HP Touch-to-Pair Mouse review

If you've been dying to play around with the NFC sensor on your new PC, the HP Touch-to-Pair Mouse is the one to get.

HP’s newest mouse, the HP Touch-to-Pair Mouse, adds a feature new to the world of Bluetooth connected mice, as the world’s first Bluetooth mouse equipped with near-field communication (NFC) technology. While it’s not a feature everyone will be after just yet—do you have an NFC-equipped PC?—it is the first to take advantage of the new technology, and with a few NFC-equipped PCs on the market and more on the way, it’s poised to be the first and only one of its kind for the time being.

Design and Features
Physically, the Touch-to-Pair mouse looks nearly identical to the HP Wireless Mouse X4000. It has the same shape and design, with rubberized grips on the main body of the mouse and a colorful plastic shell covering the top of the palmrest and the buttons at the front of the mouse. The design used on the Touch-to-Pair mouse is a little tacky, with brightly colored squares meant to evoke the tiled interface of the Windows 8 start screen, but it’s not unbearable, and can be swapped out with any of the designer shells used in HP’s “Expressions Collection” of the HP X4000.

Measuring 1.5 by 2.6 by 4.2 inches (HWD), the mouse fits comfortably into your hand, and is small enough for easy portability should you want to toss it in a backpack and use on the road. And unlike the oversized HP Wi-Fi Touch Mouse X7000, which was both large (1.83 inches tall) and heavy (0.38 pound), the NFC-equipped Touch-to-Pair mouse weighs a reasonable 0.27 pounds.

NFC technology utilizes a wireless radio tag system similar to RFID, but with a much shorter range—within 4 inches. This close-range wireless tag is then used to pair up two devices wirelessly, but uses other wireless technologies, like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, to transmit data. In the case of the HP Touch-to-Pair mouse, the actual wireless connectivity is achieved through a regular Bluetooth connection, and for those without NFC-equipped PCs, the Touch-to-Pair Mouse is still an effective Bluetooth mouse.

To pair it with your PC, simply touch the front end of the mouse to the NFC sensor on your desktop or laptop. A prompt will show up on screen, asking if you want to complete pairing the mouse with the PC. Click it, and you’re done. No hunting for the device in your control panel. No typing in a device pairing code. Just touch and click. While it’s nothing earth shattering, it is that much more convenient, and switching the mouse over from one PC to another takes all of two seconds.

The mouse runs on two AA batteries, which can be replaced by prying up the colored plastic shell from the top of the mouse. Though it comes up easily, it’s held in place quite securely with a magnetic latch. The batteries should last you for some time—HP claims up to nine months of battery life.

Performance
Once paired to the PC (whether by NFC or standard or standard Bluetooth) the mouse is functions like any other Bluetooth mouse. The laser sensor is responsive and works on most surfaces, with the exception of glossy surfaces, like glass. When tested on a variety of less than ideal surfaces, like carpeted floor and notebook paper, the laser sensor worked without a hitch.

The right and left mouse buttons have a clean tactile feel, while the clickable scroll wheel ratchets up and down smoothly. As a Bluetooth mouse the Touch-to-Pair mouse is compatible with most Windows PCs (Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP) but the integrated NFC sensor used to pair the mouse is only present on a few of the newest Windows 8 systems.

For a device that takes advantage of the newest pairing technology around, the HP Touch-to-Pair mouse is about as easy as it gets to be an early adopter. It’s inexpensive, easy to use, and is backwards-compatible with most older systems. The only caveat is that it lacks the ability to pair multiple devices through one wireless connection, as is offered on the Editors’ Choice Logitech Couch Mouse M515. That, paired with the limited availability of NFC technology, keeps it from earning our Editors’ Choice award, but doesn’t keep us from recommending it to anybody that wants to give basic NFC a try.

COMPARISON TABLE
Compare the HP Touch-to-Pair Mouse with several other computer mice side by side.

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Verdict
If you've been dying to play around with the NFC sensor on your new PC, the HP Touch-to-Pair Mouse is the one to get.
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