When I’m not blasting my way through the Switch release of Titan Quest in a mad dash to try and review it, I’m either working at my real job, or writing articles in a cafe.
Recently, I decided to un-mothball my 12-inch MacBook after letting it sit in an old backpack on my floor for two months. The results were…mixed?
I had enough “fun” doing that, so I decided I would try out my Magic Mouse 2 again. Where by “decided,” I mean I had a weird moment this morning where I suddenly thought “Oh HEY I own one of those ridiculous mice that I bought and then threw in a closet in the summer of 2016. I wonder if it still works?”
It still works.
The Magic Mouse 2 is a slab of glossy plastic and aluminum with two big teflon bars on the bottom of it. The plastic part probably should have been an older formulation of Gorilla Glass instead, especially for the $80 these cost new.
At first touch, it does a reasonable job of approximating the feel of a glass-topped Apple Trackpad, until you realize that it’s actually kind of sticky and scratch-prone.
If you hate hairline scratches, the Magic Mouse 2 will be your greatest enemy. I spent a few minutes trying to wipe a smudge off the top of my mouse only to realize it was permanent, and accompanied by a few hundred other friends, and so I moved on.
You’re probably waiting for me to make fun of the charge port, just like everyone else did a few years ago. Okay! The Magic Mouse 2 added a rechargeable battery…and a lightning port on the bottom of the mouse. Meaning that you can’t use the mouse while it’s charging.
Now, Apple tried to justify this by saying that you’d almost never need to charge the mouse thanks to its long battery life. And I guess that’s sort of true. The battery life is very good compared to some other rechargeable mice.
But it also looks hilariously stupid when it’s plugged in. I’m sure you’ve seen millions of pictures and videos of this.
How’s the tracking? It’s fine! Good even. It’s weird and a little slow after years of using Logitech’s low-latency wireless gaming mice on PC, but once I adjusted it got the job done okay.
I wish that Apple would upgrade the internals of the mouse to use their fancy low power W1 Bluetooth chip…but maybe that works best for audio?
Speaking of upgrades, did you see that bit up there where I said it has a LIGHTNING port? This made a tiny bit of sense when this thing first launched, but now that Apple has been loading their devices with USB-C connectors for three years it just feels wrong.
You can get the Magic Mouse 2 in two colors: Silver, and Space Gray.
You might look at these pictures and go “Alex those are white and black,” and I’d totally agree with you. But for whatever reason, Apple has named these by the color of the metallic base and not the color of the part of the mouse you actually look at and touch.
They’ve designed those metallic bases to perfectly match your MacBook as long as it isn’t Rose Gold or Gold. Strangers at the coffee shop will be able to see that your mouse matches your computer if they squat down to eye level with your table.
At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that the mouse is $80. That’s true unless you want the Space Gray/Black one, which is a completely identical mouse save for the color, the fact that it launched alongside the new pro line of desktops, and that it costs TWENTY ADDITIONAL DOLLARS at a price of $99.
I guess the penalty for the “coolness” of the new color is twenty dollars.
It has no new features or improvements unless a colorway is a feature to you. It still has a lightning port. And the same battery life, tracking, and touch features.
The touch features are the one standout thing on the mouse, and why it got to live in my closet for two years instead of finding a new home altogether. You can perform a subset of the traditional Apple trackpad gestures on the mouse, and they work really well. Unless you want to hold down the right mouse button while clicking the left one…sorry shooter fans.
But everything else works great, as far as the touch surface goes. As long as you don’t mind the scratchable plastic. It’s fun to scroll and gesture around, just like an Apple trackpad.
Ergonomics and clicking feel are adequate, and I’d wager I like them more than the average user will.
Of course, I liked the generally-agreed-to-be-an-abomination that was the old Hockey Puck Mouse, so perhaps I’m not the best judge of Apple Mouse Ergonomics. There was just something about the way it felt and the clicking of the switch hey wait come back.
The big button on the Magic Mouse 2 feels good and it has a good click to it.
Look, if you want a mouse that connects quickly to your Apple computer(tm) and has native support for all sorts of gesture functions, then you’re kinda stuck with the Magic Mouse 2.
I think at its price it should probably come with a glass surface and a USB-3 charging port, especially now in 2018. Heck, I’d even be willing to pay the $99 premium of the Space Gray version if it came with a glass top, since Apple’s glass surfaces are so nice and smooth.
But really, outside of the gesture support…the Magic Mouse 2 is a series of weird design compromises with a great touch surface and a badly-placed charge port.
I’ll probably play Torchlight with it until my MacBook battery dies, then put it all back in my closet.