|Min OS X: Any Version Requires: USB Port|
Apple provides a high quality optical mouse with every desktop Mac they sell. For the home and educational market segments, this input device will fill most users’ needs. Power users and gamers, however, have more rigorous requirements. Kensington’s Optical Elite mouse makes a compelling alternative to Apple’s own Optical Mouse. The hardware’s good looks, ergonomic design and software compatibility help to set it apart from the competition. On the downside, the OS X drivers are not as feature complete as their counterpart in Mac OS 8 and 9, and the Optical Elite can occasionally lack the responsiveness found in a ball-driven mouse.
Sharp Dressed MouseMac users have become sticklers for good looks in their hardware, thanks to the innovative designs coming from Apple's industrial design group over the years. The first thing most Mac users are likely to notice about the Optical Elite is its striking appearance. The sleek design of this mouse ensures that it is looks as at home sitting next to a Bondi Blue iMac as it does connected to a Titanium PowerBook G4.
The device is a study in the blending of grey and blue hues. A few choice translucent components add a hint of playfulness to what otherwise would be a very serious-looking mouse. The center button/mouse wheel emits an eerie blue glow when in use thanks to these semi-clear components. When the Optical Elite is turned upside-down, the optical sensor reveals the typical crimson hue found in modern optical mice.
Comfortable CritterIn any computer-pointing device, function should not take a back seat to form. Frequently, a computer peripheral will look good but function poorly. A perfect example of this is the ‘hockey puck-style’ mouse that shipped with the first generation of iMacs; it was an attractive design but an ergonomic nightmare. Fortunately, the Optical Elite does not fall victim to this problem.
The Optical Elite mouse features a symmetrical button layout, so its suitable for left and right handed gamers. The overall size is larger than Apple’s Optical Mouse, but fits well into an adult-sized hand (though small children might have some difficulty using the Optical Elite). The smooth plastic surface of the device is juxtaposed by a rubberized coating on the sides and the lower back of the Optical Elite. The rubber provides extra grip, which I found to provide extra comfort during extended gaming sessions.
The mouse provides users with five programmable buttons: the typical left and right mouse buttons, a scroll wheel that also serves as a button and two additional buttons on the left and right sides of the hardware. The ltop left and right mouse buttons provide solid feedback when clicked and the scroll wheel is equally as responsive. The fourth and fifth buttons on the upper left and upper right sides of the mouse have been thoughtfully placed. These buttons are easy to reach with your hand and are positioned in such a way that they are less likely to be accidentally pressed.