Microsoft Classic Intellimouse is a modern take on an old favorite

When a piece of hardware is fundamentally good, there isn't much of a reason to make sweeping changes. Microsoft's Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 was released all the way back in 2006 and lived on without any big updates until the Redmond giant discontinued the model in 2012. The company may finally be releasing a worthy successor five years on: the Classic Intellimouse. The Classic shares the same styling and corded operation as its predecessor from over a decade ago, but the sensor now sports the Microsoft's proprietary BlueTrack sensor, a flat Windows logo, and white lighting in its tail instead of the older mouse's red illumination.

The Bluetrack sensor can be configured to track at up to 3200 DPI and has a 1000 Hz report rate. The company says the sensor can track on most surfaces, including glass. The Classic Intellimouse measures 5.2" long, 2.7" wide, and 1.7" tall (13 cm x 6.9 cm x 4.3 cm) and weighs 4.55 oz (129 g).

Microsoft says the Classic Intellimouse requires Windows 7 or newer. Three of the buttons can be customized in all supported versions of Windows except for the locked-down Windows 10 S. Curiously, the company says the rodent won't work at all with Android, iOS, or macOS—not even in a fallback reduced functionality mode. The company didn't say anything about Linux or other operating systems, but we would suggest alternate OS users wait for reviews before laying down cash for the Classic.

Microsoft didn't say when the Classic Intellimouse would hit shelves, but the mouse's product page says it will trade for $40 when it does become available. The manufacturer backs the pointing device with a one-year warranty.

Comments closed
    • pirate_panda
    • 2 years ago

    “Microsoft’s Intellimouse Explorer 3.0 was released all the way back in 2006 and lived on without any big updates until the Redmond giant discontinued the model in 2012. ”

    What about the Intellimouse Explorer 4.0 I have sitting here on my desk? Not sure about the dates it was available, though.

    • Wirko
    • 2 years ago

    All in all, we can now choose between two mice that are designed to not work with *other* OSes. One is magic, the other is intelligent.

    • hansmuff
    • 2 years ago

    I loved that mouse when it was popular back in.. uh.. 2003/2004?
    Nice to see it’s coming back, but it has a lot more competition nowadays.

    • Voldenuit
    • 2 years ago

    If the sensor doesn’t have 1:1 output with no smoothing, I’m not interested.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 2 years ago

    Now, just bring back the Microsoft Trackball Explorer, drop the OS-locking bullplop, and then we can talk.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 2 years ago

      Have you seen the Elecom Huge?

      • Horshu
      • 2 years ago

      AMEN! Back in the day, I burned through about 5 of them, as my cat would chew through the cables (lost a similar number of Xbox 1 controllers that way). I have 1 left, in rough shape, that I don’t even use any more, since the plastic is worn through to the white part. But it’s easily the best trackball I’ve ever used (I prefer them to mice). I use a Logitech marble now, but the lack of a wheel really makes a difference. Other than that, there just aren’t a whole lot of finger trackballs (more thumbs, seemingly). I tried a couple of others (a Kensington and some offbrand Explorer lookalike that was terrible) but really want MS to take another stab at one.

    • Paulos7
    • 2 years ago

    This will be the second re-release of this mouse, and it was first released before 2006. There are other reviews stating 2003 as the year it was first released, and I know that I bought one in 2004. I still have an X06 and X08, and both have a “6/01” on the label underneath the mouse (looks like a date to me).

    These mice still work great, but I occasionally have to change the micro switches when they wear out.

    • Captain Ned
    • 2 years ago

    Amazon says it drops on October 30th. Guess I won’t need to replace switches on my dying 3.0s.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 2 years ago

    With no RGB LEDs why are they even selling it? Did the Windows Vista team work on this thing?

      • meerkt
      • 2 years ago

      White light = RGB combined in one LED.

    • UberGerbil
    • 2 years ago

    The whole compatibility thing is odd enough — as several have noted, there’s work involved to make a USB HID [i<]not[/i<] OS-agnostic -- that I'm wondering if this is just marketing spec-sheet flustercuck. Do we have anything else suggesting this beyond the compatibility table on that product page?

      • Norphy
      • 2 years ago

      Oddly enough, the spec page reports it being compatible with Windows RT 8. Considering they’re not releasing updates for that any more, logically it must be a HID device. I think that the “incompatible with OS X” thing is a mistake.

        • trackerben
        • 2 years ago

        Intellimessed is what this is.

        • UberGerbil
        • 2 years ago

        Yeah, that’s what I mean. There’s a compatibility table in the web page template for peripherals, but the marketing manager said “No, this is only for Windows 8 or later” so the intern dutifully didn’t check the boxes on any of the other OSes. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you could plug this thing into a Mac or even a Chromebook and it would work (as a minimal two-button device), compatibility table be damned.

    • DancinJack
    • 2 years ago

    Well, Ned is probably smiling somewhere.

      • Captain Ned
      • 2 years ago

      You got that right.

