Back in December, I was contacted by the owner of quietmouse.com. He wanted a few SPCR-ians to try out one of his quiet mice and give some feedback for it. I've had it for over a month now, and have been behind on posting my reactions on it (minor car accident, starting a new full-time job, having two computers die on me, running around all over the state to buy furniture, being sick for a week, etc).
I received the mouse in a very small box, barely larger than the mouse itself. As this was a review sample, I have no idea if more slick-looking packaging will accompany it when it becomes available for sale to the general public. The sample I received came with a black p/s 2 to USB adaptor, which is good if you have an older machine and want to use the mouse port, or are running out of free USB ports on a modern machine.
According to some correspondence I've been having with Greg (the owner) he intends to make and market several different types. He sent me what I assume is the "basic" model. I did not receive a spec sheet, but he told me that it has an 800dpi sensor. It's not a "gaming" mouse per se, though really, unless you have the type of precision targeting only held by a Terminator (um, wait, they have trouble hitting the broadside of a barn. Try the precision only held by guys like [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadshot]Deadshot[/url] it doesn't matter that much. Here's a few quotes on the mouse design from Greg: "To work best the internal temperature for the mouse should be between approx 55-90F. The process we use to quiet the mouse does not work well at low temps, causing poor tactile feedback. At very high temps the mouse will work fine but you will hear more click noise. Keep out of direct sunlight to help keep internal temp down." He also mentions that the model supplied to me isn't compatible with Windows Vista. It does work with 2000 and XP.
The mouse is black and silver in color, and is a sort of banana-shape. The cord seems slightly cheap, but it should be adequate for normal usage. It has quietmouse.com printed on the area where you rest your palm. In the thumb area, it has a bunch of ridges to help provide friction to hold your thumb in place. The mouse has the standard left and right buttons and a scroll wheel. I was slightly dissapointed, as it doesn't have the up and down buttons for the thumb. This feature has disappeared from lots of mice in the last year. Contrary to what Logitech believes, having a secondary scroll wheel for the thumb is neither comfortable nor useful. The bottom of the mouse has a "made in China" sticker, and the usual declaration that it has been tested to comply with FCC standards.
The scroll wheel has an interesting light up feature. With the Thanko Silent Mouse, it glows blue, but it ALWAYS glows blue, which can make it hard to sleep if it's placed in your bedroom. The QM has much more opaque plastic scroll wheel. It glows a dim red when in use, but after the mouse has stopped moving for more than two seconds, it will turn itself off. I'm not a fan of "bling" and prefer the color blue, but I LOVE that it turns itself off. If you're going to put light-up colors on your computer equipment (and there's nothing wrong with that, it's just not for me) it's a great idea to make it not intrusive when you're not using it. Unlike the Thanko mouse, depressing the scroll wheel will allow you to quickly scroll up and down a webpage.
In terms of performance, this mouse works pretty well. The mouse feet are, well, mouse feet. The provide smooth gliding across a mouse mat. Incidentally, Greg also recommends using a mouse pad for quiet operation as a hard surface can cause more noise. Really, I've never seen a mouse seem to glide THAT much better on a piece of steel or glass that some gamers swear by. A decent quality cloth mat should be more than adequate for death match.
Acoustically, this mouse does very well. The right button is almost silent, while the left has a very very soft "click" to it. The scroll wheel makes an audible "normal" click, but Greg has told me he will be offering a model that has that silenced as well. The wheel scrolls smoothly, without the wheel-click held by some mice, but it isn't silent. Sometimes it almost sounds like it's barely making contact against the side of the hole where the wheel is placed, and makes a slight noise from the plastic touching each other. It's still an improvement over almost all other mice, but it is a flaw. The two primary mouse buttons provide sufficient tactile feedback. On a couple of occasions the right button felt "squishy" during the first week, but they've both developed a consistent feel after the break-in period. Greg also had this to say about tactile feedback on his and a competitor's mouse "The Thanko mouse takes 120 grams of pressure to activate. That is approx 2x a typical mouse. My design uses the standard 60 (+ or - 10) grams. " And for the curious, he says that without the cord, the mouse weighs about 80 grams. I don't have a set of scales, but I will say that it has significantly less mass than the MX510. Frankly, I prefer lighter mice, they're easier to push around.
Comfort wise, it's okay, but not perfect. The section where the palm rests seems to slope too severely. I noticed some discomfort in my wrist when I used this mouse both at work and home for a week straight. It's nothing intolerable, and switching off with another mouse for a few hours will keep this discomfort for accumulating for the most apart. Another flaw, though this is still nowhere near as bad as the crippling-side-effects from using tiny "silent" mice like the Buffalo and Thanko silent mice. Ignoring that, it's comfortable enough. The mouse is long enough in the front where your fingers stay on the buttons instead of hanging off the front, which again was an issue with the smaller, Japanese-designed mice that led to some irritated skin.
Since it's hard to really go on about performance in regular computer use (Excel, web-surfing, writing mouse reviews) I fired up the Unreal Tournament 2004 for some fragging. How did it handle? Quiet well, actually. Again, I'm not a hard core gamer, but it equally well as my MX510 from Logitech. Pressing the left button rapid-fire in combat made the mouse develop a slightly more pronounced click, but don't get me wrong, it's still far better than anything else on the market.
Greg also intends to offer a larger variety of mice in the future:" My manufacturer partner can also make this mouse in a laser version up to 2000 CPI. I will probably offer it in the future for serious gamers. The two main purposes of the mouse are to be quiet and have good tactile feedback. I think you will see a huge difference in the feel of this mouse compared to the competition. I also have another style mouse that will go on sale the same time as the one you have. It is shaped more like the classic Microsoft Comfort Mouse 1000. It is for people who want a average size mouse. I will also have smaller travel size mice and wireless mice in the future. "
It's hard for me to give final thoughts on this product, since I've never been in a position of being given a free sample in return for giving feedback on a product. I haven't tried all of the silent mice on the market; I have the Thanko (hated it) and the Buffalo (so small I tried it for a couple of hours before dumping it in the spare computer gear box), though I haven't tried the Silent Mouse, or Thanko's other silent mouse. I can say that this IS the best of the three that I've tried. I am definitely interested in any other designs this company comes up with and would consider buying a mouse from them when they offer the â€œclick-less scroll-wheelâ€
Asus P4C800 Del., P4 3.0 Northwood w/Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja (fanless), Antec P180 black SPCR edition w/Acoustipack V.2 Deluxe; BBA X800 XT PE w/Zalman ZM80C-HP and 92mm Nexus; Samsung P80 120gb Smart Drive 2002 on foam; Raptor 74gb (turned off); Antec Phantom 350w; 2x120mm Nexus @ 670rpm, diNovo keyboard, Thanko Silent Mouse http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=24308