Microsoft Touch Mouse Lightning Review: It's Not Magic

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Touch Mouse Lightning Review: It's Not Magic

Apple's Magic Mouse is two years old. It attempted to merge two interfaces—touch and mousing—in a meaningful way by hybridizing a capacitive touch surface and a mouse. It's pretty good. Microsoft's Touch Mouse is like that, but for Windows 7. And actually designed for human hands to hold it.

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Well, the ergonomics. It's why Microsoft hardware is renowned. They make comfortable stuff. I typically dislike ambidextrous mice. Not this one. Also, the Touch Mouse's custom software delivers a true Expose-type feature to Windows 7 that reveals all over your open windows with a swooshy animation. It's so good it should just be built into Windows 7 by default, really.

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Oh, how to put this delicately: It doesn't work? One-finger scrolling is kind of like spinning The Big Wheel on the Price Is Right—you never know where it's going to stop. The back and forward thumb gestures are truly awkward, and only work about half the time. It misinterprets touches, often, and with a vengeance. But the real killer? Right-click only works about 60-70 percent of the time. And because I could never trust the mouse to do what I needed it to, I never felt super comfortable holding it, since I was always paranoid I'd set off a horrible chain reaction of gestures that would like restart the sun or something.

Should I Buy This?

Not unless there's a mega firmware update that magically makes it awesome. The prototype I saw over a year ago had tons of promise, and it could be killer mouse, even at $60. If, you know, it worked.

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DISCUSSION

brian-kane-old
Brian Kane

What a horrible review that goes against previous article ([gizmodo.com])

I've been using the Touch Mouse for about a month on 4 different Windows 7 PCs and have not experienced any of the gripes of Matt.

I find the touch scrolling to be responsive and accurate 100% of the time. Similarly right click works all the time.

I think the thumb flicking is not awkward - its genius and intuitive. It's so much better than the Magic Mouse where you have to do a 2 finger swipe (which generally results in pinning down the mouse with a pinky and thumb while swiping with middle and index).

I think the downsides of the mouse are the lack of pinch and zoom & rotate. The 2 finger aero snap is only mildly useful and the 3 finger expose is ok.