Microsoft’s Explorer Touch Mouse is a black, wireless laser mouse with five programmable buttons – on the right-click, left-click, and scroll wheel.
The ‘wheel’, however, isn’t really a wheel at all. Instead, the Explorer features a silver touch-based strip that produces haptic feedback to simulate the feeling of a scroll wheel when you run your finger up and down it. You can also scroll horizontally, if you have all the drivers installed, which is handy for Excel spreadsheets and other large documents.
The extra two buttons I didn’t mention before? They’re on the scroll wheel, too, at the front and back of the silver strip. By default, the front button is page up, and the rear button is page down.
The shallow angle of the Explorer Mouse’s buttons is quite strange, but not unusual on Microsoft’s modern products. The mouse is also flatter, so your whole hand is lower to the desk than it would be on other mouses. Whether you like or hate the new angle will be up to personal preference and hand size, but I found it slightly less comfortable than the average mouse, and my ‘clicking fingers’ got tired after a while.
When I first plugged in the Explorer mouse, I found the sensitivity was too damn high, but that’s adjustable through Windows, as is the scroll wheel sensitivity, which I found too low by default.
Overall, the Explorer mouse is a solid mouse for an average PC user, so long as they’re not using it for anything too intensive, like gaming. Before buying, however, see if you can test one in store and make sure you feel comfortable with your hand sitting at the mouse’s unusual angle.
Microsoft is distributed in New Zealand by Synnex, Ingram Micro, and Express Data.
This review first appeared in the July issue of New Zealand PC World.