30 Hardware and Windows Tips in 30 Days Tip 22: How to Choose the Perfect Mouse
Need a new mouse? Don't worry about categories like "desktop" and "portable" - instead, find out what features are really the most important.
Who's Who (and Where's Where) in Mice
Need a new mouse? If your mouse doesn't have a laser sensor, still has a cord, or (gasp) a ball, you probably do. If you haven't been shopping for a mouse lately, be prepared for a bewildering variety of products, not just from the major players like Microsoft and Logitech, but from other vendors like Kensington, Targus, and others.
To make matters worse, lots of stores stock mice in two areas:
- Standard-size mice are stocked next to keyboards
- Mice made for laptops are often stocked in a special portable accessories department
You might think that if you are buying a mouse for a desktop PC that you'd better stick with the mouse/keyboard department, and if you need a mouse for a laptop that you'd better shop only in the portable accessories department.
Don't limit yourself. The department the mouse is sold in doesn't matter nearly as much as the mouse's size, handedness (if you're a left-handed mouser), cordless or corded, and features.
Left-Hand Mouser? Choices Are Limited
If you're a southpaw mouser, make sure the mice you consider are designed to work with your left hand. With left-handers being only a small (5-30% of the population), there's not a huge market for left-hand only mice. However, there are a few lefty-specific models on the market:
- Logitech's MX610 Left-Hand Laser Cordless Mouse is the most advanced left-handed mouse on the market, with laser sensor, tilt and zoom wheel, and a 2.4GHz radio for greater range and reliability.
- The Perfit left-hand optical mouse is an older design, using a corded PS/2 and USB interface, but offering three different sizes (small, medium, and large) and a scroll wheel.
- If you prefer trackballs, touchpads or other pointing device exotica, the Ergocube.com Left Handed Mice page offers a wide variety of left-handed and ambidextrous mice and other pointing devices from many vendors.
Most left-handed mouse users will be satisfied, though, with a mouse made to work with either hand:
- Logitech's ambidextrous mice are available here.
- Microsoft's list of ergonomic mice, including models that work 'comfortably in either hand,' are here.
Whichever hand you use for mousing, though, your primary goal should be to find a mouse that fits.