Mice are probably the most common peripheral in the computing world and any old one should perform the basic function required of it with a reasonable degree of competency. But which is the best? Which takes the concept of the mouse just that little bit further and pushes the proverbial envelope? Which indulges in a spot blue …
I have an earlier iteration of this and it has a pretty fundamental flaw. Know how you occasionally have to clean the ball on a (non optical) mouse because it gets gunked up? Imagine how much more often you have to do this with a trackball that's in constant contact with your hand.
I'm not a grubby person but the answer for me was too often. And it gave me an ache across the back of my hand too :(
Kensington SlimBlade Trackball Mouse
I've been using one of these for a long time.
Best damn mouse I've ever tried, and I have gone through a LOT of chaff to find this wheat.
...who spends more than £5 on a mouse is retarded. Do you guys fall for the 5 blade "battery assisted" razors and "high tech" tooth brushes that cost 10 times more than normal, perfectly adequate ones too?
My current mouse (USB, optical with track-wheel) was about £3 from Tesco and the only time I had a problem with it was on a clear glass coffee table - which was solved by placing it on a magazine.
You missed the Razer Lachesis.
Easily the best mouse I have ever used or owned. Wired so no lag or inconvenient battery deaths, 7 buttons which can be assigned any function, key or macro, multiple profiles, up to 4000dpi and 1KHz, and it is easily the best looking mouse ever made.
Re: The Raptor
I had the M2, and it was a nice mouse to use, especially with the adjustable weighting. Pity it broke almost immediately. Scroll wheel just died.
Beg to differ...
I have to raise a couple of points about your reviews.
1) With regards to the Logitech trackball, you don't raise the ergonomic concerns with any thumb-operated trackball: namely that it involves excessive and unnatural movement of the thumb, whereas mousing should be done with more whole-arm movement.
2) The Evoluent Verticalmouse isn't quite the ergonomic dream the manufacturers would have you believe. Because all fingertips (except the thumb) fall onto mouse buttons, you cannot grip the mouse naturally using finger pressure. As a result, you end up pinching it between the ridge of the palm and the base of the thumb, introducing a lot of tension into the hand. This tension resists the clicking motion and serves to increase the risk of problems developing.
The 3M mouse is far superior in that curling a fist around a stick is just far easier on the muscles.
One mouse and eleven gimmicks? Shame, I could do with a new mouse, and a nice roundup comparing offerings from Logitech, Microsoft, Razer et al would have been very welcome. It's so hard to find a mouse with decent ergonomics, a click wheel that works properly and a good selection of well-placed extra buttons.
I've had one of these for a couple of years. At the time I was suffering from some RSI-induced inflammation of my first-finger tendon where it runs across the back of the hand. Using this mouse has massively reduced this problem, and completely eliminated the excruciating flare-ups that I used to suffer.
The Title says "12 of the best mice" - But not only did you manage to completely ignore anything made by Razor - That's like compiling a list of the 12 best F1 drivers and ignoring anyone German who drove a red car.
You also managed to list things which were not mice......................... Have you taken all your pills this morning?
Bill - Because M$ do make exceedingly good mices............
Bloody right-handed things!
Could I please lobby for a mandatory 10% (at least) score reduction on any mouse device that is only any good for right-handers?
Why 10%? It's the percentage of people for whom the thing is completely useless.
Logitech Trackman wheel
Excellent. Have had one of these for twelve years, still going strong. I even faffed about importing a second-hand ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) version from the States via a mate. It's hard to use anything else now.
I would linke to nominate these two
Endurance mouse: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3592976.stm
Glowing mouse: http://www.bio-itworld.com/archive/091103/russell.html
I have an Evoluent vertical mouse and i can assure you that it does work fine in linux. I've setup a custom button mapping because i'd rather thave middle click as the middle button and right click as the lowest button.
xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 8 2 4 5 6 7 3 9"
Scroll wheel's click and the thumb button are used with compiz fusion
Evoluent on Linux
You can use all of the buttons on the Evoluent mouse in Linux. You can also remap them.
All well and good...
But for my money I'd buy the Logitech MX310 any day of the week for the rest of my life.
