Gadgets

Review of the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

I was given a chance to try out the new Microsoft Arc Touch, Microsoft’s second generation Arc mouse for couple of weeks. Powered by 2x AAA batteries, it incorporates an advanced tracking technology called BlueTrack that was developed by Microsoft.  BlueTrack allows the Arc Touch to be used on virtually any type of surface — including glass. It works via RF wireless which means that its “nano-sized” transceiver needs to be plugged into a free USB port for use.

Another point to note is how the mouse has no scroll wheel; in its place is a flat metal stripe that allows scrolling by touch.  Swiping your finger along the metal results in a slight vibration and soft clicking sound that creates a realistic scrolling effect.

Unpacking

Let’s unpack this shall we?  Inside the box is:

  1. The Arc Touch mouse
  2. Manual Guide

Yeah, that’s right; they are only giving you the manual guide and the mouse itself. It’s very straight forward and plug and use.

I have been using the Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000, which is a fantastic mouse that I’ve been using for almost 2 years now. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the Arc Touch and my current mouse.

Installation

Using the mouse entails plugging the transceiver into a free USB port and switching it on by snapping (bending, actually) the mouse into position. The drivers install automatically and the process was completed in about 10 seconds for me. You will certainly not experience any problems when it comes to installation.

My Experience

I used the mouse for almost 2 weeks as a challenge, and I must confess that I would still prefer my normal mouse. The primary reason is how clicking on the Arc Touch mouse does not feel as pleasant as my normal mouse — slightly more force is required compared to my normal mouse which is simply more “clickable.”

On the other hand, the BlueTrack Technology really did allow the mouse to work on practically all surfaces. I gave it a try on a mirror, glass, rough surfaces, as well as very smooth surfaces where normal mouse simply won’t work.  The Arc Touch excelled and continued to work in all instances.  In addition, I find the texture of the Arc Touch to be just right, and less “plastic” than the first-generation Arc mouse.  In a nutshell, the Arc Touch feels more durable and weights just right.

As a user of a Bluetooth mouse user, I also found it troublesome to keep plugging the receiver into my laptop and losing one USB port. In my opinion, the design to place the receiver at the back of the mouse is not fantastic because it could potentially drop and render your mouse unusable. Like what you can see below, a built-in magnet keeps the receiver at the back of the mouse. I don’t understand why Microsoft can’t find make this mouse into a Bluetooth mouse or perhaps have the receiver slotted into the battery compartment.

In conclusion

The Arc Touch is perfect for frequent travelers who want to easily stow their mouse away, the ability to flatten the mouse for stowing away eliminates unsightly bulges in laptop bags.  Given a choice between Arc Touch and my Bluetooth mouse however, and I would opt for my current Bluetooth mouse as it gives me greater convenience.  Ultimately, the Arc Touch is a good attempt from Microsoft that is a  definite improvement over the older generation of Arc family.

Latest Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

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