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Microsoft Arc Touch - Performance and Verdict
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.
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.
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