Explorer/ Intellimouse Solid State
Reviewed by Voxeros (5th October 99)
Perhaps the two most overlooked peripherals of a computer system have got to be the keyboard and the mouse. To us, they are really just keyboard and mouse. Period.
Are we not guilty of placing them as the last items on the list when scouting for that new PC? Introducing the Microsoft IntelliMouse and the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer. "This mouse got no ball!" blurted out one of my office girls drawing a roar of laughter throughout the office.Perverts.
Taking the 2 mice out of the box and immediately focus was directed to the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer. Finished in matt aluminium, with transparent red plastic chassis, it is indeed a welcoming and refreshing change from the usual beige. Then again, it proved to be quite a colour mismatch with the rest of the computer system. Sigh time to buy new aluminium coloured casing.
Both mice are USB connected with a PS/2 adaptor option. That leaves the serial PC mousers out of the loop. Too bad folks. If you think that by adding one more adaptor to change it to 9-Pin serial you are going to get it to work, the answer is no. Been there, done that.
Another eyebrow raiser was when the mouse was hooked up and the PC fired up. A red glowing light oozes out from beneath. Can't help but reminded you of the fluorescent glow underneath the "Ah-Beng-Suzuki-Swift-GTI-with-lotsa-Mugen-Power-stickers" on a Saturday night blaring techno music with the windows down.
As much as everyone cringed at the "Beng-ness" of it all, there is a bizarre hidden closet and perverse part of us that actually find it very pretty.
The Intellimouse Explorer that comes with 2 additional programmable buttons for your windows shortcuts
The Intellimouse Solid State is the "Ball-less" version of the IntelliMouse
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The "ball-less" observation is what is more accurately and technically known as the Microsoft IntelliEye. In place of the mouse ball, Microsoft planted an optical sensor and a digital signal processor. In English, it is an eye with a brain. Simply put.
Hey.... a mouse with a brain.... all Animaniacs fan like myself would probably be thinking about the mouse character "Brain" in "Pinky and The Brain" right now. NARF! The eye is essentially a camera that takes snapshots of the work surface at an astonishing rate of 1,500 shots per second. Each shot is compare with the one just before it thereby determining which direction the mouse is moving and sends to relevant signals to the PC accordingly.
This means that we will no longer have to worry about:
a) constantly replacing disintegrating mouse pads
b) the frustration of skips and jumps owing to dirty and grimy mouse balls.
c) the need to clean another mouse again.
d) the exasperation of having to put up with an retarded and insensitive mouse.
e) enough real estate for the mouse to roam about.
Although, some friends were telling me that the "ball-less" mouse has been around for quite some time citing seeing it on Sun Sparcs. However, I would say that Microsoft still deserves a pat on the back for making it available to the average office, household and SOHO.
The difference between the Microsoft IntelliMouse Solid State and the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer is that the latter comes with 2 extra buttons at the thumb side. The default settings for them are forward and backward web page browsing. Although, they can be re-mapped to some other useful shortcut commands, I personally prefer to have them as they are.
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The first few people that come to mind, whom will definitely benefit from all the new features are:
a) The Road Warriors
Picture yourself on board of a plane. Your touch pad mouse has got a mind of its own and your sweaty hands are not doing much to help with the situation either. So, you do have a mouse to overcome that. But with the tiny little foldable table holding your laptop, where else is the mouse going to be? With a Microsoft IntelliMouse, the answer is anywhere and everywhere. The Microsoft IntelliMouse is workable on any surface and even upside-down. With the gravity factor out of the way, even your thigh makes an excellent mouse pad.
b) The Web Surfers
With the two extra thumb buttons, life cannot be any easier. This is the web's answer to the couch potatoes' TV remote control. Surfs up!
c) The Graphics Masters
When it comes to usage of the mouse, no one sets a higher standard than this bunch. Especially when it comes to precision requirements, these graphics masters would really enjoy the extra control. The remarkable accuracy is also attributed to its "Image Correlation Processing" that allows it to executes instructions 12 times faster than that of the ordinary mouse.
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With an estimated retail price of S$89.00 (for the grey version i.e. Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer), it is going to be pretty difficult to convince the average person to buy one. The "Money-Partez-Reluctance" syndrome is probably because of the common mindset that a mouse is a mouse is a mouse.
Discounting (take a hint, Microsoft) the price factor, it is difficult to have anything bad to say about the mouse. I personally loved it.
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Here are some items that would make the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer even more desirable:
a) A slightly smaller sized mouse to fit the Asian hand.
b) Make it cordless!
c) How about a second scroller for that left-to-right scrolling like the A4Tech WinBest 4D+ mouse?
d) Retailing at S$49.95!!!!!
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Test System Configuration
Celeron 366 on MSI-6905 riser card
128MB PC100 Hyundai SDRAM
Intel BX Chipset with Slot-1
Quantum Fireball 6.4 GB
Windows 98 Second Edition Build 4.10.2222A
All in all, it is a good buy if people can get over the psychological price barrier. I foresee a greater majority of the market will adopt a wait strategy for the price to drop further with time. For those who are eager to try it out, maybe you would like to consider the Microsoft Intellimouse Solid State (the white version that does not come with 2 additional buttons) which is currently retailing at S$79.00.
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