TMCnet Feature
May 28, 2013

Microsoft Sculpt Mobile and Sculpt Comfort Mouse Models Feature Start Buttons

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

Two new mice have been recently announced from Microsoft (News - Alert), and this pair of new mice—specifically, the Sculpt Mobile Mouse and the Sculpt Comfort Mouse—will be bringing along something a little extra something unexpected that also represents a first for Microsoft: built-in Start buttons.

It's the kind of thing that some would think had already been done, but at last report, these two mice actually represent the first time that a pointing device has come with a hotkey to activate the Windows 8 Start screen from the mouse itself. But it doesn't just bring up the Start menu, it also allows for a quick return to the desktop, completely circumventing the need for the keyboard at all.

Image via Paul Thurrott

The Mobile Mouse offers that Start key and a scroll wheel, all in a nice, compact size, but not surprisingly, the Comfort Mouse takes things one step further; it uses the button as a capacitive surface, which can be used to toggle through open programs or bring up a list of open applications. Additionally, the Mobile Mouse uses a dongle, but the Comfort Mouse will connect with Bluetooth. The other difference between the two—aside that of shape and the likely impact on comfort accordingly—is one of price, as the Mobile Mouse will sell at $30 later on this month, while the Comfort Mouse will hit in June at a price of $40.

Another interesting note, however, comes in the design of the Comfort Mouse: reports suggest that, owing to the placement of the Start button, the Comfort Mouse is designed largely for the right-handed. Of course, left-handed users could use it, but thanks to the design, said lefty would have to have an unusually strong pinky. It may be something of a design flaw in that it doesn't offer much more than that—some have already noted the departure of the back and forward buttons that were side-mounted on some Microsoft mice—but then, those may not be gone, simply not available on these models. Microsoft is likely to bring out a line of several other models, and adding functionality specifically geared toward working with Windows 8 should prove to have room enough for several models.

Still, both the Mobile Mouse and the Comfort Mouse are offering some pretty impressive overall design plans here, and bringing that Start menu activation function right at the mouse level will likely prove useful to at least some people who need that Start menu activated at a moment's notice. Both models should find at least some interested buyers thanks to that new functionality.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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