Digital Trends reviews Apple Magic Trackpad: The best desktop mouse replacement we’ve seen

Apple’s Magic Trackpad is “probably the best replacement for a desktop mouse we’ve ever stumbled upon,” Nick Mokey reports for Digital Trends. “Like the trackpad on a MacBook, the Magic Trackpad offers a smooth, slippery surface that’s easy to glide a finger over without the sticking of a glossy pad or the drag of a dimpled pad. As far as we’re concerned, it’s as perfect as a trackpad can come, but that still doesn’t make it appropriate for precision mousing applications like gaming or Photoshop, and you’ll need to dial up sensitivity (and sacrifice some accuracy) if you expect to whip it from one corner of your 27-inch monitor to the other as quickly as you would with a mouse.”

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“Carpal Tunnel suffers might find that the lack of clicking brings them relief. Students bound to tiny dorm room desks might find it works better than a mouse in tight quarters. MacBook devotees might simply miss their precious gestures,” Mokey reports. “But given the step back in precision for gaming and Photoshop, you would really have to fit into one of these niches to consider replacing a perfectly workable mouse with a Magic Trackpad.”

Mokey reports, “We’ll brush our skepticism over the need for the Magic Trackpad aside, and leave that for you to decide. Whether it belongs in a SkyMall catalog with orthopedic dog beds and laser parking systems or not, the Magic Trackpad does exactly what it says it does, and does it well.”

Full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re 100% Magic Trackpad now and haven’t touched any of our Magic Mouse units for over a week.


  1. Redmond copy machines are in full speed. First the Magic Mouse, now the Magic Trackpad. MS has to startup their emergency backup copiers to try and keep up with Apple.

  2. How far Apple has come, in terms of “philosophy” on input devices.

    Old Apple – One-button mouse (or trackpad). Point and click (or double-click) with one finger. Users will be confused and less efficient if there is more than one button to think about when using the mouse (or trackpad). Steve Jobs obviously believed in this way of thinking, because the original Mac had a one-button mouse, and the first iMac had a one-button mouse, and the iBook and TiBook had one-button trackpads. (Oddly, the NeXT mouse did have more than one button, maybe of the UNIX roots)

    New Apple – Multi-touch trackpad (or mouse). Numerous ways to interact with the device, with one or more fingers (up to FOUR). More is better, and users will use what is efficient for them. (Steve Jobs seems to have changed his mind about Mac input devices because of the “multi-touch” GUI on iPhone.)

    The “new Apple” is more flexible, and I like it. You can turn options OFF, and make your Magic Trackpad or Magic Mouse into a one-finger point and click device that is as basic and simple as the original mouse that came with the first Mac (even more simple because you can click anywhere). Or you can turn ON all the options, and try to remember the multitude of gestures. Or you can be anywhere in between. And that’s the brilliance of Apple.

  3. This can’t be any good. It’s not on Verizon.
    They need get it on Verizon then they will be able to sell some.
    If only it was on Verizon.
    Rumor: Trackpad coming to Verizon in December
    CDMA version for Verizon in the works.

    Give it a rest please.

  4. So, how is this different than a Wacom tablet that people have said is absolutely essential for high-end Photoshop work? Before, you couldn’t do it with a mouse – you absolutely needed a Wacom tablet. Now, you need a mouse?!?

  5. My dear Cubert, even a tiny Wacom tablet has greater resolution, but PS pros like myself use a significantly larger tablet. Also, the tablet requires a stylus that gives it greater accuracy as well as pressure sensitivity. Great for Illustrator too. I have a 9×12 Intuius 3 at my left hand and a Magic Trackpad on the right.

  6. @ Cubert

    A Wacom tablet is a specialized tool that lets artists “translate” their pen (or paintbrush) -based skills more efficiently to a computer screen, by using the same type of actions (to create on the computer) that they used in the physical world. It is not directly related to accuracy, especially in the hands of an “amateur” who does not know how to take advantage of a Wacom tablet.

    A trackpad is certainly not as precise as a mouse, but in typical day-to-day use, that does not matter too much, because precision is not that important.

    One thing the Magic Trackpad does more poorly is the click-hold-drag action. You might do this to click on a window title bar and move it across your screen. Or to select and drag multiple file icons from one Finder window to another. You also use the same action to draw a line in a graphics program. If you click down on the Magic Trackpad with the finger that is pointing, it is hard to keep the click held down and drag with that same finger. The way I do it is to click the Magic Trackpad near the bottom end with my thumb (as if there was a separate button there) and hold the click down, while I drag with my pointing finger. It works fine that way (it’s the same action as on my old PowerBook’s old-school trackpad), but it’s not as accurate or as efficient as using a mouse.

  7. I have been using mine for a couple of days now (had to uninstall USBOverdrive first) but doubt that I will go back to my mouse. Once you get control of the gestures it is really very cool. I did not like the Magic Mouse because the profile was too low for a mouse but the Magic Trackpad is fine because you don’t actually hold it. (BTW – I loved my Logitech bluetooth mouse but this is seriously cool).

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