Design and Handling: Nice Touch-Sensitive Scroll WheelWhatever you make of the product's design, the shiny finish seems a bit of a strange choice for a product you constantly have in your hand. After about 15 minutes' use, the Explorer Touch Mouse starts to pick up fingerprints and grime.
The 11 cm body doesn't make this mouse especially comfortable to use, as your wrist ends up resting on the mouse rather than on the desk. That's a shame too, as it's heavy enough (112 g) to feel sturdy and solid.
Thanks to its simple, symmetrical design, the Expolrer Touch Mouse can be used by both left- and right-handed users. However, there are no thumb buttons—something we particularly noticed when surfing the web (no 'Back' button!), as well as in certain games.
The touch-sensitive scroll wheel is very practical. It can be used for notched or smooth scrolling for precision navigation or super-fast browsing. The best news is that this can be done vertically and horizontally—not something you see every day.
Using the two extra buttons at the top and bottom of the scroll wheel (see right) can be quite confusing, as it's hard to tell when you've pressed the button and when you're still in the central zone. We therefore wouldn't recommend you rely too heavily on these buttons for your fast-access shortcuts.
As well as its touch-sensitive scroll wheel, this mouse has two regular left and right buttons. These are very quiet to use. However, there are no other physical buttons on the mouse, so you can't do things like adjust sensitivity on the fly. In fact, the mouse's sensitivity is fixed at 1000 dpi.
The Explorer Touch Mouse is a wireless mouse with no docking station that simply runs on two AA batteries. It's therefore wise to make sure you keep some spares to hand.
The mouse communicates with your computer via a mini transmitter that plugs into one of the USB ports. This is nice and compact, barely protruding half a centimetre from the USB port. You therefore aren't likely to knock it out by accident when you pick up your laptop or get too close to your PC tower. That said, its small size means the transmitter is easy to lose or misplace when it's not hooked up to a computer.
Precision: Office Computing and SurfingAt 125 Hz, this mouse isn't for everyone. In fact, cursor movement may not be precise enough for some particularly demanding users, such as graphic designers. However, it's perfectly suitable for web browsing and office computing and other activities that don't require moving the cursor with millimetre precision.
Gaming mice should be able to handle movements as
fast as three metres per second.
Similarly, this mouse can only track movements of up to 1.5 metres per second. That's too slow for gamers, especially for FPS games like Unreal and Doom, in which you need to spin around in the blink of an eye. It won't be a hindrance for other types of user.
- Highly practical touch-sensitive scroll wheel
- Well-designed driver
- Small, discreet USB transmitter
- Maximum tracking speed is quite low (1.5 m/s).
- No thumb buttons
- Sensitivity can't be adjusted on the fly
- No recharging system (AA batteries)
- Glossy finish (picks up fingerprints)
It's a shame that this mouse is held back by its slow sensor and lack of thumb buttons, as the touch-sensitive scroll wheel and the well-designed driver are real strong points for the Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse. As it is, you'll need to stick to office computing and web browsing to get the best out of this mouse.