Review: Microsoft Touch Mouse; The exclusive Windows 7 mouse

Today started off like any other day. That was until I checked my mail box and found a little goodie from Microsoft inside. Upon opening up the package, I realized this wasn't the ordinary quick-packaging job that Microsoft seems to always leave to the last minute, this one actually had some thought behind it. The box not only pulls up to reveal the mouse inside, but it also comes with a big flap that allows you to see the mouse behind its clear plastic casing. If you've ever shopped for a mouse in store you'll know sometimes the best mice aren't on display to use, but locked away from reach or inside a box that doesn't allow you to actually see the product.

Setup:

Plugging in the micro-transceiver brings up a full screen instructional guide on how to use the mouse. The quick eight step guide teaches you how to use all the touch functions of the mouse, including hiding and showing windows, maximizing and minimizing, Aero Snap, and your back and forth buttons. The entire mouse uses gesture controls, except of course your left and right click buttons. For example, to minimize all your windows, you simply drag three fingers from the tip of the mouse in towards your palm, and reverse to reveal them all.

Once you have completed or skipped the tutorial, you can begin playing with your mouse.

Hardware:

The Microsoft Touch Mouse is definitely one of Microsoft's finest mices produced, in my opinion. The look and feel of the Touch Mouse feels very sturdy in my hands, slides very smoothly, and feels like it it could take some abuse over the next few years. Although the mouse is a little smaller than what I had hoped for, it really does have a nice feel to it and does fit comfortably in my hands.

The top of the mouse comes with over a hundred touch receptors that track your movement when you're using gestures. A light touch of your thumb left or right to navigate pages is easily picked up. Sometimes I've struggled with other mice to actually click the correct back and forth button or haven't pressed them hard enough to activate, something I haven't had an issue with on the Touch mouse.

The underbelly of the Touch Mouse is a smooth, shiny white plastic that has an easy-to-access panel for changing your AA batteries. The mouse also comes equipped with a tiny hole to hold your USB micro-transceiver while you travel with your mouse. The mouse also uses BlueTrack technology for quick response and pin-point precision.

The Touch Mouse also comes with a handy extension USB cable, just for those special setups that have a lot of interference from the exposed USB ports of the computer and the mouse.

Software:

Software for the mouse is limited to the option panel under Control Panel, which lets you customize everything on the device, including touch sensitivity. Since the Touch Mouse has a symmetric design, you can use it in either your right or left hand, with settings to adjust the controls of your thumb. If you find the gestures to be overwhelming, there is available options to disable the two and three finger swipes, including your thumb gesture.

The gestures do leave a blue streak to show the action you just performed, but this can be toggled off once you're familiar with the device and know how to use it.

The Gestures:

The whole point of this device is to work with the added features in Windows 7. To better utilize the features in Windows 7 like Aero Snap and show all open windows in a grid, the Touch Mouse puts these all at your finger tips, literally. Scrolling three fingers from the middle of the mouse to the tip of it will reveal all your currently opened windows. Using two fingers left or right will activate the Windows snap feature, allowing you to quickly compare windows side-by-side. Other than just useful shortcuts, this mouse is also really useful in large excel sheets to pan up and down, or left and right.

Price and Availability:

The Microsoft Touch Mouse is available in stores now and has an MSRP of $79.99, although I have seen it cheaper on some retail chains' web sites.

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Gestures are very easy to use
  • Great look and feel, very comfortable to hold
  • Works on any surface and has great precision

Cons:

  • $79.99 MSRP for a mouse
  • Not really intended to be a gaming mouse
  • No middle click button

Conclusion:

The Microsoft Touch Mouse is easily the best mouse I have ever used. I've been a big fan of the Microsoft Laser Mouse 7000 for the past two years now, but this mouse is easily a stylish replacement for that. The gesture controls are great and I could see myself taking advantage of the Windows 7 features I normally don't use on a daily basis. What's also really great about this mouse is the software could easily be upgraded to include new gestures. Something like pinch-to-zoom could be integrated one day.

The only thing I see wrong with the Touch Mouse is the starting price point, which we could see come down after the holiday season. Since the mouse isn't a true gaming mouse, a $79.99 MSRP is a little steep for this mouse.

However, it surprised me just how good it felt, looked and acted. If you're looking for a new professional mouse, take a quick look at the Microsoft Touch Mouse.

Score: 9/10

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