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What do you do when you become fed up of cleaning the inside of your ball mouse? Well the answer is simple, you buy an optical mouse.
I decided on buying Microsoft's Wireless Intellimouse Explorer due to an offer on this item, which meant I was able to purchase it for around £38 compared to its original price of £45 at the time. There are many things I like about this product so I?m going to discuss some of its features in depth. Firstly I describe how easy it is to get everything setup in perfect working order.
Plug & Play ***********
The mouse comes complete with a USB Infra-red receiver that is plugged into the USB port of your PC. Once you have this plugged in and have installed the software & drivers you are almost ready to go. You can position the receiver anywhere on your desk or out of view, but for best results the device needs to be as close to the mouse as possible. If you have the batteries installed in the mouse, then it may already be working once the drivers are loaded and the receiver is on (a green LED will signal that the receiver is ready). If it doesn't then you simply position the mouse facing the receiver and click the button on top of the receiver and this will configure the mouse for you.
Comfort & Use *************
The mouse is unbelievably comfortable, which is surprising when you see its size. It is much larger than a standard mouse, yet with its side thumb and finger indents, your hand slides right into it. Once you are using the mouse there is very little effort involved in order to use all of its functions, as its 5 buttons are positioned all around your thumb and fingers. With standard ball mice, you would often find that when they became clogged with dirt you ended up picking the mouse up off its mat and vigorously moving it back and forth in order to point the cursor where you wanted. With the Intellimouse there is no ball, as it has an infra-red optical sensor that picks up movement, so pinpointing the cursor is now effortless all day, every day. The way that the mouse glides across a mouse mat is quite impressive.
What I have noticed about comparing optical mice with ball mice is that pin-pointing the cursor can be both accurate and non accurate. What do I mean by this? Well the infra-red optical sensor on this wireless mouse is able to pick up movement better than that of a ball mouse, so when moving the cursor there is less effort to pin-point an exact position and less strain on your wrists. However, this has to be a swift movement, as nudging the mouse a millimetre or two will not move the cursor as well as a ball mouse.
As 'Wireless' means 'no wires', it is very easy to use the mouse without getting frustrated with a wire getting stuck or twisted and tangled around something else. There is complete free movement.
The mouse contains 5 buttons, including the standard left and right mouse buttons. There are two buttons positioned just above the thumb area that can be configured to execute what ever function you desire. If you wanted them set to open up 'Windows Explorer' or use them as a 'back' and 'forward' Internet browsing buttons, then this is easily done by adjusting the options on the Intellimouse Explorer software. In addition to these buttons there is also a wheel button that can be used for scrolling web pages and it can also be used as an extra function when it is clicked. You could even set it to open up your favourite program!
Software & Drivers ******************
The mouse comes with the drivers and software on one disc which can be installed by the click of a button in less than a few minutes. The mouse supports Windows XP/ME/98 and 2000 so it is quite compatible with virtually all Microsoft's Home Operating Systems.
Once the software is installed it will replace the standard mouse options in the control panel, with the new ones contained on the disc. Here you can set all the properties of the mouse for button clicks, wheel movement, cursor movement, cursor display, battery notification and much more.
The software itself contains a battery meter level to let you know when you need to change the batteries, which even has a pop-up when it gets dangerously low.
Having to install 2x AA batteries is probably the mouse's only downfall. Good batteries like Duracell will last for about 5-6 weeks, but cheaper ones or rechargeable tend to only last for 3 or 4 weeks. This can be really annoying when you have to keep changing the batteries and this is the reason why I am not using the mouse as I write this opinion (I don't have any spare batteries).
Here are some questions you may or may not be pondering.
How heavy is this mouse?
0.38 kg to be exact, very light indeed, although the batteries add a lot more to this weight.
Can this mouse be installed along with a PS2 mouse?
Yes it can, if you wanted to use a PS2 mouse and then use your wireless mouse as and when you prefer then this is possible. It also makes good fun when you?re fighting someone over the control of the mouse!
Can this mouse be used on a non Microsoft Operating System?
Yes it can, the mouse supports both Apple MacOS 8.6 or later and the Microsoft Operating Systems listed above.
What is the distance on the wireless mouse?
Not entirely sure on that one, but I've tested it at 6 metres away and it works fine.
Does the mouse need to be on a flat surface to function correctly?
The mouse will produce best results from a flat surface, although you can use it perfectly well from your thighs, legs, hands, pretty much anything.
With optical mice there is no need for cleaning and they are so much easier to use than ball mice. The wireless functionality of this product is a real bonus and comes in very useful and being able to configure the buttons to whatever function you like is another added bonus. However, the battery life of this mouse is not very impressive, and you will find yourself needing to replace batteries more often than not. If you currently have a ball mouse and are thinking of upgrading to an optical mouse then there are mixed emotions about this one. While it is an excellent mouse, I would recommend the non-wireless version that is priced at around £30 to be better value for money. The Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer requires no batteries as it is plugged straight into the USB port. The factor between the two is whether or not you want wires attached.
I just tried it on my thighs and yes it does work :o) margaretxx
ndf9876 10.11.2003 16:25
As a PC gamer (in my spare time!) I can thoroughly recommend these mice; the five buttons are extremely useful (when supported by the software!) and the general build quality is superb. Plus being wireless means you can't yank the cable out if you get too excited!