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Microsoft Arc Touch - Performance and Verdict

By Hugo Jobling
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

6/10

User Score

Review Price free/subscription

Fortunately for Microsoft, the Arc Touch doesn't just rely on its portability to impress. The touch-sensitive strip between the left and right mouse buttons has a few neat abilities. Foremost, it functions much like a scroll wheel; a small notch gives some physical feedback as to where on the strip your finger is, and any scrolling action is accompanied by an audible click (which can be disabled if found too annoying).

Cleverly, a double tap on this strip also lets it serve as a middle mouse button, which we certainly found very useful and is something we tend to lament the loss of when using laptops. It's a little odd, at first, double tapping for an action usually performed by a single click, but it doesn't take long to adjust, and it's an adjustment worth making in exchange for the added functionality.

Also to its advantage is the Arc Touch's use of Microsoft's BlueTrack technology. We try not to buy into marketing hype, but we have to concede that for all it may be 'just' a blue LED, BlueTrack does seem to live up to its claims of offering better tracking on more surfaces than its rivals. Kitchen work surfaces and carpet offered no challenge to the Arc Touch, where other mice will struggle to move your pointer accurately.

The problem for the Arc Touch is that although it offers much more than just a slightly gimmicky folding mechanism, that ability is all that sets it apart from its cheaper sibling, the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000. That mouse is comfortable to use, small enough to be portable and has the same clever BlueTrack tech as the Arc Touch. And at only £26 it's inarguably better value for money. And if you're really on a budget the Verbatim Wireless Laser Nano Mouse is a steal at only £16.

As nifty as the Arc Touch sounds, the reality just isn't as impressive as the sales pitch.

Verdict

The Arc Touch isn't a terrible effort from Microsoft, but we're not convinced that it's a necessary one. It's more expensive and less comfortable to use than its alternatives and though the folding mechanism is clever, it doesn't really offer a tangible benefit.

Scores In Detail

Value
5/10
Usability
6/10

Our Score

6/10

User Score

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stranded

February 1, 2011, 1:58 pm

Maybe it's time all mouse companies stop thinking of us as idiot consumers. The last 10 years they make mice with horrible shape and "handling". Also they make them smaller and smaller every day. I don't need a mouse featuring 6000dpi that there is no way i can use them properly. This is disgusting and despicable.

piesforyou

February 1, 2011, 5:23 pm

I'd just like to point out that this:





"If using it in accompaniment to a netbook, you might just be able to squeeze the Arc Touch inside a neoprene sleeve, where a less compact mouse wouldn't fit"





is a "tangible benefit".

public:tr:72a694d54fcfe2d41c3e

February 1, 2011, 6:19 pm

@stranded


Wow, wake up on the wrong side of bed did we?! I guess you haven't seen a Logitech MX Revolution, Microsoft Explorer with BlueTrack or Natural Laser Mouse 6000 in the last 10 years then?





I can't say the Arc Touch looks terribly comfortable to me, and the reviews I've read suggest it's definitely more of a portable short-term usage product. That said, I used to hate chiclet keyboards until I replaced my Microsoft Ergo 4000 with an Arc Keyboard so I guess that says a lot for what Microsoft can do with a seemingly unattractive concept.

Alistair B

February 1, 2011, 9:45 pm

@stranded





For goodness sake, using the words "disgusting" and "despicable" sounds like you're describing the actions of a local paedophile not a mouse released by Microsoft. Show some perspective, please....





I've no idea what benefits can be found in these type of products. I recently got an iMac and I absolutely hate the Apple Magic Mouse that came with it. It's so uncomfortable to use and the multitouch surface makes me want to throw it across the room. Give me a standard Logitech affair any day.

Christian

February 2, 2011, 6:14 pm

I have the previous generation arc, and my main complaint with it is that the optical sensor is at the front of the mouse, not the middle. For playing games or doing fine adjustments in Autocad/Photoshop, this suddenly caused me a lot of trouble...

Mik3yB

February 2, 2011, 10:01 pm

@ Christian





Me too, I really like it. My only complaint is that the range is very short (as is the Arc keybloard). I wanted to use them from the other side of the room on my pc hooked up to the TV but the range isn't anywhere near good enough.





I've got my eye on the Logitech M515... :D

Chris

February 2, 2011, 10:26 pm

@stranded: Eh? Why would peripheral manufacturers willingly force you to use an uncomfortable mouse? It's not in their interests to make their customers unhappy, it tends to lose them money in the long run.





As <A88> pointed out, a selection of very comfortable, capable and well made mice are currently available. The Performance MX I'm using now is undoubtedly the best rodent I have owned in 20+ years.





That said, this mouse strikes me as a triumph of style over substance.

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