While everyone is getting all worked-up about a possible keynote speech on September 12th and the possibility that Adobe is going to make a CS3 announcement with full Universal Binary real soon, I’m waxing enthusiastic about my new mouse. I’ve been complaining about my Logitech MX1000 for awhile. I like the mouse quite a bit, but I find it a bit bulky in my hand. The curve of the mouse is uncomfortable after long use and my hand is now a deformed claw, only useful for straining pasta. So, I was quite excited when Apple finally announced the arrival of the wireless, bluetooth Mighty Mouse, complete with LASER mechanism and little trackball doober on the top of it. Here are my impressions.
I’ve been using the mouse for about 5 days now. At first, I was shocked to discover that I would have to install the driver off the disc that came with it and REBOOT MY COMPUTER! I thought all Apple hardware was automagically detected and installed right out of the operating system, but not this little gem. It came on a disc and after rebooting my machine, costing me minutes of productivity while I restored my work-state in various applications, I was able to pair the mouse to my computer and was presented with the Mighty Mouse control panel. If it weren’t for the installing and rebooting, this little fella would’ve Just Worked™. But it didn’t and we’re not allowed to use that phrase. You’ll need OS X 10.4.6 or better to get all the features.
After cranking up the sensitivities for tracking speed, wheel scrolling and setting the right side of the mouse to be a “secondary click” (or “Right Click” if you’ve ever used a computer — or even Mouse Button 2) I was off to the races. First thoughts: hey, this isn’t very fast. I seemed to have to hurl my pointer around to get it across the screen on my G4 PowerBook. It isn’t quite as responsive as I’m used to. The tracking is reasonably smooth though and the networking seems fine.
Clicking requires a bit of care at first. Since there are no actual “buttons”, the switch is embedded in the base and the two halves are distinguished through an electro-static sensor on the surface akin to the one in the 3rd generation iPod, you have to lift you fingers off the front of the mouse if you want to do a right click. More than one and you get a left click. Middle clicking (button 3) is made easier by the tactile sensation from the ball. Again, the whole mouse clicks when you press on the ball.
This isn’t as annoying as it might sound. After a day of using it, clicking became pretty natural. The fourth button is a “squeeze” provided by two curved areas on the side. This is somewhat harder to do as it requires you to move your hand to do it and the switches feel somewhat stiff. It does seem easier than when I first got the mouse though and it might have just required a bit of breaking in. I have mine set to invoke Exposé.
Scrolling via the wheel is pretty slick though again, I would almost prefer a bit more sensitivity here. Especially for side-scrolling.
Overall, I like the mouse quite a bit, but it’s not perfect. I like the fact that it’s small enough to be portable but not too small that it’s a pain to use as my main mouse. I also like the lithium (disposable) batteries that came with it and an apparently long battery life. I’m still at full power after nearly a week. If I don’t get a couple of months out of them though, I’ll consider that a bit disappointing and costly. The Apple design is present in this device and it feels well built. The power switch includes a door that covers the laser sensor when not in use. I think I’ll give this 3.5/5 stars. Be warned though, if in a couple of months I have to replace the batteries, I’m going to lower this to a 3!