Microsoft BLUETRACK Mouse: Microsoft Explorer Mouse and Mini Mouse
After several weeks of teasing on Internet sites, Microsoft lifted the veil earlier this month on its new technology to BLUETRACK mice. The hardware division of software giant has developed a new optical tracking system succeeding laser technology, with the number one advantage to ensure the functioning of its mouse on a wider variety of surfaces.
At new generation of optical sensor Microsoft is launching two new mouse: the Mouse Microsoft Explorer and Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse. If the first is a rechargeable wireless mouse for desktops, the second was designed for laptops while benefiting both naturally sensor technology with BLUETRACK. In the following lines we will show you BLUETRACK technology, its implementation and the first two mice who benefit. What finally acknowledges the laser?
Microsoft Explorer BLUETRACK Mini Mouse
Investigator of the first optical mouse sensor, the hardware division of Microsoft is known and famous for the many innovations it could introduce into the world of devices. All may not have had the desired success, but we will anyway that Microsoft was the first to propose a mouse-ball, with optical sensor, therefore, when he was also the first to integrate a wheel on its mouse before making the wheel multi-directional. BLUETRACK technology, developing for 18 months at Microsoft, is part of this long series of innovations and if the decline is still lacking whether BLUETRACK will actually date in the annals of science, technology still has some advantages.
With BLUETRACK, the main idea is to replace the illumination laser mice present a wider beam and confessed in order to illuminate the surface Sliding more important. By expanding the beam, Microsoft ensures that the light bounces on the surface will be more numerous, especially if the area in question contains roughness (as a rug or carpet for example). According to tests conducted by Microsoft, technology BLUETRACK, which remains for the time owner, ensures operation of the mouse on difficult surfaces such as wood, granite, marble and carpet or rugs.
Questioned the choice of color beam illumination, a blue LED beam, Depue Mark, an engineer at Microsoft, replied that blue is one color that offers the best contrast with a much lower noise monitoring movements as precise as possible. And to insist on uniform illumination because the Microsoft engineers have made numerous efforts to ensure that the light intensity is the same across the width of the beam to avoid areas brighter than others. In addition, the blue illumination would be less sensitive to dust than traditional laser illumination.
Microsoft BLUETRACK Specification
Operating diagram of BLUETRACK technology
For the rest, technology BLUETRACK is structured in the traditional way with a light source, we discussed the merits, and a sensor connected to a specular type wide-angle. Here, Microsoft indicates that the use of a wide angle can always obtain images of the surface net on the contrary used in optical mice, which can sometimes produce blurred images. To summarize the operation of BLUETRACK, the blue LED illuminates the surface and bounce of this illumination is recorded by a sensor placed behind the perspective that we talked to the moment. Each second more images of the surface is taken and analyzed by the sensor and differences between the images reflected by a shift equivalent pointer. The sensor in question was developed by Microsoft in its laboratories in Fort Collins: This is a CMOS chip of the fourth generation that allows the mouse to achieve an optical resolution of 1 000 dpi, at least on Explorer models Mouse and Mini Mouse Explorer that we are here.
Microsoft Explorer Mouse
First Microsoft to use technology BLUETRACK, the Explorer Mouse is intended for desktop computers and right. With a fairly large, not some ways reminiscent of the legendary IntelliMouse Explorer, the Explorer Mouse is perfect for large hands while his alternate coating materials. The top of the mouse, which hosts the two main buttons, is indeed a plastic-coated metallic gloss treatment, while the lower part of the hull, on which the palm of your hand, is a dressed coating soft-touch ". Microsoft designers have not forgotten the indentation left side for the thumb, Indentation which is less pronounced here than on the latest Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 while the material used is a plastic mat, a silver. The base of the mouse has two large Teflon skates and surrounded by a chrome hoof, to finish just copy. That shoe illuminates gradually from blue to the start of the mouse, as BLUETRACK logo present on the hull, before shutting few moments later. Microsoft Explorer Mouse did not intend to use mobile, the base of the mouse has a small hollow which allows for snap USB radio receiver comes with the mouse. In doing so, the mouse immediately extinguished by a sensor contact. Wireless, the Microsoft Mouse Explorer uses the radio band of 2.4 GHz to communicate with the computer and according to our measurements, an average of 125 reports which are transmitted to the computer each second, is neither more nor less than the commonly accepted standard.
