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Gadget Review Logitech V400 Mini Optical Mouse

By Kailas Narendran
STAFF COLUMNIST

Pros

•Convenient internal stowage for USB dongle

•Excellent tracking

•Lots of degrees of freedom

•Tiny form for easy transport

Cons

•Bit small for big hands

Lowdown

The V400 is a revolution in portable mousing. It’s a compact, wireless USB dongle mouse for your laptop that provides a portable laser mouse solution, with an innovative stowage compartment that holds the dongle for convenient and easy storage and transport. The mouse is an excellent fit for the fast-paced lifestyle, providing mobility without the computer interface’s popular compromise of human factors and usability. The mouse has 8 degrees of freedom, providing desktop style control and productivity on any laptop.

Stowaway

Hands down, my primary fear in the dongle mice is the inevitable fate of the lost dongle. A mouse without its dongle is like a fluorescent light fixture without the ballast, a car without the wheels, or a can without beer. The unique innovation in the design of the V400, not found in any other portable mouse, is the miniature USB dongle, and matching stow away compartment located in the body of the mouse! The mouse and dongle travel together in your bag, like a hand in glove, till a flick of the finger unleashes the hidden weapon from the mothership, transforming it from an unassuming paperweight, to the samurai sword of the road warrior.

The construction of the mechanism was, as mentioned before, both innovative and very solid. It’s a feat of engineering and design that enabled Logitech to cram so much into a tiny package.

Interfacing

The fundamental problem with laptops has always been the human interface. While the trackpad or any other hack of two-dimensional control has been great when you’re squished in a plane seat, lecture hall, or bullock cart in a third world country, it just doesn’t make sense when you have first world comforts like a flat 12”x12” space to move a mouse. The interface of this mouse is full of features such as a tilt wheel (rolls up and down, as well as tilting to left and right), the pass left and right button, and an up down finger button.

The mouse utilizes a “dual laser engine” with an invisible laser to deliver excellent tracking performance on almost all surfaces. I tested on everything from a standard mouse pad to white paper (that standard optical mice fail on) with excellent results.

Software

A common disappointment and pet peeve of mine is an innovative hardware product coupled with only marginal software. Logitech delivers a great package with the V400, including SetPoint, a well-designed and written software driver and control panel that allow you to control and configure all your Logitech desktop hardware. The program allows you to easily and intuitively configure all the buttons and switches. It also has special settings for game support, providing the needed functionality for all applications.

The Bottom Line

The V400 has a suggested retail price of $50. A quick run through Froogle indicated it can easily be found for as low as $35. It also comes in a variety of colors to match your mobile computing color palette. You can find more information at http://www.logitech.com/.