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Manufacturer: Microsoft
Min OS X: Any Version    Requires: USB Port

Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth
May 30, 2003 | Lucian Fong

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Fragging From 30 Feet Away
The first thing I tried with the Bluetooth IntelliMouse was "play" Quake 3 from my bed. I didn't have the accompanying Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard, so I configured the left and right mouse buttons to move forward and back and the scroll wheel button to fire. The conditions were far from ideal for any kind of gaming, but I could move around and shoot from the comfort of the upper bunk, which is about six feet away from my computer. I was amazed at the responsiveness of the Bluetooth mouse, a characteristic many wireless mice lack.

I performed a similar experiment on a Windows XP machine, but with the mouse positioned about 15 feet away. Even though I could barely see what was on the monitor, the mouse performed as well as if I were sitting right in front of the computer. All that's needed to complete this wireless bliss is a Bluetooth keyboard, proper use of Universal Access' zoom feature, and a nurse to give my soon-to-be grossly overweight and immobile body a sponge bath.

As I was using the Bluetooth IntelliMouse in OS X for more mundane tasks, I immediately noticed some problems with the tracking. The cursor jerked across the screen and would jump around randomly. I tried different mouse pads and uninstalled the Logitech drivers, but the weirdness persisted. I determined it was a software problem when I tested the mouse in Windows XP and it worked perfectly. My suspicions were confirmed when I reported this issue on Apple's Bluetooth developers mailing list and an Apple engineer asked me to file a bug. Hopefully, this will be fixed in future versions of OS X.

In OS X, the tracking problem drove me batty as I was playing games. I'm sure you can imagine what it's like to play Warcraft III while the cursor jumps around as you try to micro-manage your army and cast spells. Playing the Elite Force 2 demo in Windows XP with the Bluetooth IntelliMouse gave me a taste of how the mouse should perform in OS X.

The Bluetooth IntelliMouse does have one flaw though. After several minutes, the mouse "falls asleep" and requires a few seconds to "wake up".

Final Thoughts
The Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth makes good use of an upcoming technology that many companies are certain to adopt. The mouse felt comfortable in my hands and the tracking is responsive and precise. I could hardly tell I was using a wireless mouse. Despite the shortcomings in OS X, I can't, in good conscience, lower the rating for this product because of it. After all, the hardware does perform flawlessly in Windows XP.

$85 might seem pricey for the Bluetooth IntelliMouse, but keep in mind that a Bluetooth transceiver, which can retail for as much as $50, is also included. It has the potential to be a great general use and gaming mouse for Mac users; Apple just needs to check the "Enable Microsoft Compatibility" box before compiling.

-Uses Bluetooth technology for long range and responsive tracking
-Contours hand comfortably
-Sharp looking mouse and transceiver

-Mouse falls asleep after several minutes
-Inadequate sidegrips
-No OS X IntelliPoint drivers

Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth
Manufacturer: Microsoft


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