Playing CAD and Mouse

30 Nov, 2013 By: Heather Livingston,Robert Green

Cadalyst Labs Report: Cadalyst Labs navigates the maze of input device options for users of 2D and 3D computer-aided design.

Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000
Wireless travel mouse
Overall Grade: B

Pros: Fits easily in laptop bags; tracks well on surfaces other than glass; no mouse pad needed.

Cons: Too small for large hands; wheel spins too freely; requires a battery.

Price: $34.95 retail ($19.99)

Microsoft | 877.696.7786 |

Are you looking for a compact wireless mouse that'll work for CAD, yet fit in the smallest laptop bag? That's the niche this travel mouse is striving to occupy, and for the most part, it succeeds.

Microsoft's Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 is easy to take and use anywhere, but may be too small for some hands.
Microsoft's Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 is easy to take and use anywhere, but may be too small for some hands.

Using a wireless USB-mounted nanoreceiver, the Mobile Mouse 4000 installed perfectly on both test machines. Like its big brother, the Comfort Mouse, the Mobile Mouse 4000 has slick motion pads and BlueTrack optics that result in fast and accurate performance on all surfaces I tried, other than glass. The unit requires one AA battery, and the stated battery life of 10 months under normal use seems achievable given the sturdy, bottom-mounted power switch that lets you disconnect the battery when not in use.

Its small size (2.4" x 4") and wireless architecture make it easy to tuck this mouse into your laptop bag, but also made it difficult for me to find a natural resting position for my hand. In fact, after 30 minutes of use I experienced noticeable tendon fatigue. (I do have large hands, so I may be overly sensitive to this issue.)

A single extra button on the left side of the mouse and a standard scrollable, clickable wheel covered most CAD zooming and panning functions, but could be limiting for 3D rendering and visualization software users. As with the Comfort Mouse, I found the wheel a bit too easy to spin.

The Mobile Mouse 4000 is covered by a three-year limited warranty. Microsoft honors returns for 30 days from the date of purchase provided the item has not been opened or altered from its original state and does not show wear or damage.

The Mobile Mouse 4000 feels well built and nicely balanced. For travel scenarios where compact size is a boon and short-duration software use is the norm, this mouse is a fine choice. But, due to ergonomic incompatibility, I wouldn't want to use it for extended periods of time and certainly wouldn't adopt it for use at my desktop CAD workstation.

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