Friday, October 30, 2009

Apple Magic Mouse Review



When Apple announced it's new "Magic Mouse" this week, a new mouse with a trackpad on the surface of it, I was quick to order one. It arrived this evening and I've had about half an hour to play around with it.

First impressions are, "cool looking mouse". It's very slick indeed, aerodynamic even (as if that were relevant for a mouse). It is a bluetooth device, and synced up easily with my Mac, although I had to download a driver and restart before I could use the advanced features.

Two major negatives on the "second impression":
  1. Even at the fasted speed setting, this mouse is sloooow. I couldn't make it from one end of my screen to the other without lifting it up. If you are going to buy this, installing this mouse speed increaser is a must.
  2. Despite it's aesthetic appeal, it's definitely form before function. It's really small, made for a small girly hand. There is no way you can rest your hand on this like you would with a regular mouse.
Problem number 2 is fairly typical with Mac hardware, so I'll let that slide. But issue 1 has a huge impact on usability, and I don't understand why Apple would let that issue make it out the gate.

The surface of the mouse is touch sensitive, kind of like a track pad. You can swipe up and down, left or right, like you would on an iPhone to scroll on a webpage. This is definitely it's coolest feature, as it even includes momentum in the scrolling (again, like the iphone).

Also, you can move forward or back in a browser or in iPhoto with a two-finger swipe, which is also handy.

One problem with this though is that if your fingers are at all sticky, the swipe motion is very unnatural and doesn't work very well. I found a few times where my fingers gut stuck while trying to swipe, then I accidentally clicked the mouse and opened something I didn't want to open.

I couldn't help but feel like Apple didn't make the most of the touchpad though. It would be nice if there was a multitouch method to activate expose, spaces or the dashboard. Also, I would like to see a way to zoom into a picture or rotate it built into the mouse.

This mouse had the opportunity to be a revolutionary input device, but I think in it's current form it falls far short. I would recommend this mouse as a "laptop bag" mouse for it's slim wireless form factor rather than an everyday mouse (although I am going to try and give it every day use and see if I can get used to it.)

It is worth saying that this mouse is far and away better than the old "Mighty Mouse", which had trackball problems, travelled too slow and has useless squeeze buttons that made it impossible to pick the mouse of the table while dragging something (a problem amplified by the slow travel speed).

For the next iteration of the magic mouse, what I'm hoping for is a mouse that is ergonomically shaped (i.e. about 3 times the size), a slipperier track pad surface, a few more gestures, and a method to activate expose from the mouse. Hopefully Apple will do this eventually, but I'm not holding my breath.

1 comment:

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