Bottom line: A chic look and comfortable feature are the attributes found in the Microsoft Arc Touch mouse, but is the expense worth it?
Pros:Unique, portable design. Touch scroll has vibrating feedback. Thumbnail USB has innovative storage on base of mouse. BlueTrack laser technology allows the mouse to be used on a variety of surfaces. Ambidextrous.
Cons: No browser buttons. Expensive.
Microsoft's Arc Touch ($67.95 list) mouse is about as portable as you can get and adds style to the otherwise plain mobile mouse market. However, the price for such a hot product may make your wallet crawl back into your back pocket.
The Arc Touch has one of the most unique form factors I have seen in a mouse. When off, it lays in a prone position (2.28 by 5.14-inches, WH), but to power it on the mouse sits bent; its back arched to create a comfortable structure to hold and navigate with. The mouse buttons are encased in glossy black plastic that tends to attract smudge marks and the like. Breaking up the black is the touch scroll wheel that's encased in a silver matte plastic. The palm portion on the Arc Touch has a soft rubberized coating, found mostly on gaming mice like the Gigabyte M8000Xtreme ($59.99 list, 4.5 stars). This coating gives the Arc Touch a solid grip and a comfortable feel as opposed to the plastic matte finishes found on mice like the Logitech Wireless Mouse M305 ($29.99 direct, 4 stars).
In terms of buttons, the Arc Touch is outfitted with the basics—a left and right click, and touch scroll. Most mice rolling out these days as least have the two browser buttons, but Microsoft decided to leave this extra out.
Weighing a scant 0.2 pounds and having such a slim profile, the Arc Touch is pretty portable. There's even a spot to store the wireless USB adapter: On the bottom of the mouse there a small metallic strip that will securely hold the adapter in place during travel. The Arc Touch takes two AA batteries (which are included), and according to Microsoft will last up to 6 months.
The Arc Touch has plug-and-play capabilities, but for those who like to tweak their mouse speed and add different functions to their buttons you can download the designated software. Unfortunately, the software will only work for Windows XP, Vista, and 7—no Mac support. However, the Arc Touch device will work with Mac PCs. Within Microsoft's IntelliPoint software you can customize the mouse speed, the scroll speed and feedback, and what kind of pointer you want. Though the software isn't as advanced as say the kind that's coupled with gaming mice, it's enough to satisfy any commuter or basic mouse user.
The Arc Touch comes packed with the aforementioned USB wireless receiver that transmits on a 2.4GHz frequency, which is fairly standard for mice in this category. More advanced mice, like the Razer Orochi ($79.99) come with a wired option for a more secured connection than a wireless one can provide.
BlueTrack is the mouse tracking tech Microsoft uses in the Arc Touch. The idea behind BlueTrack is that you can move your mouse on a number of different surfaces without interruption. For mobile users this feature is key, since they may not have a table or mouse pad at had—they may have to use their bag, arm rest, or leg to navigate. The only surface BlueTrack can't navigate on is mirrored or clear glass. Logitech has a similar technology called Darkfield, however, it can track movements on glass surfaces (at least .16-inches).
In field testing, the Arc Touch did well in navigating on a multitude of surfaces. I enjoyed the touch scroll wheel and the feedback it gave when used. Overall, I found the whole experience to be on par with other mobile mice in the category: It was responsive and I wouldn't mind using it around the office for my day-to-day tasks, although, it's not the most ergonomic mouse on the market.
For a mobile mouse the Arc Touch has a figure that any fellow commuter might envy. Its basic in features, but mobile mice need little extras to serve its purpose. Some maybe left wanting by the lack of browser buttons and others may steer clear because of its $67.95 price tag. If you're looking for a less costly mouse for the sacrifice of a less chic look, the Logitech M305 will give you a little more for a lot less.