Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse: Not for Everyone [Review]

Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse: Not for Everyone [Review]

The Microsoft Explorer Touch mouse invites you to “explore” its unique, touch-sensitive scroll wheel. While the Explorer Touch doesn’t offer multitouch gestures like Apple’s Magic Mouse or Microsoft’s own, flagship Touch Mouse, the Explorer does sport an attractive form factor and quality build.

The Explorer Touch Mouse ($50) gives you a scrolling experience that’s unusual to say the least. It’s pretty cheap, and it’s portable.

The Good:

In terms of size and weight, the Explorer Touch is a nice mouse. It feels good in the hand, and it has a sleek, minimalistic design.

The mouse boasts 18 months of battery life, and the bottom BlueTrack sensor makes it so that the Explorer Touch can be used on most surfaces with responsive feedback.

The tactile nature of this mouse’s scroll wheel will initially throw you off, but it can become pretty comfortable. What’s interesting is that Microsoft seems to have placed a traditional scroll wheel mechanism under a touch-sensitive strip — you can literally feel and hear the scroll wheel spin under the touch strip after you move your finger. It’s weird, but some people will definitely like the experience.

The Explorer Touch mouse is not a BlueTooth device, so you’ll have to use the tiny USB dongle that Microsoft provides. The good thing about using a receiver is that you get better battery performance. The con is that you have a tiny receiver using up one of your Mac’s USB ports.

The Bad:

Microsoft claims that the Explorer Touch Mouse has 5 customizable buttons, but I had no such luck when trying to get the mouse up and running on my Mac. In fact, the only OS-related function I could get the Explorer Touch to perform was the initiating of Lion’s Mission Control when pressing the scroll strip.

Scrolling isn’t as smooth as Apple’s Magic Mouse or the Magic Trackpad. When using an app like Twitter for Mac, I noticed that scrolling upwards through my timeline on the Explorer Touch wasn’t as good of an experience as I’ve had with other mouses. Also, OS X Lion’s inverse scrolling will make you hate the Explorer Touch Mouse, as it’s incredibly frustrating to try to scroll inversely with what still amounts to a physical scroll wheel.

Verdict:

The Explorer Touch Mouse isn’t for everyone, and Lion users should be wary of this mouse and inverse scrolling. If you’re already hooked on your Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad’s multitouch gestures, then moving to the Explorer Touch will undoubtedly be an unpleasant experience.

If you’re a fan of tactile hardware, then the Explorer Touch may be a good fit. It’s still a good mouse, and Microsoft definitely has something compelling with the scroll strip. It comes down to what you’re looking for in a mouse. And if gestures aren’t on the list, then the Explorer Touch is a well made, cheap mouse that consumers should consider.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse: Not for Everyone [Review]

Microsoft Explorer Touch Mouse: Not for Everyone [Review]

  • Dimitri Theofilopoulos

    el oh el

  • HotGG

    I remember a similar mouse design by Belkin or was it, Wacom? I forget, no wait! Kensington! I think… I forgot who, pretty sure it was Kensington, that made a touch scroller in place of scroller wheel, I remember you could do some fancy stuff with that touch scroller. 

    Had sort of the same design style of the Quicksilver Macs of the day, to match, marketed I think to designers, media creatives, that sort of thing. 

    That’s what this mouse reminds me of.

    Interesting.  

  • Emir

    Have you tried looking for mouse drivers/software that helps you with mouse functionality, something like the LOGITECH CENTER

  • Anipz Raymond

    Microsoft ? eeuuww

  • Alex

    Unlike the ouch you get from the form over ergonomics school of design that created various Apple mice.

  • Michael De

    One thing super annoying in OS X is the way generic scroll wheel mouses scroll. It’s not a pleasant experience at all. It’s choppy, sometimes too fast, too slow (depends on app)–a mess.

  • Steve Jods

    MAC USERS DON’T LIKE NEWS ABOUT MICROSOFT ! ! !

  • baby_Twitty

    Next thing you know, cult of “MAC” is going to review MICROSOFT keyboards, Windows 8, windows phone 7 devices. …

  • monkeyrun

    Microsoft claims to work on Mac.

  • JESSICADEREK9020102

    Unlike the ouch you get from the form over ergonomics school of design that created various Apple mice.

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use BIDFiRsT. COM

  • EmmaMitch56161652

    Microsoft claims to work on Mac…

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use BIDFiRsT. COM

  • EmmaMitch56161652

    woooooowww…

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use BIDFiRsT. COM

  • EmmaMitch56161652

    wooooowww…

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use http://bit.ly/ndhuOA

  • EmmaMitch56161652
  • EmmaMitch56161652

    agree wooooowww..http://bit.ly/ndhuOA

  • EmmaMitch56161652

    nicceeee…..

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use BIDFiRsT. COM

  • EmmaMitch561616520

    woooooow**

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use BIDFiRsT. COM

  • GH

    This has to do with a Mac because…?

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    Yeah, I’ve used this mouse at a Microsoft Store before…….it sucks in Windows 7, I’d expect as much in OS X. I hate Microsoft Mice. They all look and feel like junk for the expensive price. I know some use blue laser tech but I’m not going to use my mouse on carpet and my magic mouse alread tracks fine on wood and my Magic Trackpad works better than both options for Lion anyways.

  • Shane-o

    Just thought that I should point out… ummmnnn… It’s an incredibly ugly Piece of s**t!!!

  • Junaidkureshi

    bad observation.

  • Guest

    Uh no, good observation. It looks rubbish.

  • Aa

    GREAT OBSERVATION!

  • Rithwik Raghu Ram

    Microsoft Touch Mouse Vs Apple Magic Mouse  http://morldtechgossips.blogsp

  • Zeeshan Tariq

    Explorer Touch Mouse has a good rival in this price range, HP’s x7000 WiFi Touch Mouse. It has earned some good user reviews. With its $38 price at Amazon x7000 connects to your laptops and desktops (those who have WiFi connection) without any performance lose. Check the story on etechmagdotcom

  • adtaffe

    The explorer touch mouse needs the intellipoint drivers from microsoft to function properly http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/d/explorer-touch-mouse

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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