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Gear Review: Apple Magic Mouse

February 16, 2010

I’m a pretty big fan of Apple stuff.  I love my iMac, couldn’t live without my iPhone (I know, sooooo sad) and take my MacBook Pro everywhere I travel.  So when Apple came out with the Magic Mouse I thought, “Oh sweet, I need that.”  I mentioned it to my wife, who must have mentioned it to Santa, because lo and behold one arrived in my stocking.  Imagine my excitement!  I tore open the package, inserted the batteries and downloaded the latest version of software to run this magical device.

As I held it in my hand I couldn’t help but stare in awe at the aesthetically pleasing design.  So sleek.  So aerodynamic.  So minimalist.  So…Apple.  I knew it was going to be good.  Once the new software finished downloading I ran from the living room to my office so I could immediately begin testing this slick new device.  It was going to change the way I computed.  Life would never, ever be the same.

I really wanted to like the Magic Mouse.  I used it for about 6 weeks before I begrudgingly admitted defeat.  My aching wrist just couldn’t bear to allow me to keep using the Magic Mouse.  So, I went to Best Buy (110 miles away in Grand Junction, CO) and bought a Logitech Performance MX mouse that I will review here after I’ve had enough time to develop an opinion on its performance.

What did I like about the Magic Mouse?

Not a whole heck of a lot, unfortunately.  It looks really cool.  The multi-touch technology is neat…in theory.  Yep, that’s about it.

What didn’t I like about it?

  • The aerodynamic design bodes well if you mouse at very high speeds.  If you don’t the lack of support for your hand and awkward position openly invite carpal tunnel syndrome.  I just could not find a comfortable way to use the Magic Mouse.  I even invested in one of a mouse pad with a memory foam wrist support.  That helped a little, but not much.  Aesthetically pleasing, ergonomically ugly.
  • This one is more of a personal preference but it was one of my gripes so I’ll mention it.  Regardless of how fast I set the tracking speed, it tracked too slow.  I’m impatient.  I want that little arrow to move super fast when I move the mouse and it just couldn’t keep up.
  • I’ll admit that the Magic Mouse probably was not designed with the intent of pleasing those of us who are heavy Photoshop users.  If all you’re doing is surfing the web it’s probably acceptable.  For Photoshop, it’s a huge fail.  Precise selections are nearly impossible.  For example, the multi-touch feature makes it frustrating at best to drop a point at just the right spot when making curves adjustments.  I also found that when using Lightroom it was difficult to zoom in and out smoothly as the multi-touch was too sensitive.  Any unintentional side to side motion on the mouse resulted in panning the image rather than zooming in or out.

So, if you’re a Photoshop user and you don’t use a separate mouse or Wacom tablet for all your Photoshop needs, I simply can not recommend the Apple Magic Mouse.  It doesn’t matter how sleek it looks sitting there on your desk it just isn’t a good investment for extended use.  Sorry Apple, but the Magic Mouse is a fail.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Garden permalink
    February 16, 2010 10:27 am

    Actually, you’re more likely to develop carpal trouble with the wrist bent up, which is exactly what a tall mouse forces you to do. The low profile of the Magic Mouse makes it more unlikely that this will happen.

    • permalink
      February 20, 2010 12:41 pm

      I did the same thing, wanted to keep using it but pain in wrist and elbow, had to stop using it and go back to Razer Mamba.

  2. kkay2000 permalink
    February 16, 2010 12:24 pm

    Well, I guess I’m not a power-user of Photoshop like the reviewer, I’d admit. And perhaps I’m an Apple fan and willing to cut them some slack. On the other hand, I do like the razor MM gliding smoothly on ‘butcher block’ table at Apple Store even though it felt a tad heavy with two (?) full-size AA batteries inside. I like the surface scroll on the mouse; it sure saves on elbow grease.

    I must confess that I haven’t opened the white box that contains keyboard and MM that came bundled with this iMac 27 that my son bought me for Christmas. Maybe I like the blue Logitech Bluetooth mouse too much or perhaps I’m conservative by nature, not wanting to break out everything new simultaneously. 😉

    Seriously, except for the two instances of seeing Apple employees replacing MM batteries, I’d use one in a heartbeat while keeping a pair of spare rechargeable AAs close at hand.

  3. February 16, 2010 2:17 pm

    Thanks for commenting, Tom and kkay! Mice are certainly a personal choice and for me, the Magic Mouse was not at all comfortable nor was it useful. Of course, your mileage may vary. The flat design made my wrist hurt every time I used it for more than a few minutes, which is something I’ve never experienced before and haven’t experienced since replacing it with the Logitech. I would be really interested in hearing responses from those who use Photoshop extensively as I do. For that application, I just can’t see it being a viable option.

    Again, I appreciate both of you taking the time to comment!

  4. Gerald permalink
    February 16, 2010 4:03 pm

    I keep two mice on my desk. The Magic Mouse SUCKS for any drag-and-drop (click-and-hold then move the mouse) motions. If I have to do any file management, or draw, or make playlists in iTunes, it makes my hand ache and my head pound. I drop things random places and have to Undo. And lack of wheel-click means that Expose is back to the keyboard. Forget using it over at Google Maps… it’s a nightmare.

    …but the there’s everything else. If I’m using the other mouse for any non-click-and-drag computing I miss the Magic Mouse. Browsing, social networking, e-mail, shopping… the web in general. Point and click is great. Scrolling (and side scrolling) is heaven. Click and drag SUCKS!!

  5. February 16, 2010 6:46 pm

    Thanks, Bret. I love all things Apple too and will now pass on the mouse.

  6. Don permalink
    February 17, 2010 8:49 am

    I waited for the aftermarket to respond to the shortcomings of the Magic Mouse before I purchased it. I choose the free Better Touch Tool. It not only solves the speed problem and the drop a point issues, but it also allows for far more zoom control. It also allows you to replace “clicks” (i.e. pushing down on an area of the mouse) with light taps, making long use easier. Further, it adds more multi-touch controls, such as three-finger taps.

    I’m not associated with BTT, and there are other apps–both freewware and shareware–that do the same sort of thing. I agree that the Mighty Mouse with the Apple software is not a success. However I would respectfully suggest that you spend a few days with MM and something like BTT. I don’t like going back to other mice now.


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