Title: Intellimouse Explorer

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Price: $69.95


Input Devices

Note: These images have been reduced in size to fit into this area. In their original form, the quality was greater.

It might look like there are three thumb buttons. There are only two. The scroll button can click as well as scroll.

The bottom looks transparent and cool.

The Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer is the newest mouse from Microsoft. An optical USB mouse uses a laser instead of a ball for extreme precision. But that’s not all. It sports five customizable buttons: three on the top, two thumb buttons, and one scroll wheel in the middle (which is one of the buttons). The software that came in my package was outdated, and incompatible with inputsprocket; however, after a few phone calls, I discovered the needed update. That was pretty scary because without inputsprocket compatibility, you can’t play Unreal Tournament!

The IntelliMouse Explorer can be used on almost ANY surface: your mouse pad, your pant-leg, wood, etc. It cannot be used on reflective or transparent surfaces, (such as a glass table or mirror).

Microsoft’s mouse has a USB interface, so all I needed to do was install the drivers and plug in the mouse. However, I was disappointed to see that the mouse was not fully compatible with LinuxPPC, although it did work. The mouse only moves when the control panel is loaded, this means that if you boot with extensions off, you’re going to have to use a different mouse. This is easily remedied by making an extension set called "off" and having only the mouse extension activated.
Note: If you are on a native USB machine, you won't have a problem with the mouse if you turn off the extensions, it will become a single button mouse. If however you are on a nonnative USB machine, you will need to load any USB extensions to use the mouse even as a one button device.

The thumb buttons are programmed (by default) to be command right-arrow and left, which makes it the forward and back buttons for your browser, but they can also be used to play QuickTime movies back and forth.

A cool feature that I almost missed was the auto-scroll feature. The mouse didn’t just scroll up and down when you used the wheel; it can scroll anywhere if you press the middle button. By pressing the middle button, you activate the auto-scroll feature, which changes the cursor to a special icon. While this is activated, you just move the mouse up, down, side to side, and the window that is active will move with it!

The IntelliMouse Explorer is a wonderful mouse because of its laser and multiple buttons, but the price and extension required for moving the mouse lowers my rating. It wasn’t ergonomic for me, but it might be for you. The mouse can be used for gaming (because of the multiple buttons and laser-precision) but I found it too awkward. In Unreal Tournament, I would get many more headshots than before, (because of the laser precision) but the cord would sometimes get stuck, offsetting the benefits of the laser. I know a cord is no problem for most users, but just the way my desk is shaped and my computer is placed, it poses a problem. In general, however, it’s a solid offering that you should consider.

5/10 5/10

This review was written by me, Colin B. Colby. Please send comments, suggestions, and questions to: Colin_Colby@milton.edu


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