Does Apple’s Mighty Mouse Suck?

Thu, Apr 16, 2009

Analysis, Featured, News

A recent article in TechCrunch takes Apple’s Mighty Mouse to task, and we have to agree that they raise a lot of good points.

Before getting into the aesthetic of the mouse, and the whole form-or-function debate, we have to address the trackball.  When the trackball works, it’s great.  Scrolling up and down, and side to side has never been so easy.  The problem is that after awhile, the trackball starts to stick, rendering it either fully or partially useless and unusable.  I’d reckon (as I put on my straw hat) that the trackball on my mighty mouse doesn’t let me scroll downwards at least a few times a week.

The reason for this trackball “stickiness” is that dirt, dust, and who knows what other kind of particles tend to get stuck underneath it.  To remedy this, Apple suggests the following:

Use a clean lint-free cloth lightly moistened with water. Wipe the ball and the surrounding area, making sure to rotate the ball itself to ensure complete coverage. If the scrolling feels rough or if the scroll ball isn’t scrolling up, down, or side-to-side, hold the mouse upside-down and roll the ball vigorously while cleaning it to help dislodge any particles that may have collected on the internal hardware.

Sounds great, but the only problem is that it doesn’t work!

I’ve scrubbed that pesky little trackball for god knows how long, yet the “fix” always seems temporary at best.  It might work fine again for 3 weeks, but then I’m soon back to square one.  Lint-free cloths don’t grow on trees ya know.

Another issue with the Mighty Mouse is its shape.  As TechCrunch points out, the mouse itself may look great, but its actual shape doesn’t really fit the contours of one’s hand as seamlessly as some other mice seem to do.

While it looks nice and can work for both left and right-handed users, people don’t have hands shaped like pebbles. There are a lot of natural contours on the insider of the hand, and the Mighty Mouse neglects them for a stylish look.

Another gripe I have with the Mighty Mouse is that the right mouse-click function doesn’t seem to work that well.  It often mistakes a left click for a right click and vice versa.  Maybe there’s something wrong with my hands, who knows, but I think part of the problem is that the shape of the mouse itself makes it easy to accidentally put pressure on the ‘wrong’ part of the mouse.

Lastly, the side buttons on the Mighty Mouse add a nice level of functionality.  I personally use them to activate Expose (not that any of you care), but pressing the the buttons down with sufficient force can sometimes get a bit frustrating.  Would it be crazy to give each individual side button its own command, in addition to a command for when you press both buttons down together?

All in all, I do like the Mighty Mouse, but there is undoubtedly plenty of room for improvement.  Apple is known for many things, but having great mice isn’t one of them – remember the hockey puck on the original iMac?

One of the gripes Windows users have always had with the Mac is that its mouse doesn’t come with a right mouse button.  Apple’s Mighty Mouse, for all of its benefits, unfortunately adds a few more reasons to complain.


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10 Comments For This Post

  1. Louis Wheeler Says:

    Whether the Mighty Mouse sucks is a personal opinion. It could be that the person is using it incorrectly.

    There is preventive maintenance for the MM’s scroll wheel. Every day, I turn the MM upside down and move the scroll wheel around for a minute or two. Consequently, the dust and gunk falls out of the scroll wheel. It never clogs and I never use lint free cloths, either.

    Next, for me, the right click works too well. I’ve learned that I must click above the scroll wheel slightly to the left to get a left click. Everywhere else is a right click. The size of your hand may be a factor here, too.

    No devise is perfect, because some devises fit you better than others. The devise may not suck for every one, but may suck for you.

  2. David Says:

    You’ve got it wrong regarding left/right click. Mighty Mouse uses a touch sensor, not a pressure sensor.

    If it senses a touch only on the right side while clicking it’s a right click.
    If it senses a touch on just the left or on both sides then it considers that a “normal” left click.

    If you rest your fingers on the top of the mouse like most people do it’s impossible to do a right click. You have to actually lift your finger off the left side before it will work. I consider it completely unusable for that reason.

  3. Randy Says:

    Here is a quick fix that will last for months. Use a q-tip and Isopropyl Alcohol, moisten the ball while you turn it and Wala! I learned to fix a Microsoft mouse this way and it works every time.

  4. Rob Says:

    The trackball on my mighty mouse is depressed inwards, and will only scroll up. Any idea on how to pop it out further?

  5. anon Says:

    I agree with the mouse and right button click.

    ALSO: I am forever accidently clicking when I don’t intend to. The shape or something in teh design of the mouse – how its slanted maybe – is allowing for accidental behavior.

  6. patherto Says:

    After months of frustration, I have gone back to my trusty Logitech mouse. The trackball problem is only one of the annoyances. I had to disable the two side buttons because while picking the mouse up, the hand naturally falls on them, and out comes whatever you programmed the keys with. And finally, the mouse slips all over my Formica desktop, and I have to place a piece of paper or a book to give it any traction at all. I have grown to really hate the thing.

  7. joe Says:

    I really dislike the Might Mouse – the wirless one I ditched after a few hour. If you’ve ever tried using a Mighty Mouse with Illustrator to do fine work, it is virtually impossible. The high mass and lack of sensitivity makes it very difficult to make a pixel accurate click. Dragging with the mouse button down rarely does what is intended. The side and top buttons I have disabled completely. I have a cheap Logitech mini-mouse for my laptop that is infinitely better for drawing. It’s a shame that Apple’s idea of ‘design’ is something that looks good but doesn’t work. I call that ‘styling’.

  8. Danny Ibleo Says:

    I love my Mighty mouse. I go out of my way to buy them for mouse-less computers like the Mini. I really believe some people are just hinky with hardware. My Mighty Mouse is two years old, used heavily every day, and stays clean, clicks where I want it to, and when the ball occasionally hangs, is easily fixed with the suggested cleaning fixes. I hate that “lump of clay” feeling that so many mice have. I think the Mighty is just fine, and works well if you learn to use it properly.

  9. Jon Says:

    Insert a corner from a sheet of paper or thin card underneath the rim and rotate.

    Works every time.

  10. Neil Anderson Says:

    I tried really hard to like Apple’s Mighty Mouse. Learned to lift my index finger when attempting a right-click. Turned off side buttons because I’d accidently squeeze too hard and activate the programmed setting. Cleaned the scrollball several times. Last week the scrollball still wouldn’t scroll down after several minutes of cleaning.

    I broke down and bought a Microsoft Laser Mouse. Haven’t set its additional buttons though as the installer software wants me to restart and I have 43 apps running with a ton of open windows.

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