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Product:  Arc Mouse (Red)
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.microsoft.com
MSRP:
$59.95

Review By: Robert Stein

Occasionally, Microsoft strays from its normal line of technology progressive hardware products and produces something on the cutting edge of design, all while providing the functionality that everyday users need. Remember the Optical Mouse by S+ARCK? (See Review) Microsoft released the Arc Mouse to follow that lead by providing almost art-like high design, functionality and the latest in technology. Does the mouse live up to its promises? Read on to find out.

Features

  • 2.4 GHz - 30 ft. Wireless Range
    The 2.4 GHz wireless USB micro-transceiver connects wirelessly right out of the box with virtually no interference and has up to a 30 foot wireless range

  • Folds For Portability
    Mouse folds to 60% of its fully expanded size using the strong metal hinge. Folding the mouse closed automatically turns it off.

  • Scroll Wheel
    Save time and effort with the scroll wheel—navigate documents and Web pages without using the on-screen scroll bar.

  • Battery Status Indicator
    You won't get caught with a dead battery—the Battery Status LED Indicator glows red when the battery is running low.

  • Snap-in Transceiver
    Micro-Transceiver snaps into the bottom of the mouse.

  • One-touch access to Windows Flip 3D*
    Allows you to flip through open windows in a stack and quickly switch between applications for added productivity.

  • Customizable Buttons
    Get quick access to the media, programs, and files you use most often with customizable buttons.

  • Comfort for Either Hand
    Use your mouse with your left or right hand—ambidextrous design makes it comfortable either way.

  • Ergonomic Design
    Point and click in comfort—ergonomic design helps you work longer without discomfort.

  • Designed for Notebook PCs
    Compact and comfortable, our handy notebook and laptop products are designed for convenience and mobility.

  • Snap-in Receiver
    Plug in the snap-in receiver when you’re ready to work, then snap it into your mouse when you travel, preserving battery life.

  • Laser Technology
    Microsoft Laser Mouse products are more precise, more responsive, and deliver smoother tracking.

  • 6+ Months Battery Life
    Work with less interruption with longer battery life.

  • 3-Year Limited Hardware Warranty
     

Setup & Installation 

Setup: The installation, as always, is simple. You have to insert the two AAA Energizer batteries (included), then insert the Wireless transceiver. The mouse automatically detects and voila, you are good to go. To get access to more features, you have to install the software, as described below. 

Microsoft IntelliPoint 6.3 Software

The software is not included in the packaging, so you have to go to the Microsoft Hardware website to download it. If you want to customize your mouse, you will have to install IntelliPoint 6.3 (15 MB download), which does not require a restart. To customize your mouse keys, select either "Mouse" for the Control Panel or "Microsoft Mouse" from the program menu. On the buttons tab you can click on the different buttons and reassign the keys to a variety of functions. In this software you can also change your pointers, other pointer options, view which hardware is connected, change scrolling options, etc. The software is easy to use and is required for advanced functionality of the mouse. Of course, you can reprogram the buttons as necessary. The Flip 3D function is assigned to the scroll wheel by default.

Mouse Design & Use

The Microsoft Arc Mouse is 4.4 inches long, 2.3 inches wide, and is very, very light because of the arced design. The weight is less because of the one battery AAA. The mouse includes four buttons for basic mouse functionality (two on top, the wheel and one left side). The mouse has a two tone red design, light red on the button and a muted red, glossy design on top, plus the light red scroll wheel.  On the left side, there is a translucent rubber grip pad similar to scroll wheels of the past. The arc is a very "fluid" design and is very streamlined. This mouse looks like something found in Architectural Digest, I think it is a better attempt at high design than the S+ARCK mouse. The bottom half of the mouse flips under to provide for a very compact, slim design for traveling. When you flip the bottom, the mouse automatically shuts off, which is a nice feature. The hinge is a very solid, stable hinge that looks like it could last the duration. The battery compartment door on the bottom (curved with the rest of the design) is not attached and comes off easily. On the bottom are the laser optical sensor and two sliders. The sensor uses the Microsoft Laser Technology but you cannot even see it light up now, it is pretty cool. There is a battery sensor that lights up green right under the scroll wheel. The transceiver is called the "mini" and it is very small, not too much bigger than 1/2 an inch. The smallest I have seen yet! The case included is a nice suedelike material and the mouse fits nicely.

 

Overall, the mouse has a nice feel to it - the only thing is that people may be used to the outwardly curved edges, whereas these edges are abrupt. However, I stopped noticing after a few minutes and I think the overall feel is great.

Microsoft  Optical Technology

This product includes the new Microsoft Laser Technology which aims to improve performance at much higher levels than the previous optical technology, including the High Definition Optical Technology on other Microsoft mice. The technology is 6000 frames per second (FPS) - an improvement over the 2500 FPS of most of the previous optical mice. Other technology improvements that have been made include 1000 dots per inch (DPI) resolution (responsiveness), 85 million operations per second (MOPS), .18 CMOS technology (preciseness) and the Microsoft Intelligent Tracking System (smoother tracking). The Microsoft Arc Mouse has a second-generation 850 nm laser providing optical input. The tracking speed is 15 inches per second. Microsoft optical technologies have been well tested for many years now and work smoothly on most surfaces. It has been broken-in well with previous mice, so you know you won’t have any problem. 

Final Comments

How It Grades

Installation: 98%
Performance: 95%
Design: 95%
Price/Value: 90%
Overall: 94.5%

The Microsoft Arc Mouse is a high-end, sleek mouse designed to bring style to any user's desktop. The mouse uses already great Microsoft hardware technology, such as the Laser Technology, 2.4 GHz (30 ft) wireless connectivity, etc. combined with new features such as the mini-transceiver and 6+ month battery life to bring superior technology to the design as well. I thought at first the mouse design would be awkward on my hand but it felt fine unlike some stylish mice. Overall, I think this mouse is great for anyone who is interested something really cool looking on your desktop - this isn't your everyday mouse - and I am not sure it is meant to be, either. The mouse has most of the functions one could need, and if you are looking for a worthy replacement but not necessarily some massive workhouse, this is the mouse for you!

Specs & Package
Overall Score 94.5%
Version Reviewed  Microsoft Arc Mouse (Red)
Release Date Out Now
The Good Points Laser Technology
Battery Indicator
Carrying Case
Compact Design
Windows Vista Certified
The Bad Points Not shipped with IntelliPoint software
Battery Door Not Attached
No right button
In The Box Mouse
1 Wireless Receiver
2 AAA Energizer Batteries
1 Case
1 Set of Instructions
Similar Product Microsoft Arc Mouse (Black)
System Requirements

For a Windows-based PC:

  • Microsoft Windows XP. Windows Vista. Windows 2000,  

  • 100 MB Disk Space

  • USB port on the PC

 

 

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