Microsoft Intellimouse

IntelliMouse with IntelliEye $45

Microsoft Corporation


In a Nutshell

Rating: 4 Penguins


* Smooth and flexible, even without a mousepad

* Never needs cleaning


* Expensive

* No native Linux support




* PS/2



* Five years

Microsoft’s ergonomic mouse has long been popular, and for good reason. It works quite well, at least until it picks up enough debris to require cleaning. That’s when you get to stop working and start poking around the innards of your mouse.

Microsoft’s newest mice, based on its IntelliEye technology, attempt to abolish this kind of do-it-yourself rodent surgery. IntelliEye replaces the ball-and-roller mechanism with an optical sensor and a red LED that take 1,500 snapshots per second of whatever’s beneath the mouse. A DSP (digital signal processor) chip compares the images to discern mouse movement.

This approach means you can plug this mouse into your system and configure it as you would a mechanical IntelliMouse. The fact that IntelliMouse is a Microsoft product and does not officially support Linux turnsout to be a nonissue, as you can do all the configuration you need with Linux’s own mouse-configuration tools.

Microsoft’s mice work amazingly well. They don’t need a mouse pad; they work well on any surface, including a bare desktop and paper of every color and surface finish; they even work well on human skin, suggesting a whole new interpretation of the term “personal computing.”

There are two different IntelliEye mice, each including both USB and PS/2 connectors. The IntelliMouse Explorer sports four buttons and is molded in two shades of gray with a translucent red bottom. The other is an update of the familiar off-white, two-button IntelliMouse.

If you’re sick of cleaning your mouse and losing your mouse pad under desk debris, consider one of Microsoft’s racy rodents. They’re not the cheapest mice available, but for people who use their computer systems heavily, they’re one Redmond product that’s worth the price.

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