Cheap, good weight, not too many buttons, lefty and righty friendly.
Used to be able to find the OEM versions for about £12 a couple of years ago... Wish I still could.
Not that I need to buy any more... I've got two, and they'll probably last longer than I will (one even did 30mph on it's back out of the door of my car when it fell out with the lead trapped, got some great battle scars, but still works fine!). But I'm always bumping into people who still have ball mice full of fluff! Dell seem to keep shipping the damn things!
How about an optical mouse with 3 buttons?!?
Apparently, that's more difficult than flying to the Moon. Why is this so bloody hard? Why, with all the variations out there, there's not one single plain old optical mouse with 3 goddamn buttons?
On the other hand, I do have to admit MS does cut'n'paste far better than X11.
The other 10%
I got a Reptor with a 2nd hand gaming PC.
Verdict: Near unusable, keeps switching modes, hard to reach buttons.
I'll accept the 90% rating, though, its just I belong to the other 10% - I'm left-handed.
I'd like to crossbreed
the Space Navigator with the Kensington trackball. I've tried a few 3D input devices but as good as they are in theory, in practice their usabilty is limited by the fact that they're the 3D equivalent of a trackpoint. Now a 3D trackball - that would be seriously useful.
I'm using a Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse at the moment that has 3 buttons. The scroll wheel can be pressed in, acting as a 3rd button. I think most mice with scroll wheels do that, don't they?
If your objection is to the presence of the scroll wheel, I can't help you. I think that's standard equipment these days.
A mouse for all seasons
So we've learned something today from the review and from the comments.
There's no such thing as one perfect mouse, or even one set of perfect mouse requirements. The diversity of mouses we've seen does reflect the variability in what happens between the user and a graphical interface and for AC@13:02 the lowest common denominator might suffice. Add in 3D or a heavy task loading and it all changes and gets personal.
It's good to see proper diversity and choice where it matters, instead of being just "design" decisions about the shininess of the screen bezel.
I use a Whale Mouse from Human Scale. It is the only mouse that doesn't give me pain in my arm and wrist.
I have large hands and found nearly all mice out there just too small to sit comfortably in my hand. So I end up holding them with my fingertips and steering from the wrist, which causes problems.
The whale mouse is extendable, so you can adjust it to fit your hand. Such a simple feature and it makes all the difference for me.
We all have favourites.
Mine is a logitech blue media mouse, don't remember her name, but as meeces go, she's very good.
work anywhere-optical mouse, but no constant glow, so you don't have to put it in a drawer at night. has an off switch too!
takes standard cells, wireless with a small usb stick. a whole host of customisable media buttons for windows- including a volume rocker, play, stop etc, which work from a distance. that's only with their software though.
my favourite features though: the 5 way scroll wheel (4 direction's plus click), and best, the forward/ back buttons just where your thumb rests. and they worked without the software.
if they still make them, give it a go.
Where's the EU when you need them......there should be a law against right hand only mice... I'm sure these manufactures are infringing my human rights as a left handed person.... Dexterous Conspiracy... help, help, I'm being oppressed....
Another reason Razer make mice that are at least 500% better than any other.
Myself, I'm ambidextrous, I use my right more but I use my left enough for a right handed mouse to be horribly uncomfortable.
Still can't beat ...
.. the old skool MS Optical IntelliMouse. Does the job, and can be used by lefties, righties and ambimoustrous types (like myself) with ease.
Whether you love MS or not, it's a bloody good piece of kit - I almost like it as much as my old IBM Model M keyboards ...
FINALLY, an RSI-aware review of mice
So few tech reviewers even know about the 3M ergo mouse, or Evoluent's device. Well done, well done indeed. I've toured MS's ergonomics and assistive devices lab (I work at MS's main campus) and gone through increasingly expensive gear (up to a $300 smartnav head tracker) to try to preserve both my wrists and my career. This is simply the best researched review of this incredibly important and potentially career-ending input device. Thank you.
For anyone with serious problems, I'd recommend _good posture first_ then foot pedals and whichever of the devices is most painless to point with.
For what it's worth, here are my ratings of speed/precision vs wrist-saving
Smartnav headtracker: slow but painless. Add speech recognition and you're gold.
