Arc

>> Monday, February 2, 2009


I have an propensity to buy sexy electronics that I don't need. Behold the Arc!

I've never been a fan of the standard mouse that comes with a PC. They are clunky, loud, and most detrimentally, ugly. Even worse is the compact laptop mouse. While you gain ultra-portability, you sacrifice your hands to carpal tunnel if you use the thing for more than three minutes. The Arc harnesses those weaknesses and, like a pearl-producing-oyster, takes the unpolished, worthless rock and turns it into something magnificent.

First, the Arc takes the nearly-full-size form factor, removes all the unnecessary bulk, cheap plastic, and loud performance. It is replaced with a gorgeous, well...arc shape that provides the bare necessity of form while not sacrificing comfort. It has a wonderful satin-type finish that is superbly smooth to the touch providing just enough grip for easy movement and precise selection. Microsoft opted for a scroll-wheel with a light click sound, and while this is not a bad thing, the writer prefers a silent wheel more prominent on computer mice these days.

Microsoft has finally opted for a smaller USB receiver which will protrude from your computer roughly 1/2 inch. While this is not as small as some Logitech receivers, it is definitely a step in the right direction. Users will find that the Arc USB receiver connects to the inside form of the mouse via magnetics, albeit weakly. While the mouse is closed, though, the worries of lost receivers is put to rest as the folding action of the mouse secures the receiver against the opposite wall inside the arc.

The most distinct feature of the device other than it's shape is it's ability to reduce itself in size. The reduction of excess plastics in the design has enabled the Arc to reduce itself in size, while folded, to just 60 percent of expanded size claims Microsoft's website. This makes the device remarkably portable, and you will be amazed when you hold the folded form in your hand and see how easily it slips into a jacket pocket, carrying case, or backpack (for you college students out there). The Arc has a sturdy metal hinge, so you don't need to worry about breaking it after repeated use.

For those used to a compact mouse, the size may be a little unfamiliar at first, but you will quickly adjust. There is a small button on the left of the mouse for use with different functionality. It very close the front of the mouse, making frequent use inconvenient. The biggest learning, ahem, curve is the placement of the laser. Since it is placed so close to the front footpads of the mouse, the user can no longer twist the back of the mouse to move the cursor side to side. While this is by no means a deal breaker, a beginning user may find themselves wondering why the mouse doesn't seem as responsive as another mouse. Which brings me to my next point:

This mouse is fast. The first time you plug it in, you will probably need to go into the control panel immediately to adjust the speed to make the thing usable. That speed, though , is presumably because it is intended for on-the-go computing where you may not have much space for mouse maneuvering. All in all, I give the mouse a 4.5/5. I take a half point off due to the lack of four-way scrolling, poorly placed side button and only having one side button, to boot.

If you are just looking for a sturdy, slightly more featured, less sexy mouse, I would recommend the Microsoft Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 7000, which has a comfortable, familiar feel, two side buttons for multiple functions, and four-way scrolling.

2 comments:

Duncan Family February 8, 2009 at 1:33 PM  

how much does this lovely Arc cost?

Eric J February 23, 2009 at 12:02 PM  

I too have a laser mouse. I glued a frikin laser on his frikin head. Now he chases cats.

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