Microsoft Bluetooth Intellimouse Explorer


I wanted a wireless mouse to use with my notebook and although there are tons of good RF based wireless mice, I decided to play with a Bluetooth one since they were starting to become available. Microsoft actually makes a combo with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse but I opted for the mouse since I didn’t feel like I needed the keyboard.

I’ve used Microsoft mice before (most notably several Microsoft Optical Intellimouse Explorers) and like using them. They are large, comfortable and work very well. The added buttons gives you the ability to assign more functions so you can maximize your efficiency with the mouse.

Microsoft Bluetooth Transceiver

I’m going to start with with transceiver that comes with the mouse because it really deserves some mention and there’s a lot you should know about it.

The mouse requires the use of a Bluetooth transceiver in order for it to work with your system. In theory, any transceiver will work with the mouse. Microsoft ships the mouse with the Wireless Transceiver for Bluetooth which sits in a silver cradle and attaches to your system via a standard USB cable. This works well if you’re using the transceiver with a desktop system but it’s a little clusmy with a notebook.

The transceiver itself can be removed from the cradle and used with a supplied dongle. If you’re like me, you’re probably scratching your head because you can’t believe how large the dongle is. Because the Microsoft supplied transceiver only has a mini USB connector, you must plug in the dongle which converts the mini USB plug to a full sized connector.

For comparison, you can see the Microsoft transceiver is much much larger than other Bluetooth adapters on the market.

To further beat the dead horse, here’s another shot of the dongle installed on my notebook. Yeah, what the heck!!! Can you imagine walking around with that thing sticking out of your system? I can’t even see that thing plugged into the back or front of a desktop system.

Ok, the physical aspects aside, the Microsoft transceiver is still very poor. Why? Well, you would expect that the transceiver would let you interact with other Bluetooth devices but it doesn’t. One of the reasons is that Microsoft only supports HID (Human Input Devices) services and a basic serial service. Many other transceivers support many more services and can interact with other computers, mobile phones, PDAs, printers, etc. Microsoft’s transceiver doesn’t work with a lot of stuff. It’s basically a software issue so hopefully it will be opened up a little more in the future.

At any rate, the mouse works well with other Bluetooth transceivers so you’re not forced to use the Microsoft one. If you’re using the adapter on a desktop then it shouldn’t really matter too much. You can easily pair the mouse to your Bluetooth transceiver using the Wireless Link control panel in Windows since the device does not require authentication for it to work.

Intellimouse Explorer Bluetooth Style

Microsoft makes really good mice and I really do like this mouse. The Explorer series of the Intellimouse line of mice are really comfortable to use and feel solid. I think they’re balanced just right not being too heavy nor too light.

As you can see, the Bluetooth Intellimouse Explorer features the latest revision of the “Explorer” design with grooves on either side of the mouse for extra comfort and fit. The darker colors on the left and right sides of the mouse indicates a slightly different material than the blue shell. The darker grey material has a rubbery soft feel to it and keeps your hand from slipping off the mouse.

The mouse has excellent tracking due to its optical technology found in all the other Microsoft branded “optical” mice and it’s very responsive.

The mouse ships with Microsoft’s Intellipoint software which allows you to reassign the functionality of the buttons on the mouse. It’s good software and has a lot of options for you getting the most out of the mouse.

The Intellimouse Explorer requires two AA batteries and battery life is pretty good. In general, it’s about the same as many other RF-based mice and lasts for several months before needing a change. When the mouse is not in use, the mouse goes into a low power mode to save on consumption.

Final Thoughts

The Intellimouse Explorer for Bluetooth is a great mouse and works very well with a desktop system. However, it seems that using the mouse with a notebook system was an afterthought as the supplied dongle is far too big and cumbersome to be useful.

If you use a notebook and aren’t happy with the built-in trackball, trackpad or trackpoint (aka eraser head or nipple) then having a wireless mouse available is a nice option provided you have your own Bluetooth transceiver. The mouse is great to use and it’s ergonomically sound and extremely comfortable to use for extended period of time.

It’s probably even better if you already have your own preferred Bluetooth transceiver/adapter because the one Microsoft ships with its mouse is simply terrible for mobile users. Don’t get me wrong. It works. However, as a Bluetooth device, it’s not very good at all and can’t be used to sync with PDAs (a common use) or even mobile phones for that matter.

The bottomline: Bluetooth Mouse good. Included Microsoft Bluetooth Transceiver bad.

The mouse sells for $79.99 USD (MSRP) but can be found for at least $15 less online. You can find more information about the Microsoft Wireless Intellimouse Explorer for Bluetooth can be found at








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