MicroMouse, by Macally
Posted: 4-Aug-2004

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Macally Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Bill Catambay Class: HARDWARE

Overview
The Macally MicroMouse is an optical two-button scroll wheel USB mouse designed for the PowerBook or iBook, but can be used on any USB Mac system. It sports a small kidney-shaped size for portability, with a translucent shell and silver buttons for coolness. The mouse is fully programmable, works on both Mac OS 9.2 and Mac OS X, and comes with a 3-year warranty.

Requirements

  • Any desktop or notebook computer with an available USB port
  • Mac OS 9.2, Mac OS 10.1.5, or Mac OS 10.2 and higher

Setup
As with most USB mice, this mouse is incredibly easy to setup. Simply plug it into an available USB port (can even use a free port on your USB keyboard), and the mouse immediately works. On OS 9, only the left button defaults to an action, but under OS X, both buttons and the scroll wheel are operational by default (single click, control-click, and scrolling).

The mouse does not come with any software, but you can download software directly from Macally's web site to further program the mouse. The only issue with the installation is that it is not readily clear where you should go to use the software. Under OS X, it does not install a preference panel (such as Microsoft Mouse and Logitech Control Center), nor does it open up a folder showing you where the application is. You have to look in your Applications folder, and discover the software manually.

In Use
This mouse is sized just right for use on a Powerbook or iBook. I tried the mouse out on both a Powerbook as well as an iMac desktop system, and it worked flawlessly in both cases. It has a small inward curve on the left side that allows you to grip the mouse firmly. The two silver buttons are large with crater-like feel, making it easy to find the buttons without looking at the mouse. The scroll wheel is white with ridges, making for easy grip and smooth scrolling action.

Some might consider the translucent casing to be dated, reminiscent of the old translucent iMacs, but I liked the design. The optical light illuminates the internal components, and brightens when the mouse is in action. It's a cool looking mouse. If you're laptop is equipped with a bluetooth card, you may consider the USB cord to be obtrusive. For those without bluetooth cards, this is your best option. I found that by plugging the USB cable into the left side of the Powerbook and wrapping the cord around the back to use the mouse on the right, I did not find the cord obtrusive at all.

In terms of comfort, the MicroMouse feels good and flows in comfort. It is far more useable and comfortable than the thumb pad on your laptop. In a pinch, it also serves as a great backup to your full sized mouse on your desktop Mac. However, I could tell that if I were to use this small mouse for long periods of time, my hand would cramp up (having my fingers crimped that close is not ergonomically sound). So even though it works just fine on the iMac, I would recommend it for the machines it was designed for: mobile laptops such as the Powerbook and the iBook.

As mentioned earlier, the buttons and scroll wheel work right out of the box, without the need for any third party software. However, if you download the Macally software, you can customize the mouse more to your liking. The software allows you to adjust the scroll wheel sensitivity, as well as program the left, right and scroll wheel buttons. Button assignment options include "Mouse Click" (single click), "Right Click" (control-click), double-click, click-lock, and keystroke. It also includes actions for opening an application, opening an email item, opening a web browser, and forward and backward (control-right and control-left). Finally, you can also program different settings for different applications, which comes in very handy for use with mouse-driven games.

The only issue I had with the software is that it didn't support an eject function (I prefer the scroll wheel button to do an Eject on my CD-ROM drive). The work around is usually to program the button as keystroke "F12", however F12 only ejects the CD-ROM drive when you hold it down. The Macally software does not appear to hold the key down while you hold the button down; hence, it would never eject the drive.

Summary
The Macally MicroMouse is a miniature USB optical mouse designed specifically for use on mobile Macs, such as the Powerbook and the iBook. It sports a translucent case, with an optical light illuminating the mouse internals. The two buttons are easy to access, and the scroll wheel supports document scrolling as well as a third mouse button. The downloadable MicroMouse software allows you to customize all of the buttons as well as the scroll wheel sensitivity. The software supports many features, but does not support keystroke hold (e.g., unable to program F12 to eject CD-ROM). Considering the small size of this mouse, I found the mouse to be quite comfortable. It is sized just right for the Mac laptop, and it sure beats using the thumb pad. If your laptop has bluetooth installed, you may want to consider a bluetooth mini-mouse to avoid the clutter of a USB cable. For those without bluetooth, or those that don't have a problem with a corded mouse, I highly recommend the Macally MicroMouse for your everyday laptop use.

Pros

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Illuminated optical operation
  • Downloadable software to fully customize mouse
  • Compact size just right for Mac laptops

Cons

  • Unable to program button to Eject CD-ROM
  • Some may consider translucent design dated
  • Bluetooth mouse may be preferred on bluetooth capable laptops


Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice