Thanko Silent Mouse

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Thanko Silent Mouse

Post by Shadowknight » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:01 pm

Probably the most awaited review in recent memory. I don't have any recording equipment like several other people on this board. I have a cheap microphone somewhere, but I'd have to dig through some stuff to make sure I have it, instead of being in storage 200 miles away. Anyway, on the show.

I got this on Wednesday from Dynamism, the only US vendor that I know of that carries it. They charge $35 + $11 for Fedex 2-day shipping. I was initially interested in seeing if Thanko was willing to send it directly from Japan, being $21 over there, though I had no knowledge what they would charge for international shipping. Unfortunately, the entire website is in Japanese, and Google Translator, as well as Babblefish, can only do so much. Regardless, it has been reported that Thanko will not sell directly to individuals in other countries, so that was a bust anyway. I would have like to sent them some e-mail regarding the design of the mouse, including any future revisions planned, but even if they speak English, I could not find e-mail info in a language I understood.

The packaging consists solely of a small, plain brown box. There is nothing on the box to indicate what's inside. The mouse comes wrapped in some bubble wrap, and no documentation or drivers are included. The mouse itself is small. It's approximately the size of most laptop-sized mice. I don't know if this is because this was built specifically for the Japanese market, which may have been designed for smaller hands, or if it was a design choice for unknown reasons. My fingers overhang the end of the mouse by ~1/4 of an inch. This causes that tips of my fingers to hit the edge of the casing in front of the button. This can irritate your fingers from long periods of usage. The scroll wheel glows with a blue light from the scroll wheel. It'll only light something up from the front of the mouse, and we're talking something 2 inches directly in front of it, showing a very very faint glow, so it shouldn't light up your room and keep you awake, should you have your computer in your bedroom and leave it running over night.

Sliding the mouse around shows that the feet are at least quieter than the MX1000. I don't have many basis of comparisons in terms of mice, but I'd say it's slightly quieter than my Kensington, that uses SlickSurf Mouse feet instead of the stock feet. Not being wireless, and thus not having any batteries, the mouse is fairly light to use. I haven't played any games with it yet, but I find the uber-super-1eet obsession with 120dps to be pointless. The mouse is 800dps, and works fine for me. No issues with scrolling around in Windows, and seems to have a more precise tracker than my Kensington.

As my Kensington mouse is significantly larger than the Thanko, which in turn was slightly larger than a standard Logitech, it's taken me time to adjust to the thumb groove on the side of the mouse. Yesterday, it was incredibly awkward to put my thumb there, to the point where I thought my entire hand would simply engulf the mouse and make it useless, but over time my hand has adjusted to this new positioning and I can rest my fingers there comfortably.

The left mouse button isn't silent. It has a very muted thunk, and is significantly better than any other mouse button I have ever used, by a far margin. If you put your finger tip at the end and deliberately towards the end and DELIBERATELY start clicking hard and fast, you will hear a faint click. If you push the center of the mouse button when clicking, you only hear the muted thunk. Using the mouse in a normal positioning (not held up to the ear), the right mouse button does sound, in fact, silent. The only sound is from my finger sticking to the key when pulling it off, and that has nothing to do with the plastic itself, but only the normal sound you get if you have slightly damp skin being pulled off a plastic surface.

The scroll wheel is very muted, It scrolls up and down with a slight resistance and a very quiet clicking noise used in most/all scroll wheels, but again, far quieter than my Logitech and Kensignton mice. I would compare it to the Microsoft scroll wheels, both in scrolling and pushing the button down, but I've only heard and used those in normally loud places like Best Buy and CompUSA, so I can't make a comparison unless I test it in similarly quiet conditions in my apartment. Depressing the scroll wheel button down makes an audible noise. It is still quieter than other buttons I've used, but it does make more noise than the two primary buttons. I've been unable to find official drivers for the mouse from Thanko. Because of this, depressing the scroll wheel button and moving the mouse up and down does nothing. Again, not reading Kanji, I'm unable to see if drivers have been posted on their website. Using Google for "Thanko +mouse +drivers "bringer up nothing.

If you have the mouse positioned so the cord slides around the desk, it will make noise. It's irritating that you have a mouse marketed as silent, yet have to deal with setting up the mouse in a position so the cord doesn't move around. If finally found a good position, fortunately. The mouse cord is 6ft long. I have my computer on the left side of the desk, so I had to buy an extension cord (note: not the fault of Thanko). I paid $11 at a local computer shop for an extender, so don't get suckered into paying $25-$30 if you need an extension cord. Seeing as how the cord can generate noise, I would like it if Thanko considers a wireless model in the future, preferably with a recharging base similar to several mouse designs by Logitech. My Kensington eats through batteries every two weeks, so I have to change them out manually with some rechargeable batteries in a wall socket. For some reason, only a couple of companies that make really crappy mice have copied the recharging station, and I think Microsoft only made one model with a recharger. Anyway, to get back on track, curious cats may jump on your desk and start playing with the cord, as happened to me last night, so there's another argument for a wireless mode.

Being a regular user of the now standard up and down buttons on the side of the mouse, I found their absence a downside when using the mouse.