    • albundy
    • 2 years ago

    still have my original in a drawer somewhere. i soldered out its left clicker to fix my logitech performance mx. definitely was worth it.

    • ludi
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]Curiously, the company says the rodent won't work at all with Android, iOS, or macOS—not even in a fallback reduced functionality mode. The company didn't say anything about Linux or other operating systems, but we would suggest alternate OS users wait for reviews before laying down cash for the Classic.[/quote<] Too bad. I have an MX518 that's gradually deteriorating but I occasionally KVM into an Ubuntu box. If it won't even talk, it definitely won't rock.

      • thedosbox
      • 2 years ago

      FWIW, I replaced my G400 (same shape as the MX518) with a G403. Once configured, the G403 doesn’t require logitech’s software be installed on the machine it’s plugged into (i.e. it saves the settings on the mouse). This was great as I wanted to use the same mouse on my locked-down work laptop.

        • continuum
        • 2 years ago

        I replaced an MX518 with M500 myself. Not a gaming mouse, but still pretty good for desktop work.

    • Takeshi7
    • 2 years ago

    Holy crap that’s nostalgic. The original was my previous mouse before I upgraded to a Logitech MX 518.

    Really stupid move with the compatibility limitations though.

      • Walkintarget
      • 2 years ago

      Same two mice I game with. I still have the MS on a shelf, and the 518 (my current gamer rig choice) is on its last legs, but still serviceable.

      • meerkt
      • 2 years ago

      I bet the compatibility thing is just if you want their custom driver and utilities.

      I doubt core functionality would be anything other than USB HID.

    • SecretMaster
    • 2 years ago

    I would kill for Microsoft to bring back the Natural Keyboard Elite

      • Chrispy_
      • 2 years ago

      In black, with n-key rollover and cherry MX switches?

      I know that’s like wishing for the moon, but I might as well aim high….

      • Walkintarget
      • 2 years ago

      I have a beige one on my parts shelf – amazed what they are going for on flEbay currently. Plan was to take it apart and vinyl dye it black, but not sure what to do to put the letters back on after I change it to black. I don’t like the stick on letter kits for keyboards either.

        • Horshu
        • 2 years ago

        MicroCenter used to sell the originals right along side the 4000s several years ago. Don’t know if they still do, or if it’s the cross cursor or the inverted T. I’ve had every MS ergo keyboard except the new Alcantara one (the price?!?!!?) and prefer the one with the separate keypad..very lightweight with a small, precise key press. I loved the original but the cross cursor one drove me nuts (in fact, almost every MS keyboard inexplicably has some unconventional key location that I spend months getting used to only to have them revert and try some new key layout elsewhere that I have to learn)

          • Usacomp2k3
          • 2 years ago

          The 4000 on my desk is just about perfect. If they would get rid of the f-lock keys entirely it would be perfect, but at least the function button is out of theway and the f-lock is on by default.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    It sounds like Microsoft went out of their way to sabotage this in firmware; I would recommend reciprocating the effort and going out of your way to avoid this mouse.

    Microsoft are playing [i<]real dirty[/i<] when you read between the lines, these days.... (Cue overly-defensive-of-Microsoft SSK comment in 3... 2... 1...)

      • Redocbew
      • 2 years ago

      It’s just weird. What are they hoping to accomplish by gimping a mouse? I understand the stuff they’ve done with Win10 so far. I hate most of it, but Windows is used by people all over the world, and it makes perfect sense that Microsoft would want to know as much as they can about that.

      But really? A mouse?

      • EzioAs
      • 2 years ago

      [quote=”Chrispy_”<](Cue overly-defensive-of-Microsoft SSK comment in 3... 2... 1...)[/quote<] Some people are just naturally defensive of another because you get unnecessarily offensive towards others.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        I’m offensive towards greedy monopolies that see us as sources of income and not much else. If my attitude offends people then woo, I guess everything is working as intended.

      • NovusBogus
      • 2 years ago

      Not gonna lie, it takes *serious* effort to make a USB mouse not work like a USB mouse. I’m kind of perversely impressed.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Yeah. This is what stands out like a sore thumb.

        How do they cripple it for Android, iOS and OSX without crippling it for important things like graphical UEFI BIOS screens and pre-boot environments? Maybe it is crippled for those too, and you’ll have to break out a normal mouse just for that….

          • Bauxite
          • 2 years ago

          Yeah not working on boot screen is epic fail. Even servers are starting to see decent UEFI shells.

          The mouse nerds are already saying if its one of those laser sensors its going to be crap. They should have gone with a good 33xx variant, would’ve gotten a lot of gamer grassroots marketing for free.

            • Chrispy_
            • 2 years ago

            Hah, so true about the sensor (I’m one of those mouse nerds) but this isn’t a gaming mouse so I don’t think linear tracking is all that important.

            Most non-gamers use mouse acceleration in windows without even realising it because Microsoft enables it by default under the disguise of “enhance pointer precision”

            I run a Mix of Supermicro storage servers and Dell PowerEdge here. I don’t think I’ve seen a [i<]non[/i<]-graphical Dell PowerEdge BIOS in about a decade already.

