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Apple Magic Trackpad review



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Apple Magic Trackpad
  • Apple Magic Trackpad
  • Apple Magic Trackpad
  • Apple Magic Trackpad
  • Magic Trackpad


Our Score:


It’s not magic, it’s not even unique, and its appeal is niche at best, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the Apple Magic Trackpad offhand. We’d certainly suggest you think carefully about whether you want to spend around £60 on a device that doesn’t really add anything new to your computing experience, but that’s not to say the Magic Trackpad doesn’t have its merits.

Although it’s a relatively minor consideration, the industrial design of the Magic Trackpad definitely resides in the list of "plus" attributes. If you're familiar with the dimensions of Apple's aluminium keyboards, you'll find it unsurprising that the Magic Trackpad lines up exactly with one, when placed side by side. In figures it measures 133mm x 130mm x 183mm at its highest point, dropping to just 4.6mm at its lowest.

The tube-like section of aluminium that elevates the rear of the Magic Trackpad also houses its two AA batteries. Obviously any cells will do the trick, but if you want to play the purist, Apple supplies its own charger kit that comes with six batteries - enough to have two charging while the other four power your keyboard and mouse. Obviously there are no wires - perish the thought! - so connection is over Bluetooth; as a nice but pointless touch a special TrackPad icon pops up when one is found by your Mac.

The touch-sensitive area is 130mm square and has the same aluminium-coloured glass finish as the trackpads on the MacBook Pro range. It's more of a design understatement than something to remark upon, but it's certainly an attractive device.

The surface area is just the right size to fit an entire hand on at once, and there's just enough elevation at the back to put your hand at a comfortable angle when resting it. As MacBook users will know, the surface is finished such that it has a good balance between being smooth enough that frequent use isn't irritating, while still providing enough friction that you know your gestures are registered.

The entire surface works as one large button, as we'd expect given that MacBook trackpads work the same way, with the feet at the front clicking into the trackpad when pressed down. The action not only feels satisfyingly mechanical, but also emits an almost tactile "click" noise, imparting confidence in the build quality.

Sensitivity is excellent, as long as you don't turn the pointer movement speed up too high in the Trackpad System Preferences pane. Higher levels not only reduce accuracy, but also the amount of trackpad space that you'll be using. For most applications where you're not moving across large screen distances, you'll rarely be using the full surface area of the Magic Trackpad anyway -- especially with pointer acceleration enabling fine movement when required, while also letting you track across large distances quickly when you need to.


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.


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.


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


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?!


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.


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?).


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.


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?


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)


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.


September 27, 2010, 10:11 pm

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


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 ...!!


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.


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.


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:


or if you're feeling flush, this:



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/blo...


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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