Microsoft ARC Mouse (ELG-00026)

$67.99
4.55

Design

4.8/5

Features

4.5/5

Performance

4.5/5

Value

4.5/5

Pros

  • Slim and lightweight
  • Quick bluetooth pairing
  • Fun, minimalist design
  • Famous, Microsoft peripherals warranty
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • No gesture support
  • Not fully ergonomic
  • No back/forward buttons
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Introduction

I have worked in the IT industry for over 17 years (even longer as the “family computer guy”) and have had the opportunity to play with, fix, test, and recommend a wide variety of electronics and technologies. My favorite mouse and keyboard manufacturers have been Microsoft and Logitech because of their quality and REALLY good, technical support.

Microsoft released its Arc Mouse over a decade ago in 2008, targeting consumers with a fashionable, travel peripheral. It featured a folding design with laser optics that I had never seen before — a mouse that FOLDS away to take up less space? Then a few years later, the company released a touch-enabled version, the Arc Touch Mouse, that now folded FLAT.

When I purchased my first Surface in late 2013, the Windows RT-based “Surface 2”, I decided to pair it with the “Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition” — a version that had Bluetooth built in and no longer required a USB dongle to carry around. It was designed to match the look and design of the Surface, and I was ecstatic and curious at the same time: snap it flat to turn off, snap it curved to turn on. This was done with a cringe-worthy, awe-inspiring “crack” sound. I have used this same mouse since — for over 6 years!

However, there were some issues with the Surface Arc Touch Mouse:

  • Occasional pairing issues (fixed by snapping the mouse closed and back open — to reboot it)
  • Rubber portion started becoming sticky as if it was disintegrating (see TIPS section below on how to fix that)

Microsoft recently released (October) the 2019 iteration of the “ARC Mouse” (Model ELG-00026). It looks, feels, and works differently than the 2013 predecessor.

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In A Nutshell

The newest edition of the ARC Mouse, released in October 2019, adds a vertical and horizontal scrolling feature by removing the haptic, scroll (middle) strip of its predecessor. The new, minimalist design took some getting used to, but its reliability and quick-to-pair feature makes the newest model a great addition to an already, very-popular mouse series under Microsoft’s arsenal. Pair that with the company’s infamously great warranty policy, and we have yet another winner in the portable peripheral space.

Powered On /Microsoft

What’s Good? What’s Bad?

Pros

  • NEW to 2019‘s ARC Mouse: vertical and horizontal scrolling
    • Simply swipe your finger(s) against the top of the mouse in the direction you want to move
    • Horizontal scrolling is made possible after the haptic, scroll (middle) strip of earlier iterations was removed
  • Built-in Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) support
    • No dongle/USB adapter required
    • Pairs quickly with Windows 10 devices
    • Works with any Bluetooth 4.0 or higher devices, including Windows and Mac PCs, Android phones and tablets
  • Much more reliable than 2013’s Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition
  • VERY slim (snaps flat for easy storage), making it perfect for travel
    • Powers off by snapping the tail flat, and on by snapping to an arc
    • Fits perfectly in sunglass pouches
  • Lightweight at just under 3 oz (including batteries)
  • Left and Right-click buttons (invisible, but clickable)
  • Optical laser sensor for precision
    • Allows it to be used on many types of surfaces
    • Great for office use, but not for hardcore gaming where every, slight movement can result in winning or losing
    • Uses Microsoft’s blue laser technology, BlueTrack
  • Minimalist design
  • Bottom of mouse has the ribbing of the bendable part hidden, making it look aesthetically more pleasing
  • Great, wireless range (16′ – 33′, depending on area)
  • 2 AAA batteries required (included)
    • Long battery life (6+ months, depending on usage)

Powered Off /Microsoft

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • No button to go Back or Forward (which is extremely useful when browsing the web)
  • Minimalist design can be off-putting to some
  • No gesture support (ie. pinch to zoom)
  • Removal of the haptic, scroll (middle) strip of previous models can be a pain point for some, but you do get used to no longer having it
  • Ergonomically, these mice are not the best for your wrist
    • Be extra mindful of how you use the mouse for extended periods

Tips

Bird's Eye View /Microsoft

Bird’s Eye View /Microsoft

As I had mentioned earlier, my 2013 Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition started developing a sticky feel all over the surface as if the rubber was disintegrating. This is common with a lot of electronics (including an Ooma device we own.) This 2019 ARC Mouse does not have that issue at the time, but in case you do run into the sticking a few years from now, here is how to fix that:

  • Use a gentle cleaning agent, such as a mild, liquid hand soap
    • Never use harsh cleaning agents that can break down plastic or rubber!
  • Put a small amount on a soft cloth and gently wipe off the sticky portion
    • NEVER put liquid directly on any electronics!
  • Some suggest using isopropyl alcohol HAND wipes
  • If all else fails, contact Microsoft. Like Logitech, they have an excellent warranty policy
  • Keep the mouse clean by storing it in a sunglass pouch

Final Thoughts

For travels, the Arc-series of mice are my top choice that no other manufacturer has been able to copy. Microsoft has done a great job improving on these mice since their introduction in 2008. The 2019 ARC Mouse‘s slim, lightweight profile, quick Bluetooth pairing, and satisfying SNAP to turn on and off make them very fun to use. I hope that one day, Microsoft will release a version that supports finger gestures. Meanwhile, be mindful that they are not as ergonomic as the larger counterparts and should not be used for extended periods of time.

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