Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

Summary: Watch out, Magic Mouse. Microsoft has a new mouse rolling onto desks this week.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Microsoft
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Not to be confused with Microsoft's other mouse, the Explorer Touch Mouse, shipping this fall, the slightly more simply-named Touch Mouse is touted as a more advanced peripheral.

SET-UP

Before you even consider buying this device, know that the Touch Mouse is especially optimized for Windows 7. Mac users need not apply. Technically, the device is somewhat supported by Windows Vista and XP, but the only touch gesture supported is center scrolling. Thus, it's not really worth it to spend they money on this mouse if you don't have Windows 7.

Included in the box with the Touch Mouse are two AA alkaline batteries, the USB receiver and a USB extension cord for anyone using this mouse with a large computer tower and for some reason you can't just use the USB receiver by itself. Unfortunately, Bluetooth is not a connectivity option here.

Setting up the basic mouse functions (meaning getting the mouse to work yet without the multi-touch features) is extremely simple. It's a plug-and-play operation as I just plugged the receiver into an empty USB slot on my computer, a little message popped up spotting new hardware, and I was ready.

The next part is downloading the additional software online, which is essential considering the whole purpose of buying this mouse is because of the multi-touch gesture support. The user guide said that I should have been automatically prompted to download the necessary plug-ins, but that didn't happen. So it was time to point the mouse to the browser window to Microsoft Software Downloads.

Finding, downloading and installing the drivers was done within a matter of seconds.

USE

For reference, I don't normally use a mouse with multi-touch gestures. I don't even like using the touchpad on my MacBook Pro. I prefer to use a regular click mouse at all times.

So it took me a little longer than it might for others to get used to the Touch Mouse. As a regular mouse (without touch abilities), it worked seamlessly and fluidly. Although it felt a little larger when compared to the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 series, I definitely appreciated the sleek, ergonomic design.

As for the touch gestures, I definitely had to look over the guide. While some were intuitive (i.e. scrolling), other gestures, such as when using two or three fingers to manage windows and the desktop respectively, were not. For the  most part, everything went smoothly, but I definitely recommend anyone who buys this to hold on to the user's guide and learn all of the different gestures (there are over a dozen) before recycling it.

In terms of different uses, I found the Touch Mouse to be more responsive and helpful when browsing and doing word processing. However, I found it to be a little harder to control when editing photos, so I would not recommend this device for designers.

With this USB receiver, the Touch Mouse can work within a 10-foot range, giving users greater flexibility if they need it when moving around, using this mouse during a presentation, etc.

AVAILABILITY

The Touch Mouse is already available for pre-order, and it is expected to be released on Thursday, August 11.

Priced at $79.95 with a 3-year limited hardware warranty, this is definitely a high-end accessory that makes one question how much they really need and/or want to pay for a mouse. Microsoft promises that that this device "helps you get more done in less time," which could be the case over a long period of time. However, it still felt like the same amount of time to me.

Nevertheless, this is definitely one of Microsoft's better answers to Apple products, and if you're into using multi-touch gestures for navigation, then you won't be disappointed.

For a look at some of our hands-on reviews of other Microsoft mice, check out these posts examining the ultra-portable and flexible Arc Touch Mouse and the budget-friendly (yet corded) Express Mouse.

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Topics: Hardware, Microsoft

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18 comments
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  • Yep what out apple

    Years later and requires USB. A real threat;-)
    Richard Flude
  • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

    So this is just another reason, that all computers should run Windows 7? Wouldn?t it be grand if every computer in the world was on Windows, as no one likes Mac OS, or for that matter Linux.
    Rick_Kl
    • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

      @Rick_Kl What are you smoking? I want some.
      Champ_Kind
    • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

      @Rick_Kl YES! Methinks that Win7 is far and away the best platform MSFT has come up with so far. I worked for MSFT when they were still supporting DOS. While I love Windows, your remark about Mac is way off. I'd not think of using one unless I was heavily into graphics or video. MSFT can't begin to touch the quality of the Mac when it comes to those items.
      bevkurtin
  • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

    "somewhat supported by vista and xp"? i would forget about this fantasy.

    besides microsoft mouse's and keyboards have never impressed me, cost too much and aint' worth a nickel after all the headaches they create.
    databaseben
    • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

      @databaseben@...
      Virtually all our Mice & Keyboards are from Microsoft at home. They work well and I haven't had any issues with them - they also produce a lot less EMI than other brands.
      xnederlandx
  • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

    I am surprised you're not talking about the very bad battery life. This mouse is rated 3 months on 2AA batteries, which is below the usual range (although the Apple Magic Mouse does not seem to do better).

    For comparison, the upcoming Explorer Touch is rated 18 months on the same 2AA. We're talking 6 times the battery life here!

    I understand both devices do not offer the same features but still, that's a heck of a difference.
    TheCyberKnight
  • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

    $80 and no Bluetooth?!? Come on, really? People are moving from desktops to laptops and you expect laptop users to have to rely on cords to use a mouse???
    nssdiver
    • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

      @nssdiver It connects wirelessly through the USB Nano transceiver and has a 10-foot range.
      Spatha
      • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

        @Spatha My mighty mouse connects through Bluetooth (which means it doesn't need a USB port all to itself) and has a 30 foot range.
        Champ_Kind
    • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

      @nssdiver
      Go look and see how many mice out there support bluetooth. You will be surprise. And none of them are great mice. Most are iffy. And believe it or not, cord is a good option to have. hard core gamers (though none would buy this mouse) do not use wireless mice.
      rengek
      • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

        @rengek The Magic Mouse is probably the finest mouse I've ever owned for general purpose work. The best gaming mouse, however, is a Razer I had years ago.
        Champ_Kind
  • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

    Good God! This is supposed to be an improvement over a wireless click mouse? Seems like going backwards to me.
    ITOdeed
  • Touch not click, is music to my ears.

    Personally, I like using the double tap method for selection on a touchpad. If I could do that with my mouse instead of having to heave that button down past its "click" point, I'd be all smiles.
    WenPersona
  • It's Wireless

    It's not obvious from the article, but it connects wirelessly through the USB Nano transceiver and has a 10-foot range.
    Spatha
  • Bought one

    So far so good. Completely wireless. Much faster maximizing, minimizing windows. The thumb sweep reminds me of the 5 button mouse that was useful for going back and forward in a web browser. Extremely reponsive and ergonomically sound. Overall it does seem like a more of a toy, tough to say if it will make you more productive or not. Great feel though!
    bschriver1
  • RE: Hands-on review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

    Not in a million years.
    fairportfan
  • Biggest POS mouse ever - I bought it and cant wait to go back to Logitech.

    I bought mine 3 days ago at BestBuy and it's going back tomorrow. The tracking is annoyingly inaccurate for the middle mouse scroll. It lags out and 1-2 seconds later it catches up on the PC (not always though). It's uncomfortable. No middle mouse button to push down on. When scrolling with the fake middle wheel its too fast all the time.

    Biggest problem > If your a gamer STAY AWAY!!! It is NOT COD3 or BF3 compatible! Why? You cannot press the Right AND Left buttons at the SAME time making it useless for games where you use the Right button to aim a specialized weapon and then while holding it press the Left button to fire. The 3 finger or 2 finger thing is neat but you forget about it after a day and only remember when you mistakenly rest your fingers on the top of the mouse. The CONCEPT is good but in real life its worthless. The $20-$30 wireless mice are plenty good enough for 99% of people.
    defalkner