The touch magic

twitter-logoNidhi Singal | Print Edition: November 2011

Microsoft Touch Mouse
Price: Rs 3,699
Specs: USB wireless receiver; Compatible with Windows 7; 2.4 GHz interface; 30 ft operating distance.

Almost two years ago, Apple introduced the world to the first wireless multi-touch mouse that could interpret human gestures. Compatible with the Mac operating system, its reach was limited to Apple owners. The Touch Mouse, in contrast, will appeal to a lot many as it comes from Microsoft and is compatible with the Windows 7 operating system. The Microsoft Touch Mouse has a black, matte plastic finish, its design evidently inspired by a squirrel. It has raised dots and small x's close to the portion on which we rest our palm. Below this textured design is the touch sensor that reads the gestures of both left-hand and right-hand users. Since it takes into account the natural placement of the hand, it is comfortable to use for long durations.

The mouse comes accompanied by a small USB dongle and two AA batteries that bring it to life. The dongle needs to be plugged into the PC's USB port for the mouse to connect to it. A demo tour facilitates familiarisation. When not in use, the dongle can be inserted at the back of the mouse, eliminating the chances of the dongle getting lost.

The button orientation can be right or left. You can use one, two and three fingers. A single finger can be used to navigate through the documents and images. Scrolling a finger vertically and horizontally helps in scrolling and panning a document and to zoom in/out on an image. Lightly moving the thumb diagonally takes you to the next or previous images and web pages. A two-finger upward swipe maximises an application window; a downward swipe minimises it.

Snapping a window to half screen can be achieved by swiping two fingers horizontally to either left or right of the screen. To manage the desktop, use three fingers. Swiping all three upwards shows the running applications, while swiping downward minimises them, while showing the desktop. Microsoft's proprietary technology enables the Touch Mouse to work on various surfaces without affecting the speed and sensitivity of the device. However, use of gesture-control is possible only on Windows 7 (both Home and Professional) as it was developed keeping the features of the OS in mind. It works like a regular mouse with Windows XP, Vista and 7 Starter.

WHY WE FELL FOR IT: Computing becomes a lot easier with the intuitive finger control. Besides, the novelty of gesture swipes is just too much fun to miss out on!

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