A Simple Five-Button USB Mouse

Sometimes the simplest things are the most elusive. There are a number of options for multi-button mice at the Apple Store, but I couldn't find one with 4 or 5 buttons for the price I had in mind.

I found the Kensington Optical Elite for $19 at Fry's. It's simple, straightforward, has five programmable buttons, a nice soft texture, a low profile and is the perfect size for my hand.

Kensington Mouse

I've only been using it for about an hour but it seems to fit nicely.
Design Element
A Simple Five-Button USB Mouse
Posted Dec 28, 2006 — 21 comments below


Milen Dzhumerov — Dec 28, 06 2930

Have you considered the Razor Pro | Click 1.6? BTW It has outstanding Mac support. On a sidenote does the Kensington mouse include universal drivers for OS X? (it says that it supports mac but I still want to ask). Thanks!

Ben — Dec 28, 06 2931

Not that you're looking for further recommendations, but if anyone else out there is, I've always been a huge fan of Microsoft's IntelliMouse Optical, which has the fwd/back browse buttons, the scroll wheel, and is durable and comfortable. It can be found for ~ $30.

Scott McNulty — Dec 28, 06 2932

Simple it is not, but the Logitech MX Revolution is the best mouse I have ever used. I'm in the midst of writing up a review of it for TUAW.

It isn't cheap either (about $90), but I figure that I use the mouse so much that it pays to spend a little. :)

Scott Stevenson — Dec 28, 06 2933 Scotty the Leopard

@Milen Dzhumerov: Have you considered the Razor Pro | Click 1.6
I saw it at the Apple Store. It looks like a fine mouse but it cost more than I had in mind. It does have seven buttons, though.

@Ben: Microsoft's IntelliMouse Optical
I've used that before. It's good, but so far I like the Kensington more because it's not nearly as tall. The flatter feel seems more comfortable to me.

Chuck — Dec 28, 06 2934

This is probably a dumb question, but what on earth do you need more than three buttons for?

Scott Stevenson — Dec 28, 06 2935 Scotty the Leopard

This is probably a dumb question, but what on earth do you need more than three buttons for?

Various combinations of Expose and Dashboard.

Andy Lee — Dec 28, 06 2936

The soft texture and low profile are details that caught my eye -- I rarely hear mice described with those attributes. The muscle in the palm of my hand gets sore if the mouse hump is too high. (I think it's partly because my hands are very small.) And with totally smooth hard surfaces, like on all of Apple's recent mice, that same part of my hand starts to get irritated.

Years ago I used a super-cheap PC mouse with a rubberized surface which I loved. I've considered trying to rubberize the surface of my Mighty Mouse, but currently I'm using a cheap Microsoft USB optical mouse. I keep coming back to Microsoft mice; the cheapest ones ($20 or less) seem to be the most comfortable. I always try to get one with a texturized surface and as low a profile as possible.

If I start itching for a change I'll check out the Kensington Optical Elite.

Jerry Nummi — Dec 28, 06 2937

I had that mouse for about 2 years but it broke recently. I COULD NOT find another one. Thanks for the link!

Adam Spooner — Dec 28, 06 2938

This may be an even dumber question, but have you tried the Mighty Mouse? I'm counting 4 buttons on mine right now (left, right, center, sides... the squeeze). I've been using the Mighty Mouse since its debut and have no complaints whatsoever. It has the best Mac OS X support possible (don't think I had to say that) and is very familiar for those who've used the original one button Apple mouse (it has that low profile you speak of).

Chris — Dec 28, 06 2939

To back up Scott McN, the Logitech MX700 (which I've had for at least three years) is the best mouse I've ever used. It's really hard to live without the browser forward/back and page up/down buttons once you get used to them. I imagine the MX Revolution would be even better.

Two things Apple can't seem to get right: .mac and mice. It used to be that Apple didn't get things right in certain areas because Apple executives didn't use those things. Maybe he skips .mac, but does Steve Jobs not use a mouse? What's going on here?

Scott Stevenson — Dec 28, 06 2940 Scotty the Leopard

This may be an even dumber question, but have you tried the Mighty Mouse
Yep, I like that one too, but I think this is a better fit overall.

Bret — Dec 28, 06 2944

>> but does Steve Jobs not use a mouse?

No. He has a trained cat for that.


Some time ago, I spent the big bucks and sprung for a Kingston Studio Mouse (you know, the one with that pressure-sensitive slide thingey for the scrolling). The thing about it is I can scroll even when my paws are greasy from chips/cheetos/whatnot... conventional scroll wheels tend to get all slippery. Oh, yeah - and it's easy to clean, too... so no gunk buildup. The only thing I wish it had was a bi-directional scroll slide (instead of just up & down).

Samo — Dec 29, 06 2946

The Razor Pro does not work very well on my MacBook Pro, I had to revert to 1.6.5 drivers for it to even allow the use of the right button.

The mighty mouse on the other hand has a stupid "scroll nipple", working with 3D software is nearly imposible, if scrolling is set to zoom and the middle button to pan - everytime I zoom in, it starts panning, too.

I'm looking for a nice lil mouse myself, I'll definately have to look at the Kensington one.

Charles Eicher — Dec 29, 06 2948

I would just die if I could find a good 3 button mouse. I have an old roller mouse with three buttons from the ancient days of MkLinux, there was no such thing as a scroll wheel in those days, unix apps expected you to have middle and right clicks available. Still to this day, apps that originated in Unix like Maya really need a true three button mouse with the ability to do combos like left+middle click and drag, stuff you can't do on modern mice (and just forget the mighty mouse).

Scott Stevenson — Dec 29, 06 2949 Scotty the Leopard

a true three button mouse with the ability to do combos like left+middle click and drag

Maybe I'm missing your point, but this mouse seems to fit the bill. You can click the scroll wheel in as a third button.

Ben — Dec 29, 06 2951

This is probably a dumb question, but what on earth do you need more than three buttons for?

I use the independently-clickable side buttons on my MS IntelliMouse for browser back and browser forward. I couldn't use the web without it anymore-- I recommend anyone who hasn't tried browsing with a mouse that supports fwd/back to give it a spin.

Bill Coleman — Jan 04, 07 3034

Am I the only person who likes the old-fashioned one-button mouse?

Scrolling wheels and extra buttons just make life too complicated.....

Michael Martz — Jan 04, 07 3046

This is probably a dumb question, but what on earth do you need more than three buttons for?
I have a Logitech MX 310 which has 6 buttons. The one on the left side I have set to exposŤ all windows, the one on the right shows me the desktop, and the one below the scroll wheel shows just the current application's windows. I should have the scroll wheel doing something too, but I haven't decided what.

Michael — Jan 08, 07 3105

I just picked up the Wenger Pantera with 5 buttons, but I can't program the fourth and fifth for the system (but I can do it for games). Any ideas?

Scott Stevenson — Jan 08, 07 3108 Scotty the Leopard

@Michael: Any ideas?
No idea. System Preferences always just found the buttons automatically in my experience.

Ted Lee — May 03, 09 6727

I own two of these. I think I bought the first about 5 years ago, back when they were blue & silver. About 3 years ago they switched to the black and silver. It's a great mouse. I still prefer my Mighty Mouse, but on my Linux system, it works well.


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