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Product: IntelliMouse Explorer 3 (2006)
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price:

Review By: Robert Stein

One of the latest hardware devices coming out of Redmond is all about bring back a hardware classic (and all time favorite) - all while improving the product with the latest technology, and providing superior value for gamers and power users. This device is just one of the new high-precision mice Microsoft has released this year targeting gamers. Does this mouse live up to its promises? Read on to find out.

  • Optical Tracking Performance Legendary accuracy delivered from an optical engine that produces 9000 Frames per Second, Maximum Speed of 54+ Inches per Second, and Maximum Acceleration of 25g’s combined with Microsoft’s Intelligent Tracking System with a centered optical port.
  • Ergonomic Design Button placement for improved sensitivity and soft touch materials for a sure grip.
  • 5 Customizable Buttons Reassign any button to fit your needs.
  • Scroll Wheel with Detents A specially designed scroll wheel with detents enables more accurate scrolling through documents, spreadsheets, or video games.
  • Improved Slick Feet For smooth movements across a variety of surfaces.
  • Centered Optical Port For enhanced targeting and accuracy.
  • Flexible Cord The thin, flexible cord was designed to provide the sensation of wireless with all the performance of a wire.
  • Gaming Toggle With the push of a button you can switch between your favorite weapons or actions—it's easy to quickly change settings while playing.
  • Precision Booster Switch between default speed and precision mode for enhanced control.
  • Intelligent Tracking System Enjoy smoother tracking over a greater variety of surfaces with the Microsoft® Intelligent Tracking System.

Setup & Installation 

Setup: The installation is quite simple. Just plug in the mouse which requires USB or PS/2 ports. To use the additional programmable buttons, you must install Microsoft IntelliPoint software (see below).

Microsoft IntelliPoint 6.0 Software

If you want to customize your mouse, you will have to install the new IntelliPoint 6.0 (about 45 MB), which does not require a restart. To customize your mouse keys, select either "Mouse" for the Control Panel or "Microsoft Mouse" from the program menu. On the buttons tab you can click on the different buttons and reassign the keys to a variety of functions. You must use this software to assign the precision booster and gaming toggle features. In this software you can also change your pointers, other pointer options, view which hardware is connected, change scrolling options, etc. The software is easy to use and is required for advanced functionality of the mouse. The new IntelliPoint 6 features the IntelliMouse Explorer takes advantage of are the precision booster and the gaming toggle.

Mouse Design

The mouse has the exact same design as the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3 mouse released in 2000, besides the color. You can read that review here. The Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3 (2006)  is about 5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, 1.5 inches high and weighs just a few ounces. The mouse includes five buttons (two on top, the wheel and two sides). This mouse does not include the Tilt Wheel technology as the 2000 model did not. The mouse has a two-tone dark silver, black color design with silver buttons and is very aesthetically appealing, which is much darker than the previous version. The scroll wheel is the standard black with scroll wheel detents. The mouse has a red translucent bottom. Finally, the cord is black and of ample length.

Microsoft  Optical Technology

Microsoft has provided a well deserved update to an already great optical technology. This product includes the new Microsoft High Definition Optical Technology which aims to improve performance at much higher levels than the previous optical technology. The technology is 9000 frames per second (FPS) - an improvement over the 2500 FPS of most of the previous optical mice. Other technology improvements that have been made for gamers include a max acceleration of 25Gs, max speed of 54 IPS and the Microsoft Intelligent Tracking System (smoother tracking). Microsoft optical technologies have been well tested for many years now and work smoothly on most surfaces. It has been broken-in well with previous mice, so you know you won’t have any problem. 


Final Comments

How It Grades

Installation: 95%
Performance: 94%
Design: 93%
Price/Value: 99%
Overall: 95.25%

This mouse marks the first time Microsoft has re-released a past hardware product because of the popularity of the previous model. The already great optical technology has been vastly improved to be more responsive, more precise, and much smoother combined with new IntelliPoint 6.0 features. Those of you who have gotten used to the tilt wheel will be disappointed this mouse does not have it. Please note, this exact mouse cost $54.95 MSRP in 2000 and now retails for $39.99 which is a superior price for such a great, well-proven product. For the hardcore gamer, I would wait for the upcoming Habu gaming mouse. The updated color scheme along with the new gaming features will make this mouse a sure hit!

Specs & Package
Overall Score 95.25%
Version Reviewed  Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 (2006)
Release Date September/October 2006
The Good Points Proven Classic
Precision Booster
The Bad Points No Tilt Wheel
Similar Product Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 (2000)
System Requirements

For a Windows-based PC:

  • Microsoft Windows® 2000 (SP 4 and up), Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Media Center Edition or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition,
    Windows Vista

  • 45 MB of available hard disk space (install 100 MB)

  • CD-ROM drive

  • An available PS/2 or USB port on the PC

For Macintosh:

  • Mac OS X v10.2 to 10.4.x operating system
    (OS 10.0 to 10.1 is not supported)

  • 15 MB of available hard disk space

  • CD-ROM drive

  • USB port



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