When they’re not trading tales of taxi-line traumas and bad-hotel horror stories, frequent travelers like to swap brags and boasts: One time I jumped from standby for coach to a free seat in business class. I made it from O’Hare gate C2 to B17 in ten minutes flat. Or, with the Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M555b: I edited the entire annual report with only a two-inch strip of mouse room on my tray table. I scrolled through 4,000 spreadsheet rows in eight seconds.
The M555b ($50) is Logitech’s newest mobile mouse, designed for notebooks and netbooks with built-in Bluetooth wireless. Hence it has no USB receiver to fuss with, unlike most cordless mice. Its laser sensor works smoothly on a good variety of surfaces (with the universal optical-mouse exceptions of glass and mirrors), while its 1,000 dpi resolution lets it work in only a couple of inches of maneuvering room.
Like other notebook mice, it’s a tad smaller than the desktop variety — 2.3 by 3.9 by 1.3 inches — but feels solid enough, at 4.1 ounces with its two AA batteries, to track without skating or wobbling in the hand. Its rounded-rectangle shape should prove comfortable for both left- and right-handed mousers, while the batteries are rated for 10 or 11 weeks between swaps.
Instead of side-mounted or thumb buttons, the Logitech has one extra button on top, just behind the scroll wheel. Its default function is as an application switcher that pops up a view of your desktop with preview screens or windows for switching among active programs — a 2D version of Windows Vista’s Flip 3D alternative to Alt-Tab, if you will.
If you miss other mice’s Back and Forward buttons for navigating through Web pages, Logitech’s SetPoint software driver lets you assign those functions to a left and right tilt of the scroll wheel — so the slight nudge that scrolls horizontally in your spreadsheet, for instance, retraces your steps in your browser. We’ve raved in other reviews that this is the handiest implementation of Back and Forward in the mouse business; it continues to be an advantage for Logitech over Microsoft, whose driver doesn’t let you customize the tilt-wheel function.
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