I have a funny story about my “silent” Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000. It does relate to the Kensington Mouse that I’m reviewing here, albeit in a strange sort of way. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 is not a quiet mouse, however my particular one was. More on that later.
What I have discovered is that yes, there is a market desperate to get a silent mouse or quiet mouse solution. People have mostly tuned out the click of the mouse buttons, but the sound is completely unwarranted in 2016. The tactile feedback on your finger is more than enough for anyone to know whether their click has registered or not. I’ve read a bit on this subject and it does appear that reducing the click is more costly for manufacturers. So better is more expensive. Imagine that.
Whatever your situation is, I can tell you that there are few options out there. In fact there are next to no options for a silent mouse from brand name players. So what you get is a wide range of sketchy reviews and customer reviews that support the claims of these “silent” mouse products. But at the same time you get people in those same reviews dispelling the claims of the product being “silent”. If they are silent then you will likely see people talking about how the functions of the mouse stopped working or some other issue. It goes on, and on, and on. It has been a frustrating experience trying to find a replacement mouse that is quiet or silent in regards to clicking button sounds.
So ultimately it’s buyer beware. You might see videos with quiet mouse comparisons, but these are far from reliable. Most are a complete waste of bandwidth. It’s hard to know what to believe.
It’s clear to me now. These claims from mouse makers that their products are “silent” or “quiet” are nothing short of a joke. There is no credible supporting evidence of their claims. Consumers need to be aware of shams and quite frankly the “silent” mouse market is largely full of BS. This is worse with the no name brands claiming their mice products are silent. There is no standard and there is ultimately no accountability.
My advice to you? Simply do not believe “silent” claims to be no noise. Think of the claims as meaning “less noisy” or “more quiet”. This will save you some serious frustration when shopping for a quieter solution. If you want zero sound coming from a mouse click, then you need to adjust your hopes and wishes. Adjust your thinking. There will be some sound, but it’s a question of tolerable levels.
The Kensington Mouse For Life is marketed as being a “silent click” mouse. This mouse is designed for anyone who wants to have a less noisy mouse click. In this sense it’s a niche product because they certainly don’t stock these in many retailers at all. A shame really.
A silent click isn’t the only feature that this mouse has. It’s also suitable for left or right handed users. It uses a HD optical sensor with 1000 DPI which means it’s reasonably accurate and precise. It’s powered via a low profile (stubby) USB dongle. It has a 5-year limited warranty also.
Kensington also offers essentially the exact same silent mouse, except it is a wired version. Look for Kensington Wired ValuMouse if a cheaper wired version is more to your liking. This review should apply to that model as well.
So why did I settle on a Kensington Mouse For Life? Lack of name brand manufacturers! Kensington was the only brand that I recognized that made a mouse with a silent button click. There are a few other options out there but I’m not interested in rolling the dice on some unknown brand. At the very least Kensington makes other products that are at least well made. The question is whether they can manufacture a good mouse. I’m about to find out!
Does this mouse really provide a silent mouse click?
The answer is both good and bad. Silent? No. Audible? Yes. Quiet is a more accurate word than silent in this case. I would say just from a non technical perspective, I think this mouse is going to give you a 75% or more reduction in noise. It would be near impossible for a person in a quiet room to hear this mouse clicking. As a user, it’s barely audible at arms length!
It’s just enough sound for those who need some indicator of a mouse button click. I’m confident in telling you that in most situations it shouldn’t be audible to a person in the same vicinity. It’s a good balance actually for those who fear losing the sound of the click completely.
What I found to be the most impressive feat by Kensington is that the middle mouse button is as silent as the left and right mouse buttons. I know from using a Microsoft mouse and others, the middle mouse button is much louder in comparison to the left/right mouse button click. So in this sense, Kensington has done a great job. If you’re like me, the middle or scroll wheel mouse button is my browser “back” button and it’s something I use with great regularity. I don’t think there is a better scroll wheel button on the market. This scroll button doesn’t require a strong push like most every other scroll button on the market. It’s easy!
Tip: Speaking of delegating that scroll wheel mouse button, it’s not a simplistic process in the Windows OS environment. If you want a very simple and fast program to designate your scroll wheel button to a preferred command (I recommend setting it for a back button) then go download X Mouse. Simple to use and almost mandatory because there is no specific driver or hardware that will be in Windows which will allow you to designate that middle scroll wheel button.
Using the Kensington Mouse For Life
Size wise, the Kensington Mouse For Life has a fairly low profile. My previous Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 was a higher “fatter” profile. It’s very much personal preference and we all have different hand sizes. I’m certainly going to give this some time because most likely it’s not a big adjustment. If I find that after a couple weeks it’s still bothering me, I will update this review accordingly. I would say this mouse is smaller than what I prefer but the special features of the mouse means I’m willing to compromise for now.
