Saving the Mighty Mouse’s Day

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial, Reviews

wireless_mm.gifApple’s Mighty Mouse can’t seem to catch a break. I’m still amazed at the bad reviews it gets. And almost all the reviews of the new wireless version seem to have the same ‘Too little, too late’ mantra.

This review may be a little different. I have been using a Mighty Mouse exclusively for the past ten months, and I couldn’t be happier. It seems to address nearly every beef I’ve ever had with other mice. These three points are where the Mighty Mouse shines for me most:

1. Size & Weight
I have a problem with large, bulky mice (I don’t have dainty hands, by the way). The way I mouse, I basically use my thumb and ring finger to move, and index and middle for clicks. I have never liked ‘mitting’ my entire mouse. Too many mice that are ‘ergonomically’ designed seem to REQUIRE you to do a full on, sweaty-palmed wrap around. As a lifelong Mac user, I’ve always worked with quick mousing and lots of keyboard shortcuts. I don’t get stuck into the right-click, click, right-click, click mode that Windows traps you in. That is just too slow and constricting for me.

The Mighty Mouse is svelte, lightweight, and easy to glide. It has a low profile and symmetric Tic-Tac like shape. It’s easy to grab, move the pointer, and get back to the keyboard. You don’t need to conform your hand to the shell of the mouse just to move it.

2. Solid Clicks and no extras
Another problem I have with most modern mice is that the buttons are too numerous and too sensitive. When did it become a good idea to duplicate half the keyboard on a mouse? Do mouse designers really think people hate moving back and forth from keyboard to mouse so much that a mouse needs ten buttons? And to make them ‘less fatiguing’ they make them so clicking a button takes very little pressure at all. This just makes them easier to click ACCIDENTALLY. Having five things start happening at once because you accidentally mashed down on seven different mouse buttons is not my idea of productivity (which is why i always disable them).

The Mighty Mouse basically has one good solid button that requires a deliberate click. The shell is touch-sensitive, so a right click is registered by pushing down on the right side. Rarely does my Mighty Mouse not register a right click. The Mighty Mouse has two other ‘buttons’, the ball-click and the squeeze. I have my ball-click expose the desktop (which might be the default, I can’t remember), and the squeeze brings up Dashboard. The squeeze requires the a little contortion to get it to work, but that is how I prefer it, since I don’t want my Dashboard coming up accidentally. And I always have FAR LESS fatigue with my Mighty Mouse than using any other mouse. It seems the more ‘ergonomic’ and button-ridden the mouse is, the more your hand needs to use its muscles to conform to the shape of the mouse and NOT accidentally click buttons.

Apple has also built in a tiny speaker that gives feedback. When using the scroll ball, there is a tiny, almost unnoticeable ‘click’ for each half millimeter or so you turn the ball. It’s so light that you probably wouldn’t notice it unless it went away. Also, when doing a squeeze-click, there is a small ‘click’ when you squeeze in, and another small ‘clack’ when you release. It sounds so natural I had to unplug the mouse and test it to make sure it wasn’t mechanical.

3. My mouse needs a tail
I never wanted a wireless Mighty Mouse to start with. Wireless mice, both traditional RF and Bluetooth, just don’t have the quick response of a wired critter. When I move a mouse across the screen, I want the pointer to stop when my mouse stops, not 4 to 10 pixels after. I get frustrated very quickly with the jittery re-adjustments required when using a wireless mouse. Many people don’t notice the difference, or don’t care. But I do, and it greatly affects how I work. Apple may have remedied this a little with the new Wireless Mighty Mouse’s new laser tracking. But I’ll bet it’s still not as responsive as a wired mouse.

Also, by design, wireless mice need to be heavier to account for the batteries. This added weight affects how well a mouse glides.

The cord on the original Mighty Mouse is short and light-weight. It comes with a cord clip that also fits over the USB plug (exactly like the one that comes with the iPod). When I have my mouse plugged into my PowerBook, I use the clip to form a loop, which effectively shortens the cord and keeps it completely out of my way.

Those are my thoughts on the controversial Mighty Mouse. If you’ve been holding out on buying one because of bad reviews…don’t necessarily take their word for it. Using mice can be a very subjective thing. Go out and try one yourself. You may really like it.

There are 14 comments on Saving the Mighty Mouse’s Day:

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  1. macFanDave | Aug 02 2006 - 10:12

    Excellent review. I agree with just about everything you say. It’s funny, but I remember my Mom used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything,” but the rule for reviewers seems to be the diametrical opposite! Good for you, Eric, for telling the truth, no matter how nice it is!

    I have a much more mundane reason for preferring a corded mouse: a wireless one will undoubtedly get lost on my messy, disorganized (physical) desktop! (Ironically, my on-screen desktop would give the impression that I am some kind of anal-retentive obsessive.) I need the cord to be a tether to help me find the mouse!

