A computer mouse is one of the input devices of a computer. The mouse has certain basic functions that are central to using a computer. These are, one, pointing to and selecting items on-screen. Two, a mouse is used to select and move items i.e. the drag and drop function. Three, a mouse is used for the execution function i.e. clicking on items. The fourth use of a mouse is the scroll function which is essential to navigating windows on-screen. In this article we shall be looking at the different types of computer mouse one can use.

Mechanical Computer Mouse

There was once a time when this was the mouse of choice. Most of you who used desktop computers from around the era of Windows 95 and so on are aware of these computer mouse types. The design of this computer mouse comprised of a rubber ball inside its frame. When you would move the mouse on a surface, the movement of the ball would cause the pointer on-screen to move. Like we said, it is used to be the only type of computer mouse available at some point.

It was indeed a technological marvel but it had its limitations. Some people would struggle to smoothly use this mouse because of how one could not fully control the movement of the rubber ball inside. The rubber ball could only move smoothly if the surface used was a mouse pad or some other similar surface. The mechanical mouse was highly prone to mechanical damage which would affect the smooth movement of the rubber ball. In some cases, the rubber ball could even get stuck and not move at all. Despite all these limitations, the mechanical mouse did serve its purpose at that time.

Trackball Computer Mouse

The operational mechanism of these types of computer mouse is almost similar to that of the mechanical computer mouse. For a mechanical computer mouse, the rubber ball is underneath but here the ball is situated on the side or on the top. The location of the ball varies from design to design but it is not underneath. This means it is actually your fingers (particularly the index finger and the thumb) that move the ball. It is more comfortable to use because you do not have to move your whole arm to move the mouse pointer. The trackball computer mouse is, however, not as popular as the mechanical one was. You might find it in use here and there but it is rare.

Optical Computer Mouse

The most widely used types of computer mouse are the optical computer mouse. You could say that these ones came in to do away with the rubber ball in the mechanical one. In the optical computer mouse design there is an LED light sensor that picks up the movements of the mouse that you make. Those movements are then translated into the movements of the mouse pointer on-screen. All the limitations of the mechanical computer mouse are absent here.

Stylus Computer Mouse

This is a type of computer mouse that is usually common amongst graphic designers or computer-aided designers. The mouse resembles a stylus (a more familiar term is a pen). To cause or execute certain processes on-screen you move the stylus mouse on a special type of pad. That pad is more like how a mechanical computer mouse has a mouse pad.

Wireless Computer Mouse

Then we have the wireless computer mouse types. These come in two broad types namely, radio frequency wireless computer mouse and infrared wireless computer mouse. This type of computer mouse has a receiver (a small component that is connected to a USB port on the computer). When you move the mouse the movements are digitized and send to the receiver and they are translated into movements of the mouse pointer on-screen. This requires batteries to function because it does not have a corded connection to the computer. This is somewhat of a limitation because batteries can run out of power at the most inconvenient time. Regardless, they are very sleek, compact and portable plus they are not limited by the surface you are moving the mouse on.

Touchpad Computer Mouse

This is actually a type of computer mouse, unique as it is. It is obviously common on laptop computers. In order to move the mouse pointer and other on-screen functions one has to move their finger across the touchpad. Typically, the touchpad comes with 2 buttons that offer the left and right click functions. Those buttons’ functions are triggered by pressing on the touchpad.

Cordless 3D Computer Mouse

This is basically like a wireless computer mouse but it operates in a unique way. In order to do certain things on-screen you point the mouse at the screen of the computer. It is one of the most interesting types of computer mouse that is on the market.

Laser Computer Mouse

This type of computer mouse is more or less similar to the optical computer mouse. The distinguishing attribute is that the laser computer mouse uses a laser beam instead of LED light. The major limitation here is that it works optimally on only glass and plastic surfaces. On the other surfaces the mouse will not produce the best performance.

A Note on Categorizations Of Computer Mouse

It is possible to find an overlap between two or more different types of computer mouse. For instance, it is possible for a trackball computer mouse to be wireless, optical or wired. This simply means that it is possible for a particular computer mouse category to fall under another category.

There are also special types of computer mouse such as gaming mouse or vertical mouse (an ergonomic design). Overall, the most common types of computer mouse are optical computer mouse and wireless computer mouse. The touchpad computer mouse is also quite common because of the widespread use of laptop computers. The other popular type is the wireless optical computer mouse – people are opting for wireless options.