By Aloysius Low
Apple's mice have always been somewhat of a mystery to non-Apple users. The first question most often on the lips of the uninitiated tend to be, "where's the right click button?" The new Magic Mouse, like its predecessor, the Apple Mouse (formerly known as the Mighty Mouse), comes with no physical buttons and uses an entirely capacitive surface instead.
With the introduction of the capacitive surface, the new Magic Mouse allows for a bevy of new features, like two-finger gestures and scrolling that weren't available before.
Looking at the mouse, it's not hard to see Apple's usual beautiful design at work. The clean looking top acrylic surface is pretty to behold, while the bottom aluminum differs from the usual plastic found on other mice. As mentioned, there are no buttons, but seeing as how the entire top surface acts as a button, the point is moot. Apart from its looks, we found the low profile of the mouse to be ergonomically unfriendly to the wrist and hands, especially when it came to using the mouse gestures.
Tracking was another issue despite its new laser tracking technology. We set the options on our MacBook Pro to the maximum and found acceleration and movement to be a sluggish affair compared to most other mice. Downloading a patch from Apple did not help, though we did try using a mousepad and without.
It definitely worked better without a mousepad, which is quite strange as we found most other mice working better on a mousepad. There's a tweak available that requires going into Terminal to perform, but it seems strange that it doesn't work as well as other normal bluetooth mice.
Sadly, you still can't right click without lifting your left click finger off the mouse. It's a pain to be sure, we wish it was magically fixed for this update, but you will get used to it. If you've used an Apple Mouse, this will be a familiar feeling for you. Moving on, the built-in scrolling worked like a charm, and we loved how we could scroll any direction easily with just a finger movement.
The two finger gestures take some time to get used to, because of a tendency to change your grip to swipe. You would otherwise move the entire mouse along while swiping, which isn't a very fun experience.
Also, while the mouse supports more than two fingers, there's currently a lack of software functionality to do so, unlike the MacBook Pro's trackpad. There are hacks around to enable middle clicking and more multi-finger gestures, but these are unsupported by Apple, so use at your own risk. Lastly, there's also no support for Expose or Dashboard, which really limits the usability of the mouse.
Still, using the Apple Magic Mouse was a smooth experience once you got used to its quirks. It's certainly not ideal and definitely not as magical as it should be despite Apple's usually fabled improvements. Some may even feel it's a step backward compared to the previous Apple Mouse, but we're not ruling out possible driver updates that will make the mouse really magical.
For now though, if you want to fork out the S$98 bucks for this, feel free to do so but keep in mind these limitations.