Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse Mini-Review

Posted on November 16, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Microsoft Surface, Windows 10 with 26 Comments

Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse Mini-Review

Microsoft’s new Surface Precision Mouse was a happy surprise at last month’s Surface Book 2 event. This mouse offers a few useful innovations and is more ergonomic than any other Surface-branded mouse.

The question for me, of course, is whether it meets the ergonomic benefits of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse which I prefer. And the short answer is, not quite. That mouse, with its odd softball-like shape, remains the ergonomic champ.

Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse (front) and Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse (rear).

But the Surface Precision Mouse comes very close. And it offers a more comfortable—and a safer/healthier—experience than most Microsoft mice. It is absolutely superior to the Surface Arc Mouse or Surface Mouse, both of which are ergonomic disasters.

My well-worn Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse (left) and Surface Precision Mouse (right). Plus, me in the reflection.

Before getting to the fun new features, let me just address the two downsides to the Surface Precision Mouse. First, it’s expensive at $99.99. (One can get a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse for just $37 on Amazon.com right now, so I ordered two. Yes, really.) That will make it a non-starter for many.

Second, it’s very much a right-handed mouse only. This isn’t super-unusual—the Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse I love so much is as well—but that will be disappointing to any southpaws who were hoping to complete their Surface hardware collection.

Aside from those two issues, the Surface Precision Mouse is all good news. It feels great to the touch, unlike the other cheap-looking and plastic-feeling Surface-branded mice. (Truth be told, it’s probably the same plastic, too. But there is something about the subtle heft of this device that puts it over the top.) And one’s hand falls naturally onto the mouse, with the thumb nestled in a nice side curve, right next to the three side buttons.

The Surface Precision Mouse can be connected to three different PCs via Bluetooth—and, if I’m not mistaken, a fourth via an included USB cable—making it a unique multi-tasker. The USB cable plugs into a standard micro-USB slot in the front of the mouse, and even if you intend to use the device wirelessly, you’ll need the cable for charging. (The batteries are sealed inside and are not removable.)

PC connectivity is easier than ever. Unlike most Bluetooth devices, you don’t need to press and hold a special button to trigger a pairing. Instead, you can simply search for a new Bluetooth device, as I did with Windows 10 Settings, and it will come right up.

There is, however, a special Bluetooth button on the bottom of the mouse. This is used to switch the input between the three paired PCs, and each is indicated with a little white light. (You can actually pair the mouse with a single PC three times, too, since each appears to be a different peripheral. I actually paired the mouse twice to my desktop PC by mistake while testing.)

So far, the performance looks great: I’ve seen mixed results with Bluetooth-based mice in the past, and I’m no fan of the pause that seems to accompany each the first time you wiggle it before use. The Surface Precision Mouse, somewhat magically, doesn’t appear to suffer from this issue.

Also magical are the configurable buttons that are available on the top and side of the mouse. That said, Windows 10 S fans can loudly rue the fact that configuring these buttons requires Microsoft’s Mouse and Keyboard Center software, which is—wait for it—a Win32 desktop app. So the mouse will only offer basic, or at least default, functionality on Windows 10 S.

On real versions of Windows, you get the full meal deal, of course. The three thumb buttons on the side are configured for Forward, Task View, and Back by default. And the mouse wheel can be pressed for a middle-click, by default. All of that can be changed.

Unique to Surface Precision Mouse, there is another button below the wheel which makes a satisfying “clunk” sound when pressed. This button toggles the wheel between its two scroll modes, a silky-smooth default scroll mode which needs to be experienced to be fully understood, and a so-called “detent” scrolling mode, which feels like an almost mechanical sectional scrolling, if that makes sense. It basically scrolls whatever you’re looking at in small, precise chunks.

I’ve only had the Surface Precision Mouse for a few days—hence the “mini” in the article title—but this is clearly the first truly excellent Surface mouse that Microsoft has ever made. It’s immediately endearing, offers truly useful and unique functionality, and is ergonomic enough to recommend. If you’re not thrown by the price—and are right-handed—you need to experience this mouse in person. I bet you’re going to love it.

You can purchase the Surface Precision Mouse from the Microsoft Store or, if you don’t mind helping out with the gadget purchases, via this affiliate link from Amazon.com.

 

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