The new iMac’s color-matched Magic Mouse and Touch ID Keyboard look better than they perform
In the world of consumer tech, products usually get substantial internal upgrades or flashy design overhaul, but Apple’s new 24-inch 2021 iMac managed to offer both. It upgrades to the industry-shaking M1 silicon, and gets a beautiful and sexy new body that’s more colorful and thinner than ever.
XDA’s Rich Woods is still in the process of writing his comprehensive review of the iMac itself, but in the meantime, we can take a look at the companion color-matched accessories that ship with the iMac — the Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard.
Apple Magic Mouse and Keyboard: Design and Colors
Both the Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard are unsurprisingly wireless devices that connect via Bluetooth to the iMac. This is needed, because the base model of the new iMac only comes with two USB-C Thunderbolt ports — in fact, you’ll probably want a good Thunderbolt dock if you intend to connect more things to the iMac such as an external monitor.
Back to the accessories, both the mouse and keyboard come in the same color as the iMac you’ve chosen (green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver), but thankfully, the colors on the accessories are more subtle than on the actual iMac. I’d say it’s a subtle tint rather than a full-on paint job.
On my blue iMac model, the blue shade on the Magic Mouse is almost unnoticeable unless I’m in a room with a lot of natural lighting. However, the pink and green versions of the same mouse show off the colors more.
This colored version of Magic Mouse hasn’t changed from the Magic Mouse 2, other than colors. This means a plastic single piece on top with an aluminum casing at the bottom. The mouse feels light and thin, but well-built and not flimsy.
The Magic Keyboard, on the other hand, gets a major hardware upgrade (for the above-base model iMac). There’s now a Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the upper right corner of the keyboard, in the same spot where the sensor is on Apple’s recent MacBooks.
Both accessories are really thin. The tallest part of the curvy Magic Mouse measures just 0.85 inches (about 21.6mm) from the tabletop, while the thickest part of the Magic Keyboard measures 0.43 inches (10.9mm). In fact, they may be too thin.
Apple Magic Mouse and Keyboard: Performance
Let’s start with the keyboard, since it’s easier to a more straightforward black-and-white conclusion for me. The keyboard connects seamlessly with the iMac, in that even when I turn on the iMac from a shut-off state, it will have connected in time for me to input the password without issue. This is not the case with some third-party keyboards, which can’t be connected to the iMac until after the password login screen if the machine had been shut off.
Touch ID also works as advertised. One tap and it logs me in, or confirm a purchase in the Apple App Store, etc.
However, I find the keyboard to be too thin and too minimal. There’s no number pad, no backlight, no wrist rest area, nor a native way to prop up the keyboard at an inclined angle. Many thin third-party keyboards I’ve tried include rubber nubs to prop up the keyboard at a tilted angle for better ergonomics — Apple doesn’t include any, of course.
The key travel is just around 1mm, which I can accept on a laptop keyboard, but for a desk-bound device, I want more. It is obviously no match for a good mechanical keyboard, but it’s also worse than several other portable options from third-party keyboard makers.
Overall, I just find the typing experience not too comfortable. In fact, I enjoy typing on a MacBook (a recent one, not the ones with the terrible butterfly keyboard) or the iPad Magic Keyboard more than on this iMac Magic Keyboard.
As for the Magic Mouse, it’s a unique, clever design that adds some substance to its style (unlike the Magic Keyboard). For example, the single piece of plastic that makes for a smooth surface may look odd to those used to a traditional mouse. But it brings more usability, like the ability to swipe on the surface to trigger actions, or even pinch on the surface to zoom as if you were doing so on a trackpad or smartphone screen. Some of these actions can be modified in settings.
The surface can be pressed down (with an audible physical click) which doubles as the typical left button mouse input. It takes some getting used to, and I wish the mouse itself was a bit thicker with more heft so there’s more to hold onto. But I can see why the Magic Mouse had garnered mostly positive reviews even before these new shades of colors.
However, Apple kept the much-mocked decision to place the Lightning charging port at the bottom of the mouse, which means you can’t charge the mouse and use it at the same time. This is among one of the worst Apple designs ever.
Apple Magic Mouse and Keyboard: Conclusion
It’s hard to complain too much about these accessories considering they are included free with the machine. However, if I have another keyboard available for use, I wouldn’t use the included Magic Keyboard due to the shortcomings I mentioned earlier.
As for the Magic Mouse, it’s great using it to edit photos and videos on a Mac, since you can pinch and zoom and quickly cycle between windows directly on the mouse. But if you just need a mouse for very basic computing tasks like writing a word document, then any other mouse or trackpad would perform just as well, and usually with better ergonomics too — and there are a lot of great mouse/trackpad options out there.
These official Apple accessories do fit in very nicely with the colorful sleek iMac though, so for people to whom aesthetics is important, they’ll love this setup.