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Configuration software
A 5.9' (1.8 m) braided USB cable connects the Mizar to the host PC. The mouse is configured with a 1000Hz polling rate by default, and the update frequency can be scaled back via Cooler Master's accompanying Mizar software. It's possible to tune the button response time between 250 µs and 32 ms, as well, but the 2-ms default feels instantaneous to me.

The Mizar software also dictates the behavior of the integrated LEDs. Although the light under the wheel only glows white, the one behind the palm rest's tribalesque tattoo can be set to shine to red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, or pink. Brightness and flashing settings apply to both LEDs, as does the "off" option that disables them. Unfortunately, the slow-pulsing "breathing" mode exhibits visible chunkiness when transitioning between different brightness levels. The mechanism seems to lack sufficient granularity for smooth gradients, making the effect look pretty low-rent.

Because hitting the "apply" button transfers the configuration settings to the Mizar's internal storage, the software is necessary only for the initial setup and subsequent tweaking; it doesn't have to be running all the time. The embedded storage is capacious enough for four profiles, each with independent DPI scaling, LED behavior, and button mapping. Changing the active profile requires firing up the software or mapping at least one of the mouse buttons to a profile-switching function.

Other button mapping choices include the usual mix of clicks, standard media controls, basic OS functions, arbitrary keystrokes, and various rapid-fire inputs. If you want to get fancy, programmable macros are also possible.

The macro engine records a stream of user inputs with the original or pre-defined timings. Those events can then be repositioned on the timeline and mixed with inserted delays, keystrokes, mouse clicks, and shortcuts to Windows commands. Once defined, macros can be saved to disk and shared with other users. The same goes for entire configuration profiles.

As a modern interpretation of the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0, the Mizar misses the mark somewhat. It certainly looks the part, but the compact dimensions and massaged curves provide a very different feel than the original. That difference is deeply disappointing to me, because I absolutely adore how the old Explorer fits my hand.

But I also prefer the oversized gamepad that shipped with the first Xbox, so what do I know? Everyone else seems to agree the downsized controllers that followed were a step in the right direction. If that sentiment is any indication, the Mizar's smaller body will probably be a selling point rather than a detriment.

The real selling point, of course, is that the Mizar brings a wave of upgrades to the time-honored IntelliMouse shape. DPI switching is a welcome addition, as is the mix of matte and grippy surfaces. Also, the programming and profile support make the relatively limited number of extra buttons more versatile than one might expect.

At $59.99 online, the Mizar is firmly entrenched in mid-range territory, where it faces loads of competitors with comparable sensitivity, lighting, and programming options. Whether this classic reinterpretation is preferable to those alternatives very much depends on the size and shape of your hand—and your tolerance for the Mizar's quirks.TR

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