Review

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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69 Comments

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I bet it's a great mouse, but what's with the nasty grid design? it looks like they shipped it before they finished calibrating it or something.

.Neo said,
And people call Apple expensive.

Well after sticking it to you on the computer they should cut a little slack on the peripherals.

I bought one, in 2 weeks it will arive. I hope it works fine with win 8 and that they find a way to add the missing "middle click".

You really should have a picture up there with a ruler or hand on/next to it to give us a better idea of its size. For example, is it intended to be a mobile mouse? Is it larger than my Anywhere MX?

Joshua Lui Chan said,
What the???? Windows 7 has a grid overview option???

Not Windows, but it's been in Microsofts drivers for some time now… (Other manufacturers offer something like that too…)

TakeNothingBack said,
Now, how the **** does a mouse not come with a middle click button?? How?

Name any multitouch-mouse that features a middle click!

Nice 2003's Exposé rip-off... Good to see Microsoft at least putting some effort into giving the thing their own twist. /s

.Neo said,
Nice 2003's Exposé rip-off... Good to see Microsoft at least putting some effort into giving the thing their own twist. /s

Um, I'm guessing you've never seen the similar things that ran on Amigas, etc. from the 1980's and 1990's then...ahem.

No worries. Virtually all Apple apologistas have a profound lack of knowledge regarding GUI design over the past 30 years.

.Neo said,
Nice 2003's Exposé rip-off... Good to see Microsoft at least putting some effort into giving the thing their own twist. /s

Le smug.

.Neo said,
Amiga had a 1:1 Exposé look-a-like before OS X Panther?

Yes. It's just a "minimize window to thumbnail" concept. Hardly unique in the annals of GUI development. Hell, there were GAMES out long before Panther that used similar window management shortcuts.

I can't remember the program name and it looks like most Amiga stuff is too old to have leave a screenshot presence on the web for Google to have mined, but I also remember using a docking bar to launch programs as well in the gold ole days.

excalpius said,
I also remember using a docking bar to launch programs as well in the gold ole days.

Like Windows 1.01?

excalpius said,

Yes. It's just a "minimize window to thumbnail" concept. Hardly unique in the annals of GUI development. Hell, there were GAMES out long before Panther that used similar window management shortcuts.

I can't remember the program name and it looks like most Amiga stuff is too old to have leave a screenshot presence on the web for Google to have mined, but I also remember using a docking bar to launch programs as well in the gold ole days.


It looks nothing like Exposé.

.fahim said,
Been waiting ages for this thing to be release in the UK - anyone have any idea when it will be available?

Should be soon as it was meant to be coming by the end of August. Unless it just gets delayed again.

Julius Caro said,
Now, the real question is how can the rest of us enable that exposé like thing with our 5 bucks mouses.

You could try downloading the MS Intellitouch stuff and let us know if it works on your generic mouse, lol.

Enron said,

You could try downloading the MS Intellitouch stuff and let us know if it works on your generic mouse, lol.

I have Intellipoint, that came with my Microsoft Sidewinder X8, I cant find anything about Instant View. Any ideas?

Julius Caro said,
Now, the real question is how can the rest of us enable that exposé like thing with our 5 bucks mouses.

You could try:
* Switcher
* Dexpot
* A Logitech Keyboard as those sometimes support Expose
* …

Thanks for the review.

How well does this mouse perform on glass surface? I'm liking my Logitech Darkfield equipped mices, and this seems to be a good one to add to my collections. I know that BlueTrack works on any surface - well any surface except glass or mirrors... I'm kinda hoping this one comes with an improved BlueTrack CMOS chip (v2.0 if you can call it or one ever existed), or some sort....

Have you tested it on a clear/dark glass surface?

Dan~ said,
Yer no middle key me no likey.

MFH - that seems awkward, you now have to use the keyboard aswell?


That's the bad part about this mouse. I use middle click a few dozen times a day to launch links in new windows. I guess I could always set Firefox to do it this way, but I like my options

Dan~ said,
Yer no middle key me no likey.

MFH - that seems awkward, you now have to use the keyboard aswell?

I have a Microsoft mouse that has a scrollwheel that is horribly hard to middle-click, so I've set the right side-button to middle-click instead of forward, much much better

Dan~ said,
MFH - that seems awkward, you now have to use the keyboard aswell?

It's actually pretty natural after a while. As my left hand is about 90% of the time on the keyboard pressing the WIN-Key is not a big deal - obviously I don't use that setup while playing, but these mice are not really designed for gaming anyway…

BTW: How do you execute a middle click on a Magic Mouse?

Just noticed: IE9 handles CTRL + LeftClick as MiddleClick - so there isn't really a need to use AutoHotkey…

Sorry if I am ignorant, but is that a Expose like feature on Windows? Is it available in Windows 7 or just possible with this specific mouse? I am not talking about third party software that can achieve the functionality.

debsuvra said,
Sorry if I am ignorant, but is that a Expose like feature on Windows? Is it available in Windows 7 or just possible with this specific mouse? I am not talking about third party software that can achieve the functionality.

It does look like it, doesn't it?

I love the idea of touch mice and the comments about it copying apple, seriously... even if they did who cares. All OS/hw manufacturers should have the ability to use a touch based mouse...

anyway... not 100% sold on the design of this one. Maybe it will grow on me, but the "x"s or "+" on it seem odd, would have preferred a more grainular look, like found on some HP laptops (maybe others as well)

debsuvra said,
Sorry if I am ignorant, but is that a Expose like feature on Windows? Is it available in Windows 7 or just possible with this specific mouse? I am not talking about third party software that can achieve the functionality.

