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Review Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 02:25 pm PT (05:25 pm ET)

Review: Apple's new Magic Trackpad


Easy setup, familiar to use

Setting the Magic Trackpad up is easy: simply press its power button (the batteries are already installed) and its tiny green light illuminates. On your Mac, choose "Set up a new Bluetooth device" from the Bluetooth menu and the system will discover and connected to the new peripheral in two mouse clicks.

Magic Trackpad


If you're used to using a MacBook trackpad, Magic Trackpad will be immediately familiar. It features the same smooth layer of glass (which is more readily apparent when looking at the edge of Magic Trackpad up close, below), providing an identical, low resistance feel to your touch.

Magic Trackpad


The only real difference is that it's placed off to the side of your keyboard like a mouse, rather than being set between your hands on a notebook keyboard. Clicking, dragging, selecting text and using multitouch gestures are all identical to a built-in trackpad.

Magic Trackpad


There's no option to use the Magic Trackpad as a drawing tablet like a Wacom digitizer, with or without a pen; it's exclusively a finger driven trackpad. Unlike Bluetooth keyboards, you can't associate the Magic Trackpad with iPad either, as the tablet isn't designed to use a remote pointing device.

You might prefer a mouse for some operations, and Apple isn't positioning the Magic Trackpad as an alternative to its Magic Mouse, only as an additional accessory. But if you work on a notebook a lot and miss the additional gestures and stationary operation of a trackpad over gripping a mouse, you might like the new Magic Trackpad option.

Rating: 4 of 5

4 Stars


Pros:
  • Ultra thin, ultra light, highly portable design.
  • Ruggedly solid and rigid construction.
  • Elegantly attractive design.
  • Comfortable trackpad angle and button action.
  • Easy to set up and use.
  • Batteries not excluded.


Cons:
  • You may prefer a mouse to a $69 trackpad.
  • Only a trackpad, not a digitizer tablet.


Where to buy

Amazon ($69.00)

MacMall ($65.99)

B&H Photo ($68.95)

MacConnection ($69.00)