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Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs
Long battery life
Wonky scrolling button
Minor blue track tech issues on smooth surfaces
The price and some minor issues with the wheel button caused us to hesitate with the Microsoft Arc Touch, but ultimately, its sleek and modern design, coupled with ambidextrous and ergonomic features, made us really like this older mouse.
When working on the go, a portable laptop mouse can be essential. Microsoft aimed to fix this product demand for travelling workers back in 2012. Their solution: the RVF-00052 Arc Touch, a viable office solution for workers who require mouse-heavy PC tasks on the go. With a simple design and touch-sensitive capabilities, it, in theory, works on nearly any surface and uses nano transceiver technology for optimal performance.
The Arc Touch mouse is very sleek and is one of the thinnest mice on the market. At its thickest, where the main buttons are, it’s barely a half an inch thick. This proves incredibly useful when taking into consideration its portability. Hands down, the best feature is that it unfolds into a flat mouse, measuring just past 5.2 x 2.25 x 0.5 inches (LWH), from its original 4.5 x 2.25 x 1.3 inches (LWH). This foldability is really nice for slipping the mouse into a carry-on case or a laptop bag, as it doesn’t jut out like other mice do. When you’re strapped for space because you’ve packed too many pairs of shoes into your carry on (something we’ve admittedly done), this compactness is a great feature.
Despite the Arc Touch being around seven years old, the design holds up well in the more modern settings. While it could be a tad lighter, this weight isn’t a deal-breaker since most of that weight comes from the two AAA batteries the mouse requires. With only four buttons—the main button, the scrolling buttons, and the right button—it won’t be ideal for gameplay. For office travel and for basic PC usage, though, this ergonomic mouse is a steal, especially with its ambidextrous capabilities and magnetic USB port clip-on on its undercarriage.
With only four buttons—the main button, the scrolling buttons, and the right button—it won’t be ideal for gameplay.
Setting up the Arc Touch proved to be a little annoying. Microsoft had the best of intentions when they included complimentary batteries, however, extracting them from the packaging required finagling. Once we removed the batteries, we inserted the two AAA batteries into the bottom of the mouse. On the bottom, a blue button flashed at us, indicating that it was ready to be plugged in.
Finally, we inserted the nano-adapter into the USB port. Because it comes with plug and play features, we only had to wait about 15 seconds before we bumped the mouse and the cursor reflected this shift on the monitor.
Using Blue Track sensory technology, the mouse is capable of handling almost any surface. Sure enough, it got dragged across a myriad of surfaces: wood, plastic, an armchair, and a plaster wall. Each time, the mouse worked—with differing results. While it can work across multiple surfaces, expect some sacrifice on the sensory technology, especially on more hardened surfaces like faux wood desks. Originally, it seemed as though there was a flaw in the sensory technology, as the mouse didn’t register minute shifts in the mouse, but when we added a mouse pad surface, all of the issues went away, and the result was a smooth cursor on the monitor. It will work on most surfaces, but at the sacrifice of some of the more detailed sensories.
Once we put a mousepad under the Arc Touch, it didn’t experience any delay issues thanks to the rock-solid nano-transceiver technology. Flicking through websites and working in Photoshop, the cursor shifted every time the mouse did instantaneously.
Once we put a mousepad under the Arc Touch, it didn’t experience any delay issues thanks to the rock-solid nano-transceiver technology.
While the main and right buttons work and click with ease, the scrolling button gets lost in its attempt to be modern and productive. The scroller consists of two buttons separated by a small groove. In order to scroll, simply drag your finger over the groove upwards or downwards. Flicking the wheel button allows the window to scroll at faster speeds, and tapping the button and moving the mouse allows for controlled scrolling.
Differentiating between each of these options for the wheel button ends up confusing the Arc Touch, though. All too frequently, we had to click out of the double tapping, as resting our fingers on the scroller activated the double-tap feature. It’s not a dealbreaker, it is, however, very annoying at times—almost as annoying as the “vibration” the mouse features every time you scroll. As it vibrates, it also makes a clicking noise. Those who need a quiet mouse may want to look elsewhere, as the clicking noise can get on your nerves after a while. Once again, it’s not a dealbreaker, but it is an important aspect to take into consideration when looking for a portable mouse.
The Arc Touch was definitely designed with ergonomics in mind, but as we discovered, the lack of a body threw our grip off. Every time we expected to rest our hands on sides of the mouth, we were greeted with air. It takes some time getting used to, but once you’re used to it, it’s a nice mouse with a comfortable grip. After eight hours, we didn’t experience any muscle fatigue or cramped hands, so it’s meant to last for hours on end.
Microsoft boasts that the RVF can last for up to six months using two AAA batteries. After 30 hours of use and testing, it showed no signs of slowing down. When the battery gets low, a small light will flash on the top, right below the wheel button, alerting the user to change batteries. Either way, this mouse gave us no reason to question the six-month battery lifespan.
At around $60, this is a great portable mouse, but it’s at the high end of the budget. There are other, cheaper ergonomic mice. However, for the cost, you get a folding mouse that is about the size of a small calculator. That feature alone may be worth paying for if you need something small that compacts into luggage.
One of the closest, smoothest designs that could be comparable to the Microsoft was the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630 (view on Amazon). Even then, comparing them outside of a sleek, portable design was like comparing apples to oranges. For starters, their price points are way off the mark: the Arc retails for around $44-60, whereas the Logitech will set you back a whopping $170.\
The difference in price points stems from their transmission methods. The Arc Touch relies on nano transceiver technology, while Logitech uses Bluetooth to connect to Bluetooth enabled computers. Because it uses Bluetooth, though, it severely limits what kinds of computers can use such an expensive mouse. After all, if your device doesn’t have Bluetooth, then the Logitech mouse can’t connect at all.
Their battery lives are also drastically different. The Logitech mouse is only designed to last 10 days on every 1.5-hour charge, while the Arc Touch can go up to six months on two AAA batteries. Size doesn’t matter in this case, since it boils down to two things: connectivity and battery life. If you want something that can handle universal connectivity, then the Microsoft Arc Touch is hands down the best option. If you want to go for the metaphorical gold of the tech world, then the Logitech’s Bluetooth option is the better choice for your needs.
The compact design reigns as king.
While the price may be too steep for some, the Microsoft Arc Touch mouse’s foldable design is really what you pay for. Small wheel button issues and its accompanying clicking noise can be overlooked for its portability. Blue track technology means that you can work on the go on most surfaces, making it worth a serious consideration.