Last year, the mouse turned 40.
And, like other gadgets, it has acquired many advanced features over the years.
If you have been using the same old mouse on your computer for a long time, then you might be surprised to learn the new features that a new mouse sports. Optical and laser technologies are fast replacing the rolling ball that used to adorn the underbelly of the old mouse.
Microsoft has taken an industrial design risk in order to come up with a truly innovative, portable mouse -- the Arc Mouse. It folds up like a flip phone, making it a perfect device to stow away in your laptop bag, and connects to your PC or laptop wirelessly via a USB micro-transceiver, working efficiently even from as far as 30 feet away.
If empty USB ports are scarce on your notebook, then you will be better off with a Bluetooth-connected mouse.
There is no complicated installation involved, and in case you would like to customise the left and right buttons on the mouse, then the free software called Intellipoint, which is available on Microsoft's website, can help you. Or, you can simply tweak some Mouse properties from your Window's PC options menu too.
With Arc, the mouse motion is decent, no jiggling cursor or jumping around movements.
It has a laser sensor that tracked along smoothly across many surfaces, including cloth and hard paper. But it does have its design drawbacks. The back button on the left side of the mouse could have been a potentially useful button, but due to its positioning on the left side of the mouse, it becomes difficult to reach.
There's a battery status indicator between the left and right click buttons. As for battery life, Microsoft claims that the Arc Mouse will work for more than six months on just two AAA batteries. This mouse retails at around at Rs 3,000 and fits the definition of a versatile pointing device for both desktop and laptop users.
- Flawless glossy paint finish with rubberised sides and underside
- Innovative and functional design
- Wireless transceiver eats a precious USB port
- Bluetooth missing
If Arc's aesthetics do not impress you, then Microsoft's Explorer Mini mouse with BlueTrack technology might just warm its way.
The BlueTrack technology uses improved optical architecture with a wider beam of light to capture more of the surface beneath the mouse than any standard laser optical mouse.
The mouse is thoughtfully patched with different materials, increasing its ergonomic value.
For instance, the upper top half of the mouse is shiny plastic with a polished metal texture. Its lower top half has a rubberised finish that really helps the user grip the mouse securely.
This also makes the device easy to direct as well as helps prevent the user's hand from getting sweaty.
When turned on, the Explorer Mini casts a gentle blue glow upon the mousing surface which slowly fades away to conserve battery life. Like Arc, this too is a wireless mouse that works within a range of up to 30 feet. Its transceiver snaps into the belly of the mouse for easier portability.
The only real downside to the mini mouse is that the diminutive stature makes the left/right rocking of the scroll wheel almost impossible to use without hitting the actual mouse buttons.
The inclusion of BlueTrack technology can make for a compelling case, even coaxing the gadget freaks out of their homes into the store for a closer look. But a price tag of a little over Rs 3,000 does not position it as a multi-purpose device.
- Ergonomic and functional shape
- Includes carrying case and driver CD
- Battery life not that great
- Relatively large wireless USB dongle