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Product: Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer in Cobalt Basin & Crimson Fire
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price:

Review By: Robert Stein

One of the latest hardware releases coming out of Redmond is all about simplicity and style. Microsoft has released two special edition mice to follow-up the 2004 version of the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer in its attempt to jazz up some of the hardware on your desktop. This product follows a long line of stylish devices Microsoft has released this season and last (and actually includes variations of some of these devices). Using patented Optical Technology and sporting a red or blue metallic, hip design, Microsoft is trying to set a groove with people who want something sleek and stylish, yet functional (and wireless), on their desktop. Does the mouse live up to its promises? Read on to find out.


  • New! Mouse scroll wheel with proprietary Tilt Wheel Technology delivers revolutionary capabilities. For the first time, users can scroll vertically and horizontally, which is perfect for navigating long Web pages or spreadsheets. They can depress the wheel to toggle among open windows; this is especially useful because research shows the average user has three applications running simultaneously.* The unique wheel also scrolls smoothly, enabling users to see the results on the screen as the wheel rolls under their fingers.

  •  New! Exclusive, enhanced Microsoft Optical Technology delivers accuracy and precision with longer battery life than ever before — up to six months for some users. Research shows users prefer six-month battery life to rechargeable options.* Also, the glowing optical sensor replaces the mouse ball, so there are no moving parts to keep clean and no need for a mouse pad.

  • New Colors! The Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer is now available in Cobalt Basin and Crimson Fire.

Setup & Installation 

 The setup of this mouse is decisively simple; just plug the wireless hub into a port, do a quick software setup and you are ready to go. Like its predecessors, this mouse works with USB and PS/2 ports. Installation of the IntelliPoint software is a breeze. This mouse also supports some Macintosh platforms (see below). The batteries for the mouse are included.

If you would like to adjust your mouse settings, i.e. reprogram its additional buttons, then you’ll want to install Microsoft IntelliPoint 5.0 software. Installation of the IntelliType Pro 5.0 software (although not needed) is a breeze. Just pop in the CD included or download the software (about 10 MB) from Microsoft’s website. After a restart, the setup asks which mouse you are using and thus finalizes the installation. From here you can program your buttons, access the signal quality wizard, and more.

Mouse Design

The Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer included in this combination is available separately (unlike the keyboard colors). The mouse is also about the same size as previous models, sizing up at 3 inches long, 1.5 inches wide and an inch high. The mouse has a dark metallic blue or red finish (depending which you choose) around the top, with a normal black design on the bottom. The colors has a very "tech" and "sleek" feel, and are very subtle and appeasing to look at. As you can see in the image below, there is a nice silver Microsoft "Optical Technology" logo on the front of the mouse. It seems Microsoft has cut away from the red translucent plastic bottoms which used to be on older models. We definitely like these colors much better than the "Standard Blue" of the past.


The Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer has five bottoms and a scroll wheel (which also services as a button), so if you depend on a ton of programmable buttons this one has the most of available from Microsoft (the optical mouse does not have five). The scroll wheel is a transparent white, but unlike the Notebook Optical Mouse the wheel doesn’t light up (a light would be cool!). The wheel, unlike previous models, has a nice tight grip to it. Same for this version (as the previous Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer released late last year) is the proprietary “tilt wheel technology.” The first of its kind, users can now scroll vertically and horizontally. I found this feature most useful for toggling between open windows. Nice touch! Unlike the Optical Mouse, the IntelliMouse is not ambidextrous, so only right hand users will prefer to use this model. The size makes this mouse easy to use for long periods of times, without irritating the wrist (something I particularly find important). The wireless base is black (about 3 inches by 2 inches) and is the same type as Microsoft's standard non-Bluetooth wireless hub. This model now includes an improved 27 MHz receiver to cut down on interference (we did not have any problems before). There are 65,000 random identification codes to reduce interference! Unlike the Bluetooth IntelliMouse Explorer, this mouse will only work 6-10 feet away from the base at any given time. The upside, though, is the mouse will use less battery power overall.

Let’s not forget the Optical Technology. The technology is 6,000 frames per second and works smoothly on most surfaces. It has been broken-in well with previous mice, so you know you won’t have any problem. The optical technology has been enhanced over previous models to last much longer than before. Indeed, the mouse battery has lasted several months unlike previous models where the battery hardly lasted a month.

Final Comments

How It Grades

Installation: 89%
Performance: 90%
Design: 94%
Price/Value: 87%
Overall: 90%

This product is perfect for those who want a "techish" style in their lives while keeping wireless without spend the money for the Bluetooth Desktop. Microsoft has obviously listened to customer feedback by offering the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer in these new colors Crimson Fire (Red) and Cobalt Basin (Blue). For those of you who did not yet purchase this year's version of the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, I definitely recommend you try this product. The mouse has five buttons, not to mention the tilting scroll will, so I feel those who seek the most functionality will enjoy this product. Additionally, this product is priced lower than the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 90%
Version Reviewed Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer in Cobalt Basin and Crimson Fire
Release Date Out Now
The Good Points Enhanced Optical Technology
Nice Color/Design
Longer Battery Life
Tilt Wheel
The Bad Points None
Similar Product Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse
System Requirements Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP, 2003
USB or PS/2
35 MB of Disk Space
32 up to 128 MB of RAM
 Mac OS 10.1 to 10.2.X (OS X not supported)



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