New Microsoft mice arc, go blue

Microsoft announces new mice

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
Rich Brown

Microsoft unveiled a veritable mischief of mice today for your laptop and desktop. One features a sharp new design, another showcases a new, proprietary sensor technology.

First on deck is the Arc Mouse. There's nothing too special here other than its curved, collapsible design. We honestly don't understand the appeal of so-called laptop mice, so that you can make the Arc Mouse more compact doesn't seem like much of a plus. Perhaps you disagree. We have a feeling design nerds will jump on this one, to replace those dated Phillipe Starck mice. Available in red and black, for $60 this month.

Microsoft's new, collapsible Arc Mouse. Microsoft

We find the Explorer Mouse ($100) and Explorer Mini Mouse ($80) more interesting. Each features Microsoft's own BlueTrack technology, a brand new sensor designed to work on more surfaces than typical optical or laser mice. We were able to play with the Explorer Mouse at a demo earlier this summer and indeed, the sample hardware was more accurate on the shiny test surfaces Microsoft provided. Assuming the for-sale products live up to the demo, we can see a real benefit for anyone who keeps a PC in the kitchen where reflective countertops might legitimately impede accuracy.

The Explorer Mini, with new BlueTrack sensor. Microsoft

What's also interesting about BlueTrack is that it's Microsoft-developed. Unlike the standard laser sensor, a product of Agilent Technologies and licensed out to every mouse vendor, BlueTrack may remain a Microsoft exclusive. Of course, those licensing fees probably look pretty tempting, too. The Explorer and Explorer Mini launch in November.