The cheap, cheerful and lovable Microsoft Wireless 1850 mouse [Review]

What can you get for $15 these days? Not a lot, really. A few Starbucks, perhaps, a burrito and a couple of slices? Or you can get yourself a cheaper, almost throwaway, replacement mouse to chuck in your laptop bag. This is the bill that the Microsoft Wireless 1850 fits. The mouse was announced just recently, and we've got our hands on one to put through its paces. To cut to the chase, this is a perfectly acceptable mouse, but it ain't going to blow your mind.

This is a mouse designed with the pocket in mind in more ways than one. Yes, it's super low-cost, but it's also super lightweight; and I mean that both in terms of mass and features. Oh, at this point it's worth highlighting something I touched upon the other day when talking about the price of digital downloads. While in the US this mouse costs $14.95, over here in the UK it has a £16.99 price tag. Sure, US buyers have to factor in taxes, but $14.95 should translate into about £9, so the trip across the ocean from One Microsoft Way has resulted in the price almost doubling!

Still, whatever way you look at it, this is a cheap mouse, you just happen to get a better deal if you find yourself on the right side of the Atlantic. While a range of colors is promised for later in the year, Flame Red, Orchid Pink, and Pantone Purple (plus Wool Blue for the US market), it is the Coal Black that's available at the moment. At first glance, this is a simple mouse. At second, third and indeed fourth glance, it is also a simple mouse. But there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. This is a mouse that's here to get a job done with no unnecessary messing about.

The symmetrical design means it can be grasped by right-handed users and southpaws with equal comfort, while the ambidextrous out there will be able to throw the mouse between hands with gay abandon. The mini USB wireless receiver slips into a perfectly-sized cutout in the battery compartment, but there's none of the fancy magnetic holding it in place, just good old friction.

The peripheral does feel good in the hand, but while the scrollwheel is comfortable to use, it does have a slightly cheap feel to it. This isn’t a sense one gets from the mouse on the whole, also it is clearly a basic, plasticky affair. The wheel is rubbery, but has no textured grip. It's a personal thing, but I prefer my scrollwheels to have a bit of grip rather than being smooth.

Ultimately this is a mouse that achieves what it sets out to. It is cheap, comfortable and portable. It's light enough and small enough to take around without it being too noticeable and -- perhaps more importantly -- it's cheap enough that you're not going to shed any tears if it should get mislaid. It's basic, but gets the job done. Literally. The pointer moves around the screen and everything!

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