When I started my new job about two months ago, a MacBook Pro was waiting for me along with an extra monitor, mouse, and keyboard. The mouse was an Apple Magic Mouse 2, which I was curious to try. Apple has had a different mouse every few years and they’ve largely been terrible, feeling little improved since the Apple Lisa mouse. They went from one button to no buttons with the Magic Mouse, and I was interested to see how it worked in practice.

The Shape

A typical Logitech mouse is shaped as if someone grabbed Play-Doh with one hand, making it extremely comfortable. The Magic Mouse was designed as if it was intended to be put on a poster and never touched. It threw ergonomics out in favor of visual appeal, a poor choice for a device that’s covered the entire time it’s in use. This choice causes it to feel just a bit sharp and makes it fail to guide ones hand into any natural position.

The Feel

At first touch, the plastic felt gross. It was not exactly sticky but it didn’t quite feel smooth either. In fact, it felt almost identical to the Samsung Galaxy Mega (which feels very much like a cheap piece of plastic that the average Apple fan would poke fun at). After days of building up oils from my fingers, the mouse felt a bit better and gestures became easier to perform, but it never felt good.

Poor Sensor Position

Before the oils even built up, I noticed one design flaw with the device and that was the positioning of the optic sensor is at the very front of the device, which means if the mouse overhangs its surface by even one centimeter, it stops tracking. I frequently found the device stopped tracking only to realize it had just gone a hint beyond the pad. I ended up putting the mouse pad to the side and using the desk directly, which eliminated that problem but caused the mouse to be slightly less accurate.

Mouse overhanging mousepad

Whoops, the mouse doesn't work like this.

Poor Charging Position

This flaw has received a lot of attention, so I don’t need to go into much detail. Apple decided to put the charging port on the bottom, so the mouse cannot be used while it charges. For the past several years, each Logitech mouse that I used had a port in the front, so that upon charging it would just feel like a typical corded mouse and not kill your productivity.

Magic Mouse charging

The mouse looks like someone flipped over a turtle and it can't right itself.

Connectivity Issues

I found that at least once a day the mouse was no longer connected to the laptop. I don’t know what caused it. Going into settings to reconnect it didn’t work, so I always ended up connecting the cable for a second until the computer and mouse would remember that they were supposed to be friends and start working again.

The Alternative

I tried hard to get used to the Magic Mouse, but I eventually gave up. It’s simply not a good device. I swapped it out with a Logitech mouse and have been much happier. The new mouse is ergonomically better, it actually has middle click, and there are no more connectivity issues; however, I did notice an issue with the new mouse.

For some reason plugging a mouse into OS X doesn’t just work the way it does with Windows and Linux. I’m used to plugging in a mouse and having the forward and back buttons work across the OS (the browser, Android Studio, etc.), but that wasn’t the case with OS X. I searched online for a while and found that solutions vary from installing Logitech’s software and manually customizing the buttons to installing various third-party software that may or may not work on a given OS version. Ultimately, I went with Logitech’s software and found that it allowed the buttons to work in the browser but not in Android Studio.

It’s really a shame that Apple has done so poorly with both their own mouse and with support for devices developed by others. These are some very obvious UX thorns that have gone without redress, and they mar the experience of the OS. I am the type of person who appreciates premium products and am willing to pay extra for the experience, but the Magic Mouse certainly provides neither a premium feel nor experience, and it’s a bit surprising that Apple can get such a well understood device so incredibly wrong.