Apple’s Magic Mouse — First Impressions

Img001_2048x1536So I unplugged for a bit this afternoon and took the Mobile Tech Mobile out for a spin. I’m moving away from using the keyboard and trackpad on my MacBook in the home office and decided to take a closer look at the Magic Mouse.

This is all part of a little ergonomic redesign of my workspace, because I’ve been having neck, back and arm pain lately. Just today I took delivery of an ergonomic chair, which should help. And I’m looking into a new desk that’s fully adjustable as well. The problem is: I hate to give up the multitouch gestures on my MacBook, and for that reason alone, I wanted to see how much “magic” that Apple’s new mouse can give me.

In no particular order, here are my thoughts after spending an hour with the new mouse.

  • It’s far flatter than I anticipated.
  • I’m not liking the two plastic rails on the bottom of it. That could be due to my work surface, which is laminated wood — moving the mouse makes a subtle scraping sound.
  • Pairing was a non-issue. I simply turned the mouse on and it was in discovery mode. Once paired, I checked for a software update because I only had basic mouse functionality. One small update later, followed by a reboot, gave me full functionality.
  • From an ergonomic perspective, it actually feels nicer than the old Mighty Mouse, provided you have a desk with the right height. My hand simply rests on it as it would a half-bar of Dove soap. It feels very natural to me because a relaxed hand isn’t flat — it’s curved. This feels like I was using a thinner Palm Pre under my hand, if that makes any sense.
  • The multitouch scrolling and swiping works really well and gives me some of what I’m missing from my MacBook trackpad. There’s a minimal learning curve. I wish — hope, even —  that Apple can add support for three fingers, but I don’t know if that’s possible.
  • Occasionally, my palm has caused a little bit of unintended scrolling. It hasn’t happened often and it could be a training thing. A scroll motion near the bottom of the mouse — near the Apple logo — will still cause a scroll. Perhaps Apple should have made the actual touch portion limited to the upper half of the mouse.
  • It’s not too bad for me losing the side buttons of the old mouse — my Apple Bluetooth keyboard shortcuts are fine, but again, it’s a training thing. I do miss the ability to swipe four fingers up or down, but I’ll get over it.
  • The mouse is really light — almost, but not quite like a smaller travel mouse.
  • The edges are a bit sharp. It could just be my small hands, but the left and right edges aren’t as tapered as I think they can be.
  • By default, the Magic Mouse is set up for kinetic scrolling but is not set up for a secondary button. That’s easy to fix, of course.
  • I really like the kinetic scrolling.
  • From an ergo standpoint, my hand and fingers aren’t doing anything radically different from what they did with the MacBook trackpad.

I’ll be using the new Magic Mouse with my MacBook going forward, so if there’s any show-stopper kind of updates, I’ll report back in. For now, I’d recommend it but probably not sight unseen. That is: I spent a few minutes trying it in the Apple store first and I suggest the same to you. It’s not so much for the features —  after all, if you’ve used a multitouch trackpad on an Apple laptop, then you pretty much understand the features. It’s the feel of using it for swiping and scrolling is what I’d be looking for. It felt relatively comfortable to me in the Apple store, so I made the purchase. If I didn’t feel that way, I’d probably still be out shopping for a mouse.

 

By the way: I also resurrected the ol’ Apple Bluetooth keyboard for my set up. I’ll probably look to replace that because it’s not really that ergonomic at all. For now, it will have to do. But it was sitting around for nearly a year and didn’t turn on at first, even after changing the batteries. Later today or tomorrow, I’ll have to tell you how I fixed it. You’re not going to believe this one — trust me!

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