Razer Pro|Click v1.6 mouse

_MAL2689, originally uploaded by Michael A. Lowry.

Ever since I bought my Mac Pro, I have been disappointed with the Apple “Mighty Mouse” that came with it. I like the innovative scroll ball, but aside from that the mouse is frustrating to use. Specifically, the Apple mouse isn't particularly usable if you want to right-click.

One can perform a right-click with the Mighty Mouse, but it ain't easy. There's only one switch in the mouse to register clicks, and one clicks the mouse by pressing the whole mouse down. The top of the mouse is one solid pice of plastic, so the left and right mouse buttons are not physically separate. The mouse determines left-clicks from right-clicks using a touch-sensitive surface on the top.

Because there's only one clicker switch, the mouse has a hard time knowing what to do when you have your fingers resting on both sides of the mouse (as I usually do). Apple's engineers decided that the best way to solve this problem was to interpret any click as a left-click if the user's fingers are touching the left side of the mouse. So in order to right-click, you must click on the right side of the mouse without having any fingers resting on the left side. If any part of your hand is touching the left side of the mouse when you click, the mouse will interpret any click as a left-click. It's very, very annoying. As you can probably guess, it's also impossible to perform a simultaneous left-and-right-click with this mouse.

Apple's design decision means that the mouse looks good, but doesn't work well.

It's yet another example of how Apple has sacrificed function in the name of form. Some of Mac OS X's eye-candy features, like the magnification of icons in the Dock, fall into this category as well.

I had tried to adapt my mouse-using behavior to match the constraints imposed by Apple's faulty design; but it was no use. I found myself having to click twice or even three times before the mouse would properly register a right-click.

I shouldn't have to change the way I work to adapt to the peculiarities of a tool. It should just work.

So yesterday I finally bought a replacement for the Apple mouse. After a bit of searching, I opted for the Razer Pro|Click v1.6 mouse. It's not wireless, the side buttons are a bit awkward to use, and the scroll wheel isn't as nice as the Mighty Mouse's scroll ball; but even considering these shortcomings, I'm very happy with the new mouse. After one day of using it, I'm already working much more efficiently than I ever could with the Apple mouse.

Update 2007-03-15 21:45 UCT — The drivers included with the mouse were compiled only for PowerPC. Razer's web site has updated drivers that work with Intel-based Macs.

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