Neowin Member Reviews: Apple Magic Trackpad

It's that time of the week again where we showcase a review from one of our very own members.

This week we're pleased to share .Neo's review of his new Apple Magic Trackpad.

Like most desktop computer owners I always controlled what happened on my screen with a keyboard and later on a mouse. In the middle of 2010 nothing really changed in that department: You still execute certain commands by either keyboard and/or mouse (maybe a trackball). Next-gen MacBook (Pro) and iPhone / iPad / iPod touch owners have been lucky enough to experience multi-touch goodness for quite some time now to manipulate their devices with.

With the Magic Trackpad Apple aimed to bring this extra functionality to desktop computers as well. But rather than using the traditional way through (multi-) touch input directly by touching the screen like some HP desktops (which isn't that convenient for prolonged periods of time), they moved the multi-touch surface to a separate plate on your desk.

Review continues here

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51 Comments

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My complaint is the wireless nature. I mean, the keyboard is right there. Why not have a usb to it just like a mouse? I really don't want yet another device to manage batterys for.

I am tempted to get one myself, however its kinda redundant when I use a Last Gen MBP with an inbuilt version of it anyway.

It might be useful on either of my two mini's however, but I would prefer there be a wired version as I would most likely use it at a fixed desk then anywhere else.

The only time I tend to use a mouse at all - is on someone else's computer, when I deal with some of the trackpads I have to deal with on Windows Notebooks/Netbooks or when I game at all.
I usually end up cursing every time I get onto a windows notebook and go to scroll or zoom.

Many people don't like a touchpoint or trackpad at all. However many people don't put the effort into learning how to use one, because they are familiar with a mouse (of either the old one button variety [Had to throw this one in as a dig at everyone who claims Mac's have never supported two button mice], or a standard mouse. Personally the best mouse I have is the multitouch one)

I see way too many replies from people who clearly have no first hand experience with the Magic Trackpad or any last-gen MacBook, yet they seem to know as the best how to bash the product.

Some claim I only bought the product because it has an Apple logo on it, yet those people seem to bash products without using them for the exact same reason. Interesting.

I could probably get used to something like this. Wacom's Bamboo offering looks good too but I'd prefer if it was angled like the Magic Trackpad rather than flat. Also I'd like a wireless option on the Bamboo too.

Actually, Windows drivers are available and the Update page lists what works and doesn't:

http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4273

Where the bamboo excels is its option for stylus input. Use it for multi-touch gestures OR whatever you'd ever want to draw/handwrite.

Kind of strange, the bit about wanting it angled. I'm not one for redneck-fixes, but it wouldn't be that hard to stick something under one end of it, yeah?

/if people are seriously willing to put duct tape on an iphone, at least this is a bit less ghetto

Wacom make a similiar device for win7 touch users.
Wacom tablets are wired, and don't work as well as Apple's, based on .Neo's review and my own usage of the tablet.

Great review .Neo!!!!

dotf said,
Wacom make a similiar device for win7 touch users.
Wacom tablets are wired, and don't work as well as Apple's, based on .Neo's review and my own usage of the tablet.

Great review .Neo!!!!

Umm they allow a PEN to be used too, so they work WAY better than Apple's, if you want some actual accuracy/productivity out of it.

Wacom make similiar devices for windows users to support win7 multi-touch.

Wacom's implementation however scales the entire screen to the input tablet, so it takes time, and god forbid your monitor's resolution ratio doesn't match the tablet.

Good job apple. A very nice product. Great review .Neo.

I have the trackpad paired up with my iMac 27" i7 and wireless keyboard. It works great! It is so intuitive and fun to do most of my stuff with touch. I have my mouse to the right of that in case I load up any games.

While the usual basher will come on regardless and start the dirt talk. I have no problem with laptop touch pads, I didn't know anyone did.

evo_spook said,
While the usual basher will come on regardless and start the dirt talk. I have no problem with laptop touch pads, I didn't know anyone did.

I'm currently writing this post on a DELL laptop of a friend of mine with a trackpad that's without any multi-touch capabilities. In all honesty it is a bit of a pain. Especially the lack of two finger scrolling and drag lock.

Apple really thought things through here.

evo_spook said,
While the usual basher will come on regardless and start the dirt talk. I have no problem with laptop touch pads, I didn't know anyone did.

I'll take a mouse any day of the week.

.Neo said,

I'm currently writing this post on a DELL laptop of a friend of mine with a trackpad that's without any multi-touch capabilities. In all honesty it is a bit of a pain. Especially the lack of two finger scrolling and drag lock.

Apple really thought things through here.

I bet your laptop can have 2 finger scrolling, you just have to install the driver for it. My HP came with multitouch enabled out of the box.

Drag lock is simply an option you forgot to enable.

Mice are still more practical to use in a desktop environment though.

So apple have basically made a giant touch-pad from a laptop and are charging a fortune for it? Everyone hates them on laptops so why are they considered "cool" when used for a PC, or is it the usual "It's apple so its great/amazing/best thing sliced bread/ooh shiny shiny" delete as appropriate.

And LOL at the battery charger for it, £25 WTF

I agree with you, but for the fools, erm I mean people - that buy Apple products for those reasons you state, the best of luck to them - but be warned you may have to use it in a special way like the iPhone
Gestures are handy, but not as accurate or handy as a multi button mouse, or simple scroll the wheel for zooming into images. But Apple fans boys seem to like one button mice still, so must be gagging for this.

