After the Arc Touch Mouse, the Touch Mouse and the Explorer Touch Mouse, Microsoft is back with another original mouse, and this time it looks more like a doorstop than a computer peripheral. The Wedge Touch Mouse has a BlueTrack sensor and is compatible with Windows 7, 8, RT and Mac OS. Does the wedge-shaped design improve comfort and handling? Find out in our review.
DESIGN & BUILD
The Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse roused a lot of interested when it landed in our office. At first glance, you wouldn't even think that this black and silver wedge was a mouse, and some of the more curious souls in our test lab were surprised to hear our explanations when they asked what it was.
Although the design may look strange, this mouse is actually quite comfortable to handle. To move the mouse, you grip (albeit lightly) the edges of the wedge with your thumb and ring finger. Your index and middle fingers then fall naturally on the two zones used for right and left clicking. These zones have a soft-feeling finish and don't pick up too many fingerprints. You therefore shouldn't need to clean the Wedge Touch Mouse all that often.
The Wedge Touch Mouse weighs 65 grammes (with battery) and glides smoothly and lightly over surfaces. However, we found that its sliders (feet) were a bit noisy, especially on commonly used surfaces like a desk or table. Interestingly, on more unusual surfaces, like the arm of a sofa or a train seat, this isn't as much of a problem. Plus, the mouse carries on tracking perfectly well on loads of more unusual surfaces. In our numerous tests, the sensor only faltered with very shiny, reflective surfaces.
This mouse connects to a tablet or computer via Bluetooth. It's compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows RT and Mac OS. Microsoft also promises compatibility with a wide range of Android tablets.
Note that only Windows 7 and Windows 8 (and Mac OS to a lesser extent) let you use a driver to configure or switch on/off certain functions.
With Windows 7 and Windows 8, you can change the function of the left and right click zones by assigning macros to them (strings of commands).
The mouse can be configured with specific controls for specific software programs too. You can, for example, set the right click to go back to the previous page when you're using a web browser and to keep its original functions when using a word processing program. This goes some way to making up for the fact that there's no real profiles system on offer here.
For quick and easy web browsing, the touch-sensitive surface of the mouse lets you scroll horizontally and vertically. Unlike regular touchpads, here, you only need to use one finger to set the scrolling motion in action. This is definitely a good thing, as it can be awkward to try and scroll with two fingers while keeping hold of this mouse. A quick flick of the finger and you can set the page off scrolling until it hits the bottom—a bit like with a physical scroll wheel set to notch-free mode. The faster the movement, the faster it'll scroll.
One thing we do think would have been useful here is a video demo in the driver showing you all the control gestures. It's not always that easy to understand each gesture from written descriptions alone.
With a polling rate of 90 Hz, this mouse won't be responsive enough for all users. Cursor movement may not be accurate enough for more demanding users like graphic designers. However, the Wedge Touch Mouse will be perfectly fine for web browsing and office computing tasks that don't requite millimetre precision.
A gaming mouse should track movements of
at least three metres per second
It's the same story with speed too. This mouse can track movement at up to 2.12 metres per second, which isn't really fast enough for gamers—particularly FPS (Unreal, Doom, etc.) gamers who need to move in the blink of an eye. Although one button can be set to make a 180° turn in games, that only leaves you with one button to line up shots and fire with—not ideal.
Other types of users won't have a problem with this mouse's tracking speed.