We'll be updating our report on computer mice in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, we wanted to take a closer look at a device that came out this summer: the Bluetooth-enabled Apple Magic Trackpad (*Est. $70). This device functions much the way the trackpad on Apple's laptops does, allowing users to scroll, rotate, zoom, swipe and slice, dice and make tons of julienne fries (okay, maybe not the last three). But is the Apple Magic Trackpad worth the price, and is it a decent alternative to a mouse? Read on...
In general, reviewers are receptive to -- if not downright enamored with -- the Magic Trackpad. A clear consensus emerged:
The Magic Trackpad is well suited for people who are accustomed to using a laptop's trackpad. Like the trackpad on a MacBook, you can swipe, scroll, zoom and use multi-finger touch commands to navigate around your Mac. If you're one of these people, PCMag's Joel Santo Domingo says, "get yourself to your local Apple store."
Bigger is better. Nearly every reviewer praises the size of the Magic Trackpad, saying that everything Apple's trackpad does for laptops, it does even better for desktops. They also love its clean, minimalist brushed aluminum design. Dan Frakes of Macworld notes one minor drawback: "If you've got an exceptionally large display, or multiple displays, you may find the Magic Trackpad requires more effort to traverse that screen area than a trackball or mouse."
Setup is easy. In fact, Nick Mokey of DigitalTrends.com says, it took longer to download the 70 MB drivers from Apple than it did to set up the trackpad. However, you will need Mac's Snow Leopard operating system to use the Magic Trackpad.
It works with Windows. Good news for Mac owners who have to run Windows using Boot Camp. However, as Apple points out, you do lose some functionality if you're using Windows.
It's reasonably comfortable to use. After a day's use, Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo.com says using it felt "natural," and he cited two reasons why: "One, you can put it in any position you want next to the keyboard; two, the surface is at a small angle in relation to the table."
Magic Trackpad: drawbacks
Gee-whiz factor aside, the Magic Trackpad isn't the last word in peripherals, and more than one reviewer noted that it does have a few drawbacks. Two complaints are most common:
The Magic Trackpad isn't as precise as a mouse. If you use your mouse primarily for navigation, the Magic Trackpad is just fine. But if you're do fine graphics or photo work, where you need to maneuver at the pixel level, most reviewers say you're better off with a mouse or a dedicated tablet like the Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet (*Est. $60), which many reviewers say is a fine alternative. Gamers, too, will probably want to look for a dedicated gaming mouse, reviewers say.
Sticker shock. Or, as Pocket-lint.com's Stuart Miles quips, "you really want to make sure this is magical enough to replace your current mouse and we would have to say this comes down to how much you enjoy using a trackpad."
More on the Apple Magic Trackpad
Want to know what the Magic Trackpad's innards look like? The folks at iFixit.com do, and they set about tearing one apart.
About.com's guide to Mac computers prints a concise list of the Magic Trackpad's multitouch gestures. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
The bottom line on the Magic Tackpad
Reviewers generally agree that the Apple Magic Trackpad is a worth tool for people who like the flexibility of navigating with a trackpad, or who don't like to use a mouse or trackball. It's Bluetooth connectivity makes it easy to place just about anywhere (a few reviewers use the trackpad to control their Mac-based home theaters), and a few reviewers say it would be good on a cramped desk where you may not have the room for a mouse to wander. But most reviews also note that it's not a must-have device, although hard-core Apple devotees might argue otherwise.
This ConsumerSearch.com page has been optimized for print. To view this page in it's original form,
please visit: http://www.consumersearch.com/blog/apples-magic-trackpad-mouse-killer-or-merely-mediocre
Sponsored Links are keyword-targeted advertisements provided through the Google AdWords™ program.
These listings are administered, sorted and maintained by Google. For
information about these Google ads, go to adwords.google.com.
Google may place or recognize a unique "cookie" on your Web browser.
Information from this cookie may be used by Google to help provide
advertisers with more targeted advertising opportunities. For more
By clicking on Sponsored Links you will leave ConsumerSearch.com. The web site you will go to is not endorsed by ConsumerSearch.