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A4Tech BatteryFree Mouse
Date 15th November 2004
Author Yoink
Editor James "Agg" Rolfe
Manufacturer A4Tech


Testing:
During testing, I compared the mouse to four other mice, using various typical functions.

Click to Enlarge
Logitech Notebook, A4Tech BatteryFree, MS WireLess, Logitech MouseMan, MS Intellimouse

I considered the following criteria:
  • Game usage: how well the mouse worked in a few different FPS games.
  • Responsiveness: when the mouse is moved, is there an apparent lag?
  • Non-Skipability: How quickly can you move the mouse before it skips?
  • Office / Internet browsing: How useful is the mouse in an office situation?
Each one is ordered from 1 to 5 with 1 being best at the task.


As far as game usage goes, this mouse is rather good, as it is responsive, and almost impossible to make it skip; I put this down to the fact it is using the new RFID technology and the custom mouse pad. The other mice simply didn't stack up, even on the A4Tech mouse pad. However, using this mouse in an office / internet environment was quite frustrating. It does not have any special office or browsing buttons, and here is it's major downfall: the scroll-wheel. The wheel itself is fine, the clicking "steps" work really well, and I actually prefer it to any of the other mice, but the wheel button is ridiculously difficult to press, the amount of pressure required is at least 3-4 times more than any of the other mice. This usually causes you to move the mouse accidentally by a few pixels, and sometimes you miss whatever you were clicking on.

You might be asking why I did not compare this mouse to more recent gaming mice, such as the Logitech MX510, or a Boomslang. This is because I don't really consider any of those mice to be in the same category as this one; the A4-tech is about AUD $33, and you simply cannot buy a specialised gaming mouse for that amount of money. Suffice to say that specialised gaming mice beat this mouse hands down - I have used the MX510, and a Boomslang for gaming before - but in its own price bracket, the A4Tech BatteryFree really excels.

I also tested the refresh rate, using Mouse Rate Checker, it stayed at 125Hz consistantly.

The mouse pad itself is very good. The surface is smooth and has a nice finish. It's a little over 2.5 millimeters thick, which is more comfortable than taller plastic mousepads.

Click to Enlarge
The mouse and the pad: pretty neat!

Conclusions:
This mouse is quite good for casual gamers who don't use the wheel button, and it is also ok for general mouse related tasks, although it would be nice to have a few more features such as browsing buttons. As you've probably thought by now: why bother with a wireless mouse, when the pad that is MUST run on is corded? Initially I was skeptical of this issue as well, but if you think about it: all other RF-based cordless mice also require the use of a USB port, (bar bluetooth in some cases), and usually a mouse pad. The cord on the mouse pad is quite thin and un-obtrusive, and as such doesn't cause too much of an issue; that, and the fact that the surface of the pad is very good, makes this quite a neat package for the price. If you can ignore the wheel-button issue, then this is the mouse for you. So, will this be my mouse of choice? Well, sadly no, I use the wheel-button too much for FireFox's link-tabbing feature; I may well try to fix the wheel-button click issue, as this is otherwise an awesome mouse - keep watching for an update when I mod it..

Pros:
  • Doesn't skip, and is very responsive for a wireless mouse.
  • Never needs batteries
  • Really light
  • Fits nicely in your hands
Cons:
  • Must use supplied "magic" mousepad
  • Wheel button too tight
Early mouse image courtesy of http://sloan.stanford.edu/MouseSite/.


All original content copyright James Rolfe.
All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.
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