Microsoft Mice - Say Goodbye to Laser

Say Goodbye to Laser

According to Microsoft’s hardware web site, in a couple of days we can expect some new “groundbreaking” technology for tracking mouse movements and new devices that employ that technology. The real question is: do we really need one?

First optical mice appeared in 1980’s and used either infrared or visible light LEDs and required special surfaces with printed lines or dot grids to operate. Modern optical mice work on similar principle, but do not require special surfaces and can operate on almost anything from plain white paper to your bed covering. Of course, experiences were not as perfect as manufacturers expected (and promised on numerous occasions) which led to frustrated users. How many times have you tried to show something to your colleague and found yourself waving with the mouse all over the table just to make it move an inch?

Now Microsoft is promising new technology that should alleviate us from burdens of finding just the right surface to run your mouse on. If the add from Microsoft’s web site is to be trusted, these new devices will work on curved chair tops, rugged surfaces like carpets or outdoor tables, glossy and reflective like kitchen table tops, well the time will tell…


My personal complaint was never that mice don’t work on some surface, but rather their response and precision. Being a laptop user from almost a decade (and a Microsoft Mouse fan even longer), I was always looking for a wireless solutions.

First wireless devices used big ugly receivers connected through even more unpractical 30 feet long USB cable, which were everything but portable. My first truly mobile mouse was Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth which was everything I was looking for at the time: sized like normal desktop mouse, had long battery life, ergonomically shaped and Bluetooth connectable.


The drawbacks were slow responsiveness, occasional disconnects (some kind of sleep mode), slow reconnects, and no power switch (which led to battery discharging while being moved in bag).

Nowadays I’m using Wireless Laser Mouse 8000 (in laptop bag when traveling) and Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 (office desktop). Both use invisible 850nm laser LED (Microsoft’s High Definition Laser Technology), both have power switch, but the first one uses Bluetooth and the later RF wireless connection. Although both are exceptional devices they still perform occasional disconnects and have cursor movement slowdowns. But that’s not the worst of things. Each is tuned differently (speed and mouse scroll) and whenever I use the other one on my laptop I have to configure its speed in Mouse configuration Control Panel. Now someone will say this is like comparing apples and pears, but this is something that really bothers me…

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Will this “new” technology from Microsoft Hardware make any difference will see next week, until then this was my 5¢