20 May 2011

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse

There's a new mouse in the Microsoft house. The new Arc Touch is the latest update of Microsoft's Arc wireless mouse series. Does it bring anything new to the wireless USB mouse genre or should you skip this iteration of the product? This is where you find out.

Packaging and Contents

The Arc Touch comes in a box significantly sleeker than the original came in. Inside the box is the mouse with the USB dongle, 2 AAA batteries and the manuals. MIA: the nice carrying case that the original Arc came with, something that would have been of use since the shiny surface of the mouse is easily scratched and the rubbery back can attract a lot of dust.

First Impression

It is difficult not to refer to Apple's magic mouse or the previous generation Arc mouse while talking about the Arc Touch. The Arc Touch is as sleek as, if not sleeker, than Apple's magic mouse. But unlike the completely touch sensitive magic mouse, the Arc Touch has two plastic physical keys for the left and right click, with a silver touch sensitive scroll in between.

At first glance, the Arc Touch does not look like a mouse at all. It is flat, like a mobile phone, in its 'dormant' or off state, and is not curved like a normal mouse. Bending it physically not only shapes it into a conventional mouse, but switches it on at the same time.

There is a distinct clicking sound once the mouse snaps into its operating position. We've never seen such a feature in a mouse before, and it gets points for slickness. You just need to straighten it back to switch it off. No small fiddly buttons required.

The USB connector of the mouse is pretty interesting too. It is extremely small and sticks to the magnetic bottom of the mouse, which is both a good and a bad thing. Black mark: it's really small and does not interfere with devices plugged into adjacent ports. Red mark:, if you slip the device into a bag loaded with goodies and the dongle comes off, finding it will be like searching for a needle in a haystack.


The Arc Touch performs well as a mouse with its BlueTrack laser sensor ensuring that the device runs smoothly on all surfaces and is very accurate. But, the touch-sensitive scroll-pad in the middle needs some getting used to.

It gives you a vibration feedback as you scroll. The vibration feedback however lasts for a heartbeat longer than comfortable even after you are done scrolling. Also, you have to double click on the slim strip in the middle for a middle click.

Another noticeable disadvantage is that if you wish to use the device with an Apple computer, you have limited customization options.


This is a lifestyle product, built for style rather than utility. It has a couple of unique innovations that convert a mere peripheral to a stylish accessory. But, at a price of Rs. 3,600, it may be difficult to recommend, as there are other devices in this category that cost less than half. 

It is certainly meant for those who want to spend something extra to set them apart from the crowds. Do not buy if you are looking for good value for money - there are other, albeit more boring, options.

·         Sleek
·         Bendable
·         Easy plug and play
·         Small USB donglel
·         USB dongle can easily be lost
·         No carrying case
·         Expensive
Price: Rs. 3,600
·         Performance: 3
·         Price: 2.5
·         Ease of setup: 5
·         Ergonomics: 3.5
·         Wow Factor: 5
·         Overall: 4 

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