Microsoft used to make the best mice in the world, but for reasons that have never been entirely clear to me, the company decided to give up on this a few years ago. While the company has continued to make a number of interesting and unusual mice, for the last decade or so its focus has primarily been on mobile mice—the kind of thing you’d chuck in your laptop bag—rather than button-laden feature-rich desktop mice. When my Intellimouse Explorer 3 died after many years of use, I ended up switching to a Logitech Performance MX, because Microsoft no longer had anything comparable.
Announced today, the Surface Precision Mouse may be something of a return to form. It’s a full-size desktop mouse. It’s an ergonomic design that’s only really suitable for the right-handed—a design that seems extremely familiar to users of the aforementioned Logitech. It has a wheel, of course, and the wheel has a button that toggles between notched mode, beloved of gamers, and free-wheeling mode, designed for scrolling and zooming. On the left-hand side, it has an array of three thumb buttons. It supports both wireless connections over Bluetooth and wired connections over USB. When using Bluetooth, the mouse can pair with three different devices simultaneously and has a little switch on the bottom for picking between them.
In a brief hands-on, the mouse has a good size and weight. The wheel feels good in both modes, and the side buttons are well-placed. The software is decently configurable, enabling custom button configurations on both a system-wide and per-application basis. All in all, it feels like a solid mouse.
Is it going to get me back in the Microsoft mouse camp? It might yet. Microsoft mice have traditionally had a better wheel than Logitech ones, especially when it comes to clicking the wheel as a middle button. I think the Surface Precision Mouse continues this tradition. The extra buttons—notionally there so that heavy users of apps like Photoshop can bind commands to the mouse—are essential for gaming, and so while this isn’t a “gaming mouse,” it does appear to have all the main characteristics required of a gaming mouse.
Listing image by Microsoft