What is the best mouse for a Mac, Linux, or Windows?

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One mouse to rule them all

I had previously reviewed the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse, suggesting it as a replacement for the Apple Magic Mouse. Now, I’ve tried it on my Linux machine (don’t know why that took so long). It turns out to work very well, better than most, possibly all, mice I’ve used.

One’s mouse is a very personal thing, and everyone is going to have a potentially different opinion about what the best mouse is. The Ultrathin is designed to work with laptops/notebooks because it is small, and it is assumed that everything you use with such a portable device must be small. The truth is, you can carry around a whopping big mouse in your notebook bag and not even notice, so this is a bit of a fallacy. Anyway, it obviously works with any computer with a bluetooth connection, desktop or laptop.

Also, some people want their mouse to be big, some want it to be small. And most people can probably grow to like whichever mouse they are using, and thus develop their preference longer term. I personally like a very large mouse or a very small mouse. I can not explain that.

A touchy mouse

There are, these days, two fundamentally different kinds of mouse. One is the kind with buttons and scroll bars and such, the other is the kind with a swipe-able surface. The Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse is one of the latter. It vaguely resembles the standard Apple mouse that comes with modern Apple computers, but is trapezoidal in shape rather than ovaloid. It is also smaller.

As I noted in my earlier review, my Apple mouse was starting to act strange, so I decided to replace it, and instead of getting an Apple mouse, I got the cheaper Logitech touchy mouse to try it out, and I’ve not looked back.

Designed for Windows/Mac but Works on Linux

There are two versions of this mouse, the T631 for Mac for the Mac, and the T630 for Windows. As far as I can tell, they are the same, but look different, with the Mac version being white and the Windows version being black. Makes sense at several levels.

I have read on the Internet, which is never wrong, that the Windows version works fine on Linux, and I can attest to the Mac version working fine on Linux as well. I doubt that at present Linux is using all the various swipy capabilities of the mouse, but it moves the cursor, has left and right click, swipe-scrolling, and it may also emulate a middle mouse button. Two fingered swiping back and forth trigger Linux buttons 8 and 9. And so on.

Obviously, I’ve not tried this mouse on Windows. Why would I ever do that?

Two hook ups and Great Battery Life

This is a bluetooth mouse (and that is how you get it to work with your Linux machine). The mouse has a selector switch, A and B, so you can pair it with two different computers (such as your desktop or your laptop).

Unlike the Apple Mouse or many other existing mice, this device does not use batteries that you replace. (Indeed, the Apple Mouse is even pretty picky about the kind of battery you use.) You plug it in to a micro USB cord hooked to something with power, every now and then. It charges really fast, and the charge lasts a long time.

I recommend the T630 or T31.

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12 thoughts on “What is the best mouse for a Mac, Linux, or Windows?

  1. I’ve never had a problem using different mice on Linux. Here’s a comment that’s relevant that I posted on another site.

    I’ve been using Linux for over 10 years now. I’ve gotten use to switching the (USB) mouse on-the-fly. While the computer is running. I’ve done it many times now and Linux doesn’t miss a beat. One time, however, I was using a Windows computer. I knew I couldn’t do the same trick with it so I shut the machine down, then plugged in the new mouse and turned the computer back on. It went through its lengthy boot up as usual but then it began installing the mouse. It had to install the mouse? Sure enough it went looking for a driver, found it, installed it and then? Reboot! Reboot? For a friggin’ mouse? You’ve got to be kidding me. At least it was only one reboot. Oh, the manufacturer of the mouse? Microsoft.

  2. Exactly. I should actually have mentioned that Linux will work with any mouse, for a number of reasons, including the fact that Linux is based on the OS that first used a mouse.

    What does not necessarily work in a given OS is the software that comes with the mouse. Usually, that software has nothing to do with using the mouse.

  3. ” including the fact that Linux is based on the OS that first used a mouse.”

    Not quite right. See Engelbart.
    The first version of UNIX was 1969, Xerox PARC was already using mice on Alto’s by 1973.

    Mice started to come in with microprocessor-based workstations, like Apollo, PERQ, Sun, etc in early 1980s, also Bell Labs BLITs. Some of those Were UNIX.

  4. John: You are mostly correct, thanks for that. The very first mouse like things were actually trackballs, going back to the early 40s, and independently invented at least twice.

  5. And if you don’t want your carpal tunnel to get worse, get the biggest trackball you can find, big enough you have to lay your hand over it rather than grip it, said my OT after I had the carpal tunnel surgery. Crayola used to make a wonderful “kids’ trackball’ the size of a grapefruit — anyone seen those lately?
    The Logitech Trackball Marble Wheel is a decent alternative.

    Same OT told me — “with a mouse, you’re “rowing” all the time, using both shoulders, one to move the mouse, the other to move your body in the opposite direction. And you wonder why your shoulders hurt?”

  6. Looks flashy 🙂

    Almost any mouse these days is vastly better than the ones in the early 1990s, where for every hour spent using the mouse, you spent two hours pulling it apart and cleaning out the fluff and grunge from the ball underneath.

  7. Windows fussiness about installing drivers never ceases to amaze. Also moving from one version to another always causes pain from perfectly good devices becoming legacy or at best not fully driver supported. My wife had issues with her Epson printer and scanner which had support software under XP to make them work together productively, I now have to help her to ensure she gets what she expects from a scan when printed. I have an excellent, top of range at time film scanner, which I am having difficulties with in Win 8 after XP (I am exploring alternative options) and have given up hope of using my Epson R2880 photo with 8 channel continuous ink (but it is rather tired anyway).

    John Mashey.

    I wonder if you have ever come across the Acorn RISCOS mouse and interface system which as far back as the early 1990s had a three button mouse the buttons being left to right Select, Menu, Adjust. This allowed menus to be called up ANYWHERE inside an app’ window with that Menu button and Select used to chose options from the list. If more than one option from the same menu, similarly with dialogue box selections, if one used the Adjust instead the selection would be made but the menu, or dialogue box, stay open for further selections.

    Even back in that period of the early 1990s the system had excellent font anti-aliasing using shades of grey and had built in vector graphic Draw and Edit (the latter with excellent search and replace including the control characters) that were way ahead of anything supplied with Windows and its Paint application (all these firmware – in ROM) was also useful.

  8. This mouse works great with Android too.
    Since android is made for touchscreens the left click is useless but the touch allows you to scroll Web pages and spreadsheets, both vertically and horizontally, with ease.

  9. The logitech Marble Mouse win hands down, no contest, as the best mouse ever! Anyone who does not agree has not tried one long enough to get used to it.

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