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Having finally got totally fed up with ordinary “rodents”, with their constant need for keeping their balls clean (oo er missus), I set about finding one that was not susceptible to dirt or slippery mouse mats. A peruse of Jungle.com came up with the Targus Optical Mini-Mouse – yes, you heard right, Mini Mouse! This weighed in at a “maxi” £29.50, so compared to the usual unbranded £5 mouse, it needed to be a bit special. To look at, it’s nothing exceptional, looking like the Microsoft Ergonomic (2 Button with Thumbwheel) Mouse in black, being curved to favour right-handers. However, it is quite dinky, being the smallest pointing device that I have used. Somehow, it immediately makes you think “laptop”, although why you would have smaller hands if you own a laptop, I don’t know. So, apart from being small, what else does 30 knicker get you? Well, I said it’s an optical mouse. Now most mice use a combination of mechanical and optical parts to detect the east-west, north-south movements of the tracking ball, but this one has no moving parts at all, therefore, no ball to clean or rollers to de-fluff. It merely has a couple of LEDs shining through an aperture at the base, where the ball should be. “So what?” I hear you say. This ability to detect the texture of whatever is under it frees it from the tyranny of needing a mouse mat, another feature that suits it to use with a laptop on the move, say on a train or plane, although I’m not sure how it would cope with a “lake” of spilled coffee and the crumbs from a blueberry muffin! You don’t even have to stick to flat surfaces any more. The denim in your jeans works fine! Hands on knee (your own, that is) leads to a very relaxed sitting position when using software that doesn’t require keyboard input, card games for instance. Hitching it up it is easy. Primarily, it is i ntended for USB connection, but it comes with an inline adapter to match it to the more usual PS2 port. Its own software drivers disc installs utilities for setting up scroll rates, double-click speed etc. and is easy to install in the normal windows way. As with other mice with a central thumbwheel, this can also be pressed down to provide for scrolling up, down AND sideways. Being unfussy as to what it tracks across makes it very accurate and smooth when used on a proper flat surface – the top of my tower system works fine without a mouse mat. Apart from not being particularly suited to people with fists like “York Hams”, its only limitation is that it won’t track across glass, as this is too reflective and lacks texture. A good buy so far, and I haven’t to de-fluff any balls all week!
The Targus USB-PS/2 Optical Mini Mouse is one of the world's smallest optical screen scroller mice, making it perfect for the road warrior who needs to save space. Unlike a traditional mouse, the Targus USB-PS/2 Optical Mini Mouse doesn't use a tracking ball. Instead, it uses an optical sensor and digital signal processor to read the follow your mouse moves, elimination erratic cursor movement. Using the scrolling wheel, you can scroll up, down, left or right and alternate between open applications. On the plane or in the office, it's a perfect mouse.