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New Microsoft Mouse Ditches Scroll Wheel for 'Touch Strip'

The upcoming $45 Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse is an evolution of the company's earlier Arc Touch and Explorer Touch mice, and it has a "touch strip" that can be used for rapid vertical and horizontal scrolling, among other things.

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The Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse is a wireless mouse with a metal "touch strip" that replaces the traditional scroll wheel. Unlike the company's older Explorer Touch Mouse, the Sculpt Touch Mouse uses Bluetooth wireless technology, and it doesn't need a separate USB transceiver.

The Sculpt Touch Mouse takes the best features of Microsoft's Arc Touch and Explorer Touch mice and combines them; Bluetooth technology from the Arc Touch and the ergonomic design of the Explorer Touch. The Sculpt Touch is shorter than the Explorer Touch Mouse, though it's also slightly more wide.

When you move your finger over the touch strip the metal vibrates and emits an audible "click" sound. Flicking your finger quickly on the touch strip triggers a rapid scrolling feature, which simulates a freewheeling scroll wheel. The faster you flick, the farther you scroll. And the Sculpt Touch Mouse supports both vertical and horizontal scrolling.

The underside of the Scrulpt Touch Mouse with Bluetooth button and on/off switch

The Sculpt Touch Mouse uses two AA batteries (Included)

The default setting worked fine for me, but you can use the Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse Center application to tweak the sensitivity of the touch strip. Vertical and horizontal rapid scrolling can be disabled, and the strip vibration level can be increased and decreased. The Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse Center app automatically installs itself when you connect the Sculpt Touch to your PC for the first time. And you can also download it here.

I honestly have no complaints about the Sculpt Touch Mouse, and its ergonomic shape and use of Bluetooth technology make it more useful than previous Microsoft mice. The Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse costs $49.95, and will be available soon.


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