I’m not generally a fan of wireless input devices, mostly because of the need to always have batteries handy. I especially don’t see any need to use a wireless keyboard; unless you work on a desk where you move things around often, your keyboard will probably stay put all the time. However, the wire from a mouse can be annoying: it can easily get caught among the flotsam that’s piled up on your desk. So, when Apple recently released its wireless Bluetooth Mighty Mouse, I thought I’d try it out and see if I was ready to go wireless.I had actually tried a wireless mouse years ago–it was a Logitech mouse that worked with an infrared receiver, and it never really worked perfectly. In addition, the mouse was too high, and the batteries wore out very quickly. But the sleek design of the Mighty Mouse, plus the extra features built in to Tiger, made it tempting.
I have an iMac with built-in Bluetooth, so setup was a cinch: just install the software, pair the device, and it works. I use rechargeable batteries, so I made sure to have a set ready when the Mighty Mouse arrived. (You should too: there’s no excuse for using throw-away-able batteries when rechargeables and chargers are so cheap. And it’s better for the environment!)
The Mighty Mouse has some plusses and minuses, but overall, I’m happy with the way it feels. After all, one of the most important characteristics of an input device is the way it fits in your hand. Even though my hands are pretty large, the Mighty Mouse is comfortable. Its glossy finish is sensual, and I can rest the heel of my hand on my mouse pad (I use a padded mouse pad because it’s more comfortable than resting my hand on my desk) and still move the mouse.
One of the best features is the scroll nipple. (Apple calls it a scroll ball, but it is more nipple-sized…) This is probably the best and smoothest scrolling device I’ve ever used, and I’ve used many, from mice with scroll wheels, to add-ons such as the Griffin PowerMate and others. The ability to scroll vertically, horizontally and even in 360 degrees is great–I occasionally have to work on very large PDFs where I have to scroll in all directions to see their content.
In addition to scrolling, you can set the nipple to zoom in or out when holding down a modifier key (by default this is the control key). Since my eyes are ageing, I find this a plus for reading web sites whose fonts are too small. Again, the zoom is very smooth, and the anti-aliasing is excellent.
However, I can’t for the life of me press the side buttons easily. Partly because of the natural position of my hand, and partly because it takes a lot of pressure to activate those buttons, it just doesn’t work. That’s no great loss, since I really don’t need more than three buttons (you configure the Mighty Mouse for a left click, a right click, and a click when you press on the nipple).
The feel of this mouse was strange, at first. With batteries, it weighs 137 grams, compared to only 80 grams for the mouse I was using previously (a Microsoft USB optical mouse). While 57 grams (or 2 ounces) doesn’t sound like much, the difference in weight is taking me a while to adapt to. But it actually makes the mouse more precise, since there is a bit of resistence when moving it around.
One down side I found is that even at the highest tracking speed, the mouse moves too slowly. I remedied this with the free MouseZoom preference pane, which allows me to greatly increase the tracking speed, making it easy to move from one side of my 20″ screen to the other without crossing my desk.
All in all, I’m happy with this mouse. While I don’t really need wireless–I could probably have gotten by with the USB Mighty Mouse–it seems like a nice way to work, not having to occasionally free the mouse wire from other cables on my desktop, and having one less thing to plug into my USB hub. It’s a bit pricey, but, as always with Apple products, it is well-designed, and integrates perfectly with the operating system.