Regarding the various buttons, and in addition to the two main buttons to click, the Microsoft Explorer Mouse naturally includes a scroll wheel and the form it has changed somewhat over the Wireless Laser Mouse 7000, Microsoft persists and signs by proposing a wheel without soft Notching. Stick the wheel is rubber, but adopts a metallic coating that gives it greater maneuverability without reaching the level of comfort of a Logitech MX Revolution. By default, the click of the dial activates the Flip 3D Windows Vista, a function that scrolls windows running on the screen. As for the left side of the mouse, it has two buttons, one being configured by default to go to the previous page, the other activating the zoom function, a function always as painful as Windows Vista causes the appearance a black screen for a few seconds. Naturally, the allocation of the buttons is fully re-configurable in Microsoft IntelliPoint drivers.
Fueled by one of 2100mAh battery LR6, the Microsoft Explorer Mouse is a rechargeable mouse. To that end, Microsoft delivers a recharging cradle curious: extremely compact, it is used in the horizontal and the fact that marries not entirely the shape of the mouse, there is sometimes little evidence of positioning the latter on its base. When the load, a green LED lights on the top side of mulot and autonomy, according to the manufacturer, the Microsoft Explorer Mouse can hold three weeks between each load. In case of insufficient battery level, the LED lights in question then red.
Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse
Using technology also BLUETRACK, the Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse is in all respects identical to its big sister whether design or features. The material is indeed common to both mice they share precisely the same dress. If aesthetics is similar, even in the illumination in blue shoe and logo of the mouse, the size of the two rodents is quite different, the Explorer Mini Mouse is much more compact and gathered that the version of Office. Provided it fits the shape of the hand and offers the same refinements: multidirectional wheel, not serrated course, and game two reprogrammable buttons on the left side of the mouse.
Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse
Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse Photo
Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse Picture
Using wireless radio technology of 2.4 GHz, Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse has its base on the same storage location of the key radio Microsoft. Like its big sister, having clipped the USB key on the back of the mouse automatically shuts off the latter. We miss passage to the key size USB radio, which would have benefited from being miniaturized as the Logitech VX Nano. This choice is all the more surprising that the new Microsoft mouse Arc has a radio receiver as small as that proposed by its Swiss competitor. As for the power of the Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse, it is ensured by a single battery LR6 and Microsoft talks about autonomy for six months on average.
Intended to be used in situations of mobility, Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse comes with a carrying case as we have been able to verify the proper functioning with Apple laptops, without installing driver and despite the appearance of we offer a wizard to configure the keyboard during the first connection of USB radio receiver.
What about ergonomics
In practice, the Microsoft Explorer Mouse gives full satisfaction while at first surprised by its weight measured at 152 grams. To give you an idea is almost 50 grams more than the Wireless Laser Mouse 7000, the last dated mouse from Microsoft that we could test quite recently. Therefore heavier, the Microsoft Explorer Mouse offers a sliding convincing but perhaps not as fluid as mice lighter. If we love the comfort of the Explorer Mouse, perfectly suited to the hand of your servant, it also appreciates the contact felt when the click buttons on the main. We can not however be said of the side buttons which the contact is a little more bizarre with a metallic clicking sound when active. As the wheel is still in our view too compact and lack Notching course, is still questionable.
On the Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse, there is a rather fruitful, mice in weighing 105 grams (with its battery of course) while its small size offers a sliding more nervous than you get with the 'Explorer Mouse. Smaller in size, the wheel of the Explorer Mini Mouse does we should of course little more than her older sister while the contact Clicks is still appreciable. Small difference with the click of side buttons: one click much better on the Explorer Mini Mouse on the Explorer Mouse. Who knows why!
For use ...