Yes. It's called Instant View and you can use it with the Microsoft Intellitouch software, no need for the touch mouse.

negroplasty said,

Yes. It's called Instant View and you can use it with the Microsoft Intellitouch software, no need for the touch mouse.

Yeah, Instant View has been available in the drivers for years - at least since ~2005.

Hope that there will be a possibility to change the action of existing gestures and add new ones.

Hmmmm I really use middle-click a heckuvalot, so if there's no way of doing that, I'm afraid I might have to give this mouse a miss, which is a shame, because I wanted this mouse.

cleverclogs said,
Hmmmm I really use middle-click a heckuvalot, so if there's no way of doing that, I'm afraid I might have to give this mouse a miss, which is a shame, because I wanted this mouse.

Do like I do: WIN+KEY + LeftClick => MiddleClick [AutoHotkey ]

NimrodUK said,
Looks like a complete copy of the Apple Magic Mouse...

How is it a copy of the Magic Mouse. All mice have the same basic shape because that shape is optimal to fit your hand, there is no other way of shaping a mouse without looking like every other mouse.

You Apple guys need to get a clue.

TheLegendOfMart said,

How is it a copy of the Magic Mouse. All mice have the same basic shape because that shape is optimal to fit your hand, there is no other way of shaping a mouse without looking like every other mouse.

You Apple guys need to get a clue.

The magic mouse doesn't even conform to basic mouse shape, that's why it's so horrible to hold.

NimrodUK said,
Looks like a complete copy of the Apple Magic Mouse...

Do a search, so you don't sound like an AppleNut... Microsoft built touch top mice in R&D several years before Apple's Magic Mouse was released. It wasn't until Microsoft started showing external video of the mice to partners, did the 'Magic Mouse' Magically appear the next year.

So if this is a copy of the Magic Mouse, then it is a copy of itself, as the Magic Mouse is a copy of Microsoft Mouse technology.


This reminds me of the people that believe Apple had anything to do with, let alone invented 'multi-touch' gestures on any device. Even the iPhone multi-touch gestures are a direct copy of the TED presentation a year or more before the iPhone was built, and the 'pinch' and other gestures the iPhone used are so directly copied, that the presenter at TED and his people had 'made up' some gestures right before the conference, without much thought or usability testing. However, they are EXACTLY what Apple implemented. (Let alone Microsoft again had multi-touch interfaces and gestures going back to 2002 with the TabletPC and WinCE Tablet devices, in addition to mutli-point touch technologies some of their engineers had designed in the 80s.)

Jebadiah said,
I thought it; you said it. LOL

Now that it has been mentioned, I noticed a pack of dental floss on my desk. It looks like a copy of the Apple Magic Mouse, being white and flat-ish, and it even has a surface that you can touch.

Someone call Apple's lawyers, I'm sure they have a case for a good lawsuit here.

You can tell the different audiences sites take, most other news sites are covering this story as Microsoft takes Apple Magic Mouse but makes it for humans (commenting on how its designed better for the human hand). Yet most other news sites reference the fact its Microsofts answer to Magic Mouse.

(snipped)

Edited by Eric, Aug 20 2011, 12:14pm :

NimrodUK said,
You can tell the different audiences sites take, most other news sites are covering this story as Microsoft takes Apple Magic Mouse but makes it for humans (commenting on how its designed better for the human hand). Yet most other news sites reference the fact its Microsofts answer to Magic Mouse.

(snipped)

Of course it's meant to compete with the Magic Mouse, but to call it a "complete copy" is ridiculous. That's like saying a Honda Accord is a complete copy of a Toyota Camry because they have similar shapes and compete for the same segment of car buyers.

Edited by Eric, Aug 20 2011, 12:51pm :

NimrodUK said,
You can tell the different audiences sites take, most other news sites are covering this story as Microsoft takes Apple Magic Mouse but makes it for humans (commenting on how its designed better for the human hand). Yet most other news sites reference the fact its Microsofts answer to Magic Mouse.

Windows Phone 7 is Microsofts answer to iOS and android, is it also a complete copy?

Minimoose said,

Windows Phone 7 is Microsofts answer to iOS and android, is it also a complete copy?

Not so much, as it does has its own unique features and does at least try to do things in a different 'unique' way.

Maybe it was the way I said complete, but I honestly think this mouse, especially with the expose gesture and feature, seems like its clearly just 'borrowing' ideas from the Magic Mouse.

I believe that the comment was regarding similarities on functions and price range, not in the shape of the device, nevertheless it should be a clue of how crappy the device is, since it does everything that the magic mouse but is more expensive...I would consider to buy it if at least the price was exactly as the magic mouse.

Xahid said,
Awesome, but too costly ...

Costly but mostly... No middle button? No way to buy it. Lastly, the middle button has become as useful as the other two.

EuroSceptiC said,

Costly but mostly... No middle button? No way to buy it. Lastly, the middle button has become as useful as the other two.

Yea middle button is important for me for the programs I use.

EuroSceptiC said,
Costly but mostly... No middle button? No way to buy it. Lastly, the middle button has become as useful as the other two.

This. A billion times this.