Apple Magic Mouse Review

Multi-touch first came to the iPhone and iPod touch, then the MacBook Pro, and now Apple is putting multi-touch into it’s latest mouse, the wireless Magic Mouse. The mouse has no moving scroll wheel, only a single button, which depending on how many fingers are on the mouse, accomplish different tasks. How does the Magic Mouse compare to more traditional mice on the market? We’ve got the full rundown after the break.

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Multi-touch first came to the iPhone and iPod touch, then the MacBook Pro, and now Apple is putting multi-touch into it’s latest mouse, the wireless Magic Mouse. The mouse has no moving scroll wheel, only a single button, which depending on how many fingers are on the mouse, accomplishes different tasks. How does the Magic Mouse compare to more traditional mice on the market? We’ve got the full rundown after the break.

As most Apple packaging, the Magic Mouse comes in a plastic shell that is slightly larger than the mouse, displaying the product front and center. Inside, all you get is the mouse itself, instruction and compliance information, and a printed warranty card. No free Apple stickers here, folks. I wondered where the batteries were, but they come pre-installed for your convenience.

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The Magic Mouse has a very slender profile compared to other mice, even the Mighty Mouse before it, at only 0.75 inches tall. It’s a surprising change, but my hand became accustomed to it fairly quick. It is also designed for both left- and right-handed users, and the can be switched using System Preferences.

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On the bottom of the Magic Mouse uses laser tracking over the older optical technology, however, it doesn’t work on glass surfaces like newer mice from Microsoft and Logitech.  Also on the bottom surface are two plastic bars which minimize contact with the mousing surface and an on/off switch. Slide down a small plastic tab to access the battery compartment.

I tested the mouse with my late 2007 iMac, the first aluminum models, running OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1 and it paired over Bluetooth perfectly. In System Preferences, under the Mouse pane, you can disable gestures such as two-finger swiping and right-click functionality. You’ll need to install the Wireless Mouse Software Update 1.0 as well, if you haven’t already. The Magic Mouse also works with OS X Leopard 10.5.8, no Windows support yet.

The multi-touch functionality spans the entire top surface of the Magic Mouse. The gestures work wonderfully in all applications, especially with the momentum functionality enabled for scrolling. Flick down the mouse and you’re whisked down the page, just like an iPhone. Swiping two fingers left or right moves through pages in Safari or even Firefox, and navigates through album art in iTunes.

However, swiping can interrupt some applications. While watching a recorded TV episode in EyeTV, an accidental brush over the multi-touch surface began fast-forwarding through the video.

While I was hesitant at first, I was easily surprised by how natural it feels to grasp the mouse, and gestures become natural within a few hours of use. I urge you to go to an Apple Store, or Best Buy (where I bought mine) and test one out before purchasing. The Magic Mouse is available for $69 from the Apple Store online and at Apple resellers.

Pros

  • World’s first multi-touch mouse.
  • Ambidextrous design.
  • Gestures work just like an iPhone.

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with PCs.
  • Slender design may not work for everyone.

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