Review: Microsoft Comfort Mouse 4500

Our score: 2/5
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August 14, 2010 10:30 AM
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Published: August 11, 2010 11:00 PM
By Vincent Alzieu
Microsoft's latest mouse is tall, to make it more comfortable to hold for both left- and right-handers, uses its famous BlueTrack sensor and comes at an attractive price.

In theory, that should make it excellent value for money and great to use.  But be warned, our test results showed that the reality was far different.

Test after test, one bad result after another

The first problem was to do with usability: why is there only one button on the side instead of two?  If you have two buttons under the thumb, it's much easier to browse the web, going backwards and forwards from one page to the next.  Microsoft might well reply that the other button is under the little finger if you're right-handed, but that makes it far harder to reach.  And the opposite is true for left-handers who will find the left-hand button out of reach.

The scroll wheel isn't great either.  It turns freely—but too freely, so it's too hard to use.  You don't have the precision of a scroll wheel that clicks around, but it moves too fast to get you quickly to the bottom of a page.

It turns out that Microsoft used some fairly basic internal components, which wasn't much of a surprise.  At this price, it would have been unusual to find a mouse that could report its position more than a 125 times a second—something more advanced mice easily beat, communicating with the computer up to a thousand times per second.  You can't change the resolution at all, so there's no need for a switch on the mouse itself to do so on the fly.

Sensor struggles with fast movements

But all of these findings pale in comparison to something much worse: the BlueTrack sensor was an absolute disaster.  It loses track of its position far too easily: when you're gaming and making fast movements, you can end up moving the mouse across your desk at 3 or even 4 metres per second, but the Comfort Mouse won't be able to keep up.  It gets lost if you move it any faster than 1.4 m/s!

That's really not very good, and way below the average of around 2.4 m/s that we've measured on the dozen or so mice we've tested recently.

2/5 Microsoft Comfort Mouse 4500 DigitalVersus 2010-08-12 00:00:00

Pros

  • No need for a mouse mat
  • Tall design supports the hand
  • Suitable for left- and right-handers
  • Good enough for office work
  • No set-up required: totally plug and play

Cons

  • Sensor loses track at speeds of over 1.4 m/é
  • Scoll wheel not very useful
  • Basic components with few options
  • Not suitable for games that require any fast movements
  • Design is (too?) basic

Conclusion

This mouse will be fine for office use and combines a low price with comfortable handling. On the other hand, anybody who wants a little bit more than that will be disappointed. It's missing extra buttons, a more accurate sensor and other features ...

OUR SCORE 2/5
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