Last time we dealt with Creative's optical mouse which couldn't boast of its
functions but was a beautiful creation :) Today we are going with the top-of-the-line
model, Creative Optical. It's similar to the previous solution but belongs to
a different class due to the radio PC connection.
The mouse is packed in a bigger box compared to the previous solution.
The box contains a receiver (very compact) with the USB interface (no adapters
provided), the mouse, two AA batteries, a brief instruction and a warranty
card for a long period. There is no software because under any OS supporting
USB peripherals three-button mice don't need additional programs to be
The mouse is only a little bigger than the wireless Creative Lite and much
smaller than any wireless "rodent" (even Cherry M-3000 included into CyBo@rd
Plus is bulkier). Wireless mice grow so big because of the batteries. Optomechanical
mice utilize two AAA batteries placed across the mouse's body. The battery
compartment is located in the lower section of the mouse as the upper one
is too narrow. It makes the mouse larger. Optical mice use bigger AA batteries.
The battery compartment gets bigger, and it's irrational to place batteries
across. Developers, thus, have to place them along the mouse and shift
the optical sensor. Hence the massive size and unusual behavior of wireless
optical mice. But in the Creative Optical the sensor is located right in
the center. The engineers put the batteries in the upper section of the
mouse where they do not disturb any vital components. If we remove the
upper cover we will see two seats for two AA batteries. The solution is
interesting and allows for a compact wireless mouse. However, the mouse
is still heavy.
According to the specs, the mouse consumes 50 mA at 3 V. I used the rechargeable
batteries (the Optical works perfectly with them in contrast to some other
modern solutions) of lower voltage. The voltage of 2.4 V increases the
current up to 60-63 mA. It means that two AAA rechargeable batteries of
650 mAh will suffice for 20 hours (it will be actually longer as you won't
use the mouse nonstop, and its sleep mode is perfectly realized). That
is why it can be easy to solve the problem of weight. But remember that
you will have to charge the batteries "manually" after such redesigning
The PC connection makes no problems; when we connected the mouse we instantly
got a HID compatible mouse. Actually you can buy an adapter and connect it to
the PS/2 port, but it's not so necessary here as in case of the Lite. Usually
it's done to avoid USB's limitation for the sampling frequency (125 Hz against
200 of PS/2). But wireless mice don't have a high frequency anyway. However, the
Optical has it 70 Hz irrespective of the connection type. This is less compared
to almost all wired mice, as well as Logitech MX700 or Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse
Explorer, but most wireless solutions (especially optical) have only 50 Hz. That
is why I'm inclined to consider the characteristics of the Creative Optical to
be good rather than bad :)
The mouse looks very similar to its junior sister (except the tail)
- this is an old-fashioned mouse equipped with three buttons and a rubber
scroller. However, it doesn't illuminate the room anymore in order to save
batteries power (there is only a tiny LED in front of the scroller which
goes on when batteries need to be replaced). The microswitches seem to
be the same - they are very pleasant by touch under the buttons and a tight
one under the scroller. But it's more convenient to rotate the scroller
now. Earlier there was a central inset (which disappeared with the LED),
and the scroller towered a little above it.
There is one more button typical of models working with low-frequency
radio waves. Together with such button on the receiver, the Connect button
makes both components find each other after connection or replacement of
batteries. I don't consider such button convenient (especially because
you must press it after replacing batteries, in contrast to Logitech devices),
but you can avoid it only by using SHF (2.4 GHz). Long waves make impossible
to move the mouse far from the receiver. Officially, the limit is 1.5 m,
though in the tests the mouse ran stable at 1.7 m as well. At the distance
of 1.7-1.95 m it worked unstable and at further distances it had no effect
on the pointer. Well, it must be enough for desktop utilization. Household
devices didn't affect mouse at all.
Although the mouse is very compact, it excellently fits into the hand,
either left or right. The thumb and little finger fall exactly on the rubber
pads on the sides, and the other fingers get exactly on the dedicated buttons
and scroller (the mouse is rather wide, and the buttons are wide as well;
that is why the fingers do not disturb each other). The mouse is narrower
in the lower part, and you can easily lift it up even if your hand is sweated.
Ergonomics is a subjective thing indeed, but I like Creative Optical (though
I'm not keen on little mice).
What can I say more about its utilization? Almost nothing. Since the
mouse utilizes only three buttons, there are no peculiarities in its usage.
Just note that the pointer speed has to be set to maximum (like in case
of Creative Lite). But the speed is sufficient, especially if you set a
more conventional resolution of 1024x768 instead of 1600x1200. But still,
the developers should correct that (at least, in future models).
I think, this model will be most interesting for mobile users since
the mouse itself and the receiver are pretty small, especially in contrast
to Logitech MX700. It can be a good home solution as well - a durable radio
mouse of the popular but not hackneyed trade mark. However, the Creative
Optical is not very functional. Other mouse makers offer monsters equipped
with 5-8 buttons and other gems. This simple 3-button Creative Optical
looks rather pale next to them. As we know, Creative is able to make perfect
software comparable to Microsoft's or Logitech's ones. Maybe, a similar
monster will crawl out of this company's den as well. But now Creative's
new field of application can be of interest for those who prefer classic
3-button mice with a scroller.
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