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Apple Magic Trackpad - Apple Magic Trackpad

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

The space available becomes more useful for the plethora of multi-touch gestures that Apple provides. All the obvious actions, such as pinch-to-zoom, rotation, and three-finger 'forward' and 'back' navigation are present, but Apple has also added the Magic Trackpad-specific option to have a three-finger drag move windows around. Unfortunately to enable that you have to sacrifice navigation gestures which is a poor tradeoff - we'd rather lose the four-finger Command-Tab gesture.

We're unsurprised, but nonetheless disappointed, by the Windows support offered by the Magic TrackPad, too. Obviously we're not expecting quite the level of OS integration the Magic Trackpad as with OS X, but the option to at least bind gestures to actions within Windows would be appreciated.

While the default multi-touch functionality is everything you'd expect, the real magic actually comes with third-party programs - BetterTouchTool is a prime candidate - that let you assign your own multi-touch gestures. The Magic Trackpad has no problem registering as many digits as a normal person could plausibly apply to it, so there's no reason to limit yourself.

We wouldn't go so far as to suggest that the Magic Trackpad is a completely viable replacement for a mouse, but if you use your Mac in a manner that fits with the device's limitations it's an interesting alternative. For general desktop use, such as browsing he web, accessing emails and editing pictures in iPhoto or even Aperture we found that the Magic Trackpad really did make things easier after we adjusted to the new input.

There's a much more natural correlation between the action of moving a finger across a touch-sensitive and a mouse pointer moving across a screen. And, while it's of course possible to make fine adjustments with your fingers when using a mouse, most movements are made from the shoulder and elbow which are both far less dexterous than your digits.

We'd be remiss not to qualify that advantage of the Magic Trackpad if we didn't point out that a stylus is an even more efficient tool for image editing and creation applications. Manufacturers such as Wacom have long-hence perfected such inputs, and Apple's Magic Trackpad isn't about to usurp them. But then the Magic Trackpad isn't trying to replace graphics tablets, so that's hardly a criticism.

Verdict

Apple's Apple Magic Trackpad is pretty expensive for an unnecessary peripheral, but it works as advertised and can even make general desktop activity a little easier than a mouse at times. We've a long way to go yet before we'll be persuaded to part with our mice, but this is certainly an interesting step in the right direction.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Value 7
  • Usability 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 9

scamevoli

September 27, 2010, 2:35 pm

They made this for a bet, right? Otherwise, how on earth could such an utterly pointless idea have made it from R&D to production?





PS I love the comment, "when using a mouse, most movements are made from the shoulder and elbow". Really? That must be one big mouse you're using.

japester

September 27, 2010, 2:39 pm

"And, while it's of course possible to make fine adjustments with your fingers when using a mouse, most movements are made from the shoulder and elbow which are both far less dexterous than your digits."





I beg to differ. I have been using a mouse for many years and input controls are made from my fingers and wrist, not my elbow and shoulder.

Mik3yB

September 27, 2010, 3:09 pm

"And, while it's of course possible to make fine adjustments with your fingers when using a mouse, most movements are made from the shoulder and elbow which are both far less dexterous than your digits."





If you rest your forearm and elbow on the desk you're only using your wrist and hand..





You'd only be using the shoulder and elbow if you lifed your whole arm up off the desk which would be very uncomfortable..? How do you use your mouse normally Hugo?! :O

rav

September 27, 2010, 3:09 pm

Am I the only who can see all the Macbook Pro owners rushing out to bag one of these?!

RPJ

September 27, 2010, 3:21 pm

Gamers do it with their wrists! - could be a bumper sticker


I once read in an article on calligraphy that said the way to improve your handwriting is to use the whole arm from the shoulder and not the wrist. I think it's still a better idea than PC touch screens though.

Hugo

September 27, 2010, 5:16 pm

There are two camps of mouse users, some use the wrist others the arm. Although actually I vary depending on what I'm doing and what mouse I'm using (but maybe that's just a result of the peripherals at our London office being nigh-on useless?).

