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Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical

Company: Microsoft
IntelliMouse Optical
Street Price: ~$40
Date Reviewed: January 4, 2001
Reviewed By: Jason Rabel


The Microsoft Marketing Bit:

(The following is taken from the back of the box, and the quotes are my comments)

Do you have an uncooperative mouse? (Hell Yes!) Does is skip around and jam and cause frustration? (Yup, especially during those critical times in Counter Strike!) Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical is the solution. (I'll be the judge of that, but I hope so.) We've replaced that old-fashioned mouse ball with an IntelliEye optical sensor that tracks movement 1,500 times per second - providing smooth and precise motion. (Hmm, hence the "Optical" in the product name?) No mouse ball means no moving parts to clear or wear down. And, the optical sensor is sealed to keep out the dirt and lint that can cause a traditional mouse to skip or jam. (Will it last forever? What about the buttons?)


The Real Deal:

Well, now that you have had Microsoft's opinion on it, let me give you the break down. The MS IntelliMouse Optical comes in a standard Microsoft mouse box packaging, almost identical to what I got my old IntelliMouse (not optical) when I bought it back in the dark ages.


On the front of the box it says "Improved optical technology! Now 33% faster." Umm... I don't think it moves around any faster on the mouse pad, but that's probably due to my hand not being 33% faster, maybe I need to upgrade? Actually in all seriousness, they are referring to the improved scanning rate of the optical eye, which is now a whopping 1,500 times per second. The more times it scans, the better the resolution, the more accurate it can track motion.


What's Included:

No bundled games with this mouse or AOL CD (hehe), you get just the basics. Which the basics are the IntelliMouse which has a USB plug on the end for simple plug and go operation, and a USB to PS2 adapter for people who can't use USB (Like me since I have a BP6 and run Windows NT). An installation guide (a whole two pages long), and most importantly the driver CD finish off the bundle for a total of four items in the box. I guess you could light the box on fire (outside preferably) if you got really bored, otherwise I would just throw the box away after you make sure everything is working okay since it's not needed for day to day operation of the mouse.


How Does It Compare:

To give a good comparison I figured the best thing would be to compare it to the older non-optical IntelliMouse, which is what I was using before this mouse. Don't get me wrong, my old mouse still works great, the main reason I wanted this new mouse was because I was sick and tired of always having to clean the rollers inside the mouse. When the old ball style mice get dirty, you really start to notice it because the movement becomes inconsistent, sometimes you can even feel the ball not rolling smoothly across the mouse pad, but nonetheless it's very annoying and you have to clean out the mouse which was a weekly ritual for me. So I finally decided to change to optical. I knew I wanted a Microsoft, but they actually have several optical mice. The most famous is the IntelliMouse Explorer which is a silver color, has the wheel, two top buttons, and two buttons on the left side to be used with your thumb. The next is the IntelliMouse Optical (the one I got) which is similar to the explorer except it's a matte white color, and has one button on the left side, and one on the right. There is also a Wheel Mouse Optical which has no side buttons, just the regular two on top and the wheel of course. There is also a mouse that looks like the old IntelliMouse, but it's optical, I guess MS is phasing that model out in favor of the newer styles since it's no longer shown on their mouse web page.


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