Microsoft Arc MouseIt seems like we are mouse-freak nowadays haha =) think of this as mouse review festival, there are still more to come, not over yet. Today it’s Microsoft Arc Mouse’s time which is the newest mouse released to date and projected to overcome any other notebook mice by how small when packing in the bag, yet comfortable in hand while using. Does Microsoft achieve what they really want? You'll see in a bit.

Design

Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse

Well packaging is nice enough for $50 MSRP price, but you'll be impressed much more when taking the mouse out of the box. All surface both on the back and bottom are coated with rubberized material giving you really nice texture feeling, really nice to touch--I don't know if anyone like it, but I really do. Wheel on this mouse is basically the same as all Microsoft’s, no horizontal scroll or anything besides vanilla wheel. There is nothing wrong with it, but it does feel more like a toy comparing to Logitech or Razer.

Microsoft Arc Mouse | Bluetooth 5000  Microsoft Arc Mouse | Bluetooth 5000 | Vx nano in the bag

Moreover, the pouch looks so good comparing to Microsoft Bluetooth 5000 and Logitech VX nano.

Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse

Obviously folding design is a main strategy to go for portability. Microsoft has done pretty good on the hinge (?) It feels solid and doesn't look like it's going to break anytime soon. But if it does, I hope 3-yr warranty can compensate comfortably haha =) Also, it acts like on/off switch as well, aka. when you fold it, it’s off.

Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse 

With thin design, it’s impossible to have any storage for receiver. I thought it would be better to make it as Bluetooth mouse, but almost all manufacturers don’t seem to agree with the idea. Nonetheless, Microsoft manage to get away with storage place with magnet. Yes, on the mouse, there is a magnet, while the receiver is only some sort of ferromagnetic material, just good enough to stick in place safely. It’s such cool idea.

MX Rev | VX Rev | Arc | VX Nano - receiver Arc | VX Nano - receiver

2.4GHz receiver size is also another good improvement from other Microsoft mice. Although it’s not as small as Logitech nano receiver [and not good to stay on the port at all time], it’s small enough not to block anything at all when plugging on the side, and big enough to pull it off USB port easily.

Microsoft Arc Mouse Microsoft Arc Mouse 

In action mode, this little guy is as big as desktop mouse. Its size is almost about the same as Logitech VX revolution.

Usability

 Arc Mouse - claw grip Arc Mouse - palm grip

As same as any mouse, it’s truly plug-n-play. There is nothing required in order to get it work. It’s funny when you see Windows Vista Certified along with Mac, and Universal logo on the box though. I don’t know if people still ask whether mouse can work on Mac or not these days since they all are the same apparently, just different flavor in term of look. I gotta get back on track again before this will be something else, besides Arc mouse review… Without tweaking, sensitivity is considerably fast—might be too fast for some, but I’m ok with it. Wheel is normal, nothing fancy—3 lines per click which is really pain in the ass when you have to scroll a lot and in my case, I used to use Logitech’s hyper-fast scrolling wheel which can do like 10k lines in matter of seconds. Side button (or back button) is positioned badly--too far forward. I don’t know if Microsoft designed this to be claw-gripper-mouse or index-finger-friendly-button. In the end, I will not bother using this button since it’s far from comfortable. However, what Microsoft always do the good job with their mice is how soft and quiet buttons are. This arc mouse is even better; it’s almost like whispering buttons [wheel needs more pressure and gives more noise though] in my opinion. That’s fantastic.

intelliPoint 3.0If you are tweaking kind of guys, Microsoft also gives you a chance to do so with IntelliPoint which is well integrated with Mouse in Control Panel, but will destroy any touchpad/trackpoint driver if you have. What you have to do to keep both is installing IntelliPoint then reinstall your touchpad/trackpoint driver afterward. That works fine for me on X61 Tablet. With IntelliPoint software, you can change *any button* to almost *anything* as shown below. That’s great—unfortunately I wish it had at least horizontal scroll buttons on wheel to use all this features. Better than that, there is advanced scrolling feature which can set how fast the content acceleration as you roll the wheel as well. It’s sort of like Logitech MX revolution which will change to free spin when you do scroll as enough and the trick Microsoft selected here work pretty well. It really compensate how ordinary the wheel is physically to be as functional as fancy wheel from Logitech.

intelliPoint 3.0 

Microsoft Arc MouseLittle Teflon feet under Arc also give surprisingly smoothness when moving mouse. There is no problem whatsoever as I expected at first since their feet size are only 10% of others. However, by the fact that it’s so light, esp. on the back, and there is nothing on the side to hold, I do feel odd & unbalance & uncomfortable which cause imprecise movement because my pinkie has no where to rest but under the mouse. Think of something holding mouse underneath--that is likely to be your pinkie. I guess it would take quite a lot of time to get used to. If you consider it as on-the-go mouse, it should be fine, but as regular mouse, I might have to think about it real hard. It’s just like why would you use weird/uncomfortable mouse like Mogo if you have full-size mouse laying around. This Arc mouse is just big and nice enough to give a pause to consider more.

Issue: [added: 2009-06-27] One thing Microsoft mouse is not as good as Logitech one is usable surfaces. All Microsoft mice, except BlueTrack which I haven't tried yet, is working fine with every surfaces, but any glossy surface, even glossy/slipper fabric. While Logitech one will only have a problem on highly glossy surface such as Granite and Marble.

Battery life

So far, I couldn’t tell, but with 2*AAA battery, it’s supposed to last at least 4-5 months by nature of Microsoft mouse. I’ll get back when it’s out of battery =)

Conclusion

It’s innovative, it’s nice as on-the-go mouse. What can I say more? IMO, it is not meant to be regular mouse on the desk, so I won’t compare it with that directly. If you feel you need something nice when you are on site, Microsoft Arc mouse is definitely one of the good options along with very good ones like VX revolution or Microsoft Bluetooth mouse 5000. Nonetheless, if comfortable is the first priority, try VX Revolution in store. You'll get the idea.

Pros

  • really nice rubberized coating surface
  • acceleration scrolling feature
  • whispering ‘click’ sound
  • small & very portable on the go, yet big enough while using.
  • all customizable buttons

Cons

  • Side button is too far/hard to reach
  • too light, need quite some time to get used to
  • not that comfortable without grip to hold on the side
  • horizontal scroll wheel would be nice addition.
  • not working on any glossy surface