The above statement may either be music to your ears, or turn you off from the trackpad completely. If you’ve used the unibody MacBook’s glass trackpad, then this Magic Trackpad is basically just like it, but larger – Apple claims it has nearly 80 percent more area, which after my calculations is more or less accurate.
The Magic Trackpad measures approximately 13cm x 13cm, but if we’re talking about only the surface area for finger control/swiping, it’s 13cm x 10.8cm.
In comparison, my 13″ MacBook Pro’s trackpad measures 10.4cm x 7.6cm. Taking the area of the Magic Trackpad divided by the area of the MacBook trackpad gives us ~77.6% increase in surface area. Not too shabby! The Magic Trackpad gives you a ton of surface area to use, whether it be for Photoshop, Chinese hand-writing, gestures, or simply every day use.
The Magic Trackpad has the same silky smooooooooth glass as the unibody MacBooks, so expect to pinch, swipe, scroll and rotate with ease. The power button is located at the upper-right of the unit, while the required two AA batteries are inserted at the opposite end. Mine came pre-installed with two Energizer batteries, protected by a thin sheet of plastic to prevent accidental power usage while still inside the box.
Height-wise, the Magic Trackpad measures approximately 2cm and will match the Apple Wireless Keyboard well since they both use the cylindrical stand to house the batteries. I personally use the wired Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – while it is not a perfect match, the brushed aluminum finish is enough to complement the Magic Trackpad.
- The entire trackpad is a button. Again, users familiar with the unibody MacBooks will be comfortable with this feature. Essentially, there are two buttons on the back of the Trackpad disguised as round rubber nibs.
- I tried to set up the Magic Trackpad directly underneath my Apple keyboard, mimicking my 13″ MacBook Pro. However, due to the height of the battery container/stand this frequently resulted in accidental pressing of the trackpad. If you turned off the ‘tap to click’ feature, this might be more feasible. Even so, the height of the Magic Trackpad will get in the way of your wrists and fingers when typing, so the only solution is to raise the lower edge of the keyboard.
- Once you have raised the keyboard a touch, it actually becomes quite MacBook-like when you position the Trackpad under the space bar. The difference in my case, of course, was that I had a bigger keyboard with a numeric keypad, and a much larger trackpad surface area. Nice!
- One of the main reasons I wanted to try this trackpad was to see if it would help my right wrist / forearm / shoulder discomforts from using my Magic Mouse too much. The theory was that I could use the Trackpad in my lap or even left-handed. For me, the Magic Mouse is difficult to use left-handed, and of course it cannot be used in your lap.
- I must say that using the Trackpad left-handed and in your lap is certainly possible. The Trackpad is much more intuitive for ambidextrous use, and the longer I kept the Trackpad on the left side of the keyboard, the more my right arm thanked me.
- Inertial scrolling rocks. If you don’t know what this is and have never used an iPhone, it’s basically this: the faster you flick your fingers, the further you scroll using two fingers on the trackpad. Remember, MacBook users: Apple has officially updated most of the recent MacBooks to support this feature.
- Between the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad: I would say that if you are on the computer as much as I am daily – if you can afford to use both (in terms of space and cost), then use both. It’s always good for your posture to alternate between different forms of mouse inputs. When traveling, the smaller Magic Mouse is more suitable of course, plus you don’t really need the Magic Trackpad when your MacBook already has one. (Unless you are greedy and need that additional 80% of surface area!)
So there you have it… my opinions on the Magic Trackpad. Feel free to ask any questions using the comments section below. I apologize for the strange tint on some of the photos. I am still patiently (or eagerly should I say) awaiting my iPhone 4 since I sold my first one.