cadalyst
Hardware

Playing CAD and Mouse

30 Nov, 2013 By: Heather Livingston,Robert Green

Cadalyst Labs Report: Cadalyst Labs navigates the maze of input device options for users of 2D and 3D computer-aided design.


Microsoft Comfort Mouse 4500
Corded mouse
Overall Grade: A

Pros: Low cost; no batteries required; tracks well on surfaces other than glass; 2D/3D CAD zooming/panning supported; ambidextrous design.

Cons: Wheel spins so freely that controlling fine motions is challenging.

Price: $24.95 retail ($14.99)

Microsoft | 877.696.7786 | www.microsoft.com

Highly RecommendedRemember when a mouse was reasonably sized, had basic buttons and minimal features, and a cord tethered it to your computer? The low-priced Microsoft Comfort Mouse 4500 harkens back to those good old days, with a few new twists.

Using a wired USB connection with a generously long, 6.5-foot cable, the Comfort Mouse 4500 even allows connection to full-size workstation towers tucked away under desks. It installed flawlessly on my desktop and laptop machines and even played nice with my wireless keyboard.

The full-sized (2.6" x 4.6") housing and symmetrical design make it easy for right- or left-handed users — even those with big hands — to find a comfortable resting position, while the rubberized coating provides a sure grip with very light pressure. The slick plastic motion pads gave the mouse a fast feel on tabletops, mouse pads, and laminated desktop surfaces alike, and the BlueTrack optics — which Microsoft describes as "combining the power of optical with the precision of laser" — tracked perfectly on everything except a glass-top table.

The Comfort Mouse 4500 from Microsoft fits most users' hands and is inexpensive.
The Comfort Mouse 4500 from Microsoft fits most users' hands and is inexpensive.

From a button standpoint, the Comfort Mouse 4500 has CAD programs well covered, with normal left and right click and a scrollable, clickable, and left-to-right selectable wheel. This tilt wheel, as Microsoft calls it, covers the zooming, panning, and translation functions that 2D and 3D CAD users expect to perform with just an index finger. Throw in two more left and right buttons (which fall under the thumb and the pinky), and you've got everything you need for a custom mouse experience at a bargain price.

One thing I didn't like was the free-spinning nature of the wheel when in zooming mode; I wish it were just a little stiffer and easier to control.

The Comfort Mouse 4500 is covered by a three-year limited warranty. Microsoft honors returns for 30 days from the date of purchase provided the item has not been opened or altered from its original state and does not show wear or damage.

I would have no problem using this mouse all day, every day for CAD and general office programs, but I have to say, as someone who has become accustomed to using a wireless mouse, it really was weird using a mouse with a cord again. Highly Recommended.

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