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Bluetooth Mouse Battery Life

Sunday 20 June, 2004, 10:41 PM

Earlier this month I mentioned that I had bought a Bluetooth mouse. At the time, having only had the thing three days I wasn't in a position to comment on battery life. I've now had it for 23 days, so here's an update.

After about two and a half weeks of use as the mouse on my main machine, I started to get popup warnings that the batteries were starting to give out. By the time I got up to just over three weeks, it was telling me that I should replace the batteries in order to maintain correct operation. And having gone for a couple more days, it's now regularly just failing to move the mouse on screen. (Although the light shining out of its fundament is as bright as it ever was. Presumably the radio link starts to falter before the optics.)

Interestingly, the battery meter in the Mouse Properties window looks exactly like it did on the day I got the mouse: it says the battery level is "Good" and is showing a battery with a green bar going all the way to the top. So the meter is not all that useful... This may be something to do with the fact that the installation software really wanted me to use the Bluetooth dongle supplied with the mouse, but I've insisted on using my laptop's built-in Bluetooth. (The whole point here was to try and reduce the quantity of cabling.)

Being the curious sort, I'm going to leave it as long as I can. My laptop has two pointing devices built-in, so loss of mouse functionality is not a huge problem. I'll either run until it gives out completely, or the critical battery alerts (one of which occurred while writing this) become frequent enough to be irritating.

Oh now that's interesting. I had left the Mouse Properties window open while writing this. Prior to the critical alert popping up, it was fully green, as described. But after the alert appeared, it turned into a small red bar, and it now reports the battery level as being "Critically Low". This is odd, as I've had several of these alerts now, and at least a couple since I powered my laptop on in the hotel this evening. So I guess the mouse has a tendency to change its mind about whether it's fully charged or not...

Anyway, for my next experiment, I shall, in the interests of science, be wilfully ignoring the instructions and fitting rechargeable LiOn batteries instead of alkaline cells. (I happen to have a stock of LiOn AA cells which I normally use in my camera. Since these get battery life that exceeds a lot of disposable alkaline cells, it seems mad not to use them.) So in the next three weeks I may get to find out why exactly the instructions recommend using disposable cells. I shall report back in due course.

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