Review: MacMice Mouse BT
MacMice’s original version of the Mouse was quite impressive, but many wanted a Bluetooth version, especially since Apple now offers one. We had the opportunity to try the Mouse BT from MacMice, now calling itself DVForge.
At first glance, the Mouse BT looks like it could have been made by Apple. It features the same white jellybean-wrapped-in-Lucite look of Apple’s mice. A silver version is also available. Instead of the Mouse BT itself being a button, as with Apple’s mice, there are two conventional buttons separated by a crack running approximately half the length of the mouse. A translucent rubber scroll wheel is centered between the two buttons, and just like the scroll wheel on MacMice’s original wired USB Mouse, does not have clicking detents. Whether this is a feature or an omission is a matter of personal preference.
The Mouse BT
The Mouse BT (Bottom View)
A Comparison of the Mouse BT + the Apple Pro Mouse
No Bluetooth dongle is included, as many recent Macs include onboard Bluetooth as standard or optional equipment. Users who don’t have Bluetooth can use any standard dongle with the Mouse BT. We tested it with a Power Mac G5 with built-in Bluetooth and an iBook with a Belkin Bluetooth module.
Installation requires that the user manually pair the Mouse BT with the computer. This is a painless process that involves running the Bluetooth Setup Assistant. Mac OS X will automatically recognize the mouse and basic functions will work (left/right click, scroll, and clicking the scroll wheel in Safari or Camino opens a link in a new tab). The Mouse BT glows bright red when used, as the optical LED reflects throughout the plastic on the bottom of it. Tracking is almost as precise as if the mouse was hardwired, with no skipping. We did find that clicking the buttons required you to click near the top-end of the buttons – you can’t click more towards the middle of the mouse like you can on Apple’s Pro Mouse or a few others.
The Mouse BT can have specific buttons programmed using the optional MouseCommand software. Although we loathed the previous version, the current one (v11) is one of the best mouse programming utilities we’ve seen.
In normal use, battery life was between one and two weeks. Two AA batteries are included. We’d recommend that you use a good set of rechargeable AA batteries and a charger. What is nice is that the Mouse BT has an on/off switch on the bottom, allowing you to turn off the mouse when not in use to save battery power. The computer and the mouse automatically re-pair when the mouse is turned on. The switch itself felt rather cheap, as did the cover for the battery compartment. This was a bit disappointing for any product of this price.
In our tests, the Mouse BT is a decent product, although it does have its quirks. Anyone looking for a multi-button, scrolling replacement for Apple’s Bluetooth Pro Mouse would do well to check out the Mouse BT.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
The Mouse BT is a stylish, capable replacement for Apple’s mice, but might not be for everyone.
Pros: Elegant design, works right out of the box, matches Apple’s hardware, easy to set up
Cons: Construction feels skimpy in some areas, occasionally skips