Notebook mice are generally small, but Microsoft’s Wedge Touch mouse might set a new record for how uncomfortably small a portable mouse should be.
What is it?
Another entry in Microsoft’s long-running accessory market, the Wedge Touch is a mouse designed to be small, simple, and easy to take with you.
In fact, the Wedge Touch is being marketed as a “Surface Edition” mouse, which could mean it looks nice when used with a Microsoft Surface tablet, or that it was built to work with all Microsoft Surface tablets, whether it runs Windows 8 or RT.
As a Bluetooth mouse, it will work with any computer supporting Bluetooth, including Windows 8 laptops and tablets, and even Apple Macs.
The mouse relies on Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology for tracking surfaces as you move the mouse, which works on most surfaces, though will not work on clear glass or anything with a mirrored finish.
Two buttons are included on the mouse — left and right click — while the entire top of the mouse features a touch panel that can pick up on scrolling in either vertical or horizontal directions.
The mouse is powered by one AA battery (which is included in the box), and the bottom of the mouse has only one button and one switch, with the button reserved for power and Bluetooth pairing, while the switch opens the battery compartment on the side.
Designed for a new and more portable generation, Microsoft’s Wedge Touch is a mouse that you can fit in your pocket and, when switched on, replaces some of the Windows touch functionality on a mouse, which is especially useful if you updated to the touch-reliant operating system that is Windows 8 and don’t (like most people) have a touch screen to call on.
Take it out of the box and you’ll find a small softened triangular shape covered in matt black with a line in the middle telling you where the left and right click buttons are, and the Microsoft branding in light grey.
Flip it over and you’ll see a power and syncing button, as well as the battery compartment switch, flanking the part where the BlueTrack optical light will shine from when you’re controlling the mouse.
Setting the Wedge Touch up is pretty simple, and you simply need to open the door of the mouse using the switch, load the battery in, close it up, and then hold the power button down for a few seconds, waiting for the BlueTrack light to blink at you. From here, simply go into your Bluetooth devices and search for the new device, adding the mouse when it’s found.
When switched on, the mouse is very responsive, the Bluetooth connection providing a quick way to send information back to the computer, and the BlueTrack optical technology at the bottom of the mouse making it easy to move the mouse across pretty much any surface you’ll use as a desk: wood, plastic, your leg.
We tried on the slick white tables that normally struggle with mice and on our pants, with the blue light able to create an image and send it back the computer, reconstructing it in a way that meant our mouse cursor moved.
The mouse works like most small ones do, with two physical buttons, though the scroll is taken care of with a touch panel that covers the buttons and pretty much all of the top. Left click is left click, and right click is right click, but the scroll can be handled in both vertical by scrolling with one or two fingers on any part of the touch panel — not just the middle where the line is — while horizontal scrolling is performed by dragging your fingers left to right or right to left on this touch panel.
The horizontal scrolling basically emulates some of the ways Windows 8 moves when you have a touchscreen, with the grid-based (formerly “Metro”) menu able to be moved from left to right when you move your fingers horizontally on the touch panel of the Wedge mouse.
It will even switch off automatically when you’re not using it, saving power, and switch back on the moment you move it again.
But that’s pretty much all the operating the Wedge Touch offers, making it a small mouse, though if you’re using it with the Surface tablet or any other tablet for that matter, you’re probably only after something that provides that mouse experience you can’t replicate with your fingers.
That said, as decent as the Wedge is, we’re not sure about the $80 price tag. While the street price seems to hover around $50, that still seems like too much for a mouse with a limited amount of functionality.
There aren’t even any of the Windows 8 gestures thrown in, so while you can scroll, the touch panel doesn’t support a pinch gesture for zooming, nor does it support the Windows 8 swipe from the side to bring up the options menu.
Left click, right click, and scrolling in four directions, with a small form-factor. That’s what you’re paying for, and we’re not sure the small form-factor is all that impressive.
The Wedge has a softened triangular shape, and it’s easy to grip, but it’s too small for small hands, and it’s ridiculously small for big hands.
We’re not really sure who Microsoft designed the tiny Wedge Touch for, but from the overall size, which isn’t terribly comfortable to use for long periods, we’d say kids.
Notebook mice have a tendency to be small, and this is because you need to bring them with you, but the Wedge is just ridiculously small, and while it’s easy to carry, won’t be for everyone because of this almost awkward set of dimensions.
There are a lot of notebook mice out there, and Microsoft has been engineering them for as long as a lot of them. There was the Bluetrack Explorer, the fold-up Arc, and even the flat rubber Arc Touch, and while the Wedge Touch continues some of that unique hardware design that we’ve seen from Microsoft, it’s not the easiest to use product out there.
It’s not that the Wedge Touch is a bad mouse; it’s not, but it’s not the best out there, and doesn’t really love up to what Microsoft has released in the past.