Provides: Wireless computer input
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS X (or higher) or Windows 2000/XP/Vista, USB port
Many folks, it seems, are almost indecently enthusiastic about declaring the imminent death of the computer mouse—touchscreens and multi-touch gesture-supporting touchpads being the input mode currently in favor, with some even contending that we’re in the “post-mouse era.”
Not me. I have trouble memorizing gestures, Probably that’s related to my borderline innumeracy. While I aced subjects like English, History, Geography and Social Studies in school, and kept my head above water in the sciences, math was my nemesis—the only subject I ever flunked. Serially. From grade school on. In my patterns of thinking, I’m a generalist and broad conceptualizer. The exactitude and precise memorization required in math just wasn’t the way I rolled.
Anyway, while I eventually found that putting a dollar sign in front of numbers seemed somehow to make them more scrutable to me, I still have problems memorizing numerics longer than a seven-digit telephone number, and that’s about the number of touchscreen or trackpad gestures I can remember. On a good day. And even when I do remember them, I find the hit-or-miss equivocal results one experiences using them maddeningly frustrating. With a mouse, rollerbar, or trackball, the cursor responds and does exactly what you command it to do—predictably. Accurate cursor placement tends to be elusive, especially for fine detail work like image editing. When you point and click a mouse, you get reliable, precise response, unlike with swiping and tapping. I’ve owned a MacBook with a multi-touch gesture supporting glass trackpad since 2009, but have virtually never used a gesture on it beyond basic tap-clicking and dragging.
So, I’m not ready to give up on the mouse by a long shot, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for innovation in electro-mechanical computer input. I mentioned rollerbars a moment ago, and I love them, but there are also advances in mouse technology that don’t involve gestures.
One such is Targus Touch Scroll technology, which is used in their Targus for Mac Wireless Mouse.
Touch Scroll replaces the traditional mouse-top scroll wheel (or trackball) with a solid state optical sensor that allows four-way scrolling using fingertip movement in the desired direction over the sensor. This sounded like an interesting idea, if a bit gimmicky, but using it for a while persuaded me it’s a great idea.
When I first checked out the Targus mouse, its feel, while nice enough, didn’t grab me immediately either. At first, I found the sort of hump-backed, center-ridged (it’s actually very attractive visually) shape a bit off-putting, although I do like large mice, which this one is (exterior dimensions: 2.51″ x 1.45″ x 4.64″), and the Touch Scrolling did take some getting used to.
However, get used to it I did, and after a week or so the shape of the Targus mice also begin to make sense and feel quite comfortable as well. It was a smooth customer on the mouse pad too, gliding about almost effortlessly, which is no mean engineering achievement for a wireless mouse packing two heavy AA cell batteries. The left/right click buttons also have a nice, light (but not hair-trigger light) positive action.
And as I noted, Touch Scroll grows on you once you (quickly) get to the stage where it becomes intuitive. Brushing your finger across the smooth optical scroll scanner surface feels natural and effortless and is the best solution to horizontal scrolling I’ve experienced. Scroll left/right and up/down with the tip of your finger. Dual programmable buttons add individual customization options.
The Touch Scroll is also great for breezing through long documents, and while I’m not a spreadsheet user, I can appreciate how useful easier horizontal scrolling will be for working with spreadsheet. An additional advantage of the solid state optical scrolling sensor, as opposed to a conventional scroll wheel or a scrolling trackball, is that the optical sensor can’t get mechanically gummed up with dirt and grime since there are no moving parts. A wipe with a damp cloth is all the cleaning it will ever need.
The Targus unit’s styling I would describe as “retro-futuristic,” like some of the hardware seen in, say, “2001: A Space Odyssey” 40 years ago. The color theme of the entire Targus for Mac line is called “Lunar Grey” quite appropriately. The Touch Scroll sensor itself reminds me very much of the “eye” of the HAL 9000 rogue computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001,” especially when it glows red, and I would be interested to know if that’s coincidental or if HAL played a part in inspiring the designer.
The Targus wireless Mouse uses a 2.4 GHz RF interface requiring a USB receiver dongle at the computer end and has a 1,200 dpi optical sensor, and is right there immediately when you wake the computer from sleeping.
A hidden compartment conveniently stores the low-profile USB receiver with your mouse.
At a very modest $29.99, this mouse is a rip-roaring bargain.
- Color: Lunar Grey
- Exterior Dimensions – 4.64 x 2.51 x 1.45 in
- Warranty – Limited One Year Warranty
- Weight – 0.5 lbs
- Mac OS X (or higher)
- Windows 2000, XP, Windows Vista
- USB port required
Buy the Targus Wireless Mouse for Mac