compare to Mouseworks. Unfortunately, I prefer the Logitech mice design and their software can't hold a candle to Mouseworks.

I may have to pick up a a BT mouse for my powerbook soon. I'm really enjoying the freedom of a wireless mouse at home.
     
Casper Crane
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Jul 12, 2004, 03:29 PM
 
Originally posted by pbarton:
The Mouseworks software does allow chording and the scroll wheel is clickable and programmable.
well, that settles it. thanks so much. i have been waiting for a mouse like this for some time. the mx900 had to go back, mainly for lack of software.
     
Grayson
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Jul 13, 2004, 01:05 AM
 
I have had my BlueTake BT500 Blue Tooth mouse ordered from RadTech for a week now and I couldn't be happier with it. I thought the blue version looked bad in pictures but it's great looking in reality and performs like a champ. It does have an on/off switch but can go to sleep on it's on after about 5 minutes of inactivity. It requires no drivers and conforms to HID so it works with all BlueTooth compatible Macs out of the box. Perfect size for portable and desktop use. Two buttons and a scroll wheel which also doubles as a third button(perfect for Exposť). I highly recommend this mouse to all...
     
MilkmanDan
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Jul 13, 2004, 12:35 PM
 
I ordered a Logitech MX 900 BT mouse the same day I ordered my 12in Powerbook. I love it, and I hate it. Heres why:

Love: I have big hands. Its a big mouse. Its got a ton of buttons, which is nice for games and expose (which is really important for those of us with small laptop screens). The recharge dock is handy, but not a necessity for road trips. It matches the Powerbook in color and form. Battery life is quite good, and even so, it takes AA batteries. Good range, and quick BT response, I play HALO and its fine.

Hates: Some of my friends complain about its size, which is an actual issue for non large handed people. Left handed people are SOL. Logitech has no software for it, and no plans to write software for it. These means you don't have full access for programing its buttons. You pay extra money for the dock, which is easily replaced by an rechargeable battery thing (which you may already own anyhow these days, like me). No off button, and its not smart enough to turn itself off when it loses the connection (my biggest and only real complaint). It costs $99, and in all honesty most people don't need or want a lot of its features.

Ok, my list of hates is larger then my list of loves. I use this mouse constantly, and I love not having to plug in an RF adaptor or take the darn dock around. (One of my college roomies has the RF version of the same mouse, and he takes his dock with him to use. Very cumbersome.) I've recommended it to many people, though I wish Logitech would get off their lazy butts and write some drivers for it. Maybe something that tells the mouse to shut off when it loses it signal.

So if you're willing to shell out $99 for a mouse, go with the Mx 900.
     
f1000
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Jul 13, 2004, 07:43 PM
 
Originally posted by MilkmanDan:
No off button, and its not smart enough to turn itself off when it loses the connection (my biggest and only real complaint).
Yeah, you have to dock the MX900 to get it to shutoff. If your house power goes off, a docked mouse will actually turn on and drain itself.
     
Casper Crane
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Jul 14, 2004, 12:43 AM
 
it's amazing how important a silly thing like a mouse has become in this day and age.

well, i did it, i'm selling the RF wireless mouse and going bluetooth. getting the Kensington PocketMouse.

i would have bought from you Plin, but you (like almost everywhere else) don't have them in stock yet.

i hope i don't regret not waiting for the PilotMouse, but when i felt the RF version of the PilotMouse Pro, it was just too clunky.
     
PLin  (op)
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Jul 14, 2004, 01:22 AM
 
Originally posted by Casper Crane:
i would have bought from you Plin, but you (like almost everywhere else) don't have them in stock yet.
Actually, one of our distributors has some in stock now. If you place an order, it will almost definitely ship out tomorrow (Wednesday), unless they sell out overnight, which is highly unlikely.

Peter
BTBoutique
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Technohappymeal
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