Kensington's Mouse-in-a-Box Optical Pro
Posted: 09-Feb-2001

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Kensington Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

As a prelude into this review, I am a big fan of multiple button mice and have always replaced the single button mouse supplied by Apple with a replacement (for reasons beyond my understanding, Apple refuses to concede the importance of a 2-button mouse). Other mice I have used are the Kensington 2-button ADB mouse, the Kensington 4-button ADB mouse, the Microsoft Optical Intellimouse, and the Kensington 2-button Wheel USB mouse.

The Optical Pro was super easy to hook up. I just plugged in the mouse, loaded the software from the CD, and the mouse was up and working wonderfully.

The optical feature allows the mouse to work without any ball (no cleaning, no stuck ball, no need for a mouse pad). It has a cool light in it that turns on only when the computer is on. It's very sporty looking, and has two top buttons, a scroll wheel button, and two side buttons.

Using the MouseWorks control panel that comes with the mouse, I was easily able to adjust the settings on the mouse, including changing the functionality of the buttons and scroll wheel. The ease-of-use of the software I would rate 4.5 out of 5 mice, and would compare it to the ease-of-use of Microsoft's Intellimouse control panel. The two are very similar, and very easy to use.

NOTE: For those having difficulty with MouseWorks, such as the wheel not working, be sure to download the latest MouseWorks software!

The feel of the mouse, however, is the only downside to the Optical Pro. Unlike all the other Kensington mice that I've used in the past, this mouse did not feel good in my hand. The back end of the mouse shrinks down to a point, and makes it feel like it's squirting out of my hand. I would have preferred something more roundish in the back that would fit nicely in the palm of my hand. In terms of fit, Microsoft's Intellimouse wins out over the Optical Pro.

On the other hand, the Optical Pro is priced much lower than the Optical Intellimouse, so the Kensington wins out in the price category. The mouse movement on the screen seemed a little better as well. With the Intellimouse, I noticed at times that there was a bit of flicker to the cursor. It wasn't very often, and it was difficult to reproduce on demand, but I don't recall that experience with the Optical Pro.

Both the Optical Pro and the Optical Intellimouse have new side buttons. In both cases, I found myself pushing the buttons inadvertently during normal mouse movement, so I had to de-program the buttons so I wouldn't accidentally screw something up.

All in all, the Optical Pro is a smart and stylish mouse. Once you've used an optical mouse, it's difficult to go back to the old style mouse. The same can be said for multiple buttons, and a scroll wheel. This is a very functional and well-made mouse.

The Pro's:

  • Optical (no ball, no moving parts)
  • Sporty look
  • 5 available buttons (including scroll wheel), 3 if you de-program the side buttons
  • Very affordable

The Con's:

  • Side buttons are awkward (had to deprogram them)
  • Back end of mouse is too pointy and does not feel good

I give the Optical Pro 4 mice out of 5 mice. I recommend the mouse for anyone wanting to upgrade to a multiple-button optical mouse. For my own taste, however, the Optical Intellimouse feels better, so if you have the extra bucks, you might want to go that route instead.