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Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer

Part Number X09-49266
Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com
Prices on the web from $31.95 to $45

The Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer is an attractive and well built mouse. It is mostly black with the look and feel of leather. In an age where hardware designers seem to think that everything must be designed to fit in on the deck of a star-cruiser, the IntelliMouse is an elegant exception. It is a little larger than most mice these days and considerably heavier, due in large part to the two AA batteries tucked away in its belly. At first I thought that the extra weight would be a real problem but I have come to find it an added feature that I like. The extra weight gives me more control when making very tight selections in a program like Photoshop. The IntelliMouse is designed for right-handed mouseketeers and I can’t find any reference to a left-handed version. I must say that the ergonomic form fit for a right hand is a welcome asset.

The design was well thought out. It includes two main buttons plus a clickable wheel that functions as a third button and has two smaller buttons on the left side. One of the great design elements of this mouse is the fact that these two buttons are convenient yet tucked out of the way enough that they do not interfere with normal mouse functionality at all. I find most 4 or more button mice to be a real pain to operate because the extra buttons are constantly being pressed inadvertently when trying to move or especially, pick up and move the mouse when you have run out of mouse-pad real estate. For the graphic artist who uses a large monitor and is constantly picking up the mouse while trying to keep a button depressed this is really big. The left side is even undercut slightly so it is easy to grip and lift.

As far as wireless functionality is concerned, you have all the benefits of wireless and very few drawbacks. The benefits include not having to untangle that mouse cord that always seems to find a way of getting tangled or hung up on the corner of the keyboard. I have been using this mouse constantly now for several months and have only found two occasions where it seemed to lose contact with the computer. These two instances were only for a second and the mouse found the connection again on its own. This was far less of a hindrance than a corded mouse encounters on a daily basis. If there is a flaw in the design it is that it uses an antennae unit, about the size of a mouse, to connect to the USB terminal on your computer. My only wish is that it would be Bluetooth enabled so I would not need to either use the USB port or have yet another thing hanging off of the back of my monitor.

The Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer has excellent optical tracking technology and therefore has all the usual optical benefits such as smooth operation over most any surface and nothing to clean. It is extremely sensitive and works like a dream for those of us doing things that need very precise mouse control.

As for cool features, this mouse includes programmable buttons which can be very handy for taking care of repetitive tasks such as refreshing a web page or going back to the previous page or for undoing the last command. The biggest “New” feature for me was the tilt wheel for side to side scrolling. You can tilt the wheel to navigate side to side in documents or in a web browser. The combination of scroll wheel with a tilt mechanism means you can practically say good-bye to window scroll bars. That is a feature making this mouse worthwhile all on its own.

Even without the added features of 5 buttons and a tilt-wheel, or even the wireless aspects, I love this mouse. It works and feels great. Microsoft hit this one out of the park.

– Sven Anderson
Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer
System Requirements: Mac OS X version 10.1 to 10.2.x (excluding 10.0), 15 MB of available hard-disk space, Universal Serial Bus (USB) port, CD-ROM drive.
Copyright ©2004 by Sven Anderson. This review appeared in the September 2004 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.