No need to be funny, witty or even moderately entertaining on this product review – if you have a laptop and like to use a mouse, you need one of these.
Two weeks ago, I received a Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse as a demo unit to review. The mouse is very flat (only a half inch tall) with just enough height to hold two AAA batteries. So I took it out of the package, inserted the included batteries and then looked for the on/off switch and the “connect” button that are de rigueur with other wireless mice. I was baffled by finding neither switch so I actually looked at the quick-start guide. First I was told to “bend” the back half of the mouse in order to turn it on – what? Bend the mouse?
Sure enough, the “tail” of the Arc Touch mouse is flexible. You bend it to make an arc (hence the name Arc Touch) and it automatically powers on. In it’s flexed position it takes the shape of a traditional mouse, fits your hand nicely and glides easily as only the tip and tail touch the surface. Don’t believe it? …. Then check out the video.
Now I needed to connect it to my MacBook Pro laptop. A bit more reading led me to some good/bad news. First, the good; the Arc Touch comes with a tiny USB plug-in transmitter receiver. It’s the size of a postage stamp and protrudes only a ¼-inch from the USB port of your laptop when plugged-in. Instead of BlueTooth, the Arc Touch uses a proprietary wirelesss protocol to communicate between mouse and system. I know – proprietary is bad – but how many times have you struggled with setting up a BlueTooth mouse or keyboard? With the Arc Touch, plugging in the transmitter/receiver is all that is required. Now the bad, the documentation indicated that the Arc Touch is a Windows-only device – huh? No Mac support?
So for fun, I plugged it in to my MacBook Pro just to see what would happen. Amazingly, it worked perfectly. I didn’t even have to download or install any device drivers or control software. I could use the Apple mouse control panel to change any settings I desired.
Lastly, the “scroll wheel” is a thing of genius. Instead of a traditional wheel, the Arc Touch has an inch long “scroll bar” sitting flush to the surface between the left- and right-click buttons. If you move your finger forward or backward along this bar, scrolling works as expected. However, the scroll bar gives you both the tactile and audio feedback similar to a traditional scroll wheel … even an amazingly accurate reproduction of the clicking sensation.
So how does it perform? Since I received the demo unit, I take it everywhere with me. I never have to remember to turn if off when I travel – simply flattening the device does the trick. Even the mini-transmitter receiver attaches to the mouse magnetically for storage if I need to free up the USB port. Everyone in the office is coveting the Arc Touch including, unfortunately, our CEO. So put this one in the TechDadCentral hallowed category of “Stuff I Like” and hope that I can keep hiding it every time our CEO strolls by my desk.
This giveaway is now closed.