Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse Mini-Review

Posted on November 16, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Microsoft Surface, Windows 10 with 25 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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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse Mini-Review”

  1. Mestiphal

    for $99 the Logitech MX Master or the Performance Mouse MX are a better buy

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  4. wright_is

    Your description makes it sound like a cut-down version of the Logitech MX Master 2.

  5. DaveHelps

    Paul, and readers, QQ: I use the Sculpt desktop set at home and at work. On both, the thumb button on the mouse failed. Microsoft kindly replaced both (sets!) under warranty, but I’m just wondering if anyone else experienced this?

  6. mikiem

    They copied the idea of the scroll wheel detent on/off from Logitech -- I loved it, since I could spin the thing the same way I did a trackball [years ago] for fast scrolling etc., though I'm not sure if Logitech even offers it any longer. The specs for the Surface Precision Mouse however don't include the dpi -- far as I know then the scroll wheel would be only advantage over the $10 Logitechs that are so common. Yeah it has Bluetooth, but for that price I can buy 3 Logitech M535 mice and still come out ahead. And yeah, it's rechargeable, but to me that just means having to stop what I'm doing to recharge it, rather than the seconds it takes to pop a new AA battery into the M535.

  7. jimtell

    Bring back the trackball. Best mouse Microsoft ever made.

  8. TEAMSWITCHER

    Another Wheel Mouse! Microsoft is perpetually stuck in the 1990's. Apple's Magic Mouse is so much better at scrolling, it's not even a competition anymore. By making the entire surface of the Mouse touch sensitive, Apple has eliminated the poor ergonomics of straining your index finger to reach the Wheel. Yes ... it only works great on the Mac, but once you experience it's incredible scrolling ability (Crawl, Flick, & Stop), you'll never feel good using this 20 year old design again.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

      Boy I wish the Magic Mouse had some hysteresis on the scrolling. Just leaning my finger a little makes it scroll. It feels amateurish that I cannot keep the contents from twitching.

      • Stooks

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        This! There is no way to turn it off. You can turn off some of the gestures but not the scrolling. I have been giving a presentation and could not do something because of this after a few tries and I just turned it off and use the trackpad.

      • TEAMSWITCHER

        In reply to jimchamplin:


        That called responsiveness!! I don't have a problem with it. It's technology Apple teleported over from their industry leading track pads. I'm not wrong .. scrolling on the Magic Mouse is the best scrolling any mouse ....ever had. Microsoft is losing.

    • Stooks

      In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

      I am a huge Apple fan but the Magic Mouse is simply horrible. Because you can do gestures on the surface of it, I am constantly nudging it just a bit (tiny, tiny bit) and some clicks and especially drag's of an object won't happen.


      At work we have quite a few Mac's and we he a bucket of brand new Magic Mice that no one wants. Same for the small keyboards. I personally use Logitech mice with my Mac's.

    • Tommy

      In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

      In what world is the Apple Magic Mouse, shaped like a thin wedge of soap, is more ergonomic than... well anything?


      I used to work in a Mac shop doing video work, and I couldn't stand the Magic Mouse. I've been using "20 year old design" style mice ever since.

  9. jimchamplin

    Paul, Brad, or Mehedi,


    Have you heard any explanation as to why the configuration app is Win32 and not in the store? Did someone just have a brilliant idea to screw up that day?

  10. Alexander Rothacker

    Looks like a knock off Logitech MX Master, but you can get the Logitech a lot cheaper.

  11. MikeGalos

    Nice but, as you said, it's no Microsoft Sculpt.


    I've been using computers daily since they had toggle switches and mice since the first Microsoft Mouse that came out before Windows 1.04 and owe my lack of repetitive stress injuries to always using input hardware optimized for good ergonomics.


    This mouse is good but Sculpt is too much of a "must have" to use anything else.

    • mikiem

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Agree 100% re: ergonomics... Purely FWIW, I like to use mice @ ~3500 dpi for that reason [the Sculpt is reportedly 1000 dpi], since there's much less physical movement involved. Some people go higher, but that's my practical limit, & I can easily click the dpi button on the mouse to lower it when/as needed.

  12. cyloncat

    How about a left-handed ergonomic mouse?

  13. JacobTheDev

    Disspoinated to hear that it's not quite as good as the Sculpt mouse, and that it uses Micro-USB instead of USB Type-C (get with the times, Microsoft!). Still, it's nice to finally have a Surface-branded ergonomic mouse. Maybe one day they'll put out a "Surface Sculpt" mouse.

  14. akcanuck

    It may be Micro-USB but at least they didn't put the port on the bottom of the mouse.

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