Most misinformed posts I've read in a while. Apparenly you haven't used a last-gen MacBook Pro and are pretty much clueless about the subject.

Also to bring up the whole one button mouse thing... Enjoy staying stuck in 2004?

Exosphere said,
I agree with you, but for the fools, erm I mean people - that buy Apple products for those reasons you state, the best of luck to them - but be warned you may have to use it in a special way like the iPhone
Gestures are handy, but not as accurate or handy as a multi button mouse, or simple scroll the wheel for zooming into images. But Apple fans boys seem to like one button mice still, so must be gagging for this.

Jeez. What's with the one-button mouse thing all the time? Get over it!

virtorio said,
I don't know anyone who hates track pads.

I don't hate them, but I don't really like them. Not even Multitouch ones. Then on the other hand I'm not really into notebooks altogether...

virtorio said,
I don't know anyone who hates track pads.

But a mouse is always superior performance-wise. This trackpad doesn't even have more portability, so the mouse wins.

andrewbares said,
But a mouse is always superior performance-wise. This trackpad doesn't even have more portability, so the mouse wins.

Again your milage may vary. I can do everything with the Magic Trackpad I did with my mouse just as fast and more. I'm not sure how portability plays any role as the Magic Trackpad is targeted at desktop Macs. You don't see me carrying around my Mac Pro, LED Cinema Display, Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad everywhere I go...

When it comes to controlling my Mac from the couch, the Magic Trackpad is much more convenient than a mouse.

SteelToast said,
This trackpad has the capability to remove mice altogether only if they included some motion sensing for pro gamers
motion sensing is a long way from being viable for "pro" gamers.

treemonster said,
motion sensing is a long way from being viable for "pro" gamers.
Yeah sorry I worded this wrongly, it should have vibration feedback and psp like joystick, small one

SteelToast said,
Yeah sorry I worded this wrongly, it should have vibration feedback and psp like joystick, small one
If gamers wanted that then they'd use a gamepad or a joystick. I'm sure if you watch a gamer playing a game on a laptop they'll still opt to plug in a mouse and skip the touchpad.

it would be cool if you could attach it to the keyboard and then use it altogether on your couch for an HTPC. I've been waiting so long for such an affordable convenience. using a mouse in a bed or on a couch can be a pain.

Mouettus said,
it would be cool if you could attach it to the keyboard and then use it altogether on your couch for an HTPC. I've been waiting so long for such an affordable convenience. using a mouse in a bed or on a couch can be a pain.

What would you use multitouch on that HTPC with?

Setnom said,

What would you use multitouch on that HTPC with?


i think it's more about wanting to use a trackpad with the htpc rather than a mouse and not about the multitouch

It's easy and free to use your iPhone/iPod as a virtual trackpad/keyboard.

If your Media Centre happens to be a PS3 or xbox, then grab an RDP or VNC client and you can control all your downloading/torrenting on your desktop from your couch too!

Mouettus said,
it would be cool if you could attach it to the keyboard and then use it altogether on your couch for an HTPC. I've been waiting so long for such an affordable convenience. using a mouse in a bed or on a couch can be a pain.

If you simply want a wireless keyboard with a built-in trackpad, this is a good one: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech...SS-MEDIABOARD/dp/B003UWKQFY

I have the model that was originally made for the PS3 (before they made the current bluetooth model) and it works great.

Sticktron said,
It's easy and free to use your iPhone/iPod as a virtual trackpad/keyboard.

If your Media Centre happens to be a PS3 or xbox, then grab an RDP or VNC client and you can control all your downloading/torrenting on your desktop from your couch too!


Using an iPod or iPhone as a trackpad is nowhere near as nice as the Magic Trackpad. Oh, and an iPod would be a lot more expensive ($200 > $70).

day2die said,
It's stupid. Why would I want a touchpad for a desktop?

Some people also, simply, do not like the traditional mouse form factor. For what ever reason it is not oranomical for them. Several coworkers have trackballs because of personal preference, and this would be an upgrade for them.

My preference is more traditional mouse form factors. I used to hate the trackpads on my laptops and always carried a mouse to use where I could. That changed when I got a MacBook pro. The multitouch trackpads is huge! The surface is slick and very accurate. The gestures are a pleasure to use. This product brings that same slickness to the desktop. It's a good product and will sell well.

nowimnothing said,

Does that mean it doesn't work well in their mouth or something? oral + ergonomical?

Have you ever tried putting a traditional mouse in your mouth? The flatness of the magic trackpad makes it much easier to insert.

nowimnothing said,

Does that mean it doesn't work well in their mouth or something? oral + ergonomical?

lol...right, ergonomic

I've tried to buy it 3 times already, but no-one seems to have them here . Did try a demo model (the store got 2, put one up for demo and sold the other one while unboxing it) and I actually liked it a lot.

Niels. said,
I've tried to buy it 3 times already, but no-one seems to have them here . Did try a demo model (the store got 2, put one up for demo and sold the other one while unboxing it) and I actually liked it a lot.

I ordered mine online on Thursday and received it the next Tuesday. That was long before any store here in the Netherlands received them. With new Apple products its always faster to order things online. Third-party resellers will always find themselves a step behind.