When I first unpacked my review unit of the new 24-inch iMac, I quickly set aside the Magic Trackpad 2 ($119, originally $129; amazon.com or $129; expercom.com) that came in the box. “This is a neat extra I probably won’t use,” I told myself as I set up the classic Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard combo that I’ve grown used to on previous Macs.
Flash forward a few weeks later, and I can’t fathom how I’ve gone so long without a Magic Trackpad in my life. This navigation tool has made using a Mac more convenient and comfortable than it ever has been for me, to the point where I’ve barely touched a traditional mouse since I set one up.
Here’s why I’ve joined team Magic Trackpad for life, and why this great gadget deserves a spot in your home office.
For those unfamiliar, the Magic Trackpad 2 is a wireless 6-inch-by-5-inch surface that essentially works like a blown-up version of the trackpad you’ll find on a MacBook Pro or Air. It gives you plenty of real estate for scrolling through websites and clicking around your Mac with precision, but it also has a few unique perks that are handy for both creative work and everyday tasks. And with advanced Force Touch haptics inside, the Trackpad provides a satisfying “click” sensation despite the fact that it doesn’t actually move when you press on it.
The Magic Trackpad 2 offers a variety of customizable gesture controls, many of which have become a smooth and effortless part of my daily workflow. I frequently find myself performing a quick three-finger swipe upward to see all my open apps in Mission Control, and am able to easily zoom into website text by simply spreading my fingers on the surface.
And just like on the latest MacBooks, the Magic Trackpad 2 has Force Touch capabilities, meaning you can perform additional actions by performing a slightly firmer-than-normal click. For example, you can Force click on any word on a website to instantly look it up in the dictionary or hard press on an address to find that location on Maps. This feature also has plenty of neat uses for creative types, as you can use a quick Force click to instantly create a new audio region in GarageBand, or fast-forward or rewind more quickly in iMovie by pressing harder on the pad.
Despite all of these fancy features, the reason I can’t stop using Apple’s trackpad is simple — it’s just more comfortable than using a mouse. Thanks to its wide surface area, I can zip between apps on my iMac’s large 24-inch display while keeping my wrist stationary instead of dragging my arm around like I typically have to with a mouse. And because I’m using my fingers to navigate, I’m able to hop between Chrome tabs and Slack chats more quickly and accurately than I can on my Magic Mouse 2. The Magic Trackpad makes me feel like I’m living in a sci-fi future where we’ve outgrown the need to navigate our computers with round husks of plastic.
That’s not to say I dislike Apple’s mouse, which has a sleek and ergonomic design that I’ve grown to like over the years. But the Magic Trackpad just makes everything feel smoother and more natural, and gives me the ability to do more with a few quick finger swipes. The Magic Mouse 2 isn’t without its own handy features — you can activate Mission Control and quickly zoom into a webpage with various tap controls, for example — but its abilities are far less robust than the bevy of actions you can perform on the Trackpad’s larger surface.
Oh, and here’s the kicker — unlike the Magic Mouse, you can actually use the Magic Trackpad while you charge it. While the Magic Mouse 2’s Lightning port is bafflingly located on its underside, the Magic Trackpad 2’s charging port is conveniently placed at the top edge so you can juice up while you work and play.
It’s not a game-changing difference since both accessories have great battery life, but it is one more point in the Trackpad’s favor. Both devices are sitting at above 50% battery after several weeks of use, which is in line with Apple’s claims that they can each last about a month of typical use on a charge. As with most Apple gadgets, I’d love it if the Trackpad charged over USB-C instead of Lightning so that I can use the many USB-C chargers I have lying around with it, but I had no problems using the pr
After using Apple’s Magic Trackpad, I can’t go back to a mouse
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