3M ergo mouse: awkward and never easy, but -nearly- painless with good posture
Logitech trackman: speedy and nearly as good as the 3M device if you prop it up at a 45 degree angle.
nitpick: I have a logitech trackman wheel at home and have to regularly pop the ball out and clean the contact bearings of gunk. Since that takes all of 5 seconds I'm not too sad to do it.
I was getting pretty bad pain in my wrist few years back ... Logitech MX Laser solved my problem, but dam it was a pricy mouse, of couse out of like 25 buttons it has I use 2+wheel lol
we should start a discussion "what was your first mouse", mine was Genius http://www.atarimagazines.com/startv4n5/genius_mouse.jpg
I have to wonder if people shopping for this stuff have unlimited incomes. £60 for a mouse? £75???!!! Might as well be 75,000 as far as I'm concerned. I can't afford to pay for a fancy mouse and to tell the truth, if I won £10million on the Lottery, I still wouldn't pay more than a tenner for a mouse or keyboard - not for ordinary home use, anyway. It might pay the industry to realise how many of us there are in that position. We're not all nerds who queue all night at PC World every time a bit of new bling appears.
Technically - some great ideas. Practically? Get back to me when your prices come down... You never know - you might make the profits up in actual sales...
Is that specifically for left-handed surfing?
I don't get why Razer is ignored either, as they produce the best gaming mouse available and have done so for a few years now. Also their gaming mice tend to be left and right hand compatible, wired so you don't lose your mouse in the middle of an online game (the latest offers dual wired / wireless functionality) and they're ergonomically correct.
"We're not all nerds who queue all night at PC World every time a bit of new bling appears."
You're right. Now please never speak the name of The Shop That Shall Not Be Mentioned, ever again. We all buy our stuff over the internet, getting much better stuff than they sell for a significantly lower price and without all the high pressure sales by people who have no idea what they are selling.
@ Shaun (WTF????)
But a list of the 12 best drivers wouldn't have anyone German who drove a red car...
That's the one you want. Works well even in the left hand and is surperbly responsive.
I am have bought....
Optical mouse from local shop 5 years ago for £3.99. I might have been a bit concerned but like hey... five years later it's still working.
I particularly like the 'lift up' function where you take it off the desk and it switches into total high power mode and lets you laser explode heads of those who are being particularly irritating at the time.
Re: Still can't beat ...
I find that my MS Laser 6000 (Or a similarly buzzworded name) is a decent replacement for my MS Intellimouse. It's ambidextrous, has the forward and back buttons in the same place, and is more or less the same shape. It lacks that terrible smooth scroll wheel MS tried, doesn't scroll sideways, doesn't weigh much, and didn't cost too much. It's also got a laser, so it creates no visable light and tracks quite well.
Another great MS mouse was the Explorer 3.0, which was right hand only, and which I managed to break a couple years ago. So sad. I also broke my MS Trackball explorer, which cost me a serious amount to replace after they went out of production. Apparently nobody thinks it's necessary to make another optical 5 button / scroll wheel finger-driven trackball. I might have to look at something like that Kensington if my current Trackball Explorer ever dies, since it's mighty nice to have during those marathon CAD sessions, which would leave my whole right arm tingly and unresponsive on a normal mouse.
Also, I kinda like the X11 copy/paste better than MS. When I have to use my work computer I almost constantly forget to hit ctrl+c after selecting text...
Wants me Trackman FX back!
I long coveted and eventually located (on the cheap) a Logi Trackman FX, which properly calls for the index+/-middle fingers for navigation, and has four logically placed buttons. Yes, I have to give it a cleaning now and again but it's hardly the icky disaster claimed by some. Alas it was never fully supported under XP and will probably make Vista/7 explode when the time comes. As much as I'd like to trade it in for an XP/Vista/7 compliant critter, my thumb is reserved for buttons, sucking, and occasional backside insertion when some degree of spin is required. Come on Logitech! Driver me or bring back the FX!
@AC - RE: Washable mouse
Must be the sicko in me, but I thought the same thing... Also thought the following comment should've been in the description for the washable mouse instead of the joystick thing...
