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On The Move - Using and Carrying

If you plan on using your notebook regularly while out and about, there are a few bits and pieces that will most definitely make your life easier. First up, no matter how good a touchpad is, it's no substitute for a proper mouse. Even the superb TrackPoints featured on ThinkPads can't compare with a real rodent. Therefore, one of the most useful things to pack in your notebook bag is a decent wireless mouse.

If you can't live without a full size mouse, just like the one you use at your desk, then something like the Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 makes a good case for itself. This is a full size, ergonomically designed unit with a decent feature set. But the key to making this mouse a good choice for the travelling notebook user, is its "snap in" USB wireless dongle. This means that you won't have to carry the wireless receiver separately, and risk losing it or leaving it behind. The small USB dongle clips into the base of the mouse, ensuring that the two pieces of the puzzle stay together. Carrying a mouse like this with you will make you far more productive and efficient while working out of the office or home, and if you use the same rodent at work, you'll be familiar with it already.
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Like the Microsoft mouse, Logitech's V400 is wireless and carries its dongle inside it, but it's considerably smaller.

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Of course you may not want to carry a full size mouse around with you, especially if you're an ultra-portable notebook user, who values low weight and slim dimensions over all else. If that's the case, it's worth looking at a dedicated wireless travel mouse, like the Logitech V400. The V400 is considerably smaller than your average rodent, yet sports an impressive array of features. As well as the standard two buttons and scroll wheel, you get two side mounted buttons, while the scroll wheel also moves from side to side. The V400 can also house its USB wireless dongle, this time in a spring loaded slot at the rear of the chassis.

An often neglected aspect of portable computing is the bag that you carry your notebook in. Despite the fact that most notebook users have spent (or at least their companies have) a lot of money on their machine, many of them will not invest in a decent bag to carry their mobile computer in. A good notebook bag brings with it a couple of big advantages, with the most obvious being a dedicated pouch for the notebook itself. This will keep your notebook separated from anything else in your bag, thus stopping it from being scratched or damaged in transit. Also, good notebook bags will feature padding around the pouch, so if you happen to drop the bag, your precious laptop is shielded from the worst of the impact.
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If you carry your notebook around with you all day, a good bag is essential.

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The second major plus point with a decent bag, is that it also protects the user. Many notebook users will carry worryingly heavy bags with them, often resulting in them doing significant damage to their backs or shoulders in the process. A good bag will be designed to spread that weight evenly, and should avoid any strain injuries caused by carrying your notebook around all day. There are some very good bags out there, but they don't come cheap. Most of the TR team favour bags from Crumpler, since these are often designed to accommodate cameras as well as notebooks. There are alternatives from the likes of Pakuma and Logitech that are also worth looking at though.

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