Maximum PC Staff Feb 11, 2009

Microsoft Arc Mouse

At A Glance

Vista x64

Pretty design and incredibly compact size. Comes with a travel pouch!

XP x64

Very uncomfortable shape. Odd sensor placement makes cursor control tricky.

Ah, the fashion mouse. You know the one: It’s designed by the industrial design team of the moment, and it not only lets you move your PC’s cursor but also tells everyone that you care about Design (you know, with a capital D). Unfortunately, what this mouse tells anyone who knows about mice is that you’d rather use an incredibly uncomfortable device that looks cool than one that properly fits your paw and gives you good control over your cursor. Despite a more than competent laser-powered sensor, the Arc Mouse falls squarely in fashion-mouse territory.

The Arc is, ostensibly, designed to be a travel mouse, and its size and shape are indeed suited to that purpose. When you fold the back of the mouse up and snap the USB transmitter dongle into the magnetic receptacle, you get a mouse that’s small enough to fit in a pocket. That’s great and all, but it’s just not comfortable to use.

The problem is the Arc’s tapered shape and narrow girth. The mouse is so narrow, even at its widest point, that you can’t comfortably grip it with a claw grip or rest your hand on it with a palm grip. The placement of the sensor on the front portion of the Arc’s arch makes the translation of your wrist movements into cursor movements a little odd for users who are accustomed to a mid-palm sensor, but you’ll adjust to that pretty quickly. Worse is that the thumb button is in a spot that’s impossible to reach, and the right mouse button is difficult to push, especially if you use a claw grip. We’ve tested several portable mice with slightly larger formfactors that are significantly more comfortable than this mouse, including the new Explorer MiniMouse from Microsoft and the Logitech Revolution VX.

Microsoft seems to have solved the connectivity issues that plagued its previous 2.4GHz wireless peripherals, but this little guy is just too uncomfortable for us to recommend, despite its sexy design.

Microsoft Arc Mouse

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