"This feels a little strange at first because you have to you use your arm rather than wrist"
This and that
I tried the Evoluent VerticalMouse recently and liked it a lot, except that my wristbone dragged on the tabletop and hurt after a while.
The Logitech Trackman also comes in a version with the wheel on the right, so you operate the wheel with your fingers and most buttons with your thumb. BTW the ball does not accumulate dirt, I never had to clean mine.
That is truly amazing, I want one!
MS mice scrollwheel
I have to say something about the various Microsoft mice (on other people's computers) I've had the displeasure of using over the past few years, notably their horrible scrollwheels. It's the fact that they don't have any tactile feedback when turning it, there's no 'notches' which doesn't help you feel like the computer knows you've actually scrolled - couple this with IE's absolutely horrible scrolling (especially the smooth scroll option) and it's a nightmare.
Give me a mouse that when you spin the scrollwheel it 'bumps' to let you know it just told the computer you moved the wheel a notch and I'm happy.
/still using the Woolworths scrollwheel optical USB mouse he got in the sales for £3 :)
My first trackball was for an Amiga 500, some Italian brand with a heavy ball bigger than a billiard ball and it rested on four brass truck axles, well perhaps the brass bits were only 15mm thick. It had a huge area to rest your palm and wrist.
A beautiful piece of over engineering and I have never seen its like since.
The Trackman wheel is fantastic, I use them both at work and at home but they do need cleaning about once per week.
Since you covered most concepts of how to use a mouse, thought I'd plug the Perific Mouse, best mouse I ever used: although for the price, it'd want to be. You can use it normally, or it can sit on your hand as you type - I don't have to do the keyboard->mouse jump everytime damn time.
Bring Back ...
... the Microsoft Trackball Explorer.
OK, so you had to be right-handed but the ball was finger operated which is/was unique.
You can tell when you've moved your scroll-wheel by whether the window has scrolled. Give me a scroll-wheel without notches any day, but only if it has the same granularity of movement as the mouse's movement sensor itself.
I've never understood why we can have ultra-sensitive 3000 DPI sensors for moving the cursor around, but when it comes to scrolling we're only allowed about 10 DPI (i.e. 10 notches per inch of revolution, if you're lucky).
a Logitech VX Nano Cordless Laser Notebook Mouse. Ambidextrous design, good weight, good scroll wheel with an optional free-wheel (notch-less, if you will) function, excellent resolution and sensitivity, not too many buttons, very tiny USB receiver, works in all OS's and takes standard AAA cells.
I actually bought an Energizer USB attached AA/AAA battery charger (packaged with 2 AAA's) to go with this mouse, but haven't had to replace the batteries yet, despite the many hours of abuse it sees every day for the past few months that i've had it now.
Sure, it's not the cheapest mouse.. but it's one of the best I have owned so far.
One rodent to rule them all
there isn't such a beast.
each person, feels, holds and uses pointing devices so differently.
My tool of choice is the Logitech Optical Trackman with finger operated ball. I tried the trackman you reviewed and found as I like to rest my hand that I often caught the right click button. With the optical Trackman I don't.
It amazes me the number of people who use a mouse because that was what they always used. quite a number who try my trackball end up loving it and get one themselves as its 'easier' on their wrist
Got a Cherry Ergo Shark M-200L lefty moose a year or so ago. Works wirelessly or plugged in, scrolly wheel acts as a third button if so desired and has been super comfy for those of us with the larger than average digits. So good that my wife ( yet another lefty subversive ) demanded one as well. Both have performed faultlessly and havent had any wrist pain ( well not from using the mouse ) since.
See here: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Cherry-M-200L-Ergo-Shark-Left-Handed-Cordless-Laser-Mouse-1000dpi-USB-117-ButtonsSilver-Black
Flames - cos it's got frikkin laser beams shooting out of it, obviously!
12 of the best?
12 of the best? Yet the Regs own ratings put the Logitech VX Revolution above 7 of them at 90%: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/08/31/review_logitech_vx_revolution/
Not to mention it was reviewed at £60 and can often be had for less than £30
Looks like a collection of silly gimmicks to me bar the odd couple (including the stupid £75 one..)