Beyond the pure ergonomic aspect of both voles, we must of course back on the performance of BLUETRACK sensor and its adaptation to different surfaces. During our tests, we submitted mice equipped with technology BLUETRACK various work plans: office wooden tablet or tablet TGV aircraft, work in granite, marble surface, carpeting, above bed, sofa , Including surfaces most original as jeans or simply a blank sheet. This test is quite revealing because it can save some defect in mice. Although the optical mouse with a red beam function properly on a white sheet, some mice with a laser sensor, the Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 have frankly evil: pointer movements are very jerky (note for information that mice Razer wired or even Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000 are less sensitive to this problem).
Remains a huge Achilles heel, easily corrected: the problem of glass surfaces. Let us be clear, as all optical mice, laser or not, mice BLUETRACK not work on a glass surface. And a sandblasted glass, there will be some surprises. But the movement is too slow for the mouse is usable but this test has the merit of demonstrating advanced technology BLUETRACK, although of course we would have liked it do even better! Another observation made during our tests with the Explorer Mouse and although it is still on our desk, the mouse could sometimes move only slowly on the screen: in this case the recovery in the hand mouse enough to stop this behavior, fortunately very rare.
On a daily basis, the mice showed an accuracy BLUETRACK quite sufficient for office whether Internet browsing and photo retouching. However, in their current configurations, these mice are not really designed for players: sure Sims 2 with no concern for play, in contrast with a RTS like Supreme Commander or SPF as Call of Duty 4, it ' there's no doubt we prefer largely a Logitech G9 or even a Microsoft SideWinder Gaming Mouse. Why? The Microsoft Explorer Mouse seems indeed too heavy to play properly (as comparasion, the new X5 SideWinder Mouse is two times more light) while its sliding frankly could be better. As for the wheel ... it is simply inappropriate games!
What about drivers?
Before closing this article, we must discuss the drivers offered by Microsoft. These are always very good bill with a great advantage for integration with Windows and a certain lightness to face ventripotent Logitech SetPoint. Features side, there is the possibility to program the various buttons on the mouse wheel to the side buttons, then it is possible to create profiles specific application. The options scroll wheel are configurable as speed pointer. Instead, and a curiosity, no software indicator of the level of battery is proposed for the Explorer Mouse with pilots IntelliPoint 6.3.
At the very least unexpected BLUETRACK technology proposed by Microsoft appears to give very good results, whether the accuracy of displacement or compatibility with a wide variety of surfaces (wood, marble, carpets, fabrics, etc.) . Naturally, we would have liked mice BLUETRACK go further and work on glass surfaces, but it is unfortunately not yet on the agenda.
On the side of the sensor BLUETRACK implementation of the Explorer and Explorer Mouse Mini Mouse are both very successful. It will of the Explorer Mouse design suited to large hands and its recharge its battery, even if it lost our sense singularly class to be placed on a desk. Roulette, always soft, remains a problem, while the heavy weight of this mouse may be disturbing to some. Rest comfort, appearance, a criterion can not be truly objective I grant you, and features very good level.
As for the Mini Explorer has passed all great! Adapted perfectly to the shape of your hand it offers a very good glide. It simply blame the use of a non-serrated wheel while we wondered about the choice of Microsoft to offer a full USB radio receiver the same format when Microsoft has already developed a radio receiver ultra-compact for its new Arc-Mouse. Finally there is that the price of introduction of these mice which can be awkward, since Microsoft benefits from the novelty effect to fix a rather high price. Count 70 euros including taxes for the Explorer Mouse and 60 euros for his little sister, the Explorer Mini Mouse. For comparison, the latest high-end mice from Logitech, the MX Revolution, is now negotiating in the 50 euros while the Logitech VX Nano Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks (whew) is only 40 euros TTC! Naturally with time, prices should move down, but still!
Count 70 euros including taxes for the Explorer Mouse and 60 euros for his little sister, the Explorer Mini Mouse. For comparison, the latest high-end mice from Logitech, the MX Revolution, is now negotiating in the 50 euros while the Logitech VX Nano Cordless Laser Mouse for Notebooks (whew) is only 40 euros TTC! Naturally with time, prices should move down
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