Optical Mouses

Written by Charles Peacock
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It's kind of amazing that we're living in an age when you have so much choice that there are actually hundreds of different kinds of computer mouses to choose from. Most people have never used anything other than a standard roller ball mouse with two buttons on top, and for them it probably works fine. If you've ever cursed your mouse for jamming up or not rolling smoothly, however, you might want to take advantage of all that choice and look into upgrading to an optical mouse.

What Makes Optical Mice so Special?

When I first saw an optical mouse, I have to admit I didn't really get it. What's the advantage of having a little red laser on the bottom of the mouse instead of a roller ball? Once you try an optical mouse, you understand. Roller mouses need a flat, even surface to operate, and they tend to get jammed with dust and particles. Optical mouses never have these problems.

Since an optical mouse works by tracking movement using a light reflection, it's not at all necessary to use them on a flat surface. You can use an optical mouse on your leg, on a wall--even on the side of your face (believe me, I've tried). If you don't think you're going to be using your mouse in extreme situations, it's still useful not to be restricted to your mouse pad.

Optical mouses also have great durability advantages. They don't collect dust, and they never jam up. They're also quite a bit more precise, which can be helpful for people who need sensitive equipment for things like drawing on their computers. One drawback of optical mouses is that they don't work very well on shiny surfaces--so if you buy one, you'd better put away the Pledge first.


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