The Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse is the successor to the original Arc Mouse with a new sleek and flexible design. The most prominent change is the use of touch to scroll instead of wheel and BlueTrack technology which allows it to be used on any surface. Check our full review (and giveaway) after the jump.
Design And Basics
The first thing you will notice about Arc Touch Mouse is the unique design. There are no buttons to switch the mouse on or off, you curve it to turn on and flatten it to turn off. This is a good thing since users who want to carry the mouse around don’t want to move that pesky little button under the mouse to switch it on or off repeatedly while travelling.
Since the design is new, it takes some time getting used to. The touch to scroll is difficult to handle in the beginning because we are using scroll wheel for almost a decade. Using it on a hard surface is easier and the grip is stronger when compared with soft surfaces. People with large hands will find it a bit challenging to use due to its small size. After playing around with it for 3 days, I am perfectly comfortable with it. Check out the size comparison below with HTC Desire HD.
The mouse runs on 2 AAA alkaline batteries which can be inserted from the bottom of the mouse.
There is a small magnet below the mouse where one can attach the USB Receiver to ensure that both the mouse and receiver are in the same place and ready to be used anytime. The USB Receiver is tiny and if you are carrying your laptop around, you can let it stay plugged in (like I do).
Microsoft Arc Touch mouse is the first travel mouse that can actually fit in all pockets due to its flat size. The design also makes it lighter than other mice.
Usability And Performance
When you first plug in the device, it will automatically install the driver. It works on Windows XP (32-bit only), Windows Vista (both 32-bit and 64-bit), and Windows 7 (both 32-bit and 64-bit). The sensitivity will be a bit higher and can be changed from Mouse Properties (Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Mouse).
Don’t expect it to replace your desktop mouse. The performance and options that come with a desktop mouse can’t be found in Arc Touch. However, if all you need is some basic functionality then you can use it as a desktop mouse replacement. While testing, it worked seamlessly on different surfaces, carpet, tables, floor, and so on.
The middle click button is still there and can be used by double tapping the middle touch scroll. If you are one of those people who eat and browse at the same time, forget it. The plastic becomes slippery and difficult to use with slightly wet or oily hands. This is the second major downside, the first being too small for large hands.
The great part is that Arc Touch is not a racist, it is made for both left and right handed people. So if your co-worker or friend needs to show you something and is different handed, then this mouse will do the trick.
MS Arc Touch Mouse Vs. Apple Magic Mouse
I was reluctant to touch this topic because of Microsoft vs Apple fanboy flame war, but many people have asked us how they compare. In short, they don’t. Comparing Arc Touch with Magic Mouse is like comparing Turtle with Tortoise. Both are nice but have a very different purpose. Arc Touch mouse is a travel mouse (which you may use as a desktop mouse), while on the other hand, Magic Mouse is a desktop mouse (which you may use as a travel mouse, if you wish to).
Pros: Compact, sexy, lightweight, and an all-round winner when it comes to portability. The movement is surprisingly smooth, making it a must-have travel mouse for web designers.
Cons: Difficult to control in the beginning, small for large hands, and buttons are slippery with slightly wet and oily hands. Not good for gaming (OK, this is not a downside but still).