Apple Magic Mouse Review


Apple recently introduced New iMacs, Mac minis and other goodies. One of those goodies was the NEW Magic Mouse. When I blogged about the new gear, I was inundated with requests to review the new mouse??? I thought wow, there is a lot of interest around this thing. Since I was upgrading to a new 27" iMac and the new iMacs come with the new Magic Mouse standard, this was a great way to get one early and play. Luckily Apple also released the drivers for non-iMacs a couple of nights ago. As with most products, there are things I like and things that could be better. The new Magic Mouse is no different. So let's get to the review you've been asking me for:


What is it?

The Magic Mouse is a Bluetooth wireless mouse with a multi-touch surface instead of the traditional multiple buttons  found on all other mice. The entire surface clicks down like any other mouse, but the top of the mouse can be used for scrolling, panning and zooming using one or two fingers. Although there is only technically one big button to click, you can setup a "Right Click" (Control-Click) using the Mouse Preference to be either on the right side or the left side (for lefties). So depending on which side of the Magic Mouse you put your finger on to click will give you different results.

What I like – Pros

Let's start with the things that I like about it. It's hard not to like the sleek design! It's so flat. This makes it great for road warriors in that it will take up less space in your bag. Speaking of in your bag, you'll be happy to know that like the previous Mighty Mouse, Apple includes a physical on/off switch on the bottom. This is a MUST for any battery operated mouse that goes with me. The Magic Mouse runs 2 AA batteries and Apple claims you'll get 4 months of regular use per set. I've never had an issue with battery life on the previous model, so it's all good here. Once I downloaded the new driver for my MacBook Pro, I had no problem pairing and setting up the mouse. Typical Apple ease of use. Although some have complained that using the 2 finger gestures on the surface can cause you to accidentally  move the mouse, I've no such problems. Seems to stay in place unless I want to move it. Tracking speed is good and overall it has a really good feel.  I found a feature that I didn't know about until I set up the mouse and that is if you hold down the Control Key and use your finger on the surface you can utilize the Zoom feature built-in to Mac OS X. I use the zoom ALL THE TIME when I'm teaching or recording tutorials. The two finger swiping works great in Lightroom for flipping between pictures in Loupe view!


What I think could be better – Cons

Apple hasn't always designed a good mouse (man I hated this thing!):


The good news is that most of my issues with the Magic Mouse are software related, not hardware related. The actual product design itself is great. First let's start with the gestures. This is a minor one, but the gestures are DIFFERENT than those on the MacBooksand MacBook Pro trackpad. For example, on the trackpad you can do 3 finger gestures. On the Magic Mouse it's either 1 or 2 finger gestures. Now this is most likely due to the fact that the Magic Mouse surface is smaller.


The next issue is that with the previous Mighty Mouse, there was a ball (yes, the ball was a problem after a while), and not only could you use the tiny ball to scroll around (until it stopped working or got too dirty to clean) you could also use it as a 3rd button. You could program it as a "clickable" option. On the Magic Mouse there is no middle click option or side buttons to program. This could be a problem for some that use all of their buttons in various apps. Lastly, although the surface acts like a trackpad, you can't fully use it as one to move your cursor around. If you want to move your cursor you do have to move the mouse. This would have been a nice "option" to have when you're working in a space constrained spot. However, I guess Apple figures in that case you're probably on a notebook and then you already have a trackpad.


The Bottom Line

Is it worth the $69 (retail) asking price? Well if you pin me down to one word answer then I would have to say yes. The pros outweigh the cons. However, let me tell you the rest of my answer, which is "it depends!" I'll say Yes, because I do like it and I think it IS an improvement over the last model. However, if you have a 3rd party mouse that you love, then the answer for you may be NO. Remember, you are going to have less buttons. Also mouse ergonomics are very personal to each person. It's something you're using day in and day out. So what's comfortable to me, may not be for you. I actually stopped carrying my Mighty Mouse months ago! Why? I only use a mouse when I'm on the road doing demos and even then half the time I'm on my Wacom Tablet. Since the Wacom tablet comes with a mouse and I carry an Intuos 4 Small tablet everywhere I go, I figured it's just as easy to use the Wacom mouse. Now the question is, will the Magic Mouse go in my bag and the Mighty Mouse will come out. I'm gonna have to say probably. I do like the finger scrolling over the little ball. I also LOVE the Control-one finger Zooming, which is PERFECT for doing demos and teaching. It's definitely a better mouse than what I have been using.  Check out this video on how it works.