  2. Tony | Aug 02 2006 - 10:42

    I agree with both your comments. The wireless version also works better with the laser tracking. Fyi, with batteries the weight is just right, not like the original wireless Apple mouse which was very heavy.

  3. John Bailey | Aug 02 2006 - 02:50

    A breath of fresh air here. A corded mouse came with my Intel IMac some 4 months ago and after a couple of days it was as if I had always used one. I have had a new cordless delivered today and can honestly say it is the best unit I have ever used. Neat, clean lines, smooth tracking, precise and the scroll ball is perfect. I agree with the comment “If you can’t say…………….” as it applies to reviewers and sometimes wonder if they have ever seen some products they comment on never mind tested them.Thank you Apple for an excellent product and Eric for an equally excellent review.

  4. alex santos | Aug 02 2006 - 03:50

    I have been using my new mighty mouse (wired version) for a few days on my new iMac and I must say it is extraordinarily well thought out. My last mouse was an MS mouse, it will be missed but forgotten.

  5. alex santos | Aug 02 2006 - 03:27

    one more comment Adam

    Great use of the clip to shorten the cable, who would have thought!

    BTW I am enjoying a great holiday in PORTO, Portugal. Ahh the wine is wonderful but I must say – I do miss the maccast and hope to catch up soon.

    It will be great to see 4 or more new shows when I get back to Poland.

  6. David | Aug 02 2006 - 05:24

    I too find this review by Erik to be a nice reprieve from the usual Apple bashing that one usually sees with the Mighty Mouse. Now with the release of the wireless version, I’m finally influenced enough to get one. I have 3 Apple stores in my area (Denver) and all three were out of stock by Saturday, so I’ve ordered it online. I have tried the wired version in the store and find it’s functionality supperb and right in line with the style and quality one would expect from Apple. With it being wireless to boot, what more could I want. Well maybe a little bit lower on the price, but what do you expect.

  7. mike | Aug 02 2006 - 11:35

    i love the mouse, and great review. i had a microsoft mouse before and will never see it again. one thing that i like that i wasnt aware of before i bought it was the button if you push down on the ball, its a nice touch and i feel that the mighty mouse is very well thought out.

  8. Chris Meisenzahl | Aug 03 2006 - 05:41

    I don’t know, I just can’t get into it. ;-(

  9. Will | Aug 03 2006 - 09:48

    I don’t really understand any of the complaints about the mighty mouse. I think that it is effortless to use all four buttons and the scroll ball can be really useful for photos. I think what that reveiw said was dead on. The only complaint I have about it is that the cord is TOO short for my iBook G4 since it has to wrap around.

  10. Scott | Aug 03 2006 - 01:45

    I had a mighty mouse and scroll wheel/button in hte middle has given out- i’ve had it for about 2 months- so, that’s a disappointment- definitely.

    I did like the size, weight, and ‘apple-ness’ of the whole thing, but the easy breaking of the button renders it a disappointment

  11. Jim | Aug 03 2006 - 02:21

    I agree, I like my Mighty Mouse a lot. There’s only one thing I couldn’t deal with. Somehow, I couldn’t stop triggering the side buttons, which I had programmed to show me the Expose view. No matter how I tried, I could not stop Expose from popping up at odd times, sometimes even mystifying me, until I’d feel the extra little bit of tension in my fingers, and realize I had squeezed the mouse a little too hard.

    So I disabled the side buttons. Now it works like a champ.

  12. jay | Aug 04 2006 - 02:38

    I’ve been using my mighty mouse for 8 months. All the other designers at my company laughed at me because I got stuck with it. You know what, it really cramps up my hand. It’s just too flat an the buttons are more sensitive than this reviewer gives credit for. I cant wait to get a new one but unfortunately Im getting a new G5 and Im positive that it wont come with a taller mouse.

  13. D2 | Aug 07 2006 - 12:51

    “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything”
    Are you guys serious? I dont know whats more abusrd, that someone wrote this, or that someone else agreed. It’s a reviews job to criticize a product, they are not tryint to sell a product. The “non nice” portions of a review are typically the most useful.

    No mention of how the right click doesnt work if your finger is on the left click area. “Rarely does my Mighty Mouse not register a right click.” Since when is rarely acceptable for an input device.
    My ENTER key works, rarely does it not register a push.

    Seriously guys, blind love is delusional.

  14. James | Sep 26 2006 - 06:22

    i thought it was me. recently i dug my wired mighty mouse out of the basement and really compared the wired and wireless models. yes, the wireless mighty mouse WAS overshooting by 4-10 pixels every time i tried to go somewhere. as for the overshooting, i don’t know if it’s signal lag, or the added weight of the batteries, that’s causing my hand to overaccelerate. i’ve tried and tried adjusting the mouse in system preferences since i’ve had it, and after a month, i gave up yesterday. it’s back to the wired mouse for me.

    the weight problem could be fixed easily: they could have used watch batteries instead of AA’s.

    perhaps we need a higher bandwidth bluetooth standard to fix the lag.