At a Glance
The Good: Waterproof, sturdy
The Bad: Scrolling a bit stiff
The Silver Storm optical mouse is a full-sized wired mouse with an 800 dpi. It has a very simple design: three buttons, scroll wheel with detent scrolling (more on that below), and a body with a slightly raised, sculpted palm rest with the word WASHABLE imprinted down the middle. The model I tested (STM042) comes in white and matte black. It is constructed of "infused plastic for antimicrobial protection of the mouse surface," according to the company. So in addition to being able to disinfect it in the dishwasher, the surface of the mouse is supposed to inhibit the growth of germs.
The 6-foot-long cable for the Silver Storm is thick and strong, as is the USB connector. Although the mouse is not what I would describe as being an attractive peripheral, it certainly feels like one that can take a beating, and that's the audience this device is going for.
I used the Silver Storm for about a week and found that it's no more and no less comfortable than the standard mouse that comes with most desktop computers (remember those?). There are no extra programmable buttons. The detent scrolling (which is that click-to-click feeling in the scroll wheel) was a big sluggish compared with many other mice featuring detent scrolling, however, and it definitely felt a bit stiff to use.
The highlight of the Silver Storm is the company's promise that it can withstand cleaning in a dishwasher. It comes with a thick rubber cap that squeezes onto USB connector. (Seal Shield says the connector is gold-plated and rust-proof.) The cap features a rubber leash that allows it to attach to the mouse's cord, and although it's quite thin, it's also extremely sturdy. I pulled it taut as hard as I could several times, and it did not snap.
The cap itself fit neatly and securely on the connector, and there was no chance it was going to wiggle off while being soaked in the dishwasher.
I put the Silver Storm on the top rack of my dishwasher, next to my toddler's sippy cups and our dirty Tupperware, and ran it through a full cycle. Now, my dishwasher is not what you'd call a top-of-the-line model, so when it came out, the mouse was still dripping wet and I had to towel it off with a rag. If your machine has a better dry cycle (or if you're just a bit more patient than I am), you might not have to worry about this.
Prying off the cap revealed a bone-dry USB connector, and my computer registered it immediately after plugging it in: a very nice success.
If you don't own a dishwasher, the Silver Storm can also be washed in the sink with soap and water.
The Bottom Line
At nearly $36, this is a lot more expensive than the no-frills optical mouse you can find in any office-supply store, and it’s not the coolest, most stylish-looking mouse on the shelf. However, being able to toss it in the dishwasher is a huge advantage over those cheaper alternatives, especially if you’re in an environment that has to worry about germ contamination. Other non-medical settings that might appreciate such a device include daycare centers, dorm rooms and shared office cubes. It also doesn’t hurt that the company throws in a lifetime warranty with its products.