Product Type: Apple mice & trackballs
Newest Review: ... first off. But let me tell you, save yourself an hour by spending 10 minutes understanding the amount of commands the mouse is ... more
iMac - £960. Magic Mouse - Priceless.
Apple Magic Mouse
Member Name: icetsunami
Apple Magic Mouse
Advantages: Low profile, Bluetooth, Touch Sensitive, Beautiful, Ambidextrous
Disadvantages: Erm... Don't forget to turn it off underneath.
Right lets be clear. The mouse is one of the most successful innovations in popular computing and revolutionised the way we interact with our machines. Although in use in 1981 it wasn't really considered a mainstream peripheral until it appeared on Apple Macintosh in 1984. See where we are going here? Apple has a long and successful tradition of making highly stylised products that have great aspirational value. Whilst until recently the majority of manufacturers considered both the mouse and keyboard to be purely functional, Apple always applied a level of design flair missing from the regular beige and grey atrocities.
Innovation has always been the key to successful implementation of input devices but the original ball mice were truly awful in their reliability. I often spent time dismantling the underside and cleaning all the fluff and grime from the mechanical rollers. Optical mice lost the ball altogether and used LED diodes to more acurately track the desk or mat surface. Further improvements have been made by using a laser to further improve accuracy and reliability though optical mice tend to be most common for some unknown reason.
The most recent incarnation of the Apple mouse is bang up to date with typical killer styling and cutting edge functionality. The body is made from aluminium and has a low profile polycarbonate white finish bearing a pale grey Apple logo on the lower quarter. The body is quite a bit lower and thinner than the average mouse but still feels comfortable when in the hand. The underside has a slightly recessed panel which contains the batteries and an on/off switch which looks very similar to the one on the third generation iPod Shuffle. Communication with the iMac itself is taken care of by Bluetooth so you effectively have a solid, consistent connection with a range of up to thirty feet. Handy for those with palatial lounges and large spec screens.
The mouse has no visible button as before and has also lost the integral tracking ball that really ought to have been there previously on the old Pro mouse. Pressing on the mouse delivers a precise single click in typical Apple fashion. Where the mouse really delivers the killer blow is in it's implementation of multi touch gesture control seen on recent Apple touch screens as in the iPhone.
The majority of the surface is touch sensitive allowing clinically smooth and fluent tracking of web pages and photos. Tracing a finger back and forth vertically for example will act as a traditional scrolling wheel would to scan up and down web pages and documents. In conjunction with depressing the control key this feature allows the user to zoom in and out of what they are currently looking at. Single clicking is the default arrangement but you can activate double and right clicking through preferences. Moving the finger in any direction on the mouse surface allows for 360 degree panning.
A nice and quirky innovation is that you can use two fingered gestures (not that kind) to navigate backwards and forwards through pages such as tabs in Safari. This requires using two fingers in contact with the surface and swiping in both directions. The intelligent software wont allow you to do this with just one finger which avoids little mistakes. The gesture is nicely implemented though I have heard some moans about whether it is a necessary function for the mouse and some find it awkward in terms of dexterity.
The Magic Mouse is clearly something special and this is reflected in it's price tag. Expect to pay in the region of £50 as a stand alone purchase. Aesthetically it is rather beautiful and the low profile gives it a futuristic look putting it streets ahead of the competition. The shape of the mouse is completely uniform and the weight distribution precisely equal which makes this a truly ambidextrous mouse. If you have the very latest iMac package with OS/X Snow Leopard then the Magic Mouse is standard equipment. OS/X 10.5.8 or later is supported with the appropriate wireless software. You can also use it under virtual versions of Windows XP, Vista and 7 if you have the latest version of Boot Camp on the Snow Leopard installation disk. Native Windows drivers are available for PC users but obviously they are not officially supported by Apple themselves. They're like that you know.
So what is it like in everyday use? Well there has been some criticism of the low profile, especially in conjunction with comfortably using the two fingered gesture control. Personally I can say that the gestures are a little unnatural but this is the first time its appeared on a mouse so its a learning process. Even so within a few hours it starts to make some real sense and whilst it may be a flashy feature with good PR value it is of use. I find that the profile has no real detriment to the normal use and movement of the mouse and the centred weight of the batteries keep it both balanced and precise. Battery life is very good and there is no lag in responsiveness thanks to the consistency of the Bluetooth connection.
The Apple Magic Mouse is both sleek and chic with a feel of real quality. The whole design screams precision and perfection. In combination with the functionality and geek factor gesture control it is the best mouse I have ever used. Whether you should pay £50 and upgrade if you have an earlier version is debatable but as standard equipment it is simply awesome. You really need to go into your local Apple store or KCRS and try it out for yourself. It is a mouse and bizarrely, it is utterly sexy.
Summary: Best mouse there is for general use.
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