Goodbye Magic Mouse

Written by Chris Weiss (hotiron) in Tips and tricks

I’ve used an Apple Mighty Mouse almost exclusively with both my previous G4 PowerBook and now my current unibody MacBook Pro. I have always been a huge fan of the Logitech VX Nano cordless laser mouse for notebooks on my HP dv9700CTO Vista and now Win7 machine but was never able to get comfortable using it on my MBP. It seemed way too “twitchy” on Leopard and Snow Leopard. Not too long ago I moved up to the new Magic Mouse from Apple and liked the style but still had trouble with the maxed out sensitivity and the lack of innate support for Expose and Dashboard that I was accustomed to on the Mighty Mouse. Well I stopped at Best Buy today and could not stop looking at the ultra-cool Razer Mamba. Although the packaging clearly said Mac was not an option, I didn’t believe them. So I Googled it on my iPhone standing there in the isle looking like a geek and found that Razer was actually hosting an Unofficial Mamba Mac website on their servers. So I figured it might actually work. Let’s just say that I left there hesitant, hopeful, and poorer.

What I got surprised me. I got home and rushed to plug it in.Forget the flashy out-of-the-box experience that the high end Razer mice excel in. And forget all the cool blue neon lights and futuristic charging stand.It’s all about feel and functionality for me and the Mamba knocks it out of the park. Even when compared to the best Logitech mice. I’m not kidding. This thing just plain works on OSX, and works great. I plugged it in and everything worked perfectly. Everything that the Magic Mouse left behind is enabled again. A wheel click instantly calls up Expose and a thumb button brings up Dashboard. There’s nothing to configure either. But that’s not the best part.

MouseEThe feel of the Mamba is second to none. It’s soft, tactile coating enhances your grip and the weight gives you instant confidence. Tracking is incredibly precise, button clicks and wheel-action are positive, and the accuracy is amazing.The only two things I’d improve on (I am a mouse snob and having only two things to improve on for me is really saying something) is I’d add a side scroll the way Logitech does it with a push of the scroll-er and I’d add more acceleration to the scroll action. Like a freewheeling scroll the way the VX Nano does it when you click the wheel button hard enough. And it’s a big mouse too, this is no petite travel sized piece of equipment but rater a full sized precision pointing device. Even with these I am amazed at how much better this thing is than all the other mice I’ve used. I highly recommend the Mamba to Mac OSX users even though the packaging clearly says otherwise.

Here’s a few other noteworthy insights. Although Mac is not a supported system they do have Mac drivers for the Mamba on their website to download. Go figure. These give you control over the sensitivity (X and Y sensitivity separately as well as sync’d), the lights, and the acceleration when the mouse is plugged in directly to the cable. They do not recognize the mouse if it is in wireless mode. Although the drivers are not necessary for the mouse to work well and the drivers are not nearly as robust as the Windows control panel, they are very helpful and worth the download. I am actually using the mouse with the cable attached a lot more than wireless. The sensitivity and acceleration seem to work best when tethered. I am now considering trying the wireless Bluetooth version for travel. If it’s as good as the Mamba then I’ll have all of my bases covered.

My impression over time with the Razer mouse hasn’t changed either, it is still just as impressive a pointing device. There are oddities around configuring it on a Mac. For instance you have to plug in the wired USB cable to change the settings via the Preferences utility. You can’t change the sensitivity or acceleration when it is in wireless mode. It’s not a real problem, just strange and a little inconvenient at first when you are playing around to get the perfect settings. Once it’s setup you don’t need to touch it again.

But this story continues. I figured since I have found that the Razer mice are as good as they say, and I love the Big Mamba (as I call it), then their mobile Bluetooth mouse might be a winner too. Well it is. I tried the Razer Orochi wireless Bluetooth mouse and was just as impressed if not more so! It is a much smaller mouse yet comes with everything the Mamba offers. It comes with the same high quality USB cable but not the ultra-cool neon blue charging stand. I like the petite size for traveling, it fits in my carry one bag and on the tiny seat table perfectly. In fact, the Orochi is so perfect I have slowly started using it as my primary mouse at home and on the road.  It is that good. Give the Razer Orochi or Mamba a try if you are looking for a great piece of mouse hardware.


  1. Matt says:

    Just in case you want to give the Magic Mouse a second try, you should check out MagicPrefs and/or USB Overdrive. The former allows for extensive customization of the gestures the Magic Mouse responds to. The latter gives much finer control over the behavior of most any mouse (tracking speed and acceleration, actions associated with each button, etc).

  2. hotiron says:

    Matt, thanks for the tip, I still have the Magic Mouse and will give MagicPerfs ( a go. I have been living with the Razer Orochi on the road for a while now — and love it — but I’m ready to try again. I tried MouseWizard ( but that didn’t really do it for me.

  3. Lazlo says:

    I had a Razer mouse once and It was great except for the design. Now I own a Magic Mouse but I’m a bit disappointed. Sure the design is great but movements aren’t as smooth as they should be. I also tried MagicPrefs and BetterTouchTool but I guess multitouch gestures aren’t made for me. It just doesn’t feel natural.

    Now I might give the Razer Orochi a try. Thanks for the tip (but I still hate neons :p)

  4. hotiron says:

    I am a big Orochi fan now, you may well like it too. I was really disappointed in the MagicMouse’s gestures, two-finger side swipes were to awkward for me. They’re great on a touch pad but not on a small, light mouse. With SizeUp and USBOverdrive I get it all.

  5. Najee says:

    I found that USBOverdrive broke the Magic Mouse. When I connected the Magic Mouse to my Mac after installing that software, it would think the device was a Mighty Mouse and none of the touch controls would work. After uninstalling USBOverdrive, though, it worked just fine.

    I am interested in this MagicPrefs application though. I wonder if you can make it so certain parts of the Mouse’s surface don’t detect your touch. I have a feeling that it detecting your touch constantly, and on every part of its surface, is why batteries don’t seem to last very long with the device.

    Anyway, that Razer Mamba looks pretty sweet. I am currently using a Logitech VX Nano with my MacBook Pro and it’s fine for now. It would be cool to try a high-end gaming mouse though. It might improve my gaming on here!

  6. hotiron says:

    Najee, I use a Logitech VX Nano (now they call it a Anywhere MX Mouse or something) on my Win7 machines and I really like it–a lot. I love the feel of the heavy wheel, precise tracking, and compact size. It’s a great mouse and I’d love a Bluetooth version (I’m pretty USB port-limited). I also had the exact same problem with USB Overdrive SW and the Magic Mouse. With the Pref Panel active it acted like the old MightyMouse and I could not use the gestures. But the SW does detect the Logitech and Razer mice correctly Funny that it does not detect then when they are tethered to their USB cable though! Only wireless works.

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