Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth mouse review

Microsoft’s feather-light Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is not your average pointing device.

The Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is stylish, ultra-light, and functional.
The Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is stylish, ultra-light, and functional.
The Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is stylish, ultra-light, and functional.

Highs

  • Ultra-thin, light, and compact
  • About half an inch thick when powered off
  • Easy to pair and use
  • Customizable buttons and scroll strip
  • Three-year warranty

Lows

  • Not quite as comfortable as most standard mice
  • Tapping scroll strip behavior finicky
  • No horizontal scrolling

While there are plenty of innovative wireless pointing devices available, few are as light, compact, interesting, and mobile as Microsoft’s Arch Touch Bluetooth Mouse. It’s designed primarily as an accessory for the company’s Surface Book PCs (it’s the same light-gray color), but since it’s a standard pointing device, it also works with most laptops or tablets running a recent version of Windows (and some MacBooks) that support Bluetooth. The Arc Touch mouse is, when turned off, ultra-thin, making it easy to slip in to your pocket or some other tight spot.

The Arc Touch mouse is unique in design. Even so, just about any other small wireless “travel” pointing device, such as Logitech’s M535 Bluetooth Mouse ($39.99) or Microsoft’s own Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 ($29.99), is a direct competitor. You can pick up the Arc Touch mouse for about $40, which is a bit high for a small mouse like this, especially considering that you can buy the EasyGlide Wireless 3-button Travel Mouse, and several others, for as little as $20. That said, you’ll have trouble finding a mobile mouse as easy to carry around with you than the slim and petite Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse, and like most Microsoft peripherals, it’s well-built, durable, and somewhat elegant.

Slim in use, even slimmer when stowed

At 0.6 inches high (when turned off) by 2.3 inches across by 5.1 inches long (also when turned off) and weighing only 2.3 ounces, the Arc Touch mouse, while not in operation, is much shorter in height, but longer than most other mice—until you turn it on, that is. You power it up by curling, or arcing (hence the word arc in the name), the tail end of the device downward, thereby shortening its length and increasing its height. But arcing the mouse isn’t merely a unique way of turning the device on. When arced, it fits the curvature of your palm and fingers, similar to any standard small travel mouse.

William Harrel

The arc increases the height to just over two inches and shortens the length by about an inch or so, which brings its dimensions more in line with competing products. Logitech’s M535 Bluetooth Mouse, for instance, measures 2.4 inches high and just under 4 inches long; although, at 2.9 ounces, it outweighs the Arc Touch mouse by more than half an ounce.

Up front, where the controls are located, the Arc Touch mouse is encased in hard gray plastic, and the back end, the part that arcs, is coated with a slightly darker gray rubber-like material. The controls consist of left and right buttons separated by a plastic strip that acts like a depressible scroll wheel, and, as with most mice, you can change the behavior of the buttons and wheel, as well as alter the scroll speed, pointer, and so on, from an app you can download from Windows Store. While the mouse itself will pair with MacOS 10.10 or higher, alas, there is no such app for Macs. It will not work with any Android device.

Arc and away

As mentioned, you bend the Arc Touch mouse to turn it on. A small blue status LED on the underside indicates when its running and ready to pair.

The Arc Touch mouse is light, small, and when turned off, ultra-thin.

You pair it as you would most Bluetooth pointing devices, by pressing and holding a small button (also on the underside) for a few seconds to make it discoverable. It paired with both our Windows tablet and MacBook immediately, without any fuss.

Many competing mice, including the Logitech M535 Bluetooth Mouse, come with (often proprietary) Bluetooth dongles that enable use on machines without Bluetooth built-in. With the Arc Touch mouse, your computing device must already have Bluetooth available. The advantage is that if your mobile device has Bluetooth, you won’t have to use a valuable USB port. If, on the other hand, your laptop, tablet, or smartphone doesn’t support Bluetooth, you won’t be able to pair the mouse.

On the go

While we found the Arc Touch mouse comfortable enough, it’s not quite the same as holding a standard mouse with finger contours on each side and a raised scroll wheel. In other words, it takes a little getting used to. It was easier to move around, and to press and hold buttons, when we used it on a bare desktop, rather than a soft mouse pad. That’s because due to the arc, the Arc Touch mouse touches ground in only two spots. When holding a button down, the pressure dug into the mouse pad, making mouse movement a bit difficult.