Now if they could only bring back the separate button to the trackpad I'd be much happier.

You can get the Magic Mouse here.

It requires a Bluetooth enabled Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher. Get the driver here for your Mac. No Windows driver just yet.

20 Replies to “Apple Magic Mouse Review”

  1. I tried one at an Apple Store, hoping I’d like it. Unfortunately, I came away disliking the sharp edge around the top where my fingers grip. Over time that could grow uncomfortable, and I can see no reason for that other than styling. Form has trumped function, as it often does with Mac mice.

    Too bad. I like the basic idea, although I was hoping for something more on the lines of a freestanding multi-touch pad.

    1. Square corners could become uncomfortable? Yeah, if you have tiny hands of a 3 year old and you’re gripping the entire mouse in the palm of your hand as tight as you can …seriously? The thing is tiny and your fingers barely touch the sides. I’ve been using it for a while now and I’ve never even noticed the “sharp” edges.

      …and I love all the functionality, etc. Overall a great mouse. Way better than the Mighty Mouse’s cheesy little scroll wheel that got clogged every 5 minutes.

      However, there are sometimes some surprising tracking issues like in Illustrator or Photoshop, when you go to circle something while selecting it and it takes a few seconds, when you let go, all the sudden the screen starts spinning around, tracking the circular path your mouse was on while making the selection and it takes a couple seconds to catch up …and worst case scenario, sometimes my artwork ends up off the screen until I scroll back up a few inches. …and it doesn’t happen all the time. A couple times a day. Some worse than others.

      Not a big deal, just a minor annoyance when I’m designing on my Mac Pro.

      …and Apple claims battery life lasts 4 months or 800 non-stop minutes??? Yeah, right. The most I’ve ever got out of it is about 18 – 20 days. …another minor inconvenience if you did what I did and get a AA battery charger and some rechargeable batteries and keep rotating the batteries. Just swap them out in all of 10 seconds …but then it takes another 15 – 20 seconds for bluetooth to find it again when you turn it back on.

      …I suppose if you turn off the power switch at night (otherwise, it goes into sleep mode), you may get a few more days out of it but just be sure to turn the mouse on before your computer or you’ll be waiting without a mouse and nothing to do for like 30 seconds while your bluetooth finds it.

      Again, a couple minor inconveniences but all-in-all, I’ve loved it …I just hope the performance lasts.

  2. Terry,

    You know the Control-Zoom feature isn’t new to the Magic Mouse and worked identically with the ball on the PFKAMM (Peripheral Formerly Known As Mighty Mouse)? Hold down the control key and roll the ball and you’ll get the same zoom effect. AFAIK, this works with any mouse that has a wheel, and has for some time now.

  3. I’ve yet to try it, but it certainly looks promising. Like you, I believe that future software updates should continue to make it a better mouse, and as far as mice goes, anything was better than the previous one, which gummed up too easily! Maybe I shouldn’t have feed it so much cheese?

  4. As a new comer to mac I just don’t understand why they don’t want more than one button on a mouse? I really like right clicking and middle clicking.. How do you open a new tab in a browser? I middle click… How do you open context menus? I right click.. Why would I want to use my other hand and press a key on the keyboard at the same time? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    1. Chris, Right Clicking IS possible. You just have to turn it on in the prefs. The previous mouse also had middle clicking, again you have to turn it on in the prefs. Please watch the video linked above to see it in action. They show how Right Click can be turned on for either left or right handed people.

        1. On the newer MacBook Pro’s, yes you can do a right click right on the trackpad. It’s called Secondary Click in the Trackpad Prefs. No middle click though.

