The Microsoft Arc is a wireless 2.4 GHz optical mouse that has one extremely unique characteristic: it’s foldable. That’s right, the Arc makes an attempt at becoming one of the most portable mice on the market by introducing the ability to fold nearly in half to reduce it’s size. This means you have a full sized, full featured mouse that can be folded up and packed away as easily as one of those super uncomfortable mini mice.
Does the ability to fold serve as nothing more than a gimmicky selling point or is the Arc a truely exceptional piece of tech?
The Arc features a smooth top with glossy trim and 4 buttons on the top while the battery compartment and loosely magnetized slot for the dongle reside on the bottom. The exterior design has plenty of visual appeal not only because it’s easy on the eyes, but also because it looks so unique. The shape of the mouse, when opened, looks really cool because of the hollow space on the bottom that is necessary for the mouse to fold.
The buttons are your standard left and right, clickable wheel, and back buttons. The basic buttons work very well and click very softly so you don’t disturb anyone else in the library or study hall. The scroll wheel works really well, has textured rubber grip, and is of course clickable. The back button, however, is placed too far away from where the thumb naturally falls so you have to reach for it. This is very inconvenient if you are using it for gaming and have, say, grenades programmed to that button as you almost always move the reticle when you readjust your hand to hit the button.
While it is a shame that this mouse runs on 2 triple A batteries and is non-rechargeable MS has ensured everyone that those batteries should last months on end without having to be replaced. The battery compartment is well out of the way so it doesn’t interfere with getting a comfortable grip.
Perhaps my second favorite feature of the mouse, right next to folding, is the magnetized slot that holds your USB dongle securely in place. It’s positioned right in the center of the lower fold of the mouse so it gets folded up into the body for extra security so you never have to worry about losing it. The dongle itself is small and discreet when in use but too big to leave plugged into your notebook without it breaking when it’s packed in your bag.
The MS Arc is an extremely comfortable mouse to use. Since it is designed to be similar to a full-sized mouse when in use you’ll have plenty of palm and finger space. You can even wrap your non-mousing fingers under the hollow portion for an even sturdier grip.
As I’ve already said, most of the buttons feel very comfortable with the exception of the back button. The smooth, rubbery material on the top is also a nice touch and helps to keep your palm from getting caliced, which is important if you clock hundreds of hours in on WoW. Nerd.
The anti-friction pads on the bottom keep the mouse moving on a wide range of surfaces. I mainly use it on my sheets, carpet, or wooden surfaces, but it works on just about any surface other than glass. Precision is also spot-on. I compared it to a wired mouse in Half Life 2 and Portal and found no discrepancies in accuracy.
Though the use of standard batteries is, as already stated, a bummer, I’ve used the Arc nonstop since I got it. Playing games like Half Life 2 and Guild Wars, checking emails, running this site, browsing the web, doing homework, everything has been done with this mouse and I have yet to put a dent in it’s charge.
This thing usually sells for around 50 bucks, I got mine on sale for 30 from Circuit City, which isn’t bad for a mouse as competent as this one. It also comes comeswith an included carry case which, like the dongle slot, is lightly magnetized along the opening to keep it shut without the use of buttons or zippers.
While it may be true that the Arc is not super mouse, it’s far above adequate. Throw in it’s futuristic, sexy design and brilliant travel features and you’ve got yourself one of the best mice on the market for under $60. It’s easily the best mouse I’ve ever used, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I do if you pick one up, which you should totally do.
- Folds for portability
- Anti-friction pads make it move smoothly
- Works on most surfaces
- Very Comfortable
- Sleek and futuristic design
- Uses standard batteries and isn’t rechargeable
- Doesn’t use glass
- You might confuse it for a cell phone, and you’ll look stupid talking to a computer mouse
Overall: 9.13 (Amazing)
Design: 9.5/10 (Brilliantly designed)
Comfort: 9.5/10 (Just as comfy as a full-sized mouse, because it is a full-sized mouse)
Performance: 9/10 (Some quirks, but works great overall)
Value: 8.5/10 ($50 bucks ain’t bad at all for a mouse this innovative and high quality)