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Microsoft Arc Touch review



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Microsoft Arc Touch
  • Microsoft Arc Touch
  • Microsoft Arc Touch
  • Microsoft Arc Touch
  • Microsoft Arc Touch
  • Wireless Laser Arc Touch Mouse


Our Score:



  • Bluetrack works on almost any surface
  • Compact design


  • Uncomfortable after a while
  • Expensive compared to alternatives
  • Folding ability isn't all that useful

Key Features

  • Bluetrack
  • Wireless
  • Folding design
  • Manufacturer: Microsoft
  • Review Price: free/subscription

The Arc Touch derives its name from its two main features. It should be obvious that the 'Arc' part of the moniker comes from the shape of the mouse. Although that's not entirely true, as the Arc Touch's piece de resistance is that it collapses flat making it, says Microsoft, easier to transport than a less flexible mouse (flexible both metaphorically and literally). The 'Touch' aspect is the middle 'button' of the Art Touch, which isn't a physical button, but rather a touch-sensitive strip.

The Arc Touch's folding mechanism feels surprisingly solid; there's a tangible and audible click when opening up the mouse. Cleverly, locking the Arc Touch open also turns it on (and flattening it, of course, turns it off). Admittedly this does mean you can't leave the Arc Touch on a desk in its active configuration unattended as the battery will drain unnecessarily, but this is a minor concern.

A useful design consideration is the magnetic patch on the underside of the Arc Touch, to which the devices transceiver can be affixed when not in use. Even though these are generally intended to be left plugged in - hence the small size - it's good to know that it shouldn't get lost if you do chuck the mouse and transceiver in a bag.

Although it's fairly small, the peak of the Arc is high enough to rest your hand on, and although it's far from as comfortable as an ergonomic mouse, it's fine for occasional use. If you're looking for a mouse to whip out for the odd half hour or so on a train to and from work (and travel on a magical train that affords you the space to use a laptop and mouse) you shouldn't have any complaints, but use the Arc Touch for longer periods of time and you'll find yourself longing for a more comfortable pointing device.

Another potential issue arises if you put too much pressure on the top of the Arc, as it will collapse - the locking mechanism isn't strong enough to take much weight. Most in the TR office didn’t find this a problem, but it's something to remain conscious of. Furthermore, we remain unconvinced that the folding ability of the Arc Touch makes is that much more portable than other small mice. 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, but otherwise its being able to flatten probably won't be a major advantage.


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.


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".


February 1, 2011, 6:19 pm


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


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.


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...


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


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.


December 14, 2016, 8:46 am

This is the worse mouse I've ever had, I only inherited this because it was bought for a windows 7 machine and simply doesn't work. The mouse randomly just goes off (actually twice whilst writing this post) whilst in use, sometimes when the machine goes to sleep the mouse doesn't wake up. Not bad for a £50 mouse, I use a £5 backup mouse for when this when is found somewhere across the office when I've liberated it into the atmosphere.

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