Review: Mighty Mouse

    August 25, 2005

In a word: Yuck! I ran into an Apple Mighty Mouse at CompUSA on Tuesday, and I was very not impressed.

The Might Mouse, for those not reading 800 blogs a day, is Apple’s first two-button scroll wheel mouse. See, until now, Apple has always had a one-button mouse, in the interests of simplicity. Since so many Mac users were just going out and buying third-part mice, I guess Apple figured it might as well get a part of that action.

The weird thing is, Apple refused to commit. The Mighty Mouse is designed in every way to look virtually identical to a standard one-button Apple mouse. It has no buttons, the top of the mouse can be pushed down as a button. The Apple logo has been replaced by a scroll ball. So regular Apple mouse users may get fooled at first glance.

The top of the mouse can tell which side you are pressing down on, as to determine the difference between left and right clicks. In addition, pressing down on the scroll ball actually depresses the main mouse button, in such a way that the mouse knows to interpret a third button click. Finally, there are two side buttons.

If you are used to a regular two- or more-button mouse, you are going to hate the Mighty Mouse. Depressing the second button is a strange event, and it feels like you are doing something wrong. Pressing the scroll wheel feels like making a regular click, which is confusing. In fact, the scroll ball is too sensitive, with frequent accidental clicks.

Next up, use your regular mouse for a few seconds. Are you putting any pressure on the bottom of the mouse? Well, the more pressure you put, the harder it is to click the regular buttons. If you put enough pressure, it is downright impossible.

The scroll button is no scroll wheel. It is just a little ball, and that means using the bottom of an extended finger is out; its the pad or nothing. Now, that means that you run out of finger and have to pull back.

All in all, the Mighty Mouse simply doesn’t work like a regular mouse. I found myself getting hand cramps within seconds of using it. If you already have and use religiously a two button mouse, you may hate this one. Do not buy it without extensive test-driving in a store.

On the other hand, if you are used to the regular one-button Apple mouse, buy it. This is a solid replacement for that mouse, and you are probably already used to the strange operations required. My main Apple info guy tells me that it is definitely more for one-button users, who are used to wrist movements over finger movements.

Not that Apple isn’t marketing it for everybody. They should put a disclaimer for two-button users.

I’m kind of glad Apple refused to send me a review unit. I’d just have sold it on eBay after a few days of frustration. I actually cost Apple a sale when my contortions with the mouse inspired someone to walk out of the checkout line and put a Might Mouse back on the shelf.


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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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