by Allison Johnson
The wireless Microsoft Arc Mouse features a sporty arc design and folds for portability. But is it a good on-the-go notebook mouse, or is it just dead weight? Read on for our full review.
Microsoft Arc Mouse Specifications:
- Dimensions: 2.32 x 4.44 inches (extended), 2.32 x 2.90 inches (folded)
- 2.4GHz – 30 ft. Wireless Range
- 6-month battery life
- LED battery status indicator
- Two AA batteries, travel pouch, wireless transceiver included
- Compatible with Windows Vista , Windows XP, and Mac OS X v10.2-10.5
- 3-year warranty
- MSRP: $49.95
Build and Design
The wireless Arc mouse folds to about half the size of my fist and unfolds into – you guessed it – an arc. Though not especially ergonomic, it’s comfortable enough for daily use. This one is a deep metallic blue, but Microsoft is offering a nice variety of colors to choose from. Four buttons make up the Arc mouse- left, right, scroll/click wheel, and a dedicated back button. The wireless transceiver fits into an indentation on the underside, and it’s held in place by a magnet. The whole package fits snuggly into a pocket-shaped travel pouch supplied with the mouse.
Once the mouse is unfolded, the wireless micro-transceiver snaps into a USB port and away it goes. Straight out of the box, it’s very sensitive and a bit fast for my taste. On the flipside, users with cramped work spaces, like a small table in a coffee shop, will be able to make good use of a little bit of space. Once I’d adjusted it to a more comfortable speed, it handled nicely. It cruises across a desk surface smoothly on three glide pads, and the laser is relatively precise.
The transceiver is relatively small, but it sticks out far enough from the side of my notebook that I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving it plugged in all the time. It stores easily on the underside of the mouse. Still, that’s one extra step added to the powering up and shutting down process, and nobody likes that. A wireless Bluetooth connection would resolve this issue. As it is, the wireless connection was very reliable, and I never experienced any kind of disruption.
The back button on the left side of the mouse is potentially useful, but positioned on the left side of the mouse, it’s difficult to reach. I found that the arc shape pushed my hand further back on the mouse, and I had a relatively comfortable reach to the left and right buttons along with the scroll wheel but not the back button. In a couple of weeks of use, I couldn’t find a good way to hold the mouse and use the back button, so I gave up.
I like the Microsoft Arc as a take-it-anywhere mouse. It’s relatively compact, reliable and attractively designed. Though not as streamlined as a Bluetooth mouse, the transceiver is easy to store and quick to pop into a USB slot. However, if empty USB ports are scarce on your notebook, then you’ll be better off with a Bluetooth connected mouse.
- Steady wireless connection
- Folds for portability
- Comfortable use
- Wireless transceiver eats a precious USB port
- Transceiver is still too large to be kept in notebook
- Back button is awkward to use
Pricing and availability
The Microsoft Arc Mouse is available through several online retailers. Price comparison and more information can be found at Microsoft’s website.