I traveled for years and one thing I learned about myself was that I needed a mouse for laptop work. I worked on an IBM ThinkPad for a long time with its pointing stick and as good as I got using it, I never mastered it. More often, it was just a huge pain. Between the delayed reaction or overreaction and the pain in my index finger, nobody was happier that my new laptop had a touchpad than me.
When I think about my time using a touchpad, they are not happy years. Mostly I used it on the plane or whenever I needed to do some quick computing on my laptop. Compared to a mouse for laptop work, the touchpad is kind of like running a sack race. You can get around in a sack, but it’s very frustrating and not very user-friendly. Touchpads vary greatly among laptop computers and laptop notebooks, but my biggest complaint was how they would seem to move the pointer just when I didn’t want it to move or sit there mocking me, when I needed it to move.
I remember when the first computer mice came on the scene and for those of us who had all the keyboard shortcuts memorized; it seemed like an unnecessary evil. I couldn’t imagine having to take my hand off the keyboard to work with the mouse. It would only slow me down.
Of course over time, I realized that computing was a compromise between some tasks that are easier to do with a keyboard and some that are easier to do with a mouse. With the advent of more features like the scroll wheel, modern mice have continued to add more and more tasks that they do well and mostly better than a keyboard alone.
With the advent of the wireless mouse and keyboard, data entry has become about as user-friendly as it can be using those two devices. I don’t know what the future holds for pointing devices and keyboards. Maybe they’ll both go away as we will use our voice or movements of our head and eyes to handle simple movements of the cursor. The one thing I do know is that the mouse will be around for awhile.
A specially-designed mouse for laptop work or mobile mouse is different from a desktop mouse in that it is more compact, lighter in weight, usually has an on/off switch, and may not have all the bells and whistles of full-sized desktop mice.
So what makes a good mouse for laptop work? First it should be mobile, which means small and lightweight. The first time you try to use your mouse on what’s left of the seat tray, or on top of your laptop, you will know what I mean. Truthfully, if you only use your mouse at the office and never travel, a full-size mouse is a fine choice. For you 100% travel road warriors out there, a compact mouse is a necessity.
Another reason small is better for a laptop, particularly if it is truly a mobile companion, is storage. You are already carrying every possible item you can fit in your laptop backpack or laptop bag and the last thing you need is something that takes up more space. Having a small mouse that will fit in that tiny zipper pocket is a real advantage that frees up space in bigger pockets of laptop bags for larger items.
An on/off switch is a necessity. Many of the newer mice shut down automatically when not used for a specified period of time to conserve battery power. That’s nice, but it depends on the mouse not detecting any movement. When your mouse is rattling around in a laptop case it may not realize it’s not in use and continue to draw battery power even when you’re not really using it. An on/off switch prevents that.
Need a new laptop or notebook? Don’t miss our articles Best PC Laptops: 5 Best Touchscreen/Convertible Windows Notebooks 2014, Top Laptop Brands: Top 5 Touchscreen Windows Notebooks 2014, and HP Laptop: Top 5 Best Selling HP Laptops 2013!
Another aspect of mouse use to consider is the surface you will be using it on. It’s common that you don’t have a mouse pad with you on your trips and so you have to use whatever surface life throws at you. Different mouse technologies work differently on different surfaces so it might be better to get a mouse that can work on the most different surfaces reliably.
You need one of three things when considering a mobile mouse for laptop or notebook use. You need a stowable wireless transceiver and/or a small transceiver that can remain in your laptop USB port. If your mouse uses a long transceiver, you won’t be able to leave it in the USB port during transport and it probably won’t be stowable inside the mouse. Make sure you get a small transceiver or one that definitely is stowable inside the mouse. Finally, if you don’t want to have to deal with the transceiver or you don’t have an extra USB port, consider a Bluetooth version.
The only caution we have about Bluetooth mice is that like any other Bluetooth-enabled device the connection can become unreliable. Although it probably should be, Bluetooth does not appear to be as reliable as a wireless mouse using a wireless USB transceiver. I’m sure Bluetooth advocates will disagree, but that is our experience.
It probably goes without saying that you should choose a wireless mouse since we’ve already discussed the transceiver, but there are still wired versions available as a discount price for those who are trying to save money. We recommend wireless mice because of their convenience, but wired versions do exist. All of the mice we selected are wireless.
Ultimately, you need to decide which mobile mouse is best for you, but we have some recommendations. We have done the research and selected our picks for the Top 5 Notebook-Friendly Mice. We need to warn you in advance that you won’t find a gaming mouse in the bunch and all the mice are either Microsoft or Logitech. We can assure you though that we aren’t Microsoft or Logitech fans. They just seem to make great mice!
Read on to see if one of these essential pieces of computer technology is the right one for you!
Mouse for Laptop: Top 5 Notebook-Friendly Windows Mice
Here is our Top 5. They are mostly popular, feature-laden, compact, and ergonomic. We hope there is one for you on our list.
#5 – Microsoft Wireless 3500 Mobile Mouse for Laptop
This model has the BlueTrack Technology that claims to work on the most surfaces although it doesn’t work on glass or mirrored surfaces like the Logitech models. Because it uses a laser it has the potential to be more accurate on most surfaces.
- Small transceiver stows in the bottom of the mouse
- Up to 8 months battery life from a single battery
- Power indicator tells you when to replace the battery
- On/Off switch allows you to conserve battery during travel
- Ergonomically designed for both left- and right-hand operation
The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 is available in a variety of colors/graphics including Black, Aqua Blue, Cheuk, Citron Green, Cyan, Dahlia Pink, Flame Red, James, Loch Ness Gray, Lyon, Lyon 2, Magenta Pink, McClure, McClure 2, Oh Joy, Perrson (Artist), Saksi, Sea Blue, Tchmo (Artist), White Gloss, and Zansky. It’s interesting to us that the 3500 model doesn’t have a single color in common with the 4000 model.
