Review – Targus Laser Mouse for Mac

I’ve been using this mouse for the last two weeks and didn’t want to post a review here until I used it for a while, the initial part of the review was originally posted on my personal blog.

If you’ve used Apple’s Mighty Mouse than you know how good it feels and how easily you get used to that little scroll ball, if you’ve used Apple’s Mighty Mouse for any prolonged amount of time you know that that tiny little scroll ball is its achilles heal and the cause of much frustration. A few weeks ago after doing my little ball cleaning ritual after not being able to scroll up I decided that as much as I liked the little guy I’d have to seriously look for a replacement.

It was at this point that I was going to buy a nice Microsoft Arch mouse, say what you will about Microsoft but they make some fine mice but then I stumbled unto the Targus Laser Mouse that they designed for the Mac and if one laser is good two must be better. The problem with buying a relatively new product like this is that reviews are a bit on the light side and don’t mention somethings that I wanted/needed to know before buying.

I was looking for a mouse that would allow middle click and allow me to program Expose into a side button…I knew that they Targus one would let me do Expose programming but I did now know, nor could I find any reviews that told me if I could middle click. A lack of middle click was a deal breaker for me. I decided that I’d take a chance and pick up the Targus at my local Buy More, worse case scenario I was back in a week to return it.

First thing is something that I couldn’t find in any review, this isn’t a 4 button mouse it is a five, the middle scrolling laser is also a button and works just like command+click, i.e. you click on a link in your browser it pulls it up behind in a new tab.

Second, while it does come with drivers to install so you can program the two left side buttons you might not need to install:

Out of the box you get:
Right Click
Left Click
Middle (command+click)
Top button on the left (Expose)

The fifth button or bottom left button doesn’t do anything out of the box.

I really like the mouse and while it is slightly larger than the Mighty Mouse it isn’t overly noticeable. The only negative that I can really say is that there is a small learning curve with the top scrolling laser and it takes some getting used to. The clicking is a little louder than MM and while it is nice not having to squeeze the mouse on both sides to activate Expose the preprogrammed button on the side is up a little further than it is on the MM.

Tracking and scrolling out of the box are a bit on the fast side but easily fixed in System Preferences and I have used it on a mouse pad as well as a couple of other surfaces and haven’t experienced any problems.

Bottom line is this is a great mouse that gets better once you adjust to using a flat slick plastic surface for scrolling rather than a physical ball or wheel.

UPDATE: I noticed that the little scrolling laser has a little round of protective plastic on it and removing it improved the scrolling.

UPDATE – 1.20.09: I’ve used this mouse for the last two weeks and I have to retract my recommendation. As a mouse it is good, until you get to what I originally viewed as a strong point the top scrolling laser. It isn’t as sensitive as a physical ball or wheel. I’m going to keep it and throw it in my laptop bag for use onsite at shoots instead of the trackpad but as a main mouse, I’m pretty disappointed and don’t think I’ll be recommending it to any friends. I’m going to experiment more with it and try to find a way to make the scrolling laser more responsive (maybe a piece of a screen protector will add some tactile feedback that will help scrolling but as it is it’s unresponsive at times and gets worse if you have anything on your fingers (i.e. lotion, donut glaze, etc.).