Microsoft's Intellimouse line is one of the most successful mouse brands out there, and is largely responsible for bringing the scroll wheel to the masses. The original Intellimouse's simple, rugged design won wide favor among OEMs, who found it cheaper to simply go with the Intellimouse than other brands. While Microsoft does make other mice, this writeup will focus on the Intellimouse line.

Ball Mice

  • The original Intellimouse, which has been discontinued, featured three buttons, and a 'sturdy' scroll wheel. This scroll wheel is wide and gray. This is the Intellimouse that is the most widely used today; many OEMs such as Gateway and Dell sold their branded version of the Intellimouse. It was PS/2 only, and left-handers are out of luck: it is ergonomically designed for right-handers. This Intellimouse went through several revisions; mine is V 1.1a.
  • The modern Intellimouse is visually identical to its predecessor, with one key difference: the scroll wheel is now ridged and black, and it is much easier to scroll. On the bottom, the version number is 3.0. It is widely available.

Optical Mice

Microsoft's optical mice are easily recognized by the evil red taillight. Some earlier models, such as the Intellimouse with IntelliEye do not have this taillight, but most later models do. The taillight serves exactly two functions: to look pretty and to let you know that the computer has recognized the mouse driver. A seperate LED, located in the bottom center of the mouse, does the tracking. Microsoft's optical Intellimice are widely favored by gamers everywhere - a quick glance at a LAN party photo will show the unmistakable glow of several Intellimice.

  • The Intellimouse with IntelliEye, which is now discontinued, looks just like the original Intellimouse series, with one key difference: the IntelliEye. Located on the bottom center of the mouse, the IntelliEye is the single small LED that replaces the old mechanical ball design. Again, this mouse is ergonomically shaped.
  • The Intellimouse Optical is one of the most popular products in the optical Intellimouse line. It features five buttons, it fits both right and left-handers, and it tracks adequately. To distinguish it from the other mice, this mouse has a white body with five buttons -two are silver, located on either side of the mouse where the thumb would rest.
  • The Intellimouse Explorer is the mainstay of gaming computer companies like Alienware. Its silver finish and ergonomic design give it a unique look; like its sibling, the Intellimouse Explorer has five customizable buttons, again, located where the thumb would rest.
  • The Wireless Intellimouse Explorer is a monster, literally. It is ergonomically molded for right handers, and has two AA batteries on the bottom to power it. It is somewhat larger than the wired Intellimouse Explorer, and it has a white IntelliEye logo on the tail light.
  • The Wheel Mouse Optical comes in two designs; one is slightly larger than the other and has a blackish bottom. The Wheel Mouse Optical is the 'value' version of Microsoft's line of optical mice; instead of the standard five buttons, it comes with only three. It does, however, have Microsoft's IntelliEye technology. It is also suited for both right and left-handers.

All in all, Microsoft's mouse hardware is simply exceptional.

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