( dpa )- They might all look similar, but there are actually significant differences between the kinds of computer mice available.
The price is one of the main variables, ranging from 5 euros to more than 100.
"You can get something decent for 20 euros (30 dollars)," says Peter Roebke-Doerr , a computer expert with the Hanover-based computer magazine c't .
According to Roebke-Doerr , a decent mouse should come with an optical infrared sensor or, even better, laser guidance. "The extra costs are worth it, he says, noting that "mechanical mice are out- dated." They track movements with a rolling ball, which can easily have its functions disrupted, especially if dust isn't removed regularly.
Enno Bruns the Hamburg-based magazine Computerbild has recently tested several mice and came to the conclusion that "for normal Windows usage, a mouse with two buttons and a scrolling wheel is adequate."
The wheel, which usually sits between the two buttons, can be used to open and close websites, for example.
But mice with more than five buttons have also found a market for people who use certain internet applications. "The buttons can be programmed to do certain tasks. Users can toggle back and forth between websites at the push of a button," says Robin Ebers of computer dealer Hardwarefuchs in Dusseldorf. Such mice can easily cost over 70 euros.
Computer users who don't like moving their hands a lot or have shoulder problems can try a mouse with a trackball. About the size of a golf ball, the tracking ball sits in a solid casing. Users control the cursor's movement by rotating the ball with their finger.
There's also an enormous selection among "normal" mice. "The trend is toward wireless mice," says Jaroslave Smycek of the Lower Saxony Consumer's Central. He notes that "wireless devices should come with a battery and not require batteries that need to be changed constantly."
Ebers has some additional thoughts before buying a wireless mouse. "Gamers tend to only play with mice with cables." Digital information is usually transmitted more quickly along a cable than through the air. "It comes down to milliseconds in gaming."
If the choice between wireless or cabled mouse comes down on the side of wireless, there's still the choice between infrared or laser mouse. The laser-guided variety is a little more expensive, but more specific.
"Infrared mice have problems with flat, reflective surfaces. The cursor tends to jump around a little bit," says Bruns . Laser mice tend to be more precise.
But the most precise mouse in the world will be of little value if it's not right for you. That's why computer experts always recommend trying one out before making a purchase.