As mentioned, you can reconfigure the buttons and other behavior from the downloadable app. The app gives you extensive control over the center “touch strip” used for scrolling. You can assign a behavior for when you tap it, such as “Browser back” or “Start menu,” as well as turn on audible and vibrating feedback when scrolling. Using the tap function was difficult to master. Despite its odd appearance and unorthodox configuration, though, after spending a little time with it, we found the Arc Touch mouse comfortable and efficient to use.

For the long haul

The Arc Touch mouse is powered by two (included) AAA batteries housed in a compartment on the underside of the non-arcing portion of the device. Microsoft says that with regular use you should get about six months from a set of batteries. To turn the mouse on, it must be fully arced, making it difficult to accidently activate in your backpack or pocket.

Warranty information

Microsoft offers a three-year limited warranty that provides for replacement of the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse if it fails under normal use.

Our Take

Microsoft’s Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is light, compact, and stylish, and when powered down (un-arced), it can slip neatly into your pocket. It’s reasonably comfortable to use for so small of a device, and the company’s three-year warranty allows you to buy it with peace of mind.

Is there a better alternative?

Most travel mice, including Logitech’s M535 Bluetooth Mouse or Microsoft’s Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, are small and light, but few are as light and compact as the Arc Touch mouse, especially in its flat, or turned off, position. While the Arc doesn’t have many rivals in terms of size, Logitech’s MX Anywhere 2 is competitive in terms of features, and remains our go-to recommendation.

How long will it last?

The Arc Touch Mouse feels a lot more durable than it looks. It would take some real effort to break it, and the flex (arc) on/off mechanism seem sturdy enough. And if it stops working in the first three years, Microsoft will replace it. Three years of use is a good value from a $40 peripheral.

Should you buy it?

Only if you’re a traveler. If you don’t like using a touch pad or poking a tablet screen with your finger, and you need something light and easy to carry around, the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse should serve you well. It’s easy to pair, to use, and you don’t have to take up a valuable USB port.

However, should you prefer a standard palm-shaped mouse with a more tactile scroll wheel, there are plenty to choose from. The Arc is meant for people who need to lighten their load, and works well there, but it’s not the best choice for general use.

Product Review

You can't get convincing surround sound with a single speaker, right? Wrong

LG’s latest Dolby Atmos soundbar is loaded with power, features, and quirks, including the lack of a center channel. That said, this distinctive soundbar offers powerful Atmos immersion for a two-piece system, making it worth…
Computing

Make your games sound amazing with one of these sets of awesome gaming speakers

If you want to take your gaming sound to the next level, you need to find the best gaming speakers for your set up. Whether you're on a tight budget, want some fancy RGB lighting, or just need the best speaker set money can buy, these great…
Home Theater

Diagnose and fix some common Apple AirPods problems with our handy guide

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Deals

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.
Deals

Amazon sale drops deals on Microsoft Surface laptops

Despite an increasingly crowded market, the sleek Microsoft Surface laptops have left their mark. Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 are discounted on Amazon right now, too, with deals that can save you up to $300.
Computing

AMD’s Ryzen one-two punch will end with a 64-core Threadripper in 2019

AMD's Threadripper may be set to deliver the killing blow to Intel in Q4 2019, with a rumor suggesting a new Zen 2-based Threadripper line is coming down the pipe with a top chip that has as many as 64 cores.
Computing

If you need your laptop to be large, these ones are most in charge

Whether you're in the market for a mobile workstation or a gaming behemoth, there's probably something in the 15-inch form factor that can fit the bill. Here, we've rounded up the best 15-inch laptops available.
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Computing

HP's Spectre x360 is a better 2-in-1 than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a clamshell

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a refresh of Microsoft's clamshell option, an oddity given Microsoft's creation of the modern 2-in-1. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, therefore, an interesting comparison.
Deals

Amazon deal drops prices on Asus VivoBook laptops and 2-in-1s

Asus is one of the premier PC brands cranking out Windows ultrabooks today with its sleek VivoBook series, and these Amazon deals let you score one for $700 or less. Read on to find out what we love about these laptops and how you can save.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Computing

Air, Pro, or just a MacBook? Here's our guide to finding the right Apple laptop

Apple's lineup of MacBooks has started to swell, leaving fans a bit confused about which laptop they should buy. Depending on what you're looking for, we'll point you in the right direction.