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A lot of magic in Apple’s Magic mouse

With some trepidation, SEAN BACHER tries Apple’s Magic mouse, but comes away impressed with its looks, functionality and even price.

A few months ago we reviewed Apple’s Magic Trackpad (you can read the review here) ‚ the company’s attempt at replacing the conventional desktop mouse with track pad. An attempt that didn’t work very well.

So it was with some trepidation that I tried out Apple’s Magic Mouse, a standard cordless desktop mouse designed to complement any PC or Mac.

We put it through the Gadget 5 Question User test to see if this mouse makes the grade that the other one does not.

1. Is it ready to use?

Pop in the included batteries, pair up with your desktop or notebook via Bluetooth and it’s ready to go. There is no included software or additional drivers that need to be installed.

Once paired, you will never have to think about it again. It automatically sleeps when not in use and wakes up when you switch your computer on or when you move the mouse.

2. Is it easy to use?

The Magic Mouse functions like a regular mouse. You may be a bit daunted by the apparent lack of mouse buttons. Don’t worry, though, as there are left and right buttons subtly situated where you would normally find them. In order to keep the sleek and sexy feel that is synonymous with Apple products, the developers have covered the buttons with a curved white plastic shell.

After using the mouse for a few weeks, I did start running into a few snags. The Magic Mouse operates similarly to a track pad in that the top part picks up your finger and hand gestures. For example, if I wanted to scroll up and down, I would simply stroke my finger up and down the shell ‚ the outcome being similar to what a scroll-wheel would do. It’s a very useful function, but one that does not operate as it should all the time. When my whole hand is on the mouse, it scrolls sporadically, often sending me way past where I originally wanted to go.

I was a bit concerned about the lack of a USB Bluetooth dongle. Most other wireless mice come with a dongle that plugs into a free USB port on your computer. Apple, however, just assumes that you have Bluetooth functionality built in to your computer. Most new notebooks already have Bluetooth, but what about desktop users?

3. Does it operate as advertised?

Overall I was happy with how the mouse handled. I especially enjoyed the gestures you can perform. For instance, if you hold down the CTRL key and swipe your finger up and down, the screen zooms in and out.

The mouse also allows you to scroll horizontally which is a great time saver, especially when reading e-mails that go beyond the borders of the physical screen. The Magic Mouse also supports two-fingered swipes, a great alternative to hitting the back and forward buttons when surfing the Web.

4 Is it innovative?

I didn’t find the Magic Mouse innovative as such. All the technology the mouse uses has been used somewhere before ‚ be it on track pads or on other mice.

However, the clever use of finger gestures to speed up your ‚mousing‚ experience definitely does put the Magic Mouse in its own league.

5 Is it value for money?

Before even logging onto the ZAstore for a price, I knew that the Magic Mouse would be more expensive than most other mice on the market. However, I was surprised that the price was under R1000. To be exact, R799.

The mouse really adds a sense of sophistication sitting next to my trusty three-year-old notebook and I really enjoyed using it. If you need a new mouse and have a Bluetooth enabled computer, the mouse comes highly recommended.

In conclusion

If you rely heavily on your mouse for the work you do, for example as a graphic designer or CAD operator, I would suggest you stick with a basic mouse. The Magic Mouse will cause endless frustrations once its warms up in your hand with its sporadic scrolling.

If you use a mouse as a navigation tool, then the Magic Mouse will suit you well.

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @seanbacher

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