The setup couldn’t be easier. Just insert the transceiver into the USB port on the computer and insert the included batteries into the Arc Touch by removing the cover on the back, as shown in Figure 3.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ReviewFigure 3: The back of the Arc Touch

Although it looks almost entirely flat, the Arc Touch mouse quickly arches to become a more mouse-like device, as shown in Figure 4. You simply hold one end of the mouse steady while pressing the other end and it snaps into the arc position. When in the arched position, it is on. Flatten it and it goes off. This is a great feature. There are no buttons to push and the on-off status of the mouse is obvious just by looking at it.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ReviewFigure 4: The Arc Touch in useable position

In or testing, the Arc Touch arched and flattened with no hesitation or problem. Microsoft tested the durability of this mouse by arcing and flattening it more than 40,000 during testing, so we can assume that it will keep working for years.

As you can also see in Figure 4, there is a small light on the top of this mouse. This lights a bright green briefly when the mouse if first turned on to show that power is getting to the mouse. Then it turns off to save battery power.

At 0.72 x 0.51 x 0.17 inches (18.3 x 13.1 x 4.4 mm), the transceiver is extremely small, as shown in Figure 5. This of course, is both an advantage and a detriment. The size is an advantage in that it is small and easy to transport and you can leave it plugged into the USB port on a laptop without fear of having it break off.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ReviewFigure 5: The transceiver

The biggest disadvantage, however, is that it is so easy to lose. Microsoft tried to address that problem by making an area on the back of the mouse magnetic. In Figure 6, you can see how the transceiver attaches to the mouse. While the magnetic pull is fairly strong, it is, unfortunately, not strong enough. It you put the mouse with the transceiver attached in a pocket, briefcase, or backpack where it might move around, the transceiver is almost always knocked loose. So you will have to search for it in the bottom of your pouch or find an alternative way to carry it.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse ReviewFigure 6: The transceiver attached to the mouse.

Some of Microsoft’s documentation says that the transceiver snaps into the bottom of the mouse. We find this in error. It would be nice if the transceiver snapped into the mouse where it would not be dislodged so easily, but the fact is that the transceiver snaps “onto” the bottom of the mouse rather than “into” it.

On Figure 6, you can also see that the lower part of the back is made of a rubberized material and that it is ribbed so that it stretches properly when being arched and flattened.

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.