Where can I find a real 3-button optical mouse?
February 17, 2006 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for an optical 3-button mouse, and can't find one anywhere. Scroll wheels don't count. Where can I find one?

For a long time, two button mice were common, then three button mice came along. Then, the mouse wheel was invented and it seems like every modern mouse now has a wheel. I've been looking far and wide for an optical version of something like this with no luck. Pointers?
posted by bsdfish to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's the Kensington KMW-64322, with a touch-sensitive middle pad.
posted by meehawl at 12:57 PM on February 17, 2006

I knew I was going to see a Logitech Mouseman when I clicked on that. Good luck finding an optical version -- as far as I know, Logitech was one of the last holdouts and created that model for a couple years past the availability of scroll wheels. There was a version called the Wingman Gaming Mouse that used a ball but was USB-based that might be the closest you'll get. Is there a specific reason you need a three button mouse that doesn't involve clicking on the scroll wheel as a middle button?
posted by mikeh at 12:57 PM on February 17, 2006

Sun workstations used to have three button optical mouses long before PCs had them -- as far back as the early 90s perhaps even the late 80s. However, they required a special mouse pad that had a grid, so when Microsoft (or Logitech, I don't know who was actually first) came up with the optical mouse in 1999 that could work on any surface it was quite a breakthrough. So if you are desperate you could try using one of those ancient Sun mouses, but I'm not sure they would even work with a PC or have the correct drivers.

With that out of the way...

I'm sure you have your reasons, but can I ask why? I would claw my eyes out if I had to scroll manually (by actually clicking and dragging the elevator) so a mouse wheel is practically a non-negotiable requirement for me. And I use it as a middle mouse button constantly -- I all links with it, for example. I guess in cases of limited dexterity a real middle button might be easier than a wheel, but that's all I can come up with.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:27 PM on February 17, 2006

And now that I notice your name is 'bsdfish', I am thinking you already knew that...
posted by Rhomboid at 1:30 PM on February 17, 2006

Contour still sells a mouse that's pretty close... you may not want to pay what they're asking, though.
posted by xil at 1:32 PM on February 17, 2006

Oops, sorry, I take that back -- only the new kind are optical. They still have a wheel, but it's an easily-ignored one.
posted by xil at 1:33 PM on February 17, 2006

I have a Mouse Systems 3-button optical mouse from 1989. It's essentially a PC serial version of the Sun optical mice, and X and gpm support it. I'm still kind of attached to it, though, so I'm not giving mine up, but there's a small chance you can find one on eBay. The resolution is lower than you may be accustomed to, though.
posted by zsazsa at 1:39 PM on February 17, 2006

Response by poster: Why would I want such a beast, you ask? When I use unix, I need to middle-click a bunch and clicking the wheel is harder. But even in Windows, I prefer the normal 3-button mouse, especially for scrolling: I just hold the middle mouse button and move the mouse up or down.

This 3-button optical mouse is a holy grail for me and one of my friends, but I have this feeling that no such modern beast exists. I'll take a look into the Mouse Systems path.
posted by bsdfish at 1:47 PM on February 17, 2006

Response by poster: Update: a few googles for "Mouse Systems optical" led me to Perfit Mouse which is actually a 3 button optical mouse, admittedly with two scroll wheels on the side. Then again, it's $110.
posted by bsdfish at 1:52 PM on February 17, 2006

Actually that's only one wheel (on top) and a rocker switch (on the bottom). Also, if you look carefully on the left side, there's the option to get it without the wheel.
posted by xil at 1:54 PM on February 17, 2006

Best answer: Exactly what you want: HP USB optical 3-button mouse
posted by insomnus at 1:57 PM on February 17, 2006

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