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I was able to stop by one of my local Apple Stores today and check out the Mighty Mouse. In the interest of fairness, I tried multiple mice, just incase one of them was a bad apple. Despite the fact that it was released over a […]

I was able to stop by one of my local Apple Stores today and check out the Mighty Mouse. In the interest of fairness, I tried multiple mice, just incase one of them was a bad apple. Despite the fact that it was released over a week ago, I am none-the-less delighted to bring you my belated review of Apple’s new Mighty Mouse! Let’s dive right in.

The tactile feedback from the scroll ball is surprisingly tangible, and very pleasant. Although Apple claims that the only feedback provided by the mouse emanates from a small speaker within the mouse, I would swear that there is at lest some mechanical feedback system, as I could feel “clicks” at very minute increments as I used the ball. I must say, that of all of the mice I have used with scrolling devices, the scroll ball on the Mighty Mouse is not only the most innovative, but the most fun and pleasurable to use. Driving home, my fingers were craving more of the clicky-scrolly action!

The largest problem I had with the Might Mouse was the touch sensitive buttons. While I had no problem using each button independently of each other, trying to use the right click while my hand rested normally on the mouse was totally impossible. The problem stems from the fact that Mighty Mouse registers a left-click as default when the mouse is clicked, unless only the right touch sensitive area is registering input. That is, one has to make sure that their pointer finger is not touching the left-click when they try to right click. For a select few, who rest their pointer finger on the scroll ball/wheel normally will have no problem. However, for the majority of users, who rest their pointer finger on the left side of the mouse, it is really a pain to have to lift up ones finger just to right click.

Another feature that sets this mouse apart from others is the two side buttons. Although many other mice on the market have side buttons, none have buttons that are as seamlessly integrated as those on the Mighty Mouse. Unfortunately, design is the only thing these buttons have going for them. One thing I must point out before I discuss these buttons any further is the fact that I found great amounts of variation in the amount of pressure required to activate these buttons. One of the mice I tried had such stiff buttons that I was only able to activate them by squeezing as hard as I could, while on another the buttons could be activated by a slight pinch. No matter how hard I had to press, I found the process of using these buttons consistently uncomfortable. When using the buttons, one has two options; either to pinch with their thumb and ring finger (which requires much effort, but does not require them to move the position of their hand greatly), or to pinch with their thumb and middle finger (which requires far less effort, but requires a total repositioning of their hand). After 5 minutes of using these buttons, my ring finger began hurting (not badly, but one’s fingers should not hurt from using a mouse).

All in all, I can’t bring myself to recommend the Mighty Mouse. Despite the fact that it comes from Apple, and that the scroll ball is totally awesome, these facts in no way out-weigh the fact that Apple made some pretty serious mistakes when designing the other parts of the mouse. It would have been better to use traditional mechanical buttons as opposed to touch sensitive areas. Apple has always been on the forefront of technology, and historically they have made mostly good decisions about the implementation of new technologies, but with Mighty Mouse, Apple missed the mark.

By Dan Lurie

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  1. I won’t say that Apple should design it’s mice for ME, but it the case of the Mighty Mouse, it seems this is what they did!

    Until the beginning of last year, I didn’t have USB on my Macs, and mainly for this reason it never occurred to me to buy a multi-button mouse (ADB mouse were hard to find and not cheap). Also, I one of the few who think that a one mouse button and an interface designed for it is a good thing.

    I’m a pro user, and usually didn’t mind using ctrl for contextual menus, since my left hand is usually near the keyboard, and I use a lot of menu shortcuts keys. But since I have an iMac with USB, and even more since Exposé, I wanted to buy a multi-button mouse, and was shopping for one.

    While trying mice, I realized that the Apple Pro mouse that came with my iMac had the ideal shape and size for me. I have small hands, but I find that most mice are too small for my tastes, and I have to close my hands much more to hold them, increasing stress on my muscles. Also, I found that scroll-wheels where not ideal to scroll, and the tilting ones are even worse IMHO. But lastly the reason I didn’t buy a third-party mouse, is that I really really like the fact that on the Apple “Pro” mouse, I could click with 3 fingers at the same time, reducing the risks of RSI by a good amount.

    Now, if you didn’t figured it out already, the Mighty Mouse is just perfect for me. The shape is perfect (for me) and the trackball is awesome (I hope to find a way to play Marble Madness with it on MAME!). Having to lift my left finger to do a right click is a perfect fit to me, since I will be able to click with 3 fingers for the main click, and only have to lift my index for my occasional right clicks. Also, I don’t need or care about the lack of bluetooth, I never felt that Apple mice cables were restraining my cursor movements in any way, I wouldn’t be able to tell an Apple wired mouse from a wireless one with eyes closed. I think that like 50% of people buying wireless mice just do it because it looks cool and futuristic (fine for you, but have fun recharging these!)

    So maybe I’m a special case, maybe not… Let’s see how many of these critters Apple sells. My wild guess is that it will be coined by Steve Jobs (with a little touch of RDF) as “the most successful mouse launch ever since the original Macintosh”

    Oh and by the way for people that were confused by this article, the Mighty Mouse does have a real mechanical click for the main two clicks, the sensors on top are to detect if you left or right clicked, or clicked on the scroll-ball.

    Only the side buttons are pressure sensitive sensors, and they need a minimum of pressure so that they don’t get activated if you lift the mouse by the side.

    It’s the only weak point (for me), but I’m under the impression that after a few weeks of usage, I’ll get used to it, and will find the best way for my hand to click the side buttons, instinctively knowing what pressure to apply.

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  2. I have been using the Logitech MX310 for some time now and, while it’s certainly not as pretty as Apple’s mice, it is very functional. My favorite feature — and really the main reason I insist on more than two buttons — are the little buttons on the side of the mouse, similar to where Apple has their pressure buttons. Except, on the Logitech mouse, they are two separate buttons and are, by default, set to forward and back in web browsers. Forget mouse gestures! That’s even easier. Anyway, when I heard that the pressure buttons on the side are only one button, I really soured on the Mighty Mouse. I don’t see why Apple feels the need to be cutesy… just have the stupid side buttons normal clickable buttons. The pressure sensitive stuff sounds cool, but I don’t see how it is more practical than a normal button.

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  3. I’ve been using the bluetooth Mighty Mouse for almost a year now, and what I love about it is that i’ve been using the same batteries that came with it. The battery consumption is amazing on the wireless Mighty Mouse. To be honest i’ve never even had trouble with having to lift my index finger when i right-click, you barely notice it after a while. Also, the pressure sensitive buttons on the side are stiff when you start using it, but after a while it sorta gets loose and I don’t really have to squeeze that hard. It’s also really easy to connect to my Macbook. I really love this mouse and I really recommend it.

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