Microsoft relaunches the classic mouse that changed gaming forever

When it debuted in 1996, the original Microsoft IntelliMouse was nothing short of revolutionary. Gamers in particular loved it because of its ergonomic design, responsive buttons, and the introduction of the scroll wheel.

Although today’s gaming mice tend to feature industrial designs, garish colors, and multiple programmable buttons, the latest IntelliMouse promises a new generation of the same features that made it so popular when it debuted.

The last iteration of this classic peripheral was the IntelliMouse 3.0 back in 2003. “We’ve reached a point where tracking and switch technology and price has matured immensely,” said Simon Dearsley, a design director at Microsoft, in a Q&A blog post announcing the new mouse. “We saw this as an opportunity to improve on an icon by updating it with modern technology.”

Only a wired version is available, which reduces latency in gaming, and the red “taillight” has been replaced with a softer white light. According to PC World, its specs are comparable to the Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse, with a BlueTrack sensor that registers movements 1,000 times per second and a dpi setting up to 3,200.

The mouse features five buttons, three of which are programmable. “We were really careful to keep the same Omron switches for the left and right click, and have added three Kailh switches for the middle wheel button and side buttons,” said Dearsley. “We also made a huge improvement to the two side buttons. They now feel snappy and crisp and have just the right force and click to them.”

Although it’s designed to operate with everything since Windows 7, it doesn’t work with Mac OS, because it’s not compatible with the button configuration options in the Mouse and Keyboard Center software.

The announcement video features a clever Rube Goldberg contraption that traces its gaming lineage back to classics like Minesweeper and Microsoft Flight Simulator.

There’s no southpaw version and no wireless option, but the $40 price is sure to be attractive to fans of the retro styling. “I would say it’s the shape and the form,” said Dearsley. “The shape was originally sculptured by hand by some of the most experienced mouse designers in the world, which has proven to last the test of time.”

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