Microsoft Arc Mouse Review
When I first looked at the Arc Mouse, two thoughts passed: “Great, another ‘travel’ mouse that will be too small to actually use!” and “What a cool looking mouse!” Once it was unboxed and on my desk, my perception changed further. It had a solid feel, not cheap and flimsy. This mouse might just be worth using after all, and it is pretty and sleek!
The biggest complaint with ‘travel’ mice is that they are usually just the right size for a 5 yr old. Not so here. Yes, it is smaller, but with a surprisingly “nice fit.” I have used an ergonomic mouse for years and I thought I’d never change, but this mouse is growing on me. There is one problem with the design: Unless you have a very long thumb, the side button is very awkward to use (not mention if you are a lefty).
As far as actual functionality, well, it’s a mouse; it does what it’s supposed to do. But it does it well. My old mouse did not have laser optics. I was not prepared for the responsiveness of this little guy. The buttons (aside from the ‘side’ button) work well. And there is something surprisingly unique about the ‘sound’ of the primary buttons… There is none! (Well virtually no sound) You don’t know how long I have been searching for a ‘quiet’ mouse. Maybe you’re saying, ‘Why in world do you need a ‘quiet’ mouse?” Well, have you ever been working late in the evening in a hotel room or elsewhere while someone was trying to sleep? To the one trying to sleep, the ‘clikity-click’ can be quite annoying! So there you go, it’s a fringe benefit, but definitely makes it a winner for me.
In the past, whenever I needed to throw my laptop in its case and run out the door, I always had second thoughts about taking my mouse. It was bulky, and the wireless transceiver was about the size of the mouse itself! I usually left it behind and struggled with the touchpad. Not anymore! One of the coolest features about the Arc Mouse is its ‘USB micro-transceiver.’ It’s barely an inch long, and it is stored magnetically inside the ‘folding’ portion of the mouse. Very clever design. Additionally, when inserted to the USB port, it is barely noticeable. It comes with a nice little pouch to put the mouse in, complete with a magnetic closure.
Installation was brainless, just unfold the mouse, take the transceiver and plug it into a USB port. On the Mac it was nearly instantaneously working. On the PC, 30 seconds or so and it was all done. The software was not included. No big deal really, the URL was on the box and a few minutes later and the software was downloaded and installed. I haven’t been a big fan of ‘mouse utilities’ in the past and I imagine there will be features of this software that I will never use. However, “Windows Flip” is a very cool little utility that turns one of your buttons into an ‘alt-Tab’ replacement. Love it!
A note on battery life. Microsoft says you should get 6 months out of the batteries. That’s great, but how do you know if this will be the trip that they die on? There is a little LED in the slot between the two primary buttons. It will glow red when it’s time to change ‘em. Another nice battery-saving feature is that when you close the hinge, the mouse shuts down. So no worries about remembering to shut it down when traveling.
In conclusion, this is one little mouse that will definitely be with me when I travel and just might find a place on my desktop. The Microsoft Arc Mouse has a solid feel, clever design, and quiet operation for a reasonable price. The Microsoft Arc Mouse also happens to come in a nice assortment of colors, including black, red, white, blue, purple, and green with a retail price of $26.99-$44 on Amazon.
The good: Well built, compact for travel and surprisingly quiet!
The bad: Awkward side button.