Mouse and USB hub are mini but mighty gear

Mouse and USB hub are mini but mighty gear

The black Super Mini Optical Mouse, left, is only about as large as a lipstick.

These small peripherals offer solutions to some of the major disadvantages of working on a notebook PC while traveling

Travelers soon begin to hate notebook PC mice that require a horizontal surface larger than an airplane seat tray. And most notebooks have only a single Universal Serial Bus port.

Two tiny products can overcome these usability flaws. They work well together.

Atek Electronics' Super Mini Optical Mouse records 1,500 motions per second, which means it will work on any surface, even your knee.

It takes a little getting used to, though, because the mouse is only 2.5 inches long and about 1 inch wide. I recommend left- and right-clicking with the same finger to avoid cramps. Once you get the hang of the optical mouse, the laser beam tracks motion with incredible accuracy on any surface.

Although there are no moving parts, two slick pads on the bottom of the mouse glide easily on rough surfaces. Unfortunately, the pads wear down over time, causing friction.

Other optical mice I've tested were far larger and heavier. They averaged 3 ounces, or 80 grams. The Super Mini Optical Mouse weighed only 0.8 ounces, or 20 grams, about as much as a bulky ballpoint pen.

USB and PS/2, too

The $50 mouse also came in a PS/2-port version, but the test unit was USB. My notebook had only one USB port, so I tried the USB 4-Port Mini Hub. It would be handy for all notebook users who have several peripherals.

The hub was almost as minuscule as the mini mouse, about a centimeter thick and 3.5 inches long by 2.5 inches wide.

The only problem I found was with the length of the USB cable for connection to the notebook's port. It was just 3 inches long, not nearly long enough for systems with the USB in back.

Each of the four USB ports transferred data at a maximum of 12 Mbps'faster than the theoretical maximum for IEEE 802.11b wireless devices.

The mini hub, like the mini mouse, was extremely easy to set up by Windows Plug and Play.

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