Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Mouse review: A dongle-free Windows mouse, high on comfort and low in price
If you've just picked up a Windows laptop or tablet PC and just can't stand using the stylus, Microsoft's Sculpt Bluetooth mouse is the best wireless solution we've found to free yourself from the cramped restrains of USB transceivers, because let's face it -- sometimes even one dongle is one too many.
Logitech has long been the Michael Jordan of wireless mice, offering the best mousing performance for the buck, but the Sculpt Bluetooth mouse is swiftly catching up with some clever features -- like touch-sensitive shortcut buttons and the company's own BlueTrack scroll-everywhere laser sensor -- that makes navigating Windows 8 and 10 environments a breeze.
First, it's important to note that this mouse is for right-handed users only (sorry, lefties). The shape slopes upward and gently rises back toward your palm, so it's really comfortable to use for long stretches of time. The left side has a trim pad for your thumb to rest.
It actually reminds me a lot of the old Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer, in that it's lightweight and molded to cradle your hand. My only design complaint is the shiny plastic finish can get a little sticky if you're using it in hot environments.
See that blue Windows stripe on the left side of the mouse? It's both a universal shortcut button and a touch-sensitive touchpad that registers up and down swipes with your thumb.
All the buttons on the mouse are remappable once you download the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software. You can choose to assign the Windows button to do things like open the Start Menu, launch Cortana, or access any of your applications or tasks -- it's really up to you to decide what works best for your day-to-day productivity.
Same goes for the thumb swipes, but I prefer to use them to move me back and forward in a web-browser window. Another sweet feature is the mouse provides haptic feedback (aka a little vibration) whenever you swipe it to let you know it's registered the action. You can also disable it if you want.
Aside from the two main left and right clickers on top, the notched scroll wheel in the center is also pressable, and yes, you can also assign any function to that one too.
Tired of plugging and unplugging a wireless dongle into all your devices? The Sculpt eschews USB entirely and uses Bluetooth to connect to a PC or tablet. (The catch, of course, is that you need to make sure your PC has Bluetooth support; some older models don't.)
The bottom of the mouse has a power switch (turn it off to conserve the two AA batteries, which Microsoft says can boost the overall life up to 10 months) and a Bluetooth button that you use to pair it -- the process is simple, but some users online have complained about connection drops.
The workaround is just as easy: all you have to do is access the Intel hardware adapter under the device manager's Bluetooth settings and uncheck the box labeled "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power."
A blue light underneath glows softly to let you know the mouse is connected. It uses Microsoft's proprietary tracking technology called Bluetrack that works on virtually any surface.
I tested it with success on a number of tabletops, carpets and other rough or reflective textures. While these surfaces present a problem for traditional mice, the Sculpt scrolls beautifully across all of them. Glass is the only exception.
While this mouse works best with Windows, the Bluetooth connections means it can also pair with Mac OS, Android and Chrome OS devices, albeit with limited functionality.
A combination of convenient shortcut buttons, ergonomic design and a supremely precise laser sensor earn the Microsoft Sculpt Bluetooth mouse high marks and a no-brainer recommendation for Windows users. If, however, you're looking for a Bluetooth mouse to use exclusively with MacOS, Android or Chrome, consider the Logitech M535 for a few bucks more, or the far-more-expensive Logitech MX Anywhere 2 or flagship MX Master if you want to go luxe.