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Microsoft Arc Mouse
Peripherals | First Looks
Tue 11 Nov 2008

An Awkward Arc

By Kenny Yeo

Sexy and stylish are two words that you'll rarely find paired with a computer mouse. Cool and funky maybe, but never sexy and stylish. But why can't a computer mouse be sexy and stylish? Indeed, why not?

Launched simultaneously with the Microsoft Mini Explorer, this is the aptly named Arc Mouse (no prizes for guessing why). Clearly designed with the style-conscious in mind, the Arc Mouse is by far the funkiest looking mouse we've seen in some time. Join us as we take a closer look to see if it has the substance to match its looks.

For Fashionistas

For fashionistas who have had to make do with less than inspired mouse designs and whose only solace was that at least some mice came in a variety of colors, all this is about to change.

Enter the Arc Mouse, a simple yet elegant mouse that looks like no other. Who would have thought a mouse could be designed like so? The Arc mouse is instantly sure to turn heads and attract attention. It is also clad in a material that gives it a textured feel. It's nice to look at and touch, but beware of greasy fingers and sweaty palms. They will leave stains that are hard to remove.

The party trick of the Arc Mouse is its ability to fold into half. When folded, it is 60% of its original size, which should make for easy storage and added portability.

No Pain, No Gain

While the Arc Mouse definitely looks unique, it does have its shortcomings. The price for its distinctive looks is that the Arc Mouse is somewhat awkward to use. The stylish but odd shape means that to get a good grip of the mouse, one needs to wrap the entire hand around the whole arch to register mouse clicks properly. What this means is that instead of using your wrist to control mouse movements, you are now using your entire hand. Some may find this more favorable, because it reduces strain on the wrist, but we found it tiring.

The Arc Mouse is also very thin, which means that there is less real estate for fingers to hold on to. In most other mice, our little fingers would be resting by the sides of the mouse, but on the Arc Mouse, it was left trailing about uncomfortably. This necessitates a rather radical change in the way the user holds the mice. For us, even after spending weeks with it, we still found it uncomfortable to use.

Another problem arising from the Arc Mouse's thin design is when we tried pressing its side button. By default, the side button performs the 'back' function on whatever browser you are using. But because the mouse is so thin, you'll inadvertently tense your index and middle fingers for a better grip when clicking the side button and in the process, you may unintentionally click the left and right buttons instead.

Final Thoughts

The Arc Mouse might be a stunner, but to use it proficiently requires a rather drastic change in the way you hold your mouse. Even then, it can be awkward and uncomfortable. In a way, it is the PC peripheral equivalent of the stiletto heels. However, if you don't mind sacrificing some of your comfort, you'll be glad to know that the Arc Mouse will be available for retail soon at S$89. All said, you'll be hard pressed to find a more unique looking mouse.

Product Specifications

  • Laser technology
  • Snap-in mini transceiver
  • 2.4GHz wireless, up to 30 feet
  • Folds for portability
  • Battery status indicator
  • Customizable buttons
  • Designed for notebook PCs
  • 3 year warranty
  • Retail price: S$89