Apple Magic Mouse Review

The Magic Mouse is undoubtedly the best mouse Apple's made in years. They've taken their knowledge in trackpad finger gestures and one-piece manufacturing and made this delicate, yet sturdy, bridge-shaped mouse. The question is how it compares to other mice.

As we said in the hands-on, the mouse has one piece of clear white plastic on the top, curved, like a Dove bar. It has both right and left clicks, like the Mighty Mouse, but differentiates itself from other mice with its touch-sensitive scrolling and two-fingered gestures. That's the big selling feature (other than the fact that it is a beautiful-looking mouse).

As a mouse

The Magic Mouse is a very, very pretty mouse—something you wouldn't feel like you had to hide when not in use—and looks different enough from other mice that people will ask who made it, before awkwardly mumbling a nevermind as they spot the grey Apple logo.

Compared to ergonomic mice, the Magic Mouse is really low and aerodynamic, which means it doesn't contour to your hand and doesn't give the sensation that the mouse is a part of your hand, like Logitech mice tend to. But it is Bluetooth, so you don't need an extra dongle, and it's powered by two AA batteries, which get up to four months of use per charge, according to Apple.

Physically moving the mouse and mousing is fine and smooth, since there are two plastic bars on the mouse's underside that minimise contact with whatever surface you're on.

Even though there's no clear delineation between right and left buttons on the mouse itself, the Magic Mouse knows to interpret a click on the left or right half appropriately (though right click needs to be activated from inside System Preferences before you can use it).

As for tracking, it's a pretty standard laser technology that tracks decently on most surfaces, including jeans and chairs. Still, the Magic Mouse doesn't have the crazy tracking ability that Logitech's MX mice just introduced — so it can't track on glass, and it can't track on glossy surfaces like the 13-inch MacBook.

The scrolling

The one thing Apple did completely right in the Magic Mouse was the touch scrolling. It's fluid, natural and works with any amount of fingers on over 75 per cent of the mouse surface (all the way down to the Apple logo). Flicking up and down gets you up and down web pages fast, as long as you have "momentum" turned on in the settings. Turn it off and you get fine-grained 1:1 scrolling — good if you want to slowly navigate through a PDF doc.

You can also click with one finger and scroll with another, letting you highlight blocks of text like you would on a normal scrolling mouse. On the whole, there's no major piece of scrolling functionality (other than a middle click) that you lose transitioning from a standard scroll wheel to this touch-sensitive solution. You just get the ability to scroll in 360 degrees as a bonus.

The only flaw is that you sometimes activate the left (or right) click when you're scrolling too emphatically. I suspect this is just something you'll get used to over time, but it can be annoying when you're trying to scroll and you navigate somewhere else instead.

Using two finger swiping to navigate web pages, on the other hand, is a bit more awkward. You'll need to pinch the mouse on the sides with your thumb and fourth/pinkie finger while you're scrolling, forcing you to make a painful eagle claw all the time.

What it can't do

As good as the swiping gestures are, they're limited in what you can actually accomplish with them. You can't use more than three fingers at a time, because you won't have enough fingers left to hold the mouse. There's also no option for touch-sensitive clicking, like in trackpads, something that would have been cool to have just as a bonus. You also can't tell which side is up just from touch until you click down and feel nothing happen.

So far the Magic Mouse is only compatible with the iMacs that they ship with, but will get broad support soon.

It also can't manage to stay free from scratches, similar to white MacBooks that also get scratched very easily. But the blemishes don't interfere with the mouse's functionality — it's just painful to watch any new product lose its pristine finish so quickly.

Is this the best mouse Apple has ever made?

Yeah, it is. The Magic Mouse is much better than the Mighty Mouse, which people hated, and might actually be good enough that non-Mac users might want to pick it up as well, supposing that they don't really care about ergonomics. Since it fills the gap between a tiny travel mouse and a full sized desktop mouse, the Magic is in a good position to grab users on both ends.

It looks very nice

Touch scrolling works well

Swiping is less comfortable

Not very ergonomic


    No middle click then. I am saddened. Would it be that hard to allow the left and right click at the same time to invoke a middle click? That would feel like a natural way to pan. I must hold hope that a software update will fix this. If not, apple you suck. It kills me to use a non matching mouse. To not get a mouse right when so much effort is put into other products astounds me

    Agreed, no middle click no mouse, I rely on that middle mouse button too much especially for safari browsing. No side buttons either but I guess the swipe gestures give the expose functionality. Nice mouse but not as practical as hoped....especially with no middle click. This bar of soap may see it as a feature later perhaps...

    Let me say from the start that I like Macs. I have a Macbook Pro that I use daily. I bought a Wireless Mighty Mouse when I bought the Macbook Pro and it was a piece of crap. The tiny scroll ball worked only erratically after about three months, so I ditched it and bought a BT Logitech. The logitech mice are much better ergonically than the Apple mice, which are too flat for constant use.

    I won't be rushing out to buy one.

    This seems to be another "form over function" move by Apple. To be honest, i dont see why they just cant make a normal mouse.

    yes completely agree, no middle click sucks! i use the middle click a lot for expose and the side buttons too... not having this functionality on my mouse sucks maybe they could implement 2 fingers gestures up and down too for expose [all windows/ desktop] or even implement the 2 finger click...

    that is the only reason i'm not getting one

    I wonder when there'll be drivers to use this on Windows :)
    Getting that to work with Windows 7's new touch features would be awesome!

    To say it's the best mouse Apple has ever made doesn't really say much as I could tie a piece of oil soaked hemp rope around a red brick and it would be a better mouse than Apple has ever produced.

    Though, Apple will probably do what Apple does best... come out with something CAPABLE of doing great things, but completely screw it up and render it useless by omitting something totally basic like MMS... I mean, middle click.

    And then when they do finally give it the ability to do something every other mouse in the world has done for the last 10 years, Apple will try and convince everyone they invented it (They're going to invent something called a "tablet" next year, by the way.)

    Im really but really disappointed. I'm a graphic artist and it is really difficult to control the scrolling specially horizontally when Im designing something.

    Also, it is very easy for you to go to another page when navigating on the internet... Oh god, specially in the middle of a movie, youtube for example... It happens a lot!

    Conclusion... Don't buy. There is a lot of potential... it looks good feels good... but... doesn't work good.


    I had no problem with the previous mouse mac had released, i find that one better when it comes to functionality, however the magic mouse does win on looks.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now