Microsoft's new Classic IntelliMouse is an affordable throwback to a (slightly) simpler time, when mouse pointers typically contained large internal balls with rollers that would, over time, accumulate dust and become stuck.
The first IntelliMouse hit the market in 1996, with a number of then-unique innovations. Over the years, the range pioneered the scroll wheel, while popularizing optical lasers over trackballs, ergonomic design, and dedicated thumb buttons.
Microsoft is revisiting the classic mouse design with the new Classic IntelliMouse, which faithfully recreates what made some of the original mice so special, with a bit of modern flair.
A classic reborn
Bottom line: The IntelliMouse is a legend reborn, and it is well worth your attention, especially for the price.
- Ergonomic and comfortable.
- Accurate sensor tracking.
- Tons of configuration options.
- No wireless option.
- Wire is annoyingly inflexible.
- Rubberized sides perish quite easily.
What you'll love about the Classic IntelliMouse
Microsoft's IntelliMouse range is noteworthy for pioneering many mouse staples we now take for granted. Mouse tech has moved on, though, and there are now hundreds of manufacturers out there offering their own mice, specialized for all sorts of use-cases. This IntelliMouse is not what I'd call specialized for any specific user, but is instead a reliable jack of all trades that could bring the brand back to the forefront.
|Buttons||Five buttons, three customizable|
|Scrolling||Vertical scroll wheel|
|DPI||Up to 3,200 points per inch, configurable|
|Sensor||Bluetrack, 1,000 reports per second|
|Size||132 mm x 69 mm x 43 mm|
Leveraging Microsoft's Bluetrack laser tech, I've found that this mouse is among the most reliable I've used when it comes to different types of surfaces. Prior to this, I was using a combination of Razer's Naga Hex, and Microsoft's folding Surface Arc mouse. While both of those mice are great in their own ways, I found both of them suffered on my aging, unvarnished wood desk, which is a pretty challenging surface for any optical mouse. The IntelliMouse has eliminated my need for a mouse mat even on this rugged desk terrain, however, which is impressive. It even works on glass.
Speaking of the sensor, the IntelliMouse supports DPI anywhere up to 3,200, which is also impressive. You can configure the range via the Mouse and Keyboard Center app, and even set it up so that the side buttons can increase or decrease the DPI on the fly. I've seen some older reports that the sensor can jerk around, particularly when lifting the mouse off your desk when turning in games, but I haven't found that to be the case at all with the new mouse. Using this mouse in various shooters and other types of games using high DPI settings has been nothing short of a breeze.
The mentioned Mouse and Keyboard Center app has become somewhat of a staple of Microsoft's mouse range, and installing it in combination with the IntelliMouse grants a huge amount of configurability. You can record full macros and bind them to keys, set up different bindings per app, and even control Windows 10's Game DVR to capture gameplay without using the Game Bar or keyboard combinations. Gamers or prosumers who enjoy a lot of configurability will find a lot to love here.
I've been using the mouse for a few days now and found it to be pleasant in the hand, although it took me a little while to get used to its size. The buttons are tactile and reassuring to click, with solid travel and resistance against accidental clicks. The scroll wheel also has great action. The sides of the IntelliMouse are rubberized to improve grip, and the two side buttons fit perfectly against my thumb. The larger button is also elongated to make it easier to press on the lower half of your thumb, which represents an attention to detail other mouse makers often overlook.
What you'll not love about the Classic IntelliMouse
It's truly hard to find anything to complain about with this mouse. It looks sleek, it's comfortable in the hand, and feels premium. After using Razer mice and other gaming brands for a while, I find myself missing fabric cables, however. The plastic solution Microsoft has gone with for the IntelliMouse feels cheap by comparison, and it's annoyingly rigid and inflexible compared to other brands. Also, it's disappointing there's no wireless or Bluetooth option, and that's highlighted by the annoying cable materials.
Update September 21, 2019: After using this mouse for three months, frustratingly, the rubberized grips on the sides have begun to perish. The side actually feels quite irritating against my thumb now, making me wish they had opted for textured plastic, perhaps similar to what you find an Xbox One controller's grips. This design flaw is a huge oversight, and a damn shame.
Final thoughts on Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse
Microsoft has reinvigorated a classic with its new IntelliMouse, enhancing what made the old line so great, while throwing in some modern features and configurability. I hate the choice of materials Microsoft went for when settling for its cabling, but almost every other aspect of the product feels polished and classy. At $39.99, you could do far worse.
The Classic IntelliMouse is a solid, affordable option for all sorts of users that quickly became my daily driver.
Update September 21, 2019: In light of the fact the rubber perishes quite easily in what I'd consider light use, I've dropped my review score down a point to reflect this design flaw.
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