Sustainability is a priority for tech companies, and just about every device manufacturer seems to be racing forward to employ new innovations that consider natural resources in its design. Among them is Microsoft, which has pledged to put an end to single-use plastics in its products by 2025, and will pursue zero-waste operations by 2030. We’re already seeing the fruits of Microsoft’s green promise with the Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse ($24.99), a wireless mouse made of 20% recycled ocean plastic and packed in 100% recyclable packaging. That’s the gist of it—there’s not much else to this mouse. Microsoft keeps things basic, really basic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for mobile use with a compact laptop.
Between the Mouse and the Deep Blue Sea
Microsoft’s Ocean Plastic Mouse is simple in design, with just two buttons and a scroll wheel to contend with. Measuring in at 4 by 2.3 by 1.5 inches (HWD) and just 2.9 ounces, the Ocean Plastic Mouse is sure to fit well in your hand, though the shell may perhaps prove too small or too light for some. I like the speckled façade, and the blue of the scroll wheel pops against the white body, making the mouse easy on the eyes. Speaking of the scroll wheel, Microsoft opts for a rigid wheel that gives off a subtle click that’s pleasant to use.
(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)
Included with the mouse is one AA alkaline battery that Microsoft says will last up to one year, which is about standard for a wireless mouse focused on productivity. Making use of Bluetooth 5.0 LE, expect a wireless range of about 33 feet, or half of that in an office environment that’s crowded with other wireless devices. Support for Windows 11, as well as Windows 10 and 8.1, is also standard, with no additional driver installation needed. Syncing up to my laptop was a snap, thanks to Swift Pair, Microsoft’s latest pairing technology that allows Windows machines to detect and pair with Bluetooth devices instantly. Just hold the power button for three seconds, and you’re connected instantly.
(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)
Underneath the mouse, you’ll find two blue rubber grips at the top and bottom, a power button that also acts as your sync button, the optical mouse sensor, and the battery door. As with the rest of the design, Microsoft kept things very basic here, but there are a few customizable options at your disposal. You can swap the left- and right-button functionality (great for left-handed users) as well as reassign the scroll wheel to another button.
The mouse performs well, and I didn’t experience any noticeable lag while using the mouse in any of the rooms in my apartment. It works across a variety of surfaces, including my wood kitchen counter, and it never dropped connection once. I was also able to hop between machines in seconds, a testament to how handy Swift Pair can be. That said, even at the max resolution (dpi) setting, the Ocean Plastic Mouse doesn’t really compete with high-performance gaming or productivity mice like the Razer Pro Click Wireless Mouse or the HP Omen Photon. But then again, Microsoft is not trying to make a high-end effort out of the Ocean Plastic Mouse.
Sustainability Meets Functionality
Ultimately, this is a worthy peripheral for general use. Aside from it being made of 20% ocean plastic, there’s not much else that separates it from say, your typical lower-end Logitech office mouse. And for just $5 more, you could nab yourself the Microsoft Bluetooth Ergonomic Wireless Mouse (available at $29.99 as of this writing), which includes more buttons and a comfortable, ergonomic shell.
(Photo: Zackery Cuevas)
However, that’s not to say the mouse is bad by any means. In fact, it’s more than good enough as a daily driver if you’re not wedded to side-button shortcuts or other productivity hacks. Microsoft’s sustainability efforts should be praised, and if I had to choose an affordable wireless mouse for general use, this would be high on my list. Whether it’s the moral superiority of owning a product made of 20% recycled plastic, or general concern for our planet’s future, more people should consider a product’s sustainability when shopping.
That concern extends to the post-purchase. Microsoft throws in a free mail-in option to recycle your old mice through one of its partners, as well as a one-year warranty. The company even offers an ocean-inspired wallpaper that matches the mouse for your desktop, to remind you of what you’re saving. The ocean-theme pack is free to download on the Microsoft Store.
Aside from these ancillaries, the Ocean Plastic mouse doesn’t offer much else. There’s no multi-device Bluetooth switching, additional app features, or deeper customization options you might find in other wireless mice.
Save the Planet, One Mouse at a Time
A mouse that’s 20% made up of plastic that would otherwise be circling a patch in the Pacific might not seem terribly innovative, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. Sustainability cred alone might make the Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse worth a buy, and at $25, it’s not going to break your budget either—though, for just a few dollars more, you could grab the much superior Microsoft Surface Mobile Mouse from the same source.
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