          • DPete27
          • 2 years ago

          Let’s face it. This mouse isn’t going to persuade anyone into upgrading to Win10, or to switch from Android or iOS. MS is just shooting themselves in the foot.

      • Beelzebubba9
      • 2 years ago

      [quote=”Chrispy_”<]Microsoft are playing real dirty when you read between the lines, [b<]these days....[/b<][/quote<] I'm not sure I could agree with you less about the waning interoperability of Microsoft's products [i<]lately[/i<]. Microsoft has aggressively pushed their software onto a number of competing platforms - notably SQL Server to Linux, but also their mobile apps and Cortana to damn near every platform. Linux and other Open Source workloads account for 40% (!!) of Azure's revenue and Microsoft is hiring OSS engineers hand over fist to improve Azure's support for non-Windows workloads. Also in the last year I've watched Microsoft deprecate Azure PowerShell and replace it with the BASH-based cross platform CLI, which is supported on Linux, macOS, Windows and browser interfaces. Heck, the majority of Microsoft presentations I've attended were given by a presenter running a Mac. Every single talk/presentation/pitch [i<]I've ever given[/i<] were on a Mac and no one has ever noticed or mentioned it. So yeah, I can't see much validity in calling the new Microsoft anti-competitive or anything like they used to be. Disclaimer: I don't work for Microsoft, but I have been an Azure consultant since before Azure worked and have a close relationship with the product and management teams in WA, so I have much greater visibility into the cutting edge of the company than most.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Uh, wow. Okay.

        Technically everything you’ve said is true and I agree with it, but I’m not sure what it has to do with the end-user, consumer-targeted, retail side of Microsoft.

        Microsoft is a huge, multi-sector corporation. It’s too large and the sectors are spread too widely apart to make inference from one sector and extrapolate it into a generalisation for all sectors.

        Azure, mobile apps, and back-end products like SQL Server benefit from opening up to competing platforms, because they’re not Windows-dependent and they’re not OS-dependent. The wider their availability and compatibility, the higher the adoption and the more income they get.

        Consumer stuff is different. It’s in Microsoft’s interest to lock consumers to their platforms and prevent them from using other platforms. It’s in Microsoft’s interest to harvest as much information from users as possible. It’s in Microsoft’s interest to make running older versions increasingly difficult and inconvenient.

        So yes, Microsoft is making huge cross-platform improvements across mutliple sectors where it’s to their benefit, and they’re doing the exact opposite when it comes to consumers because (you guessed it) it’s to their benefit.

        Remember, Microsoft is a business not a charity and as long as what they’re doing is [i<]legal[/i<], they'll do it whether it's good or bad for us end-users. The thing that annoys me is that when people blindly accept the positive marketing spin on negative changes, or willingly pay to have their choice and freedoms revoked. This mouse is an example of the latter.

    • nico1982
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]Curiously, the company says the rodent won't work at all with Android, iOS, or macOS[/quote<] WTF, why? Rival 110 it is, then.

      • spiketheaardvark
      • 2 years ago

      Agreed
      HID is underappreciated. This is a step back to darker time. A time before thumb drives, motherboards setting involved moving jumpers, and HDD needed sector and block size information manually entered to work.

      • CheetoPet
      • 2 years ago

      Up next – always on internet connection required for the mouse to work. Only if we work together can we fight the devastation caused by illegal mouse usage.

        • floodo1
        • 2 years ago

        Then they partner with Ubisoft so it inexplicably requires Uplay LOL

        • Froz
        • 2 years ago

        Oh, then it can finally be a service, not an item. I always wanted this. With yearly subscription.

          • cpucrust
          • 2 years ago

          And the service contract is based on per core count including HT cores: physical and/or virtual

        • spiketheaardvark
        • 2 years ago

        “By using this Microsoft Classic Intellimouse under license from Microsoft, the user accepts the terms of services including the collection of data including . . .”

    • JosiahBradley
    • 2 years ago

    Mice normally just work when you plug them in. Way to go making a classic that just worked require a specific OS to function. It’s a mouse…

    • DrDominodog51
    • 2 years ago

    Hopefully the sensor on this is good. I don’t think my Intellimouse Optical 1.1A is long for this world.

      • Grahambo910
      • 2 years ago

      I had (until the dog chewed it) one of their foldable mice with the bluetrack sensor which I won at work. I quite liked it, as I carried it with my Surface Pro and never managed to find a surface on which it wouldn’t track well. I replaced it with a very expensive Razer which works via bluetooth or a cord, but only because Microcenter didn’t have the same MS unit when I needed the new one.

      • oldog
      • 2 years ago

      I use an Intellimouse 1.x daily for my work at home computer. Love it, especially the aging yellow marks on the white plastic.

      What I call PaleoTech.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 2 years ago

      The 3.0 isn’t anywhere as nice as the 1.1

      It’s a shame they’re doing another release of the 3.0. They’ve already done it once and there are plenty of clones but it’s difficult to find something as nice as the 1.1

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