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Mouse roudup: 13 models

October 18, 2000



Mouse is the cheapest device of all computer components. At the same time, it's very important input device. Therefore, the comfort when working with it is of great importance.

Types of mice

Mice differ not only in design.

They are divided into 2 types (due to principle of operation): mechanic-optical (mechanical) and optical.

The majority are of machano-optical type. They work on the following scheme. The ball covered with rubber while turning transfers the rotation to two plastic rollers. They have tooth-like discs on their ends. The direction and the turning angle are calculated by the infrared detectors. The digital signal moves from these detectors to a computer.

You can study the construction of the mouses by disassembling them.

The optical mouses are more simple, because they don't have any mechanical parts. The direction and the speed are determined by light detectors, which light a pad with a thin grid on it. The grid lines break the the light beam and, thus, define the movement parameters.

Not so long ago Microsoft worked out a new model (IntelliMouse Explorer) which doesn't need any pad and can travel on any surface but for smooth and highly reflective ones. Unfortunately, the high price (60-70 USD) prevents it from being very popular. Beside this, Microsoft has released a usual optical mouse (IntelliMouse), which costs appr. 40 USD.

KYE Systems (Genius) company has boosted a new optical mouse (Genius NetScroll Optical), which would work without a special pad as well. It will probably be cheaper than the Microsoft analog.

Mice are divided into other two types: with the wire and wireless. The first type of mice connect to the computer with wire, the latter through radio waves. In theory, wireless mice are more convenient, but they are rather expensive ($25) and require battery change.

Mice can be plugged in different jacks of the computer. The first mice used COM-port. Then, in the late 80s there appeared a new jackplug PS/2. And during the last two years USB-port became widespread. So, now we have mice with 3 different jackplugs: COM (9-pin trapezoid), PS/2 (5-pin round) and USB (4-pin small flat rectangular). Sometimes you can come across other kinds, but they are not so popular.

There are usually 2 or 3 buttons on a mouse. But now you would rarely meet a 3-button one. Besides, there appeared mice with a scroll-wheel. It's quite convenient when working with large texts, tables, pictures and Internet.

A scroll device is situated between two buttons. This device can be designed as a rubber wheel (with discrete steps), a little rod (pulls back or ahead) and a "swing"-button. Sometimes these devices can have one more button. It can switch a scroll mode, when the scrolling direction is defined by the mouse movements. For merits and unmerits of the above devices, see the table.

highs
lows
principle of operation
mechanic-optical 1. low price
2. work on any pad
1. require cleaning
2. finite service life
optical 1. do not require cleaning
2. precise positioning, high resolution
3. high durability
1. work on a special pad
2. high price
plugjacks types
COM 1. low price
2. plug/unplug when PC is on
1. low data transfer speed
2. take up the jack
PS/2
1. use the special jack
2. overclockability
3. low price
1. no plug/unplug while PC's working
2. low standard data speed
3. PS/2 absence in many PCs
USB 1. plug/unplug while PC's working
2. high data speed, precise working
1. high price
2. USB absence in many PCs
scrolling
wheel the most comfortable way relatively high price
rod very convenient scrolling finger movements do not correspond to the image scrolling
"swing"-button simplicity and low price inconvenient scrolling control

Testing the mouses

We should notice, that our test is quite relative. The comfort when using a mouse depends on personal perception. Besides, we can't say anything about reliability and durability of them, since we have tested only new mice.

For testing, we took 13 different models ($3-30).

All mice were tested on the same pad of ASUS company, which consists of soft rubber covered with carton and firm plastic layer.

We used Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, graphic editor Paint and other programs for estimating the quality of the mice.

Comments on the table of mouse parameters:

  1. The price is average, retail.
  2. The mice are most of all gray.
  3. Practically all models have two jackplug: COM and PS/2 (cost equal, model with USB jackplug are more expensive).
  4. We did not estimate the design, because it depends on the personal perception.
  5. The total results are close, because we do not have low-quality mice, all they performed well.

Mouse working

OS determines location of the mouse with some frequency and moves the cursor on the screen. For example, in Windows 95/98 the frequency is 40 (60 for Windows NT) times per second for COM and PS/2, and 125 times per second for USB mouses. In practice, 40-60 Hz provide good managing, but for better usage of mice the frequency should be increased (USB mice prove it).

