My mouse went to mouse heaven, so I got Microsoft's Arc Touch mouse. First impressions.

Posted on October 20, 2011 | 5 minute read

The old Dell mouse that I’ve had for years (I believe since my Interzone Games days) has been getting senile in its old age and not registering clicks properly. I noticed a few months ago that I wasn’t able to make a proper selection in Photoshop without losing my drag and having to re-select several times, but put up with it while it was still fairly manageable.

Tonight it became unmanageable. I realized - I’m working. I don’t want to waste mine or my clients’ time by having to mess around with an obviously broken mouse. When it got to the stage where I couldn’t make a selection without clicking about ten times, I rallied C to take me to Office Works (thanks, C!).

After browsing their not-very-impressive selection, I settled on Microsoft’s Art Touch mouse. First, let me say that yes, this is designed to be a portable mouse. And yes, this is mostly being used in my home office with my Mac Mini, but seeing as I am now taking my MacBook Air everywhere with me and doing more work on it remotely than I ever did with my MacBook Pro, I can definitely see myself carrying the Arc Touch mouse in my bag wherever I go.

What I like about Microsoft’s Arc Touch mouse

[caption id="attachment_46634” align="alignleft” width="224” caption="My new Arc Touch mouse next to Old Bessie”]Arc Touch mouse next to Dell mouse[/caption]

Armadillo back - it’s cool

The first thing that got me about this mouse is the cool “armadillo” back mechanics. To be honest, it is just really fricking cool. It is taking all of my willpower not to sit here and click the mouse back and forth while rocking in my office chair. The idea behind the armadillo back is of course the ability to flatten the mouse completely for easy storage in a laptop bag.

Easy setup

When I actually brought the mouse home and turned it on, my Mac Mini picked it up and installed the drivers automatically within seconds. No need for any website downloads and no problems whatsoever. The Arc Touch was ready to go within about 30 seconds of being plugged in.

The Arc Touch scroll pad makes cool sounds

The middle button on the Arc Touch isn’t actually a physical button at all, but a touch button. You slide your finger up and down the flat surface to scroll. Needless to say without any tactile feedback you can sometimes get confused as to whether or not the scrolling is actually working. So Microsoft added a really cool clicking sound which is triggered when you scroll. You can apparently turn it off in the mouse options, but I haven’t even bothered checking because I like the sound so much.

Smooth movement

I only have my old broken mouse to compare to, but the movement of the Arc Touch is nice and smooth. C has an expensive multi-function mouse from Logitech and he claims that the Arc Touch is much smoother both on-screen and physically sliding across a surface.

The Arc Touch has its negatives

[caption id="attachment_46632” align="alignleft” width="224” caption="Arc Touch flat in its box”]Arc Touch flat in its box[/caption]

Does not work on glass

The Arc Touch supposedly works splendidly on almost any surface…except glass. I have a glass table. I don’t mind using a mouse pad as I’m used to it, but it would have been awesome to be able to use the Arc Touch mouse without one on a glass surface if needed. I did try it and it does work, but definitely not well enough to really be “properly” usable on a glass surface.

My thumb and pinkie feel lonely

The Arc Touch is not like other mice in that when it is in the “on” position with the armadillo back bent into a curve, there is a gap underneath that curve. This means there are no “side walls” for your thumb and pinkie to rest on when using the mouse and they end up kind of curving underneath that panel. This isn’t really uncomfortable per se, it’s just something I’ll have to get used to.

The touch scroll wheel can feel jumpy

Part of this may be my not positioning my finger on the touch scroll wheel properly as of yet (because it is flush with the left and right mouse buttons), but the scrolling sometimes feels jumpy and a little unresponsive. It isn’t bad enough to be a deal breaker for me, but it is something I noticed. Like I said, I’m not sure if this is a problem with the mouse itself or if it’s a matter of me having to get used to the mouse. I’ll have to get back to this one in a few days with an update.

Overall impressions of Microsoft’s Arc Touch mouse

Overall I am happy with the purchase. The above are just first impressions for now, but from the surfaces I’ve tested this mouse on as of right now (a mouse pad, the arm of my office chair, carpet, and a wooden table), the Arc Touch seems to have done well on all of them. I love the armadillo back mechanic that allows you to flatten the mouse for easy portability and this mouse is just awesomely unique looking in general. C is now considering getting one. [caption id="attachment_46631” align="aligncenter” width="224” caption="Me being creepy with my Arc Touch mouse”]Me being creepy with my Arc Touch mouse[/caption]




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