October 26, 2017
Microsoft Revives the Intellimouse for $40
Microsoft has been making snazzy peripherals under its “Surface” and “Arc” brands for the last couple years, but it hasn’t forgotten its mousing roots. Before wireless mice were the norm and Apple showed us that trackpads don’t have to suck, there was the Microsoft Intellimouse.
The last iteration of the wired Intellimouse lineage was the Explorer 3.0, which was released in 2006. The line was officially discontinued in 2006 as newer technologies became a requirement if you wanted to sell hardware. However, nostalgia has a way of reviving the dead. The company has opted to bring back the Intellimouse with a few notable upgrades. The original version of the Intellimouse was a three-button model, but this variant has five buttons, not three.
One thing that’s not changing is the connectivity — this is still a wired USB mouse. That means it’s lighter than most full-sized wireless mice that have internal batteries (the Intellimouse Classic is only 129g). The overall design and shape of the plastic housing is the same as well. The shape is one of the things that made the Intellimouse series so beloved, so that’s a smart move. The old Intellimouse models (at least the later ones) had a red LED on the back edge of the frame, but the new version swaps that for a more understated and modern white glow.
The optical sensor from the old Intellimouse is getting a big upgrade with the Classic edition. It uses Microsoft’s proprietary BlueTrack technology, so it’ll work on most surfaces including glossy plastic and glass. There are five buttons, three of which can be customized in Windows, unless you’re on Windows 10 S. That version doesn’t support any remapping. You also need Windows 7 or later for your PC to see the mouse (it relies upon the “Mouse and Keyboard Center” software from Microsoft). The mouse also apparently won’t work in Mac OS, Android, or iOS, which seems odd. It should operate as a basic HID device at least.
The product page is now live on Microsoft’s site with additional images and warranty information. There’s no specific release date, but Microsoft says it’ll be available soon. At $40, it could make for a nice backup in the event your wireless mouse dies at an inopportune moment.