Logitech iFeel and Microsoft Trackball

Logitech iFeel

Logitech's two iFeel mice are the first mainstream mice to incorporate a new technology from Immersion called TouchSense, which gives tactile feedback to users. The iFeel Mouse is a traditional wheel mouse designed for left- or right-handed users; the wheeled iFeel MouseMan, which is sculpted to fit the hand's contours, is for righties.

Ostensibly, as Web pages and Windows screens grow more cluttered, zeroing in on the exact place to click becomes more difficult. I tested the iFeel mice on a variety of Web sites and my busy Windows 98 desktop, and they did help me target my clicks.

Though the iFeel software works in Internet Explorer 5 and in Netscape 4.5 or later, it requires you to install IE 5 before it will load the necessary drivers. It may conflict with touchpad devices on some notebooks, too.

These minor complaints aside, at only a few dollars more than their unfeeling counterparts, either Logitech device would be a good investment.

Microsoft Trackball

Microsoft's two new right-hand trackballs rely on optical tracking technology that replaces internal moving parts with an optical sensor that takes "snapshots" of the trackball at 2000 images per second.

The Explorer's large red ball sits atop the contoured, bulbous, silver-and-slate device, with the wheel and the left and right buttons situated where your thumb naturally rests. Two customisable buttons to the right of the trackball rely on your pinkie and ring fingers for operation and are more difficult to manipulate.

The Trackball Optical puts the ball on the left side for the thumb to navigate, leaving the scroll wheel and left and right buttons in a more conventional location on top for easier clicking. Two customisable subordinate buttons are also on top

I definitely recommend that you try before you buy.

Logitech iFeel

Price: Mouse $99, MouseMan $139

Supplier: Logitech

Phone: (02) 9902 3711

URL: www.logitech.com

Microsoft Trackball

Price: Optical $89, Explorer $TBA

Supplier: Microsoft

Phone: 13 2058

URL: www.microsoft.com

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Michael S. Lasky

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