Microsoft's new Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is a travel-friendly pointer and a great companion for any Windows tablet, 2-in-1 or Ultrabook. Styled to look right at home next to your Surface Pro 3, the Arc Touch Bluetooth mouse doesn't require a dongle, won't take up space or add bulk to your bag, and provides a more precise pointing experience than the touchpad that ships with your device.
That said, I don't recommend using this mouse every day with a desktop computer or other all-day computing station. This is designed to be used on the go, and in that configuration, the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is just about ideal.
You can find out more about this device in my article, Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse First Impressions. But here are some further observations after about three weeks of use.
Small, light, wonderful to travel with. Like its predecessors, the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse can be flattened for travel. This action—which generated a curiously disturbing cracking sound—both turns the mouse off, sparing battery life, and results in its unique flat travel shape. Just crack it open into its in-use curved shape to automatically turn the mouse back on and get to work.
Style. The Surface Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse comes in a flat gray color that complements—but doesn't quite match—the gray color of Surface Pro 3. I actually think there would be a market for versions of this mouse that color-match the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover, at least in the curved part at the back of the mouse, but I find the design to be minimalistic and appropriate.
Size. I have humongous hands and find the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse to be a bit on the small side, which is part of the reason I don't recommend it for daily computing sessions: It's just not super-ergonomic. But on the go, this size is an acceptable compromise, and as noted the travel benefits outweigh my other concerns. You won't ever notice this thing in your bag.
Performance. The Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse features none of the curious lag that you sometimes see with Bluetooth peripherals. It comes on instantly and grabs the pointer as soon as you touch it. And since it uses Microsoft's excellent BlueTrack technology, it works on virtually any surface. I've only had issues on the occasional shiny hotel desktop surface, which is usually overcome by using an in-room hotel binder as a mouse pad.
Better battery life. I haven't used the mouse long enough to judge the battery life—frankly, I'm not even sure how it would be possible to do so accurately, anyway—but Microsoft says that the addition of Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy means that the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse will provide superior life to other Bluetooth-based mice. (This may also somewhat lessen compatibility with Windows devices. It works fine with Surface Pro 3, which is how I used it.)
Buttons. The Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse has your basic left/right (primary/secondary) buttons, of course, and a weird scroll area that doubles as a middle mouse button. The scroll area generates a rumble effect, like that found in an Xbox controller, as you scroll, and it features inertia scrolling so that scrolling speed goes up if you continue scrolling.
Availability. The Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is available now for $69.95, which is frankly a premium price tag. Amazon.com happens to be selling the mouse for $55 as I write this, which is more reasonable price tag. But I'd like to see this mouse generally available for under $50.
Should you get it? If you travel regularly and are a Surface Pro 3, Windows tablet/2-in-1 or Ultrabook user, the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is the perfect companion, and a much more accurate pointing device than the trackpad you're typically forced to use. But I don't recommend this mouse for daily, long-haul computing duties, where a larger, more ergonomic pointer is preferable.