October 27, 2020

Out Here In The Fields

…of musings and ramblings

Review: Lenovo N700 Dual Wireless Mouse & Presenter Combo

4 min read

The N700 is a usb/bluetooth 4.0 combo wireless mouse,  as well as  a combo of mobile mouse and a laser pointer equipped wireless presenter. Does that sound confusing to you?

It really isn’t. Basically you connect the N700 to your PC or laptop either with the included USB dongle, or by pairing it your laptop (or phone and tablet) via bluetooth. You then can use it either as a wireless mouse, or  -in a twist of event (yes, pun intended)-  to navigate between slides of PowerPoint or as I’ve tested it, with OnlyOffice Presentation. Here’s a quick unboxing and test video:

What’s in the box

Not much. You’ll get the mouse, the usb dongle, a pair of Energizer’s AAA and the usual printed materials. No travel pouch included. This is seems to be the norms nowadays, as the Anywhere MX2 does not come with one either. The dongle is as big (or small) as Logitech’s previous-gen Nano Receiver, but not as small as as the newer one, such as the one that come with Anywhere MX2. Take a look at the comparison below :

Left to right: Anywhere MX2’s Nano Receiver, N700, and Performance MX

 

Build Quality

The N700 got an early plus point for not squeaking when I twist it between modes, despite completely made out of plastic. The outer surface of the black version that I have is covered with a rubberized matte coat, not unlike something that you would find on Lenovo’s ThinkPad line. I used to prefer this kind of stuff, but when my first gen Orochi started melting and getting sticky after 3-4 years of age, I have to completely scrub the coat from it with ethanol. In my opinion, the Razer Ouroboros coarse plastic surface is the right way to do this kind of stuff.

Features

Lenovo grafted a 1200 DPI laser sensor to the N700, which performed admirably. It might seems a bit of an overkill for office use in 720p screen, but considering that newer laptops, even cheaper one, come with 1080p or even 4K screens, I would categorize this as future-proofing. The N700 has no power switch and relies on auto switch off function. I’ll be curious to see whether the function is smart enough to ignore the bump and shake of traveling inside a storage pouch.

As I have mentioned before, you can either use the bundled USB dongle or bluetooth to connect the mouse to your PC. You can switch between modes with a lever at the back of the mouse. When you’re not using the dongle, the battery compartment also houses a slot to store it safely.

The dongle keeper below the battery slot

The scroll wheel has been replaced with a touch-sensitive strip which you can flick vertically to simulate vertical scrolling. Horizontal swiping is mapped to Windows 8-only functions for revealing the charm bar and switching apps. Pressing the strip will yield you the 3rd mouse button

There’s a Windows Key/Super key built-inat the upper part of the touch strip so that you can initiate task switching right from your mouse if you’re using Gnome-Shell.

Which brings us to the main course. You can switch the N700 from the regular mouse mode to the presentation mode by twisting the rear end of the mouse. In presenter mode, the Super button and middle click engage the laser pointer, the right button moves the presentation forward, and the left button retracts to the previous slide. Simple and straightforward.

In Use

Once you pair or plug the receiver, you are ready to go. No software download and installation required. The N700 feels very light, despite having a pair of AAAs jammed inside its’ thin body, which throw me off a little. But all it takes is a bit of time to getting used to. Wake up time in bluetooth mode is very minimal.

If you’re planning to use the N700 on your linux box, make sure the distro has Bluez 5. This means I can’t use it with my 14.04-equipped Y510p. Fine, I can use the dongle for that. Bluetooth connection however, work flawlessly with my 16.10-equipped X230.

The sensor, while performing nicely on top of my wooden desk, is a couple of notch below Logitech’s DarkField or Microsoft’s BlueTrack in usability, as it strugges on glasses and reflective surfaces.

At least in linux, after switching to presentation mode, I need to press the super key a couple of times before the left and right buttons are activated and ready to use.

And finally, I do however notice that my “carry-everything” pouch has now become a bit roomier after replacing my Anywhere MX2 with the N700. And that despite having an additional “function” (wireless presenter) into the bag.

Final Thoughts

The N700 trades comfort and usability with function and compact, travel friendly form factor. Do I need this? Not really. Does it work as intended? Sure. Is it something nice to have? Well, if you do presentation a lot, yes. If you don’t have space to spare for a dedicated presenter, sure. In my opinion, it’s a bit too expensive. Has the N700 got a comparable sensor to the MX series, or at least to Microsoft’s BlueTrack, then we’re talking.

Verdict 3.5/5

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