          1. I had hoped that the new Magic Mouse would have the same functionality as my old (but still in use) Kensington ADB “ThinkingMouse.” Although there is no scroll wheel, the four symmetrical buttons give me six programmable clicks. For me it’s the best time saver since learning how to type.

            With the Magic Mouse, I had envisioned a touch surface that could, since it knew where your finger was, be programmed for 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 buttons and yet still have vertical and horizontal scrolling. The Kensington ‘MowseWorks’ software has had that functionality (6 buttons + scroll) for years now, but no touch surface mouse, or even a mouse that even resembled the old ThinkingMouse.

            Apple now has a touch surface mouse but, Alas! no proper software to take advantage of the mouse.

  5. I went to the Apple store the other day and played around with the new magic mouse. It felt a bit small for my hand, but it also glides quite nice across the table. I love the fact that they put some aluminum on the mouse, it looks that much better sitting next to the other mac products. I’ll be grabbing one when they arrive in the stores, yes I drink the kool-aid.

  6. One thing that really bugged me with the mighty mouse was that when you clicked the mouse the whole top went down rather than the immediate region you depressed with your finger as within every other mouse. The down side to that was that when you lifted the mouse while dragging an icon, the mouse mechanically unclicked and the software had to take over. Very often when lifting the mouse while dragging I would also end up squeezing the mouse a little harder and unintentionally activate the side buttons. 
    So what happens with this mouse when you click, drag and then have to lift it while continuing to drag?

  7. Terry,

    I have been reading your blog for quite sometime. Great information so thank you very much for sharing your know how and knowledge. I was reading your earlier review of new Mac goodies. I have had this question nagging me for quite some time. What’s the difference in core2 duo, core duo, dual core? It seems like Intel names these things so it can confuse more than help.


    1. Hi PK,
      Core Duo was the first multi-core intel processor used in the Mac
      Core 2 Duo was the next version of that processor and it’s definitely FASTER.
      Dual core is the same thing. It means 2 processors
      Quad core means TWO Dual Core/Core 2 Duo processors. So you end up with 2 chips that contain 4 processors total.
      Hope that helps.

  8. For me, ergonomics always trumps function in a mouse – if it’s not comfortable, forget it. And based on the comments, I have my doubts about plunking down $69 for this mousie. Thanks for the useful review.

  9. I tried it at the Apple Store and liked it and boutght it. Unfortunately the new software is problematic for some of the Macs I tried. It does not install on some of the older intel macbooks and the 17″ intel IMac that I tried. Talked to Apple Support twice and they are getting a number of such reports. They said that an update to the software would be coming but they did not know when.

  10. I am on the second mouse they sent me now as I discovered the functionality is NOWHERE as good for the left handed option as the right. I just got off the phone with a product development specialist from Apple who fortunately as a left hander herself completely understood the problem ! She is going to do a deep dive into the issue and press for a software update which will result in the left handers having the same exceptional sensitivity when clicking as the righties .. Until then , if your a lefty .. be prepared to click like a right hander for a while .. or wait a few months until this bug is fixed.

  11. I just got a Magic Mouse–the battery life is nowhere NEAR 4 months–not on its default settings, anyway. I found myself replacing my first set of AA batteries in just under 2 weeks, and it’s sucked its way through 15% of the new ones over the last couple of days.

  12. Three days ago I took the plunge and purchased the new iMac. My first and subsequent impressions of the magic mouse are not favorable. Vertical scrolling takes much patience and precision scrolling is beyond my ability. When scrolling through a multipage PDF file scrolling to the next page is quit the challenge. The mouse should, in my opinion, be an extension of my thought process and not another piece of hardware to fight with. So, I’m enjoying the computer but have replaced the magic mouse with my existing multi-button Logitech. By the way, my battery life shows only 83%, after three days. To get four months on a set of batteries I would have to let it sit for three months.

  13. I love the magic mouse , but on pdf the vertical motion zooms where normaly it scrolls.
    Is this adjustable? I am running 10.5.8 on an intel mac tower

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