Back in May, HP announced availability of a Wi-Fi enabled mouse, targeted at mobile users. The aptly named HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse uses a systems’ Wi-Fi controller as its interface, eliminating the need to plug in a dedicated USB transceiver dongle. On USB starved notebooks, not having to plug in a dongle means freeing up a valuable port and not having to carry around (and potentially lose) another piece of hardware.
In terms of its specifications, the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse’ major advantage over most traditional travel mice with dedicated 2.4GHz transceivers is its 30 ft. range. And we can attest to that range—this mouse works from across the room, which also makes it a potentially interesting device for HTPC users. But that’s an experiment for a different day.
We’ve had a chance to play around with the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse for a few weeks now and have mixed feelings about it. Let’s get all of the good stuff out there first. The HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse is built very well. HP obviously used relatively high quality materials here, as the mouse just feels better and is clearly sturdier than the vast majority of mobile mice we’ve used in the past. As we mentioned, the range on the mouse is also very good; we had no trouble using it from across the room on an Asus Eee PC 1215N, a Lenovo G555 and an HP G72. Battery life also seems very good. HP claims 9 months of battery life out of a couple AAA batteries, and after almost two months we’ve seen no sign of the thing slowing down due to depleted batteries. Installation and setup is also very easy. The included HP driver and installation CD installs a driver and discovery app that scans for and connects to the device in a similar manner to any Bluetooth mouse.
Initially, we were very impressed with almost every facet of the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse. But once we tried it on our Asus Eee PC 1215N, we uncovered a couple of issues. First, after installing the included software, the machine wouldn’t shut down properly. It would just hang on the Win7 “Shutting Down” screen. The shut down problem seemed to fix itself, however. We're not sure if it was a Windows Update or what, but the problem went away on its own after about a week of trying different drivers, ports, etc. And second, we found that the mouse would act erratically when switching between wireless networks on the notebook or when we were in areas with fringe Wi-Fi coverage. It seemed as if the mouse would behave differently when the system’s Wi-Fi controller had to re-handshake or manage its connection to the network. Although we didn’t have any issues on three different systems, we should also point out that HP recommends using the mouse with Win7-certified Wi-Fi controllers and the mouse is only compatible with Windows 7.
With that said, the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse is still one of our favorite mobile mice. The build quality is there, it looks and feels good, and when it works, it works very well. At about 50 bucks, the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse is somewhat more expensive than a typical name-brand wireless mobile mouse, but the additional investment is warranted if you’d like to free up a USB port and have a mouse that’ll work at long range, which could come in handy during presentations, etc.
If any of you have used HP's Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know about your experiences in our Forum or the comment section below.
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