Microsoft knows how to make hardware. Its Surface laptops and tablets have garnered more awards than La La Land, while the company destroyed the how-to-make-a-keyboard rulebook with its early ergonomic designs. This mouse is the latest hardware to appear, with a stylish design straight from the Surface production line. At £90 from Amazon, and £100 direct from Microsoft, it’s priced to match. So is this the dream partner for Surface devices? Find out in our Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse review.
Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse review: first things first
The bad news: if you’re left-handed, this isn’t the mouse for you. Not only do the three programmable shortcut buttons sit to the left of the device, so does the “ledge” designed for your thumb.
The good news: if you’re right-handed, you’ll love this design. I’m not just talking about looks, although the two-tone finish is rather swish, but how it moves. The Precision Mouse is beautifully weighted, gliding across surfaces like Jane Torvill on Sarajevo ice.
Unlike Jane, it cares little for which surfaces too. I tried to stump it by using a block of polystyrene, the back of a notepad and my laptop’s wrist wrest – it was just as happy on each.
Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse review: key features
This mouse’s key skill, however, is that it can work across three computers at once. So if you happen to have a laptop, desktop and Surface tablet sitting atop the same desk, you can operate them all with one mouse.
It’s not quite a seamless process. Once you move your mouse to the edge of the screen, it takes a second or so to be picked up by the neighbouring system. And note that you need to be running Microsoft’s Mouse and Keyboard Centre software on all the devices, which rules out Macs and Chromebooks. You can’t run it on Windows 10 machines in S mode, either, because it’s not an app but a normal piece of software.
One superb feature is peerless, however. Press the small button that sits below the stylish aluminium scroll wheel and it switches between smooth and “detent” modes. Detent means you get mechanical resistance, as if you can feel the spokes of the wheel turning, which translates into mini-jumps as you scroll. If you prefer smooth scrolling, just deactivate it.
You can also program the wheel button: for example, I chose for it to activate Windows 10’s Timeline feature. But, as you’ll soon discover, you can make it (and all the buttons) do pretty much anything.
Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse review: buttons
And those three programmable thumb buttons are key to this mouse’s appeal. Master the shortcuts and you’ll be whizzing through your favourite apps faster than Raheem Sterling down the wing.
For example, you can set each button to perform a different task in PowerPoint, Word, Chrome, InDesign and games of your choosing. Nor are your choices limited to basic tasks: you can call up button combinations (such as Ctrl+L), create macros and choose from any number of predefined actions.
Naturally, you can do the same for general Windows operations. Once more, your options are hugely varied. You can do all the things mentioned above, but also perform Windows-specific actions such as increasing the dots per inch.
The process of programming these buttons is far from intuitive, however.
Microsoft Surface Precision Mouse review: charging too much?
To end with, let’s talk about two kinds of charging. First, the battery. The Precision Mouse uses Bluetooth to communicate, with a rechargeable battery that Microsoft reckons lasts around three months.
I just started using it out of the box, so didn’t top up its battery, and it carried on for three weeks before a flashing orange light appeared. Fortunately, this is easy to rectify: simply plug it into your computer’s USB port via the supplied micro-USB cable. For the brief time it needs charging, it then becomes a wired mouse.
Can any mouse be worth that much? I fear not, especially when the excellent Logitech Triathlon mouse costs less than £50.
If money is no object, though, this is a brilliant mouse that’s superbly versatile. And yes, due to those Surface-style looks, it’s also the perfect partner for any Microsoft laptop or tablet you happen to own.
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