We suspect that for many of you, the simple fact that Apple's Mighty Mouse has shed its cord will be reason enough to buy it. You won't care that your mouse now requires batteries, nor will you balk at its $69 price tag. And you probably won't find the new laser sensor that big a selling point. Macs call out for wireless peripherals, however, for reasons of both form and function. Plus, who wants to carry a corded mouse around when you're on the road with a laptop? We wish Apple had gone the extra mile and fixed some issues that linger from the original corded model, but our gripes don't amount to enough to prevent a recommendation. It doesn't revolutionize mice, but simply because it's now wireless, Apple's Mighty Mouse will be hard for Mac users to resist.
The Mighty Mouse uses Bluetooth wireless technology to connect to your computer. All new iMacs, Mac Minis, MacBooks, and MacBook Pros come equipped with a Bluetooth receiver built in. We had no trouble connecting the mouse to a Bluetooth-equipped iMac G5, and it worked equally well with our MacBook Pro. As long as your Mac OS X is updated to the latest version (10.4.6), you shouldn't have any problems. Simply install the software, reboot, turn the mouse on, and you're set.
The configuration software is basically the same as the old model's, with only minor layout tweaking. It lets you set the sensitivity of the main left and right buttons, the so-called 360-degree, multidirectional scrollwheel, the left- and right-side buttons, and the laser tracker itself. One of the claimed advantages of the laser sensor is that it's supposed to let you use Mighty Mouse on a wider variety of surfaces than the LED-based original, thanks to the laser's ability to read more surface detail. We tried various surfaces, including a translucent piece of black plastic (both passed), the reflective underside of a DVD (both failed), and a piece of clear plastic (both passed), and neither mouse outperformed the other. The laser's superiority might simply depend on finding the right material to show it off. Maybe you'll have better luck. For the rest of the design, we wish that the left- and right-side buttons didn't require so much pressure to engage and, perhaps, that they had some more pronounced tactile feedback to let you know when you have. Otherwise, once the buttons and cursor speed are set to your preference, using the Mighty Mouse feels as smooth as any day-to-day mouse should.
Because Boot Camp has granted Intel Core Duo chip-based Macs the ability to use Windows XP, we tested the Mighty Mouse in Windows XP via our MacBook Pro. We had to tell the system to search for the mouse over the Bluetooth connection again, but it recognized it with no trouble. We could even use Windows' standard mouse button control software to tweak its settings. It didn't seem to support the lateral and diagonal scrolling features of the Mighty Mouse's scrollwheel, but otherwise, its features were fully functional. We had less luck with a Bluetooth-equipped Dell Latitude D810 laptop. The Dell's Bluetooth software found the mouse and even recognized it by name, but the Mighty Mouse was never able to assume control of the cursor. Apple advised us that the Mighty Mouse was meant to be used with a Mac, and it appears that its advice was correct.
Because it's wireless, the Mighty Mouse needs power, which comes by way of two AA batteries. Apple specifies that two batteries will give you five months of power with average use. You can run on one battery, but you'll naturally have to replace it in half the time. In addition to providing the juice, we like that the batteries give the Mighty Mouse a little more heft than the original, which felt a bit insubstantial. The difference is only a matter of an ounce; the new model weighs 4.5 ounces with two batteries (to the original's 3.5), but in a side-by-side comparison we were able to tell, and we like the feel of the wireless Mighty Mouse better.
As with the previous Mighty Mouse, Apple covers this model with an industry-standard one-year warranty. Free phone support is available for the first 90 days after purchase, and Apple's support Web site offers troubleshooting advice, FAQs, and a searchable users' forum.