Left, Right, Left, Right, Left

Using the mouse for the first time, I quickly became frustrated with how rarely my right clicks were registering.  Apple said just to click the right side of it and it'd work, but it didn't, or so I thought.  I kept on repositioning my middle finger further and further right of the scroll ball until I would get the right click to register, which usually ended up being on the very far right of the mouse.  Something had to be wrong - no company would release such a blunder of a mouse. And of course, something was wrong - my pesky index finger.

As I mentioned earlier, when I first started my Mac experiment over a year ago, I refused to use the Apple mouse.  As such, I've developed a small collection of the mice that do nothing but sit in their original wrapping.  I needed my second mouse button and I wasn't going to be able to give the platform its fair chance with that mouse. I tried to be as open-minded about the platform as possible, but I would not budge on the mouse issue.  Since I rarely used Apple's mouse, I had no reason to grow accustomed to what is, in my opinion, the biggest difference between it and normal mice. 

Apple's mice have no button on their surface. Instead, when you "click", you push the entire surface of the mouse down, which works as your primary click.  With a single button mouse, it's not that big of a deal, but once you get into a 2-button mouse situation, things get a bit more complicated. 

Hold mouse over image to see the mouse being clicked

On my Logitech MX1000, when I'd right click, I'd have my index finger resting on the left mouse button.  There was no reason to lift my index finger because my middle finger was doing all of the work at that point, clicking the right mouse button.  And when I needed to left click, my middle finger remained idle while the index finger did its duty.  This is the way most mice work, and most importantly, it doesn't confuse the user; right clicking feels like right clicking because your index finger is on the left mouse button and you can tell that it isn't moving when you right click. 

Doing the same on Apple's Mighty Mouse not only feels weird, but it isn't exactly possible to do without producing a very different outcome.  The Mighty Mouse is no different than Apple's regular mouse from a mechanical standpoint, so regardless of what side of the mouse on which you're pushing down, the whole surface of the mouse clicks.  So, if you happen to have both fingers on the mouse and attempt to right click, it tends to bring about a bit of confusion (you're trying to right-click, but the finger with the job of left clicking moves down as well.  It's an uncomfortable and momentarily confusing feeling, but at the same time, if you're feeling it, then you're using the mouse incorrectly.

Since there aren't two physical buttons on the mouse, left and right clicks are determined by the side of the mouse that you are touching.  So, if your index finger is slightly touching the left side of the mouse when you go to "right click", the click won't register as a right click; instead, it will default to a left click.  That fact alone was what took the most getting used to for me.  At first, I blamed the mouse, but then I quickly realized that all of the times when the right mouse clicks weren't registering, my index finger was resting peacefully on the left side of the mouse - even when I didn't think it was. 

The solution is simple, although a bit annoying for conventional 2-button mouse users: whenever you go to "right click", just lift your index finger off the surface of the mouse.  You have to completely remove your index finger from the surface of the mouse in order to guarantee a right click; otherwise, you'll get a left click.  Of course, if you already do this, then it doesn't take any adjusting. But for me, it was the steepest part of the Mighty Mouse learning curve.

Once you have that down, right clicking seems natural, mainly because your index finger isn't around to feel that it isn't exactly natural.  If you remember to keep your index finger out of the way, you can right click anywhere to the right of the mouse ball.  You can actually click below and to the right of the scroll ball and still generate a right click. 

Index Small Balls and Touchy Sensors


View All Comments

  • kelmon - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    Great article. I'm pretty interested in one of these mice as my current MS IntelliMouse is getting a little long-in-the-tooth and could best be used with my old PC these days. Since I'm going to be in London in a couple of weeks I'll stop in at the Apple Store there and see if I can play with one for a bit. Gaming isn't something that I do very much these days so that aspect shouldn't be a problem, so if it feels comfortable and the scrollball works well for me then I'll probably buy one (assuming that I can persuade the wife...).

    Anyway, a great summary of the features and it definitely highlights the need to "try before you buy".
  • jkostans - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    What I got from this article: The mouse sucks, but we don't want to offend the mac people so we'll be very very nice about saying it. I have no idea why anyone would buy this after seeing this or any other review on the web. Reply
  • jazzcrazed - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    Well, it's important to know that the prospective users of this mouse are not reserved to users of multi-button mouses, but also users of the one-button Apple Pro Mouse - which are, believe it or not, the majority of Mac users. Us PC users who've all our lives used multi-button mouses most certainly do not know the perspective of someone who's exclusively used one-button mouses. Anand emphasized his subjectivity on this matter, and rightly conceded that in many cases he could not speak universally on certain features. He wasn't writing this review just for PC users, but Apple Pro Mouse+Mac users.

    For what it's worth, I think it's definitely a more scrutinizing review than <a href="http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/mightymous...">http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/mightymous... Cheng's at Ars Technica</a>.
  • Griswold - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    Why is Apple going to extreme lengths to be different and sacrifices usability for that? Are they afraid of being compared to (superior) products and thus hide behind fancy gimmicks nobody really needs or wants? Reply
  • fishbits - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    I was asking the same thing myself. The basic three-button mouse with scroll wheel works fabulously, and if you can't improve on that or even come close, don't bother. But that's the weird cultish power of Apple. Because it's different it must be better, and because it's Apple it must be better. Even when it isn't.

    Even Anand falls for it to some degree. Cracked up reading his lapse into battered wife syndrome:

    Something had to be wrong, no company would release such a blunder of a mouse; and of course something was wrong, my pesky index finger.

    "It's my own fault, I brought it on myself!" A PC user buys a crappy mouse and says "This thing is a piece of junk," throws it out and buys one that works right. An Apple user buys a crappy Mighty Mouse and says "There must be something wrong with ME!" Too funny.
  • Backslider - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    My thougths exactly, WHY! Just make it two buttons and be normal. I wonder how much money they spent in engineering this stupid gimicky crap. If I was an investor I would be pulling all my stock out today. Reply
  • Davediego - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    You mentioned you wished other mice had horizontal scrolling... well your mx1000 does. The scroll wheel titls to the side. Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    If you read farther down Anand states his MX1000 has horizontal scrolling. Reply
  • radonX3 - Friday, August 05, 2005 - link

    I don't understand the logic of Apple. Everything they make are flashy toys with no real functionality behind it. This mighty mouse is another example of it. Reply
  • Hywel - Monday, August 08, 2005 - link

    I think you're wrong here. "Everything they make are flashy toys with no real functionality behind it", is just plain wrong. It's a common accusation that Apple are all form over function, but it just ain't true. The majority of Apple product offer form and function.

    However, in this particular case, the stupidly named Mighty Mouse, Apple have produced a lemon. For all the reasons the review mentions. For the 'battered wife' syndrome mentioned in a comment below, and probably a whole lot more.

    I've been thinking about getting a multi-button mouse for a while, but it's not been a priority. Unlike a lot of Mac people, I think properly designed context sensitive menus are fabulous - as long at they're contextual, and not just a bunch of unrelated crap. So I was ready to jump on this thing. Given two products that are essentially equal, I'd go for the Apple one, even if it was a few quid more. Simply because they usually make good stuff that's easy to use. I'm not buying this thing though. I've thought about it, and I think this review is being a bit soft on Apple. This mouse is over-engineered. It solves a problem of Apple's own invention: "Make a two button mouse with no apparent buttons", when the real job spec should have been "Make a bloody good comfortable multi-button mouse that's better than anything from Logitech or Microsoft".

    The mighty mouse is crap.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now