The mice reviewed in this section all fall into the wireless category. Though both corded and cordless mice offer advantages, a wireless mouse can work just about anywhere, while a corded device confines you to the length of your cable. However, a corded mouse eliminates the need for batteries and provides greater reliability, which is especially important to serious gamers who need an interference-free connection. Low-cost corded mice are being phased out in general, as wireless mice drop in cost and improve in performance.
Logitech and Microsoft are the primary competitors when it comes to the best computer mouse. While Microsoft holds its own, Logitech's peripherals tend to dominate the market when it comes to comfort and performance, though finding the right mouse is a subjective matter of personal preference.
One mouse that garners high marks from both users and professional reviewers is the wireless Logitech Performance Mouse MX (*Est. $75) . CNET gives it an Editors' Choice award, praising its customizable buttons, tracking versatility and ergonomic comfort, while Gizmodo.com editors describe it as "one of the best tracking mice" they've ever used.
SetPoint software included with the Logitech Performance Mouse MX lets you customize pointer settings, keystrokes and sensitivity for precision photo and video editing, though some reviewers note that the customization options are less plentiful than those offered by similar Microsoft mice. The Logitech Performance Mouse MX also features dual-mode scrolling. Users can scroll quickly through long web pages and Excel documents in free-wheel mode or navigate slides and images incrementally in click mode. However, users must manually toggle between modes , something editors at TechSpot.com consider "a step backwards" from the previous version of this wireless mouse, which adjusted scrolling modes depending on the application in use. Still, most of the more than 700 users at Amazon.com praise the mouse's ergonomic design and innovative Darkfield laser technology, which allows the mouse to track on wood, cloth, plastic, metal or clear glass without losing its accuracy.
The Performance Mouse MX also receives high marks for its Unifying receiver, which allows users to sync up to six compatible Logitech devices to a single 2.4 GHz USB dongle. This wireless receiver only works with Logitech peripherals, including 21 models of keyboards and mice.
Despite creating an innovative mouse, critics say, Logitech has yet to master button placement. Matthew Murray of PCMag.com pans the mouse's design and says awkward forward, back and zoom buttons are "just out of reach of the thumb which makes pushing them less than optimally comfortable." Others complain that the scroll button is rigid and requires some effort to push.
PC users who are looking for the equivalent of the Apple's Magic Mouse touch-sensitive technology should consider the Microsoft Touch Mouse (*Est. $50) . It's a wireless mouse that uses a touch-sensitive top instead of buttons or a scroll wheel, and reviewers say the technology works well and adapts to right or left handers equally. It is compatible only with Windows 7. The Microsoft Touch Mouse is "as unique and useful a pointing device as you'll find for Windows 7 PCs," writes PCMag.com in its in-depth review, awarding the mouse 4.5 out of 5 stars and an Editors' Choice designation. CNET awards the Microsoft Touch Mouse 4 out of 5 stars, saying "We like the Microsoft Touch Mouse for its thoughtful, complementary gestures that simplify the experience of moving in and around Windows 7 applications É refreshingly intuitive."
For those who want a low-cost corded mouse, Logitech and Microsoft offer a few options. The Logitech B100 Optical USB Mouse (*Est. $8) gets good reviews on Newegg.com. Most of Microsoft's optical mice get positive feedback at Amazon.com as well.
As with keyboards, ergonomic computer mice are a matter of personal preference. Since there's no agreed-upon ergonomic standard for mice, there's no objective way to rate these products, and there's little consensus among professional and user reviews. Experts recommend trying out different styles until you find the type of computer mouse that's comfortable for you. Ergonomic mice tend to be more expensive than standard mice. In addition, some have higher learning curves than others and many offer only right-handed versions. Most ergonomic mice aim to eliminate the twisting-wrist action that's needed to operate standard mice; some of the best ergonomic mice also aim to reduce or eliminate the squeezing motion needed to perform mouse clicks.
One favorably reviewed ergonomic mouse is the wireless Evoluent Vertical Mouse, now in its fourth version (*Est. $90) , which looks like a normal mouse tipped on its side. PCMag.com reviews the newest version, awarding it 4.5 out of 5 stars and an Editors' Choice award.
Unlike traditional mice, the Vertical Mouse 4 positions your hand in an upright position to avoid the forearm twist that occurs with regular mice. A lip on the bottom right edge of the mouse keeps your pinky finger elevated, while a toggle button on the underside of the mouse lets users adjust cursor sensitivity. Other features include the Click Lock, which eliminates the need to press the mouse button while you drag across your desktop, and an alert that signals when you've been at the computer too long. The Vertical Mouse 4 is also available in a wired version (*Est. $90) . More than 35 users give the wired version an average of 4 stars out of 5 and the wireless version an average of 3.5 stars. Most of those users credit the easy to use Vertical Mouse 4 for reducing wrist and forearm discomfort. Yet, despite its positive reviews, users say the mouse's biggest disadvantage is its large, bulky size, which makes it cumbersome to grasp for some.
Similar in design and feel to a joystick, the 3M Ergonomic Mouse (*Est. $50) is designed to keep your arm and shoulder in a neutral position. But reviewers say there's a steep learning curve due to the unusual design. At Amazon.com, where the wired 3M mouse (small and large models) earns 4 stars out of 5 from more than 250 users, several users say it takes about two weeks to skillfully master the device. But they also consider it a great ergonomic alternative to the traditional mouse. Available in two sizes -- small and large -- the 3M Ergonomic Mouse is designed for right-handed users.
Unlike the 3M and Vertical Mouse 4, the SmartFish Whirl Desktop Laser mouse (*Est. $40) resembles a conventional computer mouse, albeit one that's mounted atop a small platform. It receives 4 out of 5 stars from more than 35 users at Amazon.com. As the wireless SmartFish slides across your desktop, the top half pivots on its base to keep your hand and wrist in the same position. At CounsellingResource.com, Greg Mulhauser tests the Logitech Cordless Optical Trackman over a period of several weeks and concludes it's a "great pointing device" that should be on the short list for anyone considering a trackball. More than 450 users at Amazon.com give it high marks for ergonomic comfort but a few say its awkward design hinders dexterity, awarding an average score of 4 out of 5 stars. And unlike recent Logitech mice, the Cordless Optical Trackman uses an older wireless receiver that critics say protrudes from their laptops and offers limited range.