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Review: MacMice Mouse

by on July 28, 2004

With Apple’s products, a certain style is noticed. Unfortunately, finding a replacement mouse or adding a mouse to a laptop is tough if you want to make sure that the style matches and allows the use of a scroll wheel or secondary button. The Mouse by MacMice claims to be the solution. We decided to take it for a spin.

The Mouse looks like it could be made by Apple. It features the same white jellybean wrapped-in-lucite look that the one-button Apple models feature. Instead of the Mouse itself being a button, the clear plastic is the buttons – a small crack divides the top half of the Mouse in half. Each side is a button, featuring a small tab that pushes a clicker inside the Mouse. A translucent rubber scroll wheel is centered in between the two buttons, and does not click when used (it’s a smooth scrolling motion).

The Mouse
The Mouse

The Mouse
The Mouse (Bottom)

The Mouse
The Mouse (Buttons)

A relatively short cord (the same length as Apple’s mice) is attached to the Mouse, with a USB port at the end. The length should be more than ample for plugging the Mouse into the keyboard or a laptop.

Installation requires that the user plugs the Mouse into a computer. OS X will automatically recognize it and basic functions will work (left/right click, scroll, and clicking the scroll wheel in Safari opens a link in a new tab). The Mouse glows bright red when used, as the optical LED reflects throughout the plastic on the bottom of it. Tracking is precise, as is scrolling. The Mouse performs much like any other optical mouse. We did find that clicking the buttons on the Mouse required you to click near the top-end of the buttons (you can’t click more towards the middle of the mouse like you can on the Pro Mouse or a few others).

Software is recommended for any advanced features. MacMice provides the MouseCommand software in versions for both OS 8.5.1-9 and OS X. Allowing more tweaks to the experience, MouseCommand allows programming of each button, although one major flaw we found was a modifier key (control, command, option, or shift) and a click as a setting was missing. This eliminates the use of the scroll wheel’s button for opening new tabs in Safari. You can program keystrokes, switching applications, or back/forward controls with the program. Other features include the swapping of scroll axes, scroll acceleration control, and movement acceleration settings.

In our tests, the Mouse seemed to be a very well-made product, filling the multiple button/scroll wheel void created by Apple. With its plug-and-play compatibility, it can be used on almost any recent Mac or PC. Unfortunately, the driver software does seem to leave some capabilities out, and the OS X version still has the feel of a clunky OS 9 port. The software is not any worse than drivers provided by Logitech or Microsoft for their mice, but for features that it adds, it also removes a few key ones (modifier click and a “center click”). Fortunately, the Mouse works without the software, utilizing the built-in OS X driver and performs quite well. For anyone who doesn’t want to spend too much on a mouse, but still wants something stylish and providing more features than Apple, MacMice’s the Mouse is worth a look.

A Bluetooth version is also in the works and should be available in the next few months.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

The Mouse is a stylish, capable replacement for Apple’s mice, or as a companion to any recent Mac.

Pros: Elegant design, works right out of the box, matches Apple’s hardware
Cons: Optional driver software is lacking in some features and does not match the Mouse’s elegance
Rating: 8/10

The Facts

Product: The Mouse
Company: MacMice
Platform: Mac/Win
Price: $29.99

This post has been filed in Input Devices, Reviews