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The main attraction of a laptop has always been its portability. With a keyboard, screen and touchpad within one slimline device, it offers a solution for on-the-go productivity that is yet to be beaten.
Most people wouldn't think twice about using a laptop when on a train, plane or in meetings, and in many cases an internet connection isn't required. However, with all three of those things grinding to a halt in 2020, your laptop is unlikely to leave the confines of your home.
It may have even become your main device for working from home, with the kitchen table turned into a makeshift office. That begs the question: should you make your laptop more desktop-like. Another keyboard is likely to get in the way, but what about an external mouse?
Do I really need a mouse for my laptop?
There are plenty of things to consider when deciding whether to buy a mouse for your laptop.
Most importantly, what do you primarily use it for? If it's still only a personal device, used for checking email, watching videos and light web browsing, your trackpad should be fine unless it's really causing you problems.
However, the coronavirus-induced lockdown has left many people working from home using their personal devices. Your workflow may now include multiple tabs, word processing or even video editing. For all these tasks, the extra precision offered by a mouse will come in handy.
If the above sounds like you, it's not as simple as going ahead and making a purchase though. Will you be returning to the office full-time post-Covid, or is more flexible working likely to be introduced? If it's the former, you'll need to consider whether it will actually be used beyond the next few months.
It's also important to think about where you currently use your laptop. Any type of computer mouse requires a flat surface to work properly, so if you've been relegated to the sofa or bed it's probably not a good idea. Even if you currently have a table or desk to work from, will it be used for other things once we return to some form of normality?
Wired or wireless?
Even once you've decided to buy a mouse for your laptop, there are plenty of other decisions to be made.
The big one is whether you want it to be wired or wireless. Wired mice are typically cheaper, and have the big advantage of not needing to be charged. Having said that, many wireless mice last months or even years on a AA battery. They generally offer more flexibility and usually connect via Bluetooth or a dongle plugged directly into your computer.
Aside from wired vs wireless, there are five other key questions to ask when considering which mouse to buy:
- Will I be using the mouse with my right or left hand?
- Will I be using it for gaming?
- Do I want a portable mouse to use on the go?
- How much money do I want to spend?
- Will the mouse work on my operating system?
Should I upgrade my existing mouse?
This is a tricky one. In general, for a laptop, even the most basic mouse will make a difference. But you also need to consider whether you need something more advanced or precise, while you might need a separate dongle if your laptop doesn't have a USB-A port.
The other thing to think about is whether the mouse's companion software is supported. Logitech, Asus and many other gaming brands have their own app that's available, but older hardware might not be supported on your laptop.