If you want a wire-free mouse to use with your laptop, but don't reckon you can spare a USB port for a wireless dongle, the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse may be right up your street.
Unlike your average wireless peripheral, the HP is designed to latch directly on to your laptop's Wi-Fi. In theory, you can just hit the Connect button, leaving that precious USB port free.
It's a nice idea, and worked fine, once we'd got our heads around the idea that for once the software drivers really were necessary (we've become so unconcerned with peripheral drivers that we tried absolutely every other solution first). It's presumably in order to make the dongle-free wireless work that HP has been so prescriptive about your PC setup. As well as being a stickler for drivers, the HP Wi-Fi Mobile Mouse works only with Windows 7 machines, leaving XP fans and Mac backers in the cold.
That small caveat aside though, we were much impressed by HP's device. It's symmetrical (which I somewhat dislike) and the battery panel comes off a bit too easily, but it's otherwise attractive, robust, comfortable to use and accurate.
The HP fits nicely under the palm, although as a 'mobile' product it's smaller than most desktop mice, roughly the size of the Logitech Anywhere. We liked the weight and feeling of solidity, but again, 107g shouldn't be too much of a burden for laptop-toting road warriors.
Apologies for the blurry photos, but these should give an idea of the HP's size (my hand is neither unusually large or small)
The top surface is done in a sort of black brushed metal effect, and feels good under the fingers. The side buttons, scrollwheel and detailing are pale silver, and the side buttons protrude slightly, making them much easier to hit. It would be nice if the rightmost button was further forward, but that's a side effect of going for a symmetrical design. The side buttons are pre-programmed as forward and back in web browsers.
The scrollwheel itself can be pressed downwards, as the usual 'fifth button' arrangement. This is preset to switch the mouse into a convenient fast scroll action, whereby mousing up or down powers up or down through an iTunes library or long web page.
All of the mouse buttons can be re-programmed to other functions.
Windows 7 users only need apply, but they're in for a bit of a treat: a smart, reliable, comfy and accurate wireless mouse that doesn't even need a dongle to perform its magic.