To sum up:

The Good:
-Quiet primary buttons
-Fits hand well once you adjust ***
-Blue button looks nice without lighting up the room

The bad:
-Bit small, can irritate fingers if they overhang the buttons at the front of the mouse
-Buttons aren't literally silent, despite the marketing (of course, this is true with 95% of devices marketed as silent)
-Left button generates some noise, more than the right button
-Clicking on the end of the buttons at the front generates some noise, clicking on the center is the best way to minimize noise
-No drivers to scroll up and down when holding down the scroll wheel
-Wheel makes noise when depressed
-No side buttons, annoying if you use them alot when surfing the web
-not wireless

All in all, this IS the quietest mouse I have ever used. No mouse comes close to it. I'm having to change my surfing habits, not having the side buttons to scroll back in forth between web pages. My fingers still get irritated from use, but that may go away as I adjust to the mouse.

I'd rate it 8 out of 10 on SPCRs scale, noise wise. In terms of overall design, I'd have to give it a 7. If the made it larger, offered drivers in the box, or at least included some documentation, made the depression of the scroll button quieter, made it wirless to eliminate the noise from the cord moving around, and fixed it so the end of the buttons weren't louder than pressing the center of the buttons, I'd probably bump it up to an 8. *

If I can this weekend, I may post some pics, MAYBE sound files. No promises though.

***Postcripts: After two days of usage, my hand has been hurting in the palm of my hand. The small size of the mouse causes cramping, making it an uncomfortable experience for the user. Due to this, I have to drop my overall rating of the mouse to a 4. It has an innovative design to minimize noise, and I really really hate going back to my old clicky mice, but I cannot use somthing that is going to cause me pain like this. Should Thanko release a new design that fixes this flaw, then I would bump it back up to its rating off 7.
Last edited by Shadowknight on Sun Jun 18, 2006 9:47 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Post by Devonavar » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:15 pm

Anyone who is interested can find the Japanese product page for the Thanko Silent Mouse here.

I can confirm that no drivers are available on the web site. The download section of the site lists drivers for only two devices, neither of which is a Thanko mouse.

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Post by Shadowknight » Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:04 pm

Added Postcript to review

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Post by necrosaro » Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:55 pm


I just received my Thanko Silent Mouse this morning, here are my rough initial impressions. (I have used an MX700 for the past couple of years.)

- It's definitely a small mouse, not quite as small as your typical notebook mouse but it's a quite noticeable difference from my MX700. I hope the size and weight difference will become more manageable after a break-in period, though.

- The mouse clicks are definitely "silent". I don't have a particularly silent setup right now, but I can't hear any click at all. The noise made by the moisture of my finger sticking to the plastic is greater than any clicking noise I might be able to detect.
If I press the button down hard or from the top, it will hit the rest of the casing and and you will get a faint noise of plastic rubbing against plastic, still plenty softer than a normal microswitch click. Basically any noise coming from the mouse is friction from the plastic casing itself. My right button is louder than my left, this is probably just due to the low-quality construction of the casing. It may get louder as the mouse is worked in and becomes looser, we'll find out in a few weeks.

- Because of the absence of any clicking noise I've needed some adjustment to my clicking habits. I need to consciously regulate my clicking technique due to the absence of any feedback whatsoever. As a result the action tends to feel more "mushy" or "sticky".

- The scroll wheel sucks. It's extremely difficult to click down on the wheel when you want to, and the scrolling action feels constricted and anything but smooth. In addition the wheel very often clicks during my scrolling. Basically it doesn't click when you want it to and clicks when you don't.
Plus: Since the mouse is so small and the scroll wheel is so difficult to use, it causes a lot of cramping whenever I try to use it. Maybe I just need more practice with it, but my initial impression is that making heavy use of the scroll wheel on this mouse is simply painful and difficult. Combine that with the lack of thumb buttons, and this mouse is pretty inconvenient for your basic web browsing compared to my MX700.

- The construction of the mouse is pretty simple. The sticker on the bottom says "3d Optical Mouse", nowhere does it say "Thanko" or "Silent Mouse", which makes me guess that this product is just a company mod of a cheapo optical. Also no screws anywhere so I'm reluctant to dismantle it until I figure out how to do so without breaking the plastic.

- Though I don't see myself regularly using my Thanko over my Logitech, overall it's definitely an interesting, truly silent experience! The mouse definitely doesn't come close to the quality of the better mice on the market, but it's definitely the first step towards a very useful component of silent computing I could see take off very quickly.

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Silent Mouse Update

Post by necrosaro » Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:05 am

Well, it's been about a half a year since I first got the Thanko mouse, and it's time to finally put the sucker to rest...After about 3-4 months of using it sparingly and another 1-2 months of using it pretty much exclusively (when my MX700 batteries stopped working), the cable connection wore out. Now, whenever I move the mouse at all it disconnects intermittently. Since it's no longer usable, maybe one of these days I'll crack it open later and take a close look at the silencing apparatus inside, and maybe try to re-solder a loose connection in the process.

Despite how crappy the mouse's construction is, I really enjoyed the silent clicking. It's going to take some getting used to the constant clicking noise again...until i find another silent mouse :)

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Post by Trip » Tue May 08, 2007 7:33 am

Excellent review! I just added a link to this in the classic Recommend a Silent Mouse and Keyboard? thread. Ref. page 12 near the bottom.

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