Notebooks give computer users the freedom to do full-fat computing in any locality. But trackpads aren't universally appreciated. There is a huge variety of other pointing options, from integrated pointing sticks to mini-mice of both standard and more quirky design.
If you like to use a mouse with your notebook, the obvious question is how to find an appropriate surface for it. Working at a desk is not a problem, but if you're working with a notebook on your lap it can be a challenge.
Enter the GadgIT-Mat, a portable mouse stand due to go on sale on 30 May at the pocket-money price of £20.
It's a two-piece affair comprising a mouse mat with integrated wrist rest and a bracket that fixes the mat to your notebook. For the price you shouldn't expect great build quality, but the feel is pretty robust.
The bracket can be fitted to notebooks whose keyboard area is between 13mm and 26mm thick. There's a tiny Allen key that stows away in a pocket on the bracket, which you use for adjusting for different notebooks.
The mouse rest itself slots into this bracket, and can be fitted to either the left or the right side, depending on whether you're left- or right-handed. The setup process is simple and fast.
Problems? Well, the first notebook I tried it with was too chunky for the fixing bracket, with a keyboard section depth of about 30mm.
The bracket fitted on the second notebook I tried, and stayed secure during the testing period. However, the bracket section is chunky, and it slightly obscured access to three rightmost columns of keys. This will probably be less of an issue to touch typists than 'hunt-and-peck' merchants.
The mouse pad sits above the edge of your notebook, so slots and connectors ought to be accessible — although you'll need to lift the notebook up to see them properly. In my test laptop, the SD card slot, which is on the right edge of the wrist-rest, was rendered inaccessible.
Finally, the mousing surface area is not vast. I use a trackball mouse, so this presented no problems, as my mouse doesn't have to move. But if you use any kind of mouse that needs a surface area around which to skate, you may feel restricted.
The makers will offer a protective case, which will help with carrying the GadgIT-Mat; even so, there's no getting away from the fact that it's a bit chunky for a travel bag.
More information about the GadgIT-Mat can be found here.