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Microsoft's Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer 2.0

Left, right

ModelWireless IntelliMouse Explorer 2.0
Price (Street)$35 (OEM)
$45 (Retail)

IN 1996, Microsoft forever changed the mouse by introducing its first scroll wheel. The wheel was an instant hit, and now nearly every mouse manufacturer has its own version of the revolutionary scrolling tool. In fact, scroll wheels have become so ubiquitous, I can't imagine using a mouse without one. It's amazing what a little rubberized wheel can do, isn't it?

As I grew accustomed to—and then dependent on—the ability to scroll down a web page, document, or window with just the flick of a finger, I couldn't help but wish someone would come up with a mouse wheel that could scroll left and right in addition to up and down. Years passed, and just when I began to lose hope, Microsoft announced that it had developed Tilt Wheel technology to bring horizontal scrolling to the vertical mouse wheel.

Microsoft's first mouse product to use the pivoting tilt wheel is the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer 2.0, which packs plenty of other neat features in addition to the tilting wheel. Is the tilt wheel really all that? What else does Microsoft's latest Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer have to offer? Read on to find out.

In the palm of your hand
Microsoft's latest IntelliMouse Explorer is sculpted to perfection, if you're right-handed that is. Check it out:

The Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer v2.0 is roughly the same size as Microsoft's current IntelliMouse Explorer products, which depending on the size of your hand, may or may not be a good fit. For my big hands, the mouse fits like a glove, but I've been using a wired IntelliMouse Explorer v3.0 for a while now, so my hand is primed for IntelliMouse contours.

Though the two are similar in size and shape, the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer is nearly 50% heavier than my wired IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0. The weight difference works out to only 45 grams, but it takes some getting used to, particularly when initiating movement. The fact that the mouse's weight isn't perfectly balanced doesn't help, either. The Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer's center of gravity is biased toward the rear of the mouse, making the unit a little back-heavy.

For those who put looks before feel, the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer v2.0 is available in a number of different colors. A version is also available with faux-leather contact pads for those who need extra grip or want a little more luxury.