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Microsoft Touch Mouse review

Seth Barton
10 Aug 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
50
inc VAT

Great for keyboard-free window management, but spoiled but erratic and sluggish vertical scrolling

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Smartphones have hugely increased our appreciation of touch-sensitive interfaces. Touch screens on PCs and laptops have never really caught on, but with a handheld device they make far more sense. Working off this, Apple successfully integrated multi-touch gestures into its OS X operating system; these are entered using an oversized touchpad on laptops or with the Magic Mouse on desktops - with the mouse having a touch-sensitive top surface.

Microsoft's new Touch Mouse is very similar in design to the Magic Mouse. It looks like a pretty typical wireless mouse, though one shorn of its scroll wheel. This is replaced by a capacitative, touch-sensitive area that covers the front half of the device.

Microsoft Touch Mouse

The touch sensitive area is denoted by the pattern of crosses

We don't see any point in comparing the Touch Mouse directly to the Magic Mouse - you know if you prefer OS X or Windows 7 - so we'll just look at how the new mouse improves the Windows 7 user interface (its multi-touch functions only work with this, the latest version of Windows).

The mouse itself looks great, all sinuous curves and minimalist styling. It takes two AA batteries, though at this price it's disappointing that the supplied cells aren't rechargeable ones. We also found it a little slender for our liking, with our hand hovering over it, rather than it filling our palm comfortably. It uses Microsoft's Bluetrack technology, which means it'll track your motions on pretty much any surface.

It uses 2.4GHz wireless to connect to your PC, and as usual a minuscule USB receiver is provided. The mouse is supposed to automatically install its software when you plug it in, though we had to browse to Microsoft and download and install the latest version of the Intellipoint software. The USB receiver can be stored in the base of the mouse when not in use. A switch on the base lets you switch off the mouse to conserve battery life; both handy features for those who want to use the Touch Mouse on the move.

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