Apple's latest pointer, the Magic Mouse, is included with its new iMac desktops, but you can purchase it separately for £56. Just don't confuse it with the Mighty Mouse, which differs greatly. The Magic Mouse has had an aerodynamic facelift and also supports application-sensitive touch gestures.
Adheres to Apple aesthetics
Apple has again succeeded in producing a beautifully designed product that retains the company's classic stamp. We measured the Magic Mouse at 114mm long by 58mm wide by 13mm tall. Compared with the oval Mighty Mouse, the rectangular Magic Mouse is definitely smaller overall, but it's a few grams heavier because of the two AA alkaline batteries that power it.
The clicker is ostensibly buttonless, with a smooth, white top shell that blends naturally into the silver undercarriage. The only visible mark is a near-subliminal, grey Apple logo on the bottom of the mouse, which will quietly send wonderful Apple products flying through your dreams at night. Underneath, the mouse is almost as bare, except for a latch that spans the length of the undercarriage and covers the batteries. There's also a power switch to shut off the mouse, as well as an indicator light, and it even goes into battery-conservation mode when not in use for an extended period.
As with Apple's previous mice, the Magic Mouse feels as if it's been carved out of a lump of aluminium. While that does wonders for its looks, its comfort and usability suffer. The Magic Mouse's slim profile means it sits just too close to the table to use efficiently, and we struggled to find a comfortable position for our fingers on its narrow body.
Granted, its uniform shape easily accommodates both left- and right-handed users, but the average mouse jockey will certainly find the lack of ergonomics disappointing, and maybe even painful after 8 hours of work. The lack of two physical buttons is irritating, as usual with Apple mice, but you can go through the preferences to enable the right button and swap the left and right buttons.
The Magic Mouse connects to computers via Bluetooth, but it only works with Apple computers running Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later, and you must install the Wireless Mouse Software update 1.0 that comes included with OS X version 10.6.2. We tried to pair it with a Windows PC and it didn't recognise the mouse. That said, the process of connecting it to a Mac is almost hands-free -- our new 27-inch iMac automatically discovered the mouse, displayed a small icon, and we were ready to go.
The Magic Mouse incorporates a standard laser sensor that can track on nearly every surface. We say 'nearly' because it's impossible for such devices to work properly on cloth and shiny surfaces, such as glass, mirrors, marble countertops, and highly varnished wood. Logitech recently introduced a new kind of glass-tracking technology called Darkfield that lets its mice maintain a reliable signal on fully transparent glass, carpet, trouser legs and so on. This kind of feature isn't as big a deal as Logitech and Microsoft would like you to think, but we're disappointed that Apple is still clinging to older laser technology.
Support for multi-touch gestures sets the Magic Mouse apart from the competition. The multi-touch area is spread across the entire surface of the mouse, so you can swipe your finger anywhere and expect the same results. Aside from the two main buttons up top, you can also use a single finger to scroll 360 degrees anywhere around a Web page, photo or document. Swiping two fingers horizontally across the top surface lets you quickly navigate forward and back on the Web or while playing back a video.