Why Buy a Bluetooth Mouse?
The top performers in our review are the Logitech MX Master, the Gold Award winner; the Microsoft Sculpt Comfort, the Silver Award winner; and the Logitech Ultrathin, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a Bluetooth mouse to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
A computer mouse is an often-overlooked tool. You don't tend to think about it until it stops working or the cursor stops responding effectively to your movements. Your mouse is a digital extension of your hand – it allows you to grab, drop, draw, outline, cut, copy and paste. It can be as simple as a single-blade pocketknife or as complex as a deluxe Swiss army knife. It's a critical tool that allows you to optimize your digital efficiency. Without one, you won't get very far.
A Bluetooth mouse is functionally no different from a typical mouse, except it has no wires. Instead of sending command signals on a wire through a USB port, it communicates the same commands through a wireless signal that your computer receives via Bluetooth technology. Without the cable, your desk is cleaner and more organized. There's also one less wire to tangle up, one less cable for someone to snag as they pass by your desk and one less distraction as you work. When a wireless Bluetooth mouse works properly, you forget that a wire ever existed.
The best Bluetooth mouse pairs with your computer or laptop automatically after the first time you pair it. You can sit down in the coffee shop, open your laptop and immediately start using your Bluetooth mouse. You don't have to untangle a cord, find a free USB port or go through a series of steps to connect it to your computer. It's that easy.
Bluetooth vs. Radio Frequency
There are two wireless mouse technologies – Bluetooth and radio frequency (RF). Functionally, both wireless technologies send signals over the same 2.4GHz frequency. The major difference is the RF mouse requires a USB dongle to communicate with your computer. The advantage of this is that you can use it with any computer that has a USB port. A Bluetooth mouse only works with computers that recognize Bluetooth devices.
Fortunately, most computers and laptops on the market come with Bluetooth compatibility out of the box. Pairing your Bluetooth mouse is typically no more difficult than plugging one in a USB port. The major advantage of Bluetooth mice is their lack of a USB receiver. The USB dongles used by RF mice are the size of a nickel – easy to lose in a computer bag or backpack. If you lose the USB dongle, your RF mouse is no more than a fancy hand rest. In addition, using a Bluetooth mouse opens up a USB port, which enhances the overall functionality of your computer.
Cursor Accuracy & Functionality
A Bluetooth mouse is only as good as its cursor accuracy, which depends on how well the optical sensor reads the surface of whatever you're working on. Since Bluetooth mice are intrinsically portable, you should consider a mouse that is accurate on many types of surfaces. It should work as well on your marble kitchen counters as it does on the table of your favorite coffee shop.
Next, you should consider the functionality of the mouse. Is it portable enough for you, or is it so bulky that it can’t leave your desktop? A portable mouse should easily slip into your pocket. What type of functions do you care about? On the most basic level, a mouse features two buttons and a scroll. If you need more functionality, you can find models with additional buttons or motion sensors that allow you to go back or forward to previous pages while browsing the internet. Some even allow you to customize the functions to your specific needs – like one button for copying text and another for pasting.
After surface accuracy and functionality, you should consider your grip comfort. A mouse can feel like it was molded to your hand, but you won't use it for long if it lacks cursor accuracy and functionality. Likewise, a mouse can be very accurate and have lots of functions and buttons, but if it doesn't feel comfortable in your hand, you're not going to use it for long. Comfort is subjective because your hand size is unique. It can be impossible to determine a mouse's comfort before you've put your hand on it. As such, we considered the grip styles that each mouse can comfortably accommodate.
The best way to ensure you find a comfortable Bluetooth mouse is to analyze your grip before you purchase one. There are three types of common grip types – palm, claw and fingertip. It's common for people to unconsciously transition between different grips, depending on the type of work performed. Most Bluetooth mice are best for one type of grip but can comfortably accommodate other grip styles. However, some ergonomic mice only allow one type of grip, which can be awkward and uncomfortable if the grip is not one you often use.
With a palm grip, your entire palm rests on the mouse with your thumb off to the side and your index and middle fingers over the front. Most of the movement comes from the elbow and shoulder. A mouse designed for this grip is going to provide support to your palm, which means that it has a deep, rounded arch. These mice often incorporate rests that look like fins on the side that allow you to keep your thumb, ring and pinky fingers from dragging on the desktop. The rests often have additional buttons.
