Microsoft Arc Mouse

You don’t often say that computer hardware is a piece of art but with Microsoft’s new Arc mouse, I think they might be onto something.

You don’t often say that computer hardware is a piece of art. It isn’t for the most part. Peripherals like keyboards, mice, monitors and joysticks are all supposed to be functional, design being outweighed by just how well the product can work for the end user.

Sometimes though a company can bring the two together. Logitech have done this before with devices like the Cordless Optical Trackman and the Squeezebox Duet, devices that remained as sleek well engineered cats that had a fantastic roar and worked brilliantly.

Now it’s Microsoft’s turn to get into the lion cage with a new mouse that (for me) is one of the better mice I’ve played with in a long time.

The Arc is a new notebook-oriented mouse with a design that follows from the basic shape of a circle or sphere. Designed to be as compact as possible, the Arc is a laser mouse with a different structural element than most.

Unlike other mice which have equal spread throughout the entire body of the mouse, most of the Arc is found in the front with a thick almost paw-like section that arches above the ground. This little section opens up to reveal two AAA batteries that power the Arc and make it work so efficiently.

The back part of the mouse folds under the mouse itself and features a magnetic recess where the USB receiver can be tucked away neatly. It’s a shame that this receiver isn’t actually as small as some of one of Logitech’s Nano mice receivers, something that would have made this mouse truly perfect.

What this makes is a mouse that when tucked down fits into a pocket and when pulled into its Arc position, provides the user with a full-size mouse experience that doesn’t hamper the mouse in any way.

Other nice elements like the automatic switching off of the mouse when you close it, the side button for right-handed users, and the good rubberised surface with which you hold the Arc with all make the Arc just that much more brilliant.

Not just that but the build quality is solid enough for most hands.

About the only area where people might feel a bit let down is for the user with the larger hand. For those people, the Microsoft Explorer Mini Mouse might work better, a natural fit for a right-handed user that has a design more like the common luxury mouse.

To be honest, the Arc is great; simple design and easy to use. It was testing on both Windows XP and Mac OS X, and it is a great mouse experience on both platforms, provided your hand size matches that of the Arc. It’s almost as if the engineers at Microsoft looked back to the old Philippe Starke mouse they released years ago and said “let’s do something better than that” and then actually went and did it.

If you’re looking for something portable and stylish, it’s available in both a dark red as well as a black & silver colour scheme, there’s no doubt about it as this is the one.

Click to enlarge

Product: Microsoft Arc Mouse

Vendor: Microsoft

RRP: $99.95

Website: Microsoft Arc Mouse