Microsoft Ballpoint Mouse. (evaluation)
by David English
When Microsoft comes out with a laptop mouse, it had better be good. Not only does Microsoft sell more mice than any other company, but it has a lot riding on the universal acceptance of its mouse-based Windows. With laptop computers expected to comprise nearly half of all computer sales by 1994, a growing number of laptop owners will want to run Windows just like everyone else.
Microsoft's answers is a small 400-dpi trackball that clamps onto your laptop computer. Because laptops come in many shapes and sizes, the package includes several sizes of clamps that let you attach the BallPoint directly onto your laptop.
The BallPoint's mouse driver lets you choose any combination of its four buttons and set up its orientation. (Because you can position the BallPoint in a variety of angles, you need to tell the mouse driver which directions are up, down, left, and right.) The package also includes a new Windows Mouse Control Panel that lets you adjust the BallPoint's acceleration, double-click speed, and vertical and horizontal sensitivity.
At first, I didn't like the BallPoint--I couldn't attach it in a way that seemed comfortable for me. I also didn't like having to detach it every time I moved my laptop. (With most laptops, you can't close the case until you remove the BallPoint's clamps.) Later, when I discovered I could take off the clamp mechanism and set the BallPoint beside my laptop, I was won over.
Microsoft understands that BallPoint users may need a warming-up period--the company is offering an unusual 30-day money-back guarantee. The only way you'll know if it's right for you is to try it.