IntelliMouse Explorer, by Microsoft
Posted: 3-July-2001

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Microsoft Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE


Overview

The Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer is an optical mouse with an ergonomic design featuring comfort enhancements and Microsoft's proprietary IntelliEye optical technology. The design of IntelliMouse Explorer adds enhanced grip support, finger grooves and a new curvy shape to its signature titanium silver shell and glowing red underside. Microsoft's IntelliEye optical technology gives the IntelliMouse Explorer performance, accuracy, and control.

Setup
The Explorer was very simple to hook up. I just plugged the USB cable into my USB hub, installed the software from the CD, and the mouse was up and working wonderfully.

In Use
While using this mouse, the first thing I that caught my attention was the design. It has a very sleek look, and the glowing red optical light is a very nice touch (especially for gadget fans like myself). The optical feature allows the mouse to work without any ball (no cleaning, no sticking ball, no need for a mouse pad). The cool red light turns on only when the computer is on. It sports a silver and gray stylish look and ergonomic contours. It includes two top buttons, a scroll wheel button, and two side buttons. Unlike the Intellimouse Optical's side buttons (one button on each side), the Explorer's side buttons are both on the left side. I found this to be an improvement over the Optical version, as having the buttons on both sides felt clumsy, and it was too easy to press the buttons by accident. With the buttons on just the left side, only your thumb needs to focus on pushing them. The thumb normally fits comfortably under the buttons, so pushing by accident doesn't seem to be an issue. However, with my hand-size (which I consider average), my thumb was barely able to reach the first side button while using a normal grip. I would have to actually move my hand up the mouse to press this button with confidence. The second side button was easy to press.

The Intellimouse Optical is curved equally inward on both the left and right sides of the mouse, making it a viable option for either a right-mouser or a left-mouser. The Explorer, however, only has the inward curve on the left side, with the right side being pretty much straight. This makes this a good right-handed mouse, but an awkward left-handed mouse. On the other hand, most left-handers I know (including myself) are right-hand mousers anyway. However, even as a right-handed mouse, having the inward curves on both sides did provide a better grip for my pinky finger. On the Explorer, my pinky was not as comfortable as it was on the Optical.

The top left and right buttons, as well as the scroll wheel button, are designed well, both functionally, ergonomically, and visually. Having the right button for control-clicking has become a necessity for me, as is the scroll functionality for scrolling through web pages or long documents. With regards to color themes, I really like the silver and gray dual-tones of the Explorer (much nicer than the beige and gray color of the Optical mouse).

Using the control panel that comes with the software, I was easily able to adjust the settings on the mouse, including changing the functionality of the buttons and scroll wheel. This is a simple straight-forward control panel that any Mac user will feel comfortable using.

Summary
All in all, the IntelliMouse Explorer is a smart mouse, it feels good, and it functions extremely well. With the additional buttons and scroll wheel, it's a must have replacement for anyone still using a single-button mouse. I highly recommend it!

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Ergonomically shaped
  • Optical technology


Cons

  • Pinky finger not as comfortable as with Optical style
  • The first of the two left side buttons is difficult to reach with the thumb


Overall Rating

4 1/2 out of 5 Mice