Mouse technology moves on and takes to the air


Mice come in all shapes and sizes, and this month a couple of new ones hit my desk. There’s the MX700 wireless optical model from Logitech – which is unusual because Logitech has a sketchy history of Mac support – and the Gyration Ultra Cordless Optical Mouse. The later is motion-sensitive: the motion sensors allow you to point with the mouse in the air, which is odd. The Gyration Ultra (pictured bottom) uses its own patented GyroPoint technology to track the movement of the mouse in the air. When it’s on a desk it uses traditional optical tracking to move the cursor. This dual use means the mouse has an odd shape. It isn’t perfect for either, but a compromise had to be made. There are two buttons and a scroll wheel accessible when the mouse is on a desk. When held in the air, there’s another button on the bottom that activates the motion sensor. The top buttons are used with the thumb. This takes time to get used to, and requires some thought, but it works well once you have acclimatized yourself. The MX700 (left) from Logitech is a bells-and-whistles job, that has a button for everything bar making the tea. Mouse users tend to fall into two categories: the single-button-is-plenty, or the more-buttons-the better. Before trying one, I was very wary of two-button mice, but once I got my hands on a scrolly number I never looked back. Now, I can’t believe Apple’s still making single-button mice. However, now that I’m in the more-buttons-the-better category, I’m faced with a problem: I’m left handed. Why are there so few mice for lefties? Though many mid-range mice offer ambidexterity, the top models from Logitech and Microsoft are for right-handers only. The wireless MX700 comes with a cradle for keeping its batteries charged, which also acts as the base station. The mouse has seven buttons: left and right click; forward and back thumb buttons; continuous scroll buttons above and below the wheel; and an application switching button. The shape is good – for righties – and it doesn’t jump around like my normal Microsoft mouse. It’s a good mouse – just not for me.
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