From mouse to trackpad, why I made the switch

I’ve owned a variety of mice over the years, most recent being Apple’s Magic Mouse, one of the main reasons for this choice was the removal of a scroll wheel/ball, instead relying on multi-touch gestures, which felt far more natural and allowed increased functionality. Then last year, when Apple announced the Magic Trackpad, I wondered if this device was good enough to make me forgo my trusty mouse.

I did have my concerns, a few years ago I had a Powerbook which had a trackpad, but at that time they weren’t capable of these fancy gestures. I was never that keen on using the trackpad for more than just a few minutes so I usually used it with a mouse attached. Because of this I did wonder if I would take to the Magic Trackpad enough for me to ditch my mouse.

However, it was something I wanted to try, as the increased size for gestures compared to that on the Magic Mouse was a big incentive, plus I had been getting ‘claw hand’ from gripping the mouse for prolonged periods, so I thought I had nothing to lose (I could always return it if I couldn’t take to it).

'Magic Mouse by Apple

Apple’s Magic Mouse.

'Magic Trackpad by Apple

Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

I should mention that in addition to my mouse I do have a Wacom tablet which I use with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, all other computer use, such as surfing the web, file management etc, was done with my mouse. Therefore, I knew the precision work I do would still be done with the Wacom, so that removed any worries I had about having to learn a new tool, which could slow down the creative side of my business.

So I took the leap, bought a Magic Trackpad and packed my Magic Mouse into the drawer. This was almost two months ago, so how have I got on? In one word, great! I was surprised how quickly I took to the trackpad, my speed and precision after a week or two was as good as, if not better than, when I was using a mouse. I much prefer not having to grip the mouse and move it around, it’s so much easier to flick my fingers over the silvery surface of the trackpad.

'Magic Trackpad preferences

My preferences for Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

Another positive is the battery life of the Magic Trackpad, even after almost two months of use I’ve not had to change the batteries yet, which is great compared to how often I was having to with the Magic Mouse.

It’s not all positive though, the one slight drawback I’ve found is in the click and drag. To click the trackpad a fair amount of pressure is required, so straight away I knew I’d rather change a setting in the preferences, so rather than a mechanical click, I could just tap the trackpad once to perform a click. Which then meant a click and drag would take two taps, keeping your finger on the trackpad after the second tap to then drag. So rather than click + hold, then drag on a mouse, it’s double tap + hold, then drag on the trackpad. Which although not a great deal more effort and doesn’t take long to get used to, it does add a fraction of extra time to the process, which is noticeable when moving lots of files around, or selecting text to copy and paste.

I must say, overall I’ve been really pleased with using the Magic Trackpad and since the second week of use the thought of going back to using a mouse never crossed my mind. I’m glad I made the switch, my hand is pleased too (no more ‘claw hand’) and so for me at least, the mouse will be staying in the drawer for good.

About the author

Paul Galbraith is a logo and brand identity designer, working with startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK, USA and beyond.