- Very lightweight
- Long lasting battery life
- Comfortable in hand
- Great value
- Click sound is louder than many
- No battery-saving feature
- Scroll wheel not smooth
- No side buttons
#4 – Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Bluetooth Mouse (H3S-00003)
This mouse is optimized for Windows (I would hope so!) In particular it has a Windows touch tab for accessing apps and the Windows 8 Start Screen. This model has Bluetooth technology so no transceiver dongle and no need for a USB port. This model has Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology that uses a laser to provide more accurate tracking on most surfaces (except glass and mirrored glass).
- Bluetooth wireless technology – no USB port or transceiver dongle required
- Windows optimization includes a Windows touch tab for accessing apps and the Windows 8 Start Screen by simply pushing or swiping the center of the blue strip
- BlueTrack Technology uses a laser for better mouse tracking on a variety of surfaces
- Designed for right-handed users, the right-handed thumb scoop and tilt wheel give you 4-way scrolling including left, right, up, and down
- Also works with most Android tablets
- Very comfortable in the hand
- Optimized for Windows 8
- Operates on a wide range of surfaces
- Tilting scroll wheel is a real timesaver
- Bluetooth connection can be unreliable
- Some have experienced delays in Bluetooth communication
- A little heavier than most requiring two AA batteries instead of just one
#3 – Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000
Again, this Microsoft model, the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000, uses Microsoft’s highly-touted BlueTrack laser technology which promises better tracking on most surfaces (except glass and mirrored glass surfaces). Wireless lets you roam up to 15 feet which may be handy for presentations.
- Microsoft’s BlueTrack laser technology for better tracking on a wider variety of surfaces
- Tiny transceiver can be left in a USB port or stowed on the underside of the mouse
- Up to 10-month battery life
- Battery status indicator eliminates surprises
- 4-way scrolling and Tilt Wheel Technology
- Four customizable buttons give you quicker access to your most used media, apps, and files
- 3-Year limited hardware warranty
The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 is available in a variety of colors/graphics including Graphite, White, Downtown, Eggplant Dot, Light Orchid Pink (official Susan G. Komen breast cancer awareness version), Ruby Pink, and Wool Blue.
- Great battery life
- Fits in tight compartments
- Super small USB transceiver
- Price reasonable for a true Microsoft product
- Doesn’t work on mirrored or glass surfaces
- Needs clicking or notched scroll wheel
- Missing 5th forward button
- Does not come with case
#2 – Logitech M325 Wireless Mouse (910-002974)
Smooth scrolling and web browsing features characterize this mouse entry from Logitech. It’s the Logitech M325 Wireless Mouse and it comes with a contoured, ergonomic design, and snappy colors/graphics to match any personality.
- This Logitech mouse was designed specifically for web-scrolling using a micro-precise scroll wheel. Spin the wheel to navigate long web pages, tilt it to move forward or back from one web page to another, and easily switch to line-by-line scrolling
- Advanced optical tracking insures accurate tracking across a variety of surfaces
- Textured rubber grips along its contoured shape make this mouse comfortable to use with less fatigue
- Amazing battery life of up to 18 months thanks to a smart sleep mode that conserves battery power
- A handy power indicator light eliminates surprises
- Tiny USB wireless transceiver can be left in a USB port full time
- Logitech’s unifying wireless allows you to add multiple additional unifying-compatible devices like a wireless keyboard without needing additional transceivers
- Get a fast, reliable, drop-free, and delay-free connection using Logitech’s advanced 2.4 GHz wireless
- Compatible for use with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers
The Logitech M325 Wireless Mouse is available in a variety of colors/graphics including Black, Black Topography, Crimson Ribbons, Liquid Color, and White Paisley.
- Great value
- Long battery life
- Comfortable design
- Tracks well on many surfaces
- No feedback from scrolling wheel
- Many reports that the size is too small
- Clicking noise louder than some
#1 – Logitech Wireless Anywhere Mouse MX for PC and Mac
You can take the Logitech Wireless Anywhere Mouse MX, well, anywhere! This is a very compact mouse designed to track well on just about any surface, including glass. You will take it everywhere easily thanks to its travel-inspired size and design.
- Compact size and light weight easily travel with you anywhere
- Logitech’s Darkfield Laser Precision tracking works on more surfaces including glass desks where laser mice can’t roam
- Tiny USB receiver can stay in your laptop full time
- Navigate long documents or web pages with one spin using the spinnable wheel
- Move easily to click-to-click scrolling when accurate line-by-line navigation is required
- Connect up to 6 unifying-compatible wireless devices without the need for additional transceivers and without tying up additional USB ports
- Navigate like a pro forward and backward through web pages and pictures using dual thumb buttons
- Fast data transmission and reliable wireless means solid connections that are virtually delay-free and drop-free
- You will appreciate the natural sculpted contours designed to fit your fingers perfectly for a more natural grip
- Handy travel pouch is included to protect and transport your mouse
- Works well on any surface
- Protective carrying case included
- Tracking is smooth and reliable
- Works on both Macs and PCs
- Some reports of failing buttons
- Dedicated middle-click button is awkward
- Short battery life reported in some cases
Mouse for Laptop Comparison Chart
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See which mice PC Magazine likes in this great article The Top 10 Best Computer Mice.
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As always, thanks for reading our laptop accessory article! We sincerely hope that it has provided you with valuable information that helps you choose the best mouse for laptop work!