Review: Apple Magic Trackpad 2
4.0Overall Score

Price (RRP): $199
Manufacturer: Apple

It’s been five years since Apple decided to bring the trackpad from its laptops to the desktop, and now we have a sequel. What’s changed, and is this accessory worth having in your life?

Features and performance

In the five years since Apple first gave the world an external trackpad — and one that wasn’t built into a keyboard — much has changed about this style of mouse.

For one, desktop users can now rely on this type of mouse in much the same way they’re used on the laptop side of things, which is where this technology comes from. While we suspect most desktop owners are probably using a conventional mouse style — one you move around a surface — the option for a trackpad means the same understanding of how you interact with a laptop can be brought to a computer that isn’t a laptop.

Another change comes from gestures, with push pull for zooming, rotating with your fingers, and several finger tapping also adding to what mice can do. Multi-button mice have existed for a while, and now gestures let you activate extra functions, like two finger scrolling, three or four finger tapping, and so on and so on.

Earlier this year, Apple changed the trackpad again, getting rid of the button and making the technology different, relying on what the company describes as “Force Touch” technology, which is a neat way of saying that a few sensors on each side of the mouse pick up on how hard you press and quickly move from left to right to trick your brain into thinking there actually is a button.

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That’s the technology at work for this mouse, and it actually does a little more than trick you into thinking there’s one button. Rather, it tricks you into thinking there are two, specifically, one main button with one deeper button beneath it.

This trickery means you can make use of an extra button on a device that has no actual buttons on it, meaning developers can unlock extra features from deeper button presses.

Right now, there isn’t a lot for the extra button to do, outside of defining a word, looking up a map, and previewing a webpage, as these are the functions for the extra button press found inside Mac OS X 10.10 and higher, but as more developers embrace the Force Touch mechanism, we’ll no doubt see more support.

So instead of focusing on what the extra click can do, we’re going to look at the positives of the Magic Trackpad 2 that make sense today, like the massive size.

New versus old, with Apple Magic Trackpad 2 on the left, and Magic Trackpad on the right.

New versus old, with Apple Magic Trackpad 2 on the left, and Magic Trackpad on the right.

Yes, instead of a 6.5 inch square trackpad, you now get an extra inch to work with in a wider rectangle, providing a more spacious 7.5 inch trackpad that is also slimmer and closer to the desk.

Gestures are supported here — hardly a surprise given the company behind the mouse — and there are no longer any batteries to replace, now that Apple has gone with a fully rechargeable system complete with an included Lightning cable that can also do double duty to charge an iPhone or iPad.

One feature the Magic Trackpad 2 appears to have on its MacBook sibling is called “silent clicking”, and it’s quite cute.

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