To set the higher frequency for usual mice there are special programs under Windows. I.e., we used a popular utility Ps2rate, and set 80, 100 and even 200 Hz (unfortunately, only for PS/2). The work with mouse became more convenient.

Do not mix up the regeneration frequency with a "cursor speed".

Notice, Windows2000 has a build-in option for overclocking of PS/2 mice: Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Mouse -> Hardware -> Properties -> Advanced Settings, or via Computer Management -> Device Manager -> Mice And Other Pointing Devices -> PS/2 Compatible Mouse.

he parameters of Sample Rate and Input Buffer Length can't be set more than 100 and 300 respectively.

Taking care of a mouse and a pad

If your mouse starts working worse, we advise you to clean it (you should clean the pad as well).

First, turn the lid until it opens, take out the ball. Wash the ball with warm soapy water. Clean out the plastic rollers with anything but metal, then wipe them with a wad of cotton wool wetted in spirit. Besides, we advise you to wipe the parts of the box which slide on the pad.

Notice, that proper cleaning supposes case disassembling.

The features of models

Genius Easy Mouse

The Taiwanese company KYE Systems (Genius is a trade mark) produces cheap and high-quality mice. Its production models are reliable and durable. But button work should be much better.

Easy Mouse is one of the cheapest and good models. In our testing it performed quite well.

The buttons are easy to press, though the click is quite loud. The double-click doesn't always perform good. The mouse worked quite precisely and smoothly. But the friction was much stronger than that of Genius NetScroll.

Conclusion: there are no strong defects, everything has been made accurately and performs precisely.

Genius GeniMouse

This is a cheap 2-button mouse with one more button between two big ones.

The complete set includes a diskette with a program that allows to change the parameters of mouse control. The program can set the definite function for the third button.

The box is elongated and it's quite convenient. The buttons are easy to press. The mouse moves smoothly on the pad, but it seems to be heavier than the other models.

Conclusion: this is a good cheap mouse without a scrolling but with a quite useful extra button.

Genius MouseDear USB

This was the first mouse for USB bus.

The mouse has only 2 buttons. However, it moves smoothly, and the buttons are easy and pleasantly to press.

Conclusion: the mouse is perfect, but we wish it had a scrolling.

Genius NetMouse Pro

This model has a "swing"-button for a scrolling and an extra button on the box side. The complete set includes a program for control with a great amount of presets (alike other mice of Genius).

The mouse looks nicely. The box is light, the cable and buttons are dark gray green. The buttons are not hard to press (especially the scroll button).

When pressing the extra button and "swing"-button simultaneously, they will operate just the same as Alt+Tab or Shift+Alt+Tab. Sometimes, it's very useful. The mouse moves quite smoothly, but it's heavier as compared with Mitsumi and Logitech.

Conclusion: NetMouse Pro is one of the best mice with a scrolling.

Genius NetScroll

This model has a scroll wheel alike Microsoft IntelliMouse, it's very convenient. There is a special button under the wheel.

The mouse has a handy elongated case. The scroll wheel rotates quite easily. The buttons work normally but for an extra button which is far not easy to press. The mouse moves smoothly although it weighs a lot.

Conclusion: Since this is the cheapest model with a scroll wheel, we can recommend it as the cheaper analog of Microsoft IntelliMouse and Logitech M-S48. But when buying, pay attention to the work of buttons.

Genius NewScroll Wireless

The absence of wire gives the mouse a new "degree of freedom". The data are transferred as radio waves (27 MHz) to the receiver, which is connected to PS/2 or COM. The working distance (from the mouse to the receiver) is 1.5 m (in practice, 3m). The mouse has 2 AAA batteries for a half-year execution. The mouse supports low supply mode (after 45 seconds of non-working) and it starts working with any button.

In practice, the batteries work only two weeks. Accumulators do not suit for this mouse. The same concerns Mitsumi Wireless Scroll Mouse.

In case of working with 2 mice of this type in one room, there are switches which allow to choose one of two radiochannels.

This model has both scrolling devices: the rod and the extra button on the left side.

The complete set includes a diskette with the programs for button control, other parameters and a little round menu.

The construction is handy, the mouse is beautiful, the buttons are easy to press, but the rod is a little tight.

