Provides: USB mouse input
Minimum Requirements: Mac OS X or Windows 2000, Windows 7 32/64-bit, Vista32/64-bit, Windows Me, or XP, USB Port
Availability: Out Now
As a kid, I loved the classic kaleidoscope toys that were around in the ’50s and ’60s—basically cardboard tubes with optics that transformed the random arrangement of bits of colored glass inside into symmetrical kaleidoscopic images that changed as you held the completely analog, non-electronic device to your eye and toward a light source and rotated the tube. Perhaps kids were more easily amused 50-odd years ago, but I still like kaleidoscopic effects.
My wife is a lifelong kaleidoscope aficionado as well, and we both have warm memories of a nightly kaleidoscopic fountain light show outside a Bacardi International office building in her native Bermuda when we were married there back in 1974.
More recently, she still gets an aesthetic kick out of things like kaleidoscopic LED night lights, and a Targus Mini Kaleidoscope Optical Retractable Mouse she uses with her Mac laptop.
Functionally, the Targus Mini Kaleidoscope Optical Retractable Mouse is a pretty typical compact USB optical rodent in most respects, targeted at the laptop-user market. But its marquee features that make it different are its retractable USB connection cable and especially its patented color-radiating design that can display one of—or cycle continuously through—seven brightly glowing colors (Targus calls them fog lights) when it’s powered up.
The colors cycle through red, blue, purple, green, yellow-green, light blue, and white, each shade glowing for five seconds, then fading to the next. It’s bright enough to show in a well-lighted room, but of course more spectacular in subdued light, adding a touch of whimsy to brighten up your work environment.
The kaleidoscopic effect is, of course, a bit of a gimmick, but an attractive and entertaining one for kaleidoscope fans, and it doesn’t hurt that the Targus Mini Kaleidoscope Optical Retractable Mouse is a better than decent pointing device functionally—light and smooth-tracking with very nice button action if you like light-touch buttons. As the item’s name indicates, it’s a compact “laptop” mouse weighing just 2.5 ounces and designed as a convenient travel companion while still providing comfortable ergonomics, bus-powered through the USB port with low power consumption for extended battery life. No driver software is required for use with OS X.
The mouse is attractively styled with a silver, teardrop-shaped housing through which the light show glows. It’s on the small side (although it’s not a mini-mouse), and it glides smoothly and almost effortlessly on the mouse pad or what-have-you. The split top panel flexes to activate the left and right button clicks. I prefer completely smooth scrolling scroll wheels with no detent clicks, and this one is detented, but at least it offers relatively light resistance and a positive feel.
The Targus Mini Kaleidoscope Optical Retractable Mouse is an ambidextrous, hard-wired unit, the latter which I still prefer with mice for the precision accuracy and instant response it provides, and wireless peripherals are not without their own drawbacks. Bluetooth mice require tedious pairing, and have to reconnect on wake-up, while non-Bluetooth models require a receiver that’s too easy to lose or misplace, and uses up a precious USB port anyway, which negates any wireless advantage in that department. Wireless mice are also burdened with the weight of batteries, and I don’t like heavy mice—the lighter the better. With Targus mouse, at least some of the objection to corded motif is mitigated by the mouse’s retractable cable feature, which eliminates cord-tangling and cable-clutter, and allows you to instantly adjust the cable length to no more than what’s needed.
The cable is about two and one half feet (30″) long when fully extended (just enough to reach around the back of a MacBook, to reach an opposite side USB port for offside-handed users). The retraction mechanism’s reel pulleys have ratcheted steps so the cable can be extended only as much as you need at a time.
Extension and retraction are smooth and positive, with a reassuring feel. I am always a bit concerned about the small gauge of the cable itself on this type of cord (not just with this Targus unit) which could be more susceptible to damage and fatigue than conventional mouse cords, especially where it enters the mouse’s main housing, but I’ve not yet had one fail.
If you’re looking for a road warrioring mouse and prefer a hard wired connection, this one definitely merits your consideration, especially if the light show appeals. It certainly makes this mouse a conversation piece.
Buy the Targus Mini Kaleidoscope Optical Retractable Mouse