For years, I’ve had my eye on the Kensington Expert Mouse, but I’ve always come short of buying one. I just can’t bring myself to spend over $100 on a mouse. It was one thing when I stopped buying the cheapest mice I could find. I found that spending $30 – $50 on one was a definite jump in quality. But $100 plus? I figured it simply couldn’t be that much better than the Kensington Orbit with Scroll Ring that I was already using.
As time passed, Kensington released newer trackballs and the price of the Expert Mouse dropped below $100. Then I found one on sale for half price. At under $50, I couldn’t resist. Its ball was more than twice the size of the Orbit and had four buttons instead of two. And even though it was a little older, it had a scroll ring that looked similar to the one on the Orbit.
I got it home, unpacked it and plugged it in. The large ball was definitely more enjoyable to use than the medium-sized one in the Orbit. It was very smooth and multiple fingers could fit on it at once. This made it more natural to use larger muscles to move the ball, which was more ergonomic. As far as basic ball motion was concerned, this was the best mouse I had used.
The buttons had a nice click to them and required a reasonable amount of force. They were firm, though not as firm as the Orbit’s buttons, and they responded consistently when I pressed them.
Then I tried the scroll ring. What a disaster. It was gritty and would catch in spots, but not always in the same spots. It was also buried a bit too deep between the buttons and the ball, which resulted in accidental clicks when trying to scroll. I couldn’t believe that a mouse could be so excellent in every area, but have a scrolling mechanism like that.
This was very disappointing to me. I played with it for a few hours, trying several different hand positions for scrolling, but they all resulted in the same choppy experience. There was no way I would ever come to enjoy a mouse that hiccups when it scrolls. I do quite a bit of scrolling in my normal computer usage.
If you’ve read my other posts about input devices, you know I have a rule about trying things for at least a week. But this was too obviously wrong; as wrong as a car with square wheels. A design flaw is a design flaw. There’s no fix except to redesign the thing. Disappointed, I returned it. The Orbit is still my favorite mouse.
With the returned money, I purchased an Apple Extended Keyboard II on Ebay, which I’ll review in another post.