Review: BT500 Rechargeable Bluetooth Mini Mouse by RadTech

Posted by Lab Rat


Bluetooth mice are all the rage these days, but the majority of them are plagued by the same nemesis all wireless devices must face; battery life. Nothing makes you feel more like a caveman than turning on your computer only to find your wireless mouse or keyboard’s batteries have died, and you are fresh out of AAA’s. Now you are forced to hunt around the garage for an old fashioned chorded mouse (I have actually had to use the “hockey puck� mouse that shipped with my original iMac on occasion).

RadTech has come as close to solving the problem as possible with their BT500 Rechargeable Bluetooth Mini Mouse.

Specs

The BT500 is a 3-button optical mouse (not laser) and has a 800 dpi tracking rating. It is quite small, about half the size of the Macally iLaser, and it weighs only 64 grams (including batteries). It is built for travel, and for an extra $10 RadTech sells a RadPack Travel Case for the BT500 that also can carry the recharging cable.

The BT500 ships with 2 NiMH rechargeable AAA batteries. Battery life is excellent thanks to its battery saving sleep mode. I got about 8 days of pretty heavy use out of the BT500 before a recharge was needed. RadTech claims the batteries can last as long as 6 weeks under moderate use (if you turn the mouse off when not in use). To charge the mouse, simply connect the mouse to an open powered USB port. A full charge takes about 2 hours.

I have seen a fair number of rechargeable mice that use the docking station/cradle solution to recharge, and while that works well if you always keep the mouse docked when not in use, it can be a bit of a pain if you accidentally drain it and have to wait a couple hours for it to charge before you can use it again.


RadTech chose to use a USB cable as a charger, meaning should you accidentally drain the BT500’s battery, you can simply connect the charging cable and keep working while it charges, in effect using it as a regular “chorded� mouse. This is not only a smart decision that minimizes downtime, it is also a necessary one, as the BT500 is a “mini� mouse, ideal for travel, and it would pretty much negate the portability benefits of the mouse if you had to also lug around a separate charging station.

Customization

These days, people expect more from a mouse than just 2 or 3 buttons and a scroll wheel, even from pint-sized mice like the BT500. To that end, RadTech has created the RadMouse Bluetooth HID Driver which adds a System Pref (are you listening, Macally?) allowing you to customize how the BT500’s buttons work. What is really neat is you can actually assign different actions based on different applications, so for instance if you wanted to assign the right mouse button to change the background color of a composition in After Effects 7, you can assign it to the key combo “Shift+Command+B�. However, in all other apps, right-clicking would act as normal. Very cool, and it works great.


Above: RadTech’s RadMouse software

Issues

The only complaint I have with the BT500 is I feel it is too small. This is not a problem so much with this mouse as travel mice in general. While I definitely prefer it to using the trackpad on my PowerBook, during extended use I find my hand cramps up, and really wants to extra support of a full-sized mouse.

Conclusion

The BT500 is an excellent travel mouse that provides very accurate tracking, great battery life, and a very intuitive customization experience via RadTech’s RadMouse software. If you are a road warrior, the BT500 is an excellent choice for on-the-go computing. However, (like most travel mice) I found it to be a bit too small to recommend as a desktop mouse replacement.

The BT500 Rechargeable Bluetooth Mini Mouse by RadTech

Price: $59.99
Pros: Great battery life, can use while charging, great software
Cons: Travel sized is great for travel, but not as a desktop mouse replacement, case costs extra

Comments
One Response to “Review: BT500 Rechargeable Bluetooth Mini Mouse by RadTech”
  1. SciGuy says:

    I own the regular BT500 and admit that I was somewhat shocked by the size when it arrived. But after about a week of use, it felt fine. I use it every day and love it – I don’t think the small size should be a disqualifier. But it certainly takes some getting used to.

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