Review: Apple’s magical Magic Mouse

There it is: Apple’s Magic Mouse (held by someone else’s nicely manicured hand). I have one (a Magic Mouse, not a nicely manicured hand) and so far, so good. I’ve used it for a week and I’m happy. It’s super-precise, it’s wireless (yay), and there aren’t any parts to get gummy and quit working. Plus it slides very well on the desk.

Setting up the Magic Mouse is easy, except for getting it out of the box. Generally speaking, unboxing an Apple product is a delight, something you want to share with a friend (putting it back in the box, taking it out again, over and over). Not so the Magic Mouse. But once out of the box, it’s trivial to set up.

If you’re using Mac OS X 10.6.2, you need only to turn the Magic Mouse on (it runs on two AA batteries, which are not only included, but installed at the factory). You can see the on-off switch at top right in the photo below. The Magic Mouse in the picture is on.

If you’re using Mac OS X 10.5.8, you will need some software, available here. If you’re using 10.4.11 you will not be able to use the Magic Mouse. Sorry Mom.

Everyone wants to know how it feels in the hand and the answer is “it doesn’t.” That is, you don’t hold it in your hand, you hold it with your hand. You don’t rest your hand on the Magic Mouse, you rest your hand (the heel of it) on the desk, and hold the Magic Mouse lightly. And it’s comfortable that way.

The scrolling-via-the-touch-sensitive-surface is very convenient, and it’s nice knowing that it’s never going to get gunky. I use the scrolling feature all the time. I love that the Magic Mouse is wireless, and that it’s not too heavy even with the batteries (it’s barely heavier than the wired Apple Mouse it replaced). The only thing I don’t like about the Magic Mouse is the name. Big deal.

The Magic Mouse has a few options: you can set it up to do a right-click, you can zoom, etc. The older Apple Mouse had more options but most of them were better left turned off, so really there is not much of a loss in the options department. Here’s a look at the Preference Pane for the Magic Mouse, in Mac OS X 10.6.2:

Nice to know I have a ways to go before the batteries need replacing. Looks as if the batteries will last about three months at a time. I’ll keep the wired mouse around just in case.

You can see from above that I turned off the “with momentum” feature. The idea is that you can scroll and if you’re vigorous about it the scrolling will continue a bit after you stop. That quickly drove me crazy, not that it was a long drive. At the same time, others think it’s the greatest thing ever. Nice that they give you the option.

The Magic Mouse costs $69. You get one for free when you buy a new iMac so if that’s in your future don’t bother buying a Magic Mouse separately. As of this writing, the Magic Mouse is very hard to find– Apple doesn’t have them online, and neither does Amazon. I’ll post an update here when the Magic Mouse is widely available again.

UPDATE: The Magic Mouse has been updated to “the Magic Mouse 2.” Here’s a picture.
magicmouse2
This one has a built-in rechargeable battery (you charge it with a USB/Lightning cable), and is lighter than the original. Amazon carries it. Click here to go to Amazon* and buy it.

I like the Magic Mouse and I imagine you will too.


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