Disadvantages: 1. quite heavy; 2. you have to "alarm" the mouse very often.

Conclusion: the mouse is convenient and of high quality. But is it worth to pay for periodical change of batteries?

Genius MyMouse Optical

It's the only one of optical mice in our testing.

The complete set includes a firm aluminum pad with a grid (197178 mm in size). The mouse doesn't operate on other pads or surfaces. Besides, there is a diskette with drivers.

Instead of a ball, there is a hole with 2 bright red LEDs and 2 photoreceivers.

It's 3-button mouse, without a scrolling. The buttons are tight to press. The mouse moves very smoothly and easy. The main advantage is that it doesn't require cleaning. Though the pad should be cleaned.

Genius MyMouse Optical sometimes stops working.

Recovery: disassemble the case, take out the objective, grind off the jut on the objective on the side turned to the LED, stick the black paper on the end of the objective (do not touch the mirror).

Conclusion: this mouse is intended for those, who need precise and accurate work of their mouse, i.e. when working with CAD/CAM programs.

Internet Mouse

The manufacturer of this mouse is unknown. The label says only that it's made in Taiwan. However, this mouse has nothing to be ashamed of: the design is accurate, black case together with a purple cable looks great. Although the plastic used for it is of low quality; and the OS that is described in the manual is only Windows 95.

This mouse has a scrolling in the form of "swing"-button. This ia a simple solution but it is less convenient that a rod or a wheel. On the other hand, you can list the screen quite fast.

The mouse works good, the button are not difficult to press. The case is quite usual and convenient, though it seems a little smaller than others.

Conclusion: although this mouse is cheaper, it is not so handy as the other models with scrolling, and it will suit for those who want a black mouse.

Microsoft Mouse 2.1A

The biggest company of software production deals also with mice. And the mice are perfect.

Although Microsoft mice cost 2 times more, they are very popular thanks to their quality. However, not all mice are of high quality: Mexico and China manufacture not so good devices.

Microsoft mice are easy to recognize due to their handy bent case, easy-to-press buttons and the pad, that is easy to glide on. They have no disadvantages. Although, the real merit they have in comparison to other mice is a design.

Conclusion: the simple mice of Microsoft can be regarded as the most convenient and quality models. The price (from $US 4) is quite low for this trade mark.

Microsoft IntelliMouse 1.1A

Microsoft started to produce a mouse with scrolling one of the first in the world. These mice have a wheel covered with rubber between two main buttons. We guess, that it's the best solution.

In case the water gets on the wheel, the latter will expand and stop rotating.

IntelliMouse construction features and design follow the described above mouse, but for one more button. This button is intended for scrolling, but you can set another function for it with the help of the control utility.

Notice, that Microsoft mice are not convenient for lefties, because they are asymmetrical.

Conclusion. This mouse has a perfect scrolling, handy design, high reliability and accuracy in working. It pretends to be a universal mouse. The lows are the high price and absence of USB jackplug.

Mitsumi Serial Mouse (ECM-S3101 model)

The Japan company Mitsumi is one of the competent mouse manufactures. Its quality mice are produced in Malaysia.

Mitsumi Serial Mouse is the most simple and cheap mouse without scrolling; this type is produced for PS/2 port as well.

Despite the low price, the mouse has proved to be of high quality: easy-to-press buttons together with the case that moves quite easily.

Conclusion. We can recommend it for those who want to buy a good inexpensive mouse without scrolling.

Mitsumi Scroll Mouse (ECM-S5002 model)

This mouse is identical to the previous, plus it has a scrolling device.

Between two main buttons there is a rod which operates as a wheel of Microsoft IntelliMouse. For scroll through windows there enough to push the rod up/down. To switch the other scrolling mode, you should press the rod stronger.

The mouse works good, it glides on the pad smoothly, the buttons are easy enough to press. The design is ordinary. And as for unmerits, we haven't found any.

Conclusion. Thanks to low price and good reputation, this model is one of the best mice with scrolling.

Logitech M-S48

Logitech company is the biggest mouse manufacturer, and its mice are of high quality.

The model M-S48 is an analog of Microsoft IntelliMouse, but it looks much better. In our opinion, it's the most beautiful mouse in this review. It's rather miniature. Is that good or bad, we don't know. But it's a pleasure to work with it.

