After borrowing a colleagues Microsoft Arc Mouse last year I ended up buying several of them and have been using them exclusively since, so when the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse came out a few weeks ago I had to get my hands on one and take it for a spin. First impressions of the mouse is how flat it folds. The Arc Mouse when folded goes into a bit of a ball, but the Arc Touch folds complete flat and is only a couple of millimetres thick. Its super slim design is what really makes you sit up and notice, folding completely flat it has been built with portability in mind easily fitting into a pocket or the sleeve on the front of my laptop bag. When you first start taking it for a run, then next thing you notice is how lightweight it is. This is one of the reasons I loved the Arc Mouse and this does not disappoint. The USB receiver for the mouse is tiny and the underside of the mouse itself has a magnetic strip which allows you to simply stick the received to the bottom when packing it away. The one thing I don’t like about the Arc Mouse is that I run through the batteries pretty quickly. Unfortunately this is partly my fault as I keep forgetting to close the mouse which turns it off, but the new Arc Touch turns off when you fold it flat which I seem to be doing more often which I put down to the design. So far I’ve only had the mouse a couple of weeks so time will tell how the battery life compares.
So after a couple of week of usage, I have found that the mouse is not as comfortable to use as the Arc Mouse. Part of this I suspect is due to its lightweight design. Instead of having a middle button or a scroll wheel, as the name suggests the Arc Touch has a touch scroll area. This provides a vibration feedback as you swipe your finger up and down to scroll. Initially I thought this would be just a novelty, but as you start to use if, I’ve found it to be quite useful. The touch area not only works as a scroll wheel, but also as a middle click operation and also allows you page up and page down by clicking the top or bottom of the touch area. Scrolling works really well, but unfortunately I’ve struggled to master the middle click or the page up and page down functionality of the touch area. This feature has been very hit and miss for me.
When the Touch Mouse was first released, it was selling for around $80 which made it about double the price of the Arc Mouse, but a quick search today has them selling for about $50 making it only $10 more now. All in all I still think my day to day mouse will remain the Arc Mouse, but for a more portable solution the design and size of the Arc Touch make it a very close second.