Microsoft continues their never-ending streak of expensive peripherals and notebook accessories with the Arc Touch Surface Edition Mouse. Sporting a $79.99 CDN price tag, the Arc Touch is intended to take hold of the niche “frequent traveller” market with its exceptional portable design and wireless compatibility. If you hate messing with trackpads while you’re on the go, this device might just be the answer you have been looking for.
The Microsoft Arc Touch has an exceptional design both aesthetically and practically. When in portable mode, the mouse is flattened to about the size of most thin notebooks on the market and can be easily stored in your bag for quick convenience. The fun part comes in when you have to crack the spine to activate the mouse, creating a comfortable arc for your hand to lie on. The mouse mimics every function of a normal mouse, including scrolling and middle clicks. A concern of mine was that the mouse wouldn’t be able to support the weight of people’s hands and simply collapse under light pressure, but thankfully that satisfying locking mechanism keeps the arced position remaining sturdy and will only collapse when you put the device back into its portable state.
Pairing the Arc Touch with your preferred Bluetooth device can be a bit tricky due to some poorly written instructions by Microsoft. While most accessories just need to be found in the Bluetooth device manager in order to function, the Arc Touch requires you to download its management software from the Microsoft store before it can be paired. Once the software is installed the customization options are quite sparse, only giving you control over the sounds and response of the haptic feedback touch scrolling. I know that this mouse is only intended to be used a portable substitute instead of a device meant to game, but I appreciate it when I can mess with sensor sensitivity so I can adjust the feel properly depending on the application.
That being said, the included BlueTrack sensor will handle most of your work just fine. I feel comfortable in saying that the Arc Touch is locked to around a 1000-1100 dpi setting. Since the device is completely wireless, don’t expect a 1:1 input response time; there is definitely a slight delay that can be annoying at times if you’re used to wired products. The biggest strength of the BlueTrack sensor is that it can register effectively on almost any surface it’s used on. Whether it was carpet, wooden tables, a glass desk, or even a couch armrest, the Arc Touch delivered a consistent experience.
It’s easy to write off using the Arc Touch as a gaming device because the most popular PC titles are multiplayer based and require pinpoint precision to be effective. Delayed inputs of any kind will only sour those experiences. However, if you’re playing singleplayer, the Arc Touch is a much better alternative to using a trackpad with your finger. Your precision will still suffer a bit in shooters and strategy games, but not enough to consider them unplayable.
The Microsoft Arc Touch is one of the few Microsoft peripherals I’ve used that actually does its intended job properly. While there are a number of cheaper portable alternatives in the market to consider, most of them feel too cramped for space to actually perform effectively over long periods of use. If you’re looking for a wireless mouse to take with you while traveling or on business trips, the Microsoft Arc Touch is one of the best candidates to satisfy your needs.