Hands on: Microsoft Arc mouse review

A bit of a looker
A bit of a looker

Perhaps the most innovative product to rear its striking head at Microsoft hardware's annual showcase was the neat little Arc mouse, so TechRadar took it for a test drive.

The first word that will strike you when you encounter an Arc is 'light'. By ripping the traditional guts out of the mouse Microsoft has made a truly lightweight device.

The Arc, as you have probably have realised is designed for portability, and hopes to take on the mantle of your laptop mouse.


Obviously, not only weight is a factor in this and to make sure the Arc is small enough to fit in your laptop bag the mouse has a fairly sturdy feeling hinge which allows it to fold into a much more compact size.

This is a neat idea, allowing you to use what, unfolded, is essentially a full size peripheral but without being penalised with an oversized burden.

Of course sometimes those extra small mice are useful for cramped conditions and, alas, rather than make the mouse usable still when folded MS has decided in its wisdom to coat the lower half if the mouse in rubber which means it is only usable when fully extended.

Not rechargable

The second gripe is the lack of a rechargable battery. This baby runs on batteries, meaning that you can't simply plug it into your USB when you are back near a power point and recharge.

It's a shame, because the arc is a stylish alternative to the norm and as a design ticks all the right boxes.

I asked Microsoft Hardware's Andre Reuter why the decision the mouse only works when fully open, and why it wasn't rechargeable, and he insisted that difficult decisions on these matters had been made in development.

"The Decision was taken to work on the comfort and style of the mouse," said Reuter. "We wanted the mouse to be compact when put away but work like a full size mouse when it was being used – I think we wanted to concentrate on that rather than focus on too many things at once.

"The rechargeable thing is obviously something we looked at in development, but these devices should last for months on two batteries."


In usability terms, the Arc fits the hand much better than many of its peers in the laptop mice category thanks to its unique design.

The tracking seems fine, and, although you won't be using this mouse for hardcore gaming, it's a pleasing (if expensive) and funky peripheral which will no doubt prove popular.

The Arc Mouse arrives in October and is expected to retail at £49.99.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.