A TOUCHING TAIL

This is one fancy mouse. The new “Touch Mouse” from Microsoft has a touch-sensitive surface that covers the whole mouse, so you can let your fingers do the walking.

Microsoft Touch Mouse

The Touch Mouse responds to one-finger, two-finger and three-finger commands. The first time you plug the mouse in, a video pops up to teach you the tricks. For example, moving three fingers away from you displays capsule images of all the windows you have open, side by side. Moving three fingers down the surface sends all open programs to a minimized state in the task bar. Move your thumb from side to side to go forward or back on the Web. Regular scrolling is done by moving a finger.

This thing is beautiful to look at and a kick to use, but Joy misses the scroll wheel found in the middle of most mice. The mouse has a disconcerting tendency to sometimes scroll down the page on its own.

In short, the mouse has neat tricks, but we’re not sure it’s worth the price, which is a cool $80 at Microsoft.com; though we saw it for $60 at Amazon.com. Works with Windows 7.

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