The mouse glides easily on the pad, the buttons are easy to press (though there is a loud click), the wheel rotates quite easy and it's also easy to press. The quality of manufacturing is excellent.

Conclusion. The mouse is wonderful. It costs the same as Microsoft IntelliMouse. So, if you don't like a little rough form of IntelliMouse, pay attention to Logitech mouse.

Testing parameters and results
Parameters
Mitsumi Scroll Mouse
Genius MyMouse Optical
Internet Mouse
Mitsumi Mouse
Genius Easy Mouse
Genius NewScroll Wireless
Genius GeniMouse
Price, USD
8.5
15
6.5
4.5
3
30
4.5
Color
light-grey
light-grey
black
light-grey
light-grey
white
white
Type
mechanic-optical
optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
Number of main buttons
2
3
2
2
2
2
2
Scrolling support
+
+
+
Scrolling type
rod
"swing"-button
rod
Extra button
+
+
+
Jackplugs
PS/2, COM
PS/2, COM
COM
PS/2, COM
PS/2, COM
PS/2, COM
PS/2, COM
Manufacturer
Malaysia
Taiwan
Taiwan
Malaysia
China
China
China
Testing results
Force when pressing the buttons
light
strong
moderate
light
light
light
light
Movement evenness of the new mouse
excellent
excellent
good
excellent
very good
very good
very good
Assessment of scrolling
5
4
4.5
Quality of manufacturing
5
5
3.5
5
4.5
5
4.5
Overall score
5
4
4
5
4.5
4.5
4.5

Testing parameters and results
Parameters Genius NetMouse Pro Genius MouseDear USB Genius NetScroll Logitech M-S48 Microsoft Mouse 2.1A Microsoft IntelliMouse 1.1A
Price, USD
8
8
10
15
5
15
Color
light-grey
light-grey
white
light-grey
light-grey
light-grey
Type
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
mechanic-optical
Number of main buttons
2
2
2
2
2
2
Scrolling support
+
+
+
+
Scrolling type
"swing"-button
wheel
wheel
wheel
Extra button
+
+
+
+
Jackplugs
PS/2, COM
USB
PS/2, COM
PS/2, COM
PS/2, COM
PS/2, COM
Manufacturer
China
Taiwan
China
China
China
China
Testing results
Force when pressing the buttons
moderate
light
moderate
light
light
light
Movement evenness of the new mouse
very good
excellent
excellent
excellent
excellent
excellent
Assessment of scrolling
4,5
5
5
5
Quality of manufacturing
4.5
5
4.5
5
5
5
Overall score
4.5
5
4.5
5
5
5

Resume

Logitech M-S48 and Microsoft IntelliMouse have proved to be the most handy mice (though they are most expensive), a little cheaper Mitsumi Scroll Mouse fell behind (because of less convenient scrolling device in the form of rod). The same Mitsumi and Logitech have appeared to be the best in the test of quality of manufacturing.

Among all simple mice (without scrolling) Mitsumi Mouse deserves to pay attention to (and the second is Microsoft Mouse). Both they are highly above their competitors. Notice, that there are utilities which emulate a wheel on the mice of this kind.

However, the cheapest Genius mice look not so bad. Their design is just the same as Logitech have. Besides, they work only about a year.

The optical and wireless mice do not seem to have any visible disadvantages.

The following details break most of all:

  1. Buttons - especially if the pressing part belongs to the case (it is not separate).
  2. A broken wire in the cable, especially if the cable is thick and doesn't have an amplifier element on the output of mouse case.
  3. Transmission of ball's rotation to the wheel with cuts.

As for reliability, Logitech and Microsoft (not of mexican background) are above the competition. The second place takes Mitsumi. But Genius hasn't proved to be so excellent.

Recommendations

  1. You'd better buy mice with scrolling - they are really more comfortable than the usual (especially with a wheel).
  2. We advise you to get mice with PS/2 - they can be overclocked, and they do not use COM purposeless. USB mice are even better than PS/2 mice (although they are more expensive). But first, check if you PC has a respective jack.
  3. If there is a diskette, install the control utility - sometimes it gives extra possibilities, especially for mice with scrolling.
  4. If the diskette is not provided, try to set the mouse presets in your OS.
  5. Do not plug in/out the jacks when the PC is on.
  6. Use a good pad for your mouse

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