Input Devices Guide
First Looks: Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse
Bendy Snappy Mice
The Microsoft Arch Touch Mouse is actually a successor to Microsoft's Arc Mouse, which was a pretty cool device on its own. The older Arc Mouse could be folded in half for travel, and featured a magnet that kept its small USB dongle from getting lost. Well, the Arc Touch shares some similarities in having the same magnetic feature but greatly differs in the design.
Unlike the original Arc Mouse, you don't fold the Arc Touch in half when you're done using it. The default storage mode resembles a flattened mouse that makes it look somewhat silly but it's thin enough to fit in the front pocket of your shirt. To use it, you snap it in half, and suddenly, the Arc Touch transforms into a normal mouse with an arc and everything.
If you're asking where's the touch factor in a mouse called the Arc Touch, the secret lies in where you usually find the scroll wheel. It's now replaced by a touch sensitive strip of metal that does the same function, with the vibration and click noises to mimic a normal scroll wheel. This strip even has scroll acceleration, so you can flick a finger and watch your page scroll by.
The strip has two other hidden functions that aren't quite obvious at first glance. The middle button that used to be your scroll wheel's feature, now works by double tapping in the middle of the strip, which opens a new page from a link. Double tapping the middle zone and holding it also acts like it it normally work with the middle button on most mice, allowing you to pan and scroll via the mouse instead. Lastly, the top and bottom zones act as a page up and page down for viewing documents.
Ergo, It's All About the Ergonomics
Compared to the older Arc Mouse, the Arc Touch Mouse is slightly less arched, which means your hands have to adapt to the curvature. It does take a while to get used to, depending on the size of your hand, but we didn't find it quite as comfortable.
Furthermore, the left and right mouse buttons are slightly stiff to click and if you were to normally rest your palms on the desktop, your fingers are likely unable to click them properly. To compensate, we found ourselves holding the mouse further in without our palms resting on the surface in order to click properly. This could lead to some discomfort. Again, this will vary depending on how you hold your mouse.
The Final Arc
By itself, the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse is an interesting innovation in a sea of similar devices. Its selling point isn't the DPI, nor the number of buttons available, but just how cool it is to have one. Within moments of looking at the mouse, we were ready to drop everything just to review it. Of course, its portable, thin form factor is another major factor.
At S$89 though, the Arc Touch can be a tad expensive to own, especially considering that the older Arc Mouse is cheaper at S$69. That said, if you're getting this mouse, chances are it's likely to be the conversational starter the moment you take it out of your pocket and coolly snap it to turn the mouse on.