If we don’t get this out of the way from the off, then it’s going to be the proverbial elephant in the room. The Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse is a notebook mouse. And it costs £70.
Yep, you read it right. That’s £70. For a mouse. We figure we may have lost about 90 per cent of you already.
Pricey – but worth it?
Still, the Arc Touch Mouse does work hard to justify its price tag. It has been stylishly designed with travelling workers in mind. The main way this manifests itself is via the product’s design.
The mouse arrives flat, save for a small USB receiver that’s magnetically stuck to the back. To get it into ‘working’ shape, you remove the receiver and insert it into a USB port on your machine, then snap the mouse into its more familiar, curved shape.
Getting used to it
At first glance, it looks like Microsoft has opted for style over substance. We found the first hour or two spent using the Arc a bit disorientating. Its curved shape leaves space under the main body of the mouse, and for those of you used to handling chunky rodents, it takes some getting used to. It’s hard to describe, but it does feel a little like things are not where they’re supposed to be.
However, we perservered, and were rewarded for doing so. For one you’ve adjusted to it, the Arc Touch works. Surprisingly well, too. In fact, it’s really hard to quarrel with the rodent’s performance at all. It’s a comfortable and responsive device to use. The two main buttons, found exactly where you’d expect them, and the general ergonomics, cause no trouble at all.
The same can’t quite be said for the slightly less effective touch scroll wheel equivalent (using BlueTrack technology) in the middle of the two main buttons.
Just for the sake of experimentation, we loaded up Dead Space 2 to see just how it would cope with some scrollwheel-centric weapons changing. The answer was not very well. The same was true of Word documents. It just didn’t work quite as intuitively as we’d have hoped.
Worth the asking price?
Still, the Arc Touch is nonetheless a convenient and thoughtful device, and a more robust one than you might expect. But – and here’s the killer – it doesn’t really justify the £70 outlay. You’re paying for the device’s admittedly impressive design aesthetic, and while Microsoft hasn’t quite shuffled functionality down its priority list, it’s still not quite up to the level we’d expect of a product at such a premium price point.
If you see the Arc Touch at half price, then it’s seriously worth considering – especially if you travel a lot, and space in your baggage is at a premium. Being able to store the mouse entirely flat is very welcome. But it’s still a luxury, and a luxury we’d wager that many of us can’t really afford.