Review of the Magic Mouse

I’ve been pretty critical of Apple’s mice over the years, primarily due to Apple’s refusal to embrace the right mouse button. Technically, this changed with the Mighty Mouse in 2005, though I never found the right-click to work particularly well on all four (two wired, two Bluetooth) that I had over the years. Hence my skepticism when Apple announced yet another attempt at the device that they themselves were responsible for introducing to the computing mainstream with the Apple Macintosh all the way back in 1984.

What intrigued me about the Magic Mouse initially was the gesture support. I’ve been doing a lot of work with gestures in Adobe AIR 2 and I’d started using my MacBook’s multi-touch trackpad full-time in order to really try to incorporate gestures into my workflow. The Magic Mouse seemed like a good way to keep using (some) gestures while having the advantages of an external pointing device.

Enough background. On to the facts:

What’s good about the Magic Mouse:

  • Right-click support finally works great. I don’t think I’ve had any missed right-clicks yet (which happened probably 20% of the time with the Mighty Mouse).
  • Swiping also works great. I adapted to the swipe gesture instantly. It’s entirely intuitive, and works exactly like it should. And it works with all applications (at least all I’ve tried it with), and not just Apple apps (in other words, the momentum effect is implemented at the OS level, so it works everywhere).
  • The movement is very smooth. It seems to glide better than the Mighty Mouse, and better than my Logitech optical mouse (though it might just be that it hasn’t had time to accumulate dust and lint yet).

What’s not good about the Magic Mouse:

  • It’s not very ergonomic. I find it a bit on the small side and not as comfortable to use for long periods of time as my Logitech. Although the gestures are very practical and usable, the shape of the mouse is not. I think Apple focused just a little too much on the aesthetics of this device and not enough on the functionality. (Even the old Mighty Mouse is slightly more comfortable for me to use, though not nearly as fun.)
  • It’s all white. I happen to be a frequent hand-washer, so I’ve never had a problem with my keyboards or trackpads getting dirty, but before you buy a Magic Mouse, look down at your computer. If your laptop, keyboard, or mouse has accumulated grime from petting the dog, reading the newspaper, or eating sandwiches, consider getting a good black Logitech optical mouse rather than the pure white Magic Mouse.
  • Price. $69 + tax is a lot to drop on a mouse. I wanted to buy two — one for home, and one for the office — but I didn’t want to spend all that money. I was also hoping to buy a corded USB version, but as of right now, the only version available is the Bluetooth model. In general, I prefer USB mice because they are cheaper, and I don’t have to worry about battery life (I switched to rechargeable batteries a while back, but it’s still much easier just to plug in and forget about it).

I can’t really recommend or advise against the Magic Mouse. I’ll keep using mine on one computer, but I don’t think I’m going to make a special effort to replace all my mice with Magic Mice. Now if Apple came out with an ergonomic USB version, I would happily retire all my Logitech mice to the plastic hardware bin in the basement, but that time has not yet come. I actually think it’s more likely that Logitech will incorporate gesture support and deliver the options that many of us want.

4 thoughts on “Review of the Magic Mouse

  1. Regarding ergonomics, it would be interesting to see studies that compare the physical pressing/scrolling of a mouse wheel vs. swiping. Even though it’s the same motion there is far less pressure when using magic mouse. I wonder if that helps prevent most cramping.
    Also, double touch to click would have been a nice feature like it is on the macbooks to help lessen pressure as well.


  2. Faisal,
    I agree with you regarding ergonomics. I think the gesture functionality is more ergonomic, but the mouse itself (moving, clicking, etc.) I would consider to be less ergonomic compared to the Mighty Mouse.
    And I agree with both Faisal and Lee that tapping and double tapping should be supported rather than having to click. Odd that they left that out. Why not make it an option?


  3. Why not make it an option?
    Apple may have wanted to take it slow to get users use to multi-touch with a limited intro? The good news is that the hardware mouse is completely mapped for input. So it’s a software issue. A 3rd party could release a utility if the sensitivity mapping is open to SDK.


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