Recently I was given a job of picking a mouse to replace the mouse devices used so far in our company. We used all sorts of mouse devices but all had in common a ball on the bottom which required constant cleaning.
Recommend this product?
The first decision I made was that all future mouse devices will be optical. Even though they cost a bit more I believe optical technology has a lot of positive sides.
Secondly, I decided to choose Microsoft as a supplier. I have used Microsoft mouse devices a long time and have found them to have excellent ergonomics and good quality.
The usual supplier of computer parts for my company offered two mouse to test, the first one was a plain Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical and second the new Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 4.0. I tested them for a week and decided to share my experiences with the epinions community. This review deals with Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical.
Microsoft web site explains: Optical technology refers to the use of an optical sensor to track mouse movement, rather than the traditional use of mechanical partsrollers, pins, and mouse ball. The tiny optical sensor inside the mouse rapidly records and compares images of the desktop, and translates those differences into on-screen cursor movement.
In theory optical mouse will work on any surface except glass or reflective surfaces like mirrors and the mouse should be more precise with consistent performance. There is no mechanical parts so the mouse should last longer and will require much less cleaning and maintenance.
The design of the mouse is very basic. It 18,5 cm (approx. 7 inches) long and 7 cm (approx. 2,5 inches) wide at it's widest point. The mouse is pretty large but fits in the palm quite nicely and has a nice support so the hand doesn't get tired after a long usage.
The mouse is very basic so it has just two very large buttons and a scroll wheel in between them. The buttons are 4 cm long and 2,5 cm wide (approx. 1,5 inches by 1 inch) so they are very easy to use.
Scroll wheel has a ribbed surface and is quite easy to turn and but has a stepping motion so it is quite easy to navigate. Also it is possible to press the scroll wheel which by default is the equivalent of "Alt-Tab" combination to switch applications.
At the bottom of the mouse there is a quite large led light which glows red when mouse is in use. This makes it easy to find even in the dark environment.
The mouse is ivory colored with gray lower portion. That can be a problem since the color is very bright so it gets dirty easily. It can be avoided since the mouse can be found in black also.
Also the design is suited for both left and right hand usage due to its shape.
More information about the mouse
Microsoft Optical Technology
Reliable optical technology
Faster wheel scrolling
System Requirements for Microsoft Windows-based computers
Processor: PC with a Pentium 133-MHz or faster processor (Pentium 233-MHz or faster processor for Windows XP)
Memory :32 MB of RAM for Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition; 64 MB for Windows NT 4.0; 128 MB for Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP
Hard Disk: 25 MB of available hard-disk space
Drive: CD-ROM drive
Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0 with SP6 or later, Windows 2000 Professional, or Windows XP
Other: Internet Explorer 4.01 with SP2 or later (Internet Explorer 5.5 included; requires 45 MB of additional hard-disk space)
Input Device: Round mouse port (PS/2 compatible) or USB port (USB requires Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000, or Windows XP)
System Requirements for Macintosh computers
Hard Disk: 15 MB of available hard-disk space
Drive: CD-ROM drive
Display: USB port
Operating System: Mac OS 8.6 or 9x, or Mac OS 10.1 (excluding Mac OS 10.0)
The mouse comes with a software driver which Microsoft calls IntelliPoint. I have downloaded the newest version 5.2 from their site. The installation is pretty easy and quick, all you have to do is pick the type of the mouse.
There are a couple of complaints about the installation. First, after installation it is required to restart the computer even in Windows XP environment. Secondly, the shortcut to the software is created on the desktop without asking the user.
After installation the user interface is integrated into Control Panel->Mouse. There are a lot of options which can be configured.
On Button tab it is possible to reprogram both buttons and the scroll wheel functions, There is also the option to enable Program-specific settings. That means that you can have different button functions for different applications. For example you can program the wheel button as Forward or Back in internet explorer and the same button can be Copy or Paste in Word.
On Hardware Tab under Properties->Advanced Settings it is possible to change the Sample rate of the mouse. The sample rate is the rate in which the mouse sends its status report to the operating system so the higher setting should mean a smoother scrolling. This increases a processor usage but is insignificant on higher performance processors.
On Scrolling tab it is possible to enable Accelerated scrolling and adjust its rate. Accelerated scrolling is a nice feature which detects the speed in which the wheel is turned and adjusts the scrolling speed accordingly. This is useful in Internet explorer when scrolling through a long web page or in any other application when you have to scroll through a lot of content.
This is a very good product. It is easy to install, configure and use. The software driver is very good and brings a lot of useful additions. It is possible to use the mouse without installation of the software but then you loose some advanced adjustments and are stuck with basic features.
Mouse feels very good during work and the hand rests nicely on top of it. The buttons are large and configurable to suit almost all needs.
For basic word processing and internet usage this is an excellent product with a good guarantee and with a fair price. It was offered to my company for 15$ a piece and this is a good price range for this type of product. It is equipped with both USB and PS2 connectors so it has good compatibility.
This mouse performs very good in games also. I tried Doom 3 and have noticed no problems but also there were no claimed benefits from optical technology. The game felt the same with that mouse as with plain mechanical mouse I used before.
The mouse performs well on different type of surfaces usually found in the office. It scrolls nicely on paper, desktop surface and on mouse pad. After a week of using this product I found it to be a good value for money and decided to use it in the company.
Product information web pages:
Amount Paid (US$): 15