GoldenGuy

September 27, 2010, 6:48 pm

"It’s not magic, it’s not even unique."





Indeed. It's a concession that cramming multitouch onto the Magic Mouse was a bit awkward. Has to be said, you were able to obtain iPods a lot quicker than this. We've read all the reviews - bit pricey, nice consistency with keyboard, does what it says on the tin.

Hugo

September 27, 2010, 7:04 pm

Yeah, we're a bit late to the party, but we finally wrangled one out of Apple and thought it better to have a review than not. Allegedly people do in fact use the search box - crazy, right?

hankb6d

September 27, 2010, 7:29 pm

Apple design department overlook USB for the humble battery. Unless i'm thick and overlooked this, I consider this a right howler.

Noggin The Nog

September 27, 2010, 7:56 pm

@ravmania errr Macbook Pro owners have a multitouch trackpad, why would they want two ?





It does have to be said when I'm at work using my laptop I still sometimes try and multitouch :o)

Chris

September 27, 2010, 8:04 pm

I was going to rant about Apple's arrogance and form-over-function ethos, embodied by this gimmicky toy, but it's a stale argument, so I won't.





@hank: Great idea, but then you'd need a loose USB cable or charger dock lying around on your desk. Not a very 'Apple' approach, they'd rather have you swapping out batteries.

Moggy58

September 27, 2010, 10:11 pm

Maybe your just a camp mouse user Hugo ... ;-)

Premfab

September 27, 2010, 10:44 pm

Yes, all valid points - but lets not forget people: this is an Apple product meaning the muppets will be queueing up for it ...!!

gnodeb

September 27, 2010, 11:39 pm

And I was wondering who would buy a notebook keyboard for desktop system :) This product is bigger joke then mouse with one button.

AndyT

September 28, 2010, 1:21 am

I have a Mac Mini connected to my living room TV as a HTPC & general PC. I struggled for about 18 months to find the right control to use while sitting on the sofa or beanbag (tried airmouse, etc...) & this trackpad has proved to be ideal.





It is expensive & I can't see it being used on a desktop, but it's the best solution that I've found for controlling a PC/Mac from a sofa (probably not a large segment of the market though).

Oh Dae-Su

September 28, 2010, 3:50 pm

Would this work with the PS3? It would be a great feature to use for Youtube and things, seeing as Sony have yet to update software for the Sony Bluetooth remote to actually move the cursor.

Chris

September 28, 2010, 10:52 pm

@Oh Dae-Su: It should work, it's just a Bluetooth HID after all, but I imagine driver-based features like multi-touch won't work.





Alternatively, there are keyboards with integrated touch pads that work with the PS3, like this:


http://www.logitech.com/en-us/...


or if you're feeling flush, this:


http://www.logitech.com/en-us/...

JButts

November 12, 2010, 4:16 pm

Got to be honest, I sometimes use an i7 MacBook Pro and when you use it for a while the sharp front edge does start to irritate your wrists, in fact, can make them quite sore! The Apple wireless keyboard, Magic trackpad and humongous Apple Cinema screen suits me just fine. I also like to use the same items with my Mac Pro. Stick to your ancient PC's and mice, prehistoric, essentially unchanged (other than the use of an LED rather that a ball) since the 80's. Thanks to Apple, PC's are moving forward, virus free and reliable. My Mrs is using a Sony Vaio VPCEC1S1E Windows 7 machine (fully loaded £1100) and it is quite simply not a patch on my Snow Leopard OS. Consequently, she uses my machines because hers crashes all the time! Typical Microsoft, 'let's let the public Beta test our operating systems'. When are the public gonna wake up!!! They've been doing this for years! Honestly, move to Apple, MSDOS is garbage, and always has been. Having used Apples now for about 5 years, I have NEVER received an error message, it just works. Check these out http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/4...

phred

October 26, 2012, 4:04 am

No, it is not as good as a mouse,but is good for a trackpad-better than the trackpads on Apple laptops-more sensitive,faster, easier to use.

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