When you use a claw grip, the heel of your palm rests on the back of the mouse while the rest of the hand arches over the mouse until only fingertips touch. This grip is most common with gamers because the arched fingers provide more agility. These mice are smaller with simple curves and no finger rests, and the bulk of the movement comes from the elbow and shoulder.
Only the fingertips touch the mouse when you use a fingertip grip. These Bluetooth mice tend to be thin and small. Often, the wrist and back of the palm rest on the desktop or a padded wrist rest while the fingertips move the mouse. It's also more common for these mice to have touch-sensitive controls.
In this Bluetooth mouse review, we tested and reviewed 10 products and ranked them according to the surface accuracy, functionality, design and support features offered by the manufacturer. To learn more, you can read our articles on Bluetooth mice.
Bluetooth Mouse: How We Tested, What We Found
Since cursor accuracy is critical to the performance of a mouse, we thoroughly tested each Bluetooth mouse on six different surfaces – laminate, wood, marble, denim, carpet and glass. Laminate and wood are the most common types of desktop surfaces you may encounter. We tested marble because it's a common countertop material in the kitchen, where many people work with their laptops. We tested carpet and denim because these are common surfaces for students, who often prefer working on the floor or off their laps. Finally, we tested glass because this is the most difficult surface for most Bluetooth mice. Also, if you enjoy working in a cafe, it's not uncommon for tables to have glass surfaces. Premium mice like the Logitech MX Master and Microsoft Arc Touch could easily operate on all of these surface types.
To test surface accuracy, we set up six shapes within a photo-editing software program. We then proceeded to trace the shapes as carefully as possible while maintaining the same pace throughout each test, which required completing the tracing within about two minutes. We considered the number of times the cursor lagged and the number of times the cursor failed to match the edges of the shapes. To account for human error, the same reviewer performed each test 10 times to create an average accuracy percentage for each surface, and each percentage was rounded to the nearest 5 percent. If the Bluetooth mouse failed to finish the tracing or scored below 50 percent, we gave it a 0 percent score. The best Bluetooth mice performed consistently well on each surface.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the Bluetooth mice in our comparison either on loan from the manufacturers or through retail purchase. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
What Else Is Important When Buying a Bluetooth Mouse?
In its simplest terms, a Bluetooth mouse points the cursor and advances commands with a single click or double click of the index finger. Oftentimes, that's all a mouse is – a point-and-click device. But it doesn't have to be. The best Bluetooth mouse extends your functionality and helps you work more efficiently. Here are some key considerations:
Most Bluetooth mice use standard AA or AAA batteries. These batteries often provide between six months and over a year of battery life. However, you may want to consider a rechargeable Bluetooth mouse. The downside is a shorter battery life, typically needing to be recharged once a week. However, the advantage of a rechargeable Bluetooth mouse is that you never have to worry about the batteries dying at an inopportune time because you can simply plug the mouse into a USB port and keep working.
The sensitivity of a mouse depends on the optical resolution of the laser. The higher the resolution, the more responsive the cursor. This makes a mouse excellent for scenarios like creating graphic art. However, high resolutions also result in more lagging when you're moving the mouse quickly across your computer screen. So for common tasks where cursor accuracy isn't critical to the activity, such as browsing the internet or selecting tiles within Excel, a lower resolution is better. Either way, you can customize the cursor responsiveness to your preferences.
Some Bluetooth mice have additional buttons, often near the thumb rest or the ring finger and pinky rest. These buttons are commonly used for going backward or forward while you're browsing the internet. Sometimes you can program these additional buttons for specific functions like copying and pasting text. For example, you can program one button to copy and another button to paste, allowing you to forgo the command keys on the keyboard or the menu that appears when you push the right-click button. Additional buttons might be intimidating at first, but they can greatly improve your efficiency.
Bluetooth Mouse: Our Verdict & Recommendations
In our tests, the Logitech MX Master clearly set itself apart as the best Bluetooth mouse. It earned the highest cursor accuracy scores on every surface we tested. It's the most functional Bluetooth mouse we reviewed, and it's comfortable with each type of grip. The Microsoft Sculpt Comfort also scored very well on every surface that we tested, and it features a design that is both functional and comfortable with every grip type. While the Logitech Ultrathin T630 didn't score as well on the surface accuracy tests, its slim design and touch-sensitive functions make it one of the smallest but most functional mice we reviewed.
Other highlights include the Lenovo N700. While its design is unconventional, the Lenovo’s comfort, versatility and laser pointer make it a strong multipurpose device for business users.