The Kensington Mouse For Life is connected via USB dongle. There is a stubby USB dongle included and when transporting the mouse there is a handy storage slot under the mouse where you can store the dongle so it doesn’t get lost. When a lot of laptops and computers are reducing USB ports this could complicate matters for you. Obviously Bluetooth connectivity is a more ideal technology in 2016 but I’m sure this mouse would be much more expensive in that case.
The mouse comes packages with a AA battery. If battery life is a concern to you, unfortunately I am unable to give you any assurances in that regard. After more time using this mouse I will update this review with my findings. In the meantime I recommend you look for some customer reviews that might talk about battery life as it pertains to this mouse. A single AA battery is not a big deal in my mind and with rechargeable batteries widely available for cheap, I’m quite tolerant regarding battery life. For me it’s a not a deal breaker.
When it comes to the scroll wheel, I previously used a Microsoft mouse which has very little resistance at all. It was very free flowing. So when switching to the Kensington Mouse For Life it was quite a dramatic difference. It has a stiffer scroll by comparison but it ultimately depends what type of mouse you are used to using. Ideally I would prefer a less resistant mouse scroll. Based on my experience, this mouse has one of the stiffer scroll wheels out there. However it’s not so stiff that you will accidentally click that scroll wheel mouse button due to the force required to scroll. If I find the scroll stiffness to be troublesome I will certainly update this review. Last comment on the scroll wheel is that there is a nice tacky, bumpy textured strip of rubber along the center which helps your finger grip on the wheel.
When a mouse sits on a desk or table weight isn’t so much an issue. However for sliding around, certainly weight can make things easier or harder. In comparison to my Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000, the Kensington Mouse For Life is lighter. There are times when you need to lift your mouse off the table or surface and this mouse makes it easy thanks to its light weight.
Buying the Kensington Mouse For Life
This particular mouse is niche and it’s honestly a bit of a challenge to find. The big retailers really didn’t stock this model which says it’s being replaced or it’s simply not that much in demand. The best option I found was looking at Amazon and the third party sellers. Typically you pay a lot more from Amazon third party sellers, but I managed to find a reasonable price with free shipping.
As I was writing this review, one word that frequently entered my mind was “compromise”. Coming from a Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000, I found the Kensington mouse to have quite a different feel.
For someone who prefers a bulkier mouse, the Kensington Mouse For Life falls a bit short. For those who like a less restrictive, free flowing mouse scroll wheel, the Kensington Mouse For Life will take some getting used to. The Kensington mouse claims to be silent but it would be more accurate to say it’s quiet. For anyone expecting zero sound, there could be some disappointment. In terms of connectivity it would also have been nice to have Bluetooth rather than USB.
So certainly there are some compromises to be made. However if your goal is to reduce and virtually remove mouse button click sounds, then this mouse accomplishes that. So to me, the benefit outweighs the shortcomings.
As I use this mouse more I will certainly update with issues that come up. Some of the compromises may become source of irritation in the future. If need be, I will adjust my initial views.
- Quiet mouse button clicks (left, right and scroll wheel button)
- The best scroll wheel button you will find on the market
- Light weight
- Handy storage slot underneath mouse for USB dongle
- Kensington is a well known and reliable brand
- Fairly stiff scroll wheel
- Hard to find in retail stores
- Not Bluetooth
- Says silent on the box but there is some sound (albeit hardly audible)
So what about that story you mentioned in the opening?
So what about the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 story and how it relates to the Kensington Mouse For Life?
I had the Microsoft 4000 mouse for a couple years but the buttons were becoming unreliable. On my particular Microsoft 4000 mouse the left and right button click sounds were silent but the scroll wheel button and side button were not silent. It was more quiet than any mouse I had ever come across and it was the perfect solution.
Little did I know, but the only reason the buttons were silent is because it was a defective product. I found this out the hard way. Just last week I bought a replacement expecting it to have quiet buttons just like the exact same model that I was replacing. When I unboxed it, I was shocked to hear the normal, fully audible button click sound. What makes this a bit more embarrassing is the fact I did a review for the Mircosoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 and in that review I gave glowing remarks about the fact the left and right mouse buttons were silent. Oops! Time to revise that review and a big apology to anyone buying that mouse based on my comments in that review.
My next challenge was having to return the Mirosoft Wireless Mouse 4000 and explain my reason for returning it. I was returning the mouse because the buttons made a click sound? The sales person looked at me like I had three eye balls. Aren’t mice supposed to make a sound when you click the buttons? I had to explain that the previous one that I owned had silent button click sounds and I bought the new one thinking that the quiet click sounds were part of the design. I explained my needs for having silent mouse clicks and I believe they understood my reasons for returning it.