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Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition Review

Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition Review

Stylish and practical, but not very ergonomic

Microsoft's Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition is a near-perfect companion for your Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2. It features the same matte black designs, stows flat for portability, and connects wirelessly instead of taking up the device's single USB port with an unnecessary dongle.

I reviewed the original Arc Touch Mouse a few years back, and since this accessory is mostly identical to its predecessor, I will base this review on that, while calling out the bits that are relevant to Surface. Indeed, it's worth mentioning that the Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition will work with any Bluetooth-compatible PC, and if you value portability above all else, this is an interesting option.

Surface style. Where the original Arc Touch Mouse sports shiny plastic buttons and a silver scroll strip, the Surface Edition eschews those for matte black parts that I find more attractive. But the body of the mouse looks and feels as before, with a wonderful grippy material used in the lower two-thirds. It just feels great. And that Microsoft logo from the first mouse? It's been replaced by a Surface logo, of course.

Arc Touch Mouse (left) and Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition (right)

Travel mode. When it's not in use, the mouse lays flat. This is the mouse's travel mode, and while it's like this, the power is off.

Arc Touch Mouse (left) and Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition (right), bottom

Bluetooth. Where the previous Arc Touch Mouse came with a little USB nubbin, the Surface Edition version does not. Instead, it uses Bluetooth for connectivity and relies on your Surface (or other PC) having this capability built-in. The lack of a nubbin makes this mouse even more portable than its predecessor, since that nubbin used to sit on the outside of the mouse during travel and was easy to lose.

Battery powered. The Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition is powered by two AAA batteries that are placed behind a tiny door on the bottom of the device.

Design. To use this mouse, you have to snap the back down from its flat travel shape to a curved arc. Doing so causes a solid cracking sound that has always reminds me of cracking open a lobster's tail, but that comparison might mean little to those outside coastal New England. Suffice to say it's a bit of an odd (and, at first, slightly wrong-feeling) action, but you get used to it. When you do turn on the mouse this way, a green light briefly lights up on the top of the mouse and the BlueTrack light also comes on, on the bottom, letting you use the mouse on virtually any surface.

Ergonomics. This is a mobile mouse only and shouldn't be used for all-day sessions, or if you sit in front of a computer for hours at a time. The issue is one of size: For the best ergonomics, and protection against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you want the biggest mouse you can find. For mobile computing, however, it's certainly better than the lame trackpad found on Microsoft's typing covers. And the ambidextrous design will work equally well for lefties.

Buttons. The Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition includes two standard mouse buttons and a touch strip, which is used instead of a scroll wheel. That strip works as expected for scrolling, but it also provides feedback in the form of a slight vibration a curious mechanical scrolling sound. And you can tap the top and bottom of the strip to perform additional functions (which can be configured using the app described below).

Modern app. While you can configure this mouse through PC Settings, you can also download a free Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition mobile app that will let you configure the buttons and scrolling sound behavior. It's worth getting.

Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition is a worthy companion for Surface, with an innovative and very portable design. Recommended.

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