So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Rapoo 6610 Dual-mode Optical Mouse
Rapoo's 6610 Dual-mode Optical Mouse offers wireless connectivity via either Bluetooth 3.0, or an included 2.4GHz wireless dongle.
- Good size for travel, or small hands
- Bluetooth 3.0/2.4GHz wireless operation
- Comfortable mechanical scroll wheel
- Rubberised grip on sides
- Bluetooth connection occasionally dropped out in our tests
- Dinky to the average- or large-handed
Though Rapoo’s 6610 is otherwise a good all-round wireless travel mouse, we were unimpressed by the reliability of the Bluetooth communication. The dual-mode connectivity may prove very useful to some, but most will find it pointless thanks to the ubiquity of Bluetooth on modern laptops.
Price$ 33.00 (AUD)
The Rapoo 6610 is a travel-sized optical mouse that has the distinguishing feature of supporting both Bluetooth 3.0 and a proprietary 2.4GHz wireless dongle. That’s its one and only distinguishing feature – it’s fortunate such a setup is rare, or this would be a remarkably short review.
Rapoo advertises compatibility with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and Mac OS 10.4 and above. We found it worked fine on all of the above, and anything else we could find that accepted a USB-connected pointing device.
The included ‘nano receiver’ is tiny as its name suggests, and could easily be left plugged into a USB port on your laptop or Windows tablet. No drivers are required – the 6610 doesn’t come with a useless little CD you’ll end up throwing away with the packaging. Simply plug in the receiver, turn the mouse on via a sliding switch on the bottom, and you’re up and running within a second or two.
If your laptop or other mouse-capable device supports Bluetooth, you can do away with the USB receiver entirely. It stores neatly in the battery compartment beneath the mouse, so you won’t end up losing it – though if you’ve a Bluetooth-capable PC, you’ll probably never look upon that little USB receiver again.
Bluetooth setup involves turning the mouse on, pressing a ‘connect’ button on the base, then pairing it with your PC in whatever manner your system requires. In Windows 8, for instance, click Charms, Settings, Change PC settings, Devices, Add a Device, then click the mouse that appears in the pop-up list. After a few seconds, the mouse is set up and you’re free to use it.
One one hand, it’s very nifty to be able to buy a wireless mouse and not worry about whether or not it will work with your PC. If you’ve got Bluetooth, you get a wireless mouse that just works, no adapter required, no USB port taken up. This is particularly useful if you’ve an Ultrabook or Windows tablet, where you may only have one or two USB ports. If you don’t have Bluetooth, plug in the USB adapter, spend that one USB port, and you’ve got a working wireless mouse. Voila. That’s a lot of convenience for a mouse we found selling online for NZ$33-$36.
On the other hand, it seems a lot of needless complexity for a thirty-three dollar mouse. Unless you frequently switch between mobile PCs with, and without, Bluetooth support, and wish to use the same mouse across all of them, there is absolutely no advantage over buying one of two models: a USB-connected or Bluetooth-connected version.
‘Dual-mode’ sounds cool, and convenient, but it’s not like a dual-mode petrol/electric car, where the combination gives you some benefit. It’s like a dual-mode car that you can switch between left- and right-hand drive. Unless you live one one of those very odd borders where the roads switch from one side to another, you’re likely to set the thing to whichever option you need and leave it that way forever more.
Sure, if you work with laptops for a living, having a wireless mouse you can pull out, which will happily work on whatever you’ve got sitting in front of you is a real advantage. That’s the niche, though. You’re the person living on the border of Guyana and Brazil. You can make good use of that dual-mode car... or to drop my silly and over-stretched analogy, this dual-mode mouse. It’s a great bargain, go get one now. For the rest of us, that feature is pretty much pointless.
As a mouse, the Rapoo 6610 is ‘pretty decent’. It’s very much travel-sized, at just 95mm long and 58mm wide. I found it perched nicely beneath my index and middle fingers, but provided no real palm support. This is not a mouse you’d want to use for nine hours a day at work. Sitting in a hotel lobby, or a borrowed meeting room, for a half-hour at a time? Far more appropriate.
The 6610 glides well, has a nice heft to it thanks to the two disposable AA batteries it runs from (battery life is advertised as up to nine months), and tracks well on opaque surfaces. Wood, metal and smooth fabric all provided a good mousing experience. This is not a fancy mouse that will track on glass or mirrored surfaces, though. Anything transparent proved a no-go.
The mouse has 1000DPI infrared (invisible) tracking, which is fine for a desktop environment. This ain’t a gaming mouse, but it didn’t give me any trouble in Windows/Mac OS, productivity applications, or Photoshop, Illustrator and other creativity apps. The clicky, mechanical scroll wheel is comfortable and reliable, and works well as a third button without accidentally scrolling back and forth when you try to click it.
Read more: Roccat Kone Pure gaming mouse
The only problem we found was – sadly – a pretty big one. When tested on multiple PCs with a Bluetooth connection, the mouse would occasionally (roughly once or twice an hour) show great lag in its movement, or disconnect entirely. In the former case, it came right on its own after a minute or two. When it spontaneously disconnected, we had to unpair the mouse via Windows, turn the device off and on again, then re-pair it with the Bluetooth connect button, before we could use it via Bluetooth again.
We had absolutely no problems using the mouse via USB, on those same PCs.
Overall, the Rapoo 6610 looks like a much better idea than it actually is. Sure, it’s clever, but it’s not all that much more useful than a regular wireless mouse. In fact, it seemed to handle Bluetooth connection worse than a mouse solely designed for it.
If you need a cheap wireless travel mouse, and intend to use the USB connection, go for it. It’s small, comfortable for short periods of use, and works just fine. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth mouse, perhaps look elsewhere.
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