Like its namesake, the Apple Mighty Mouse packs a lot of ability into a small package. Though the design is decidedly simple, its four customizable buttons and 360-degree scroll ball are a joy to use. The $49 price tag is a bit expensive for a corded mouse, but if you're an Apple Mac OS 10.4 Tiger user, you'll appreciate the configurability. However, Windows users and Mac users who haven't upgraded should stick with a more comfortable, less expensive mouse, such as the Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse.
If your PC runs Panther (the previous edition of Mac OS X) or Windows 2000 or XP, setup is simple: plug the Mighty Mouse into a USB port and commence mousing. You'll be able to make only minor changes to the buttons' functions via the operating system's control panel. If you're running Tiger, you'll need to load up the included installation software and be running version 10.4.2 of the OS. Once the software is installed, restart your computer. Finally, using the control panel in system preferences, you'll be able to configure the Mighty Mouse to your preferences. The left- and right-click, scroll-ball click, and the left and right side buttons (which function together) can each be set to open any application from Dashboard to Spotlight and beyond. You can also shut the buttons off, enable or disable horizontal and vertical scrolling, and adjusting tracking, scrolling, and double-click speeds.
The Mighty Mouse has the same smooth, shiny, white-plastic finish you've seen on iPods and other Apple products, making it an aesthetically perfect accessory for an iBook or an iMac. (Purists, beware: The scroll ball and side buttons are a light gray.) Though attractive, the Mighty Mouse is less comfortable to use than other mice we've tested, such as the Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse, which offers better support for your hand. However, the mouse does get some brownie (or cheese) points for fitting both left- and right-handed users. We became accustomed to its flat feel and grew to prefer its scroll ball to the typical mouse's scrollwheel. Even though the left and right buttons aren't distinctly separated, we had no trouble hitting the correct one. The two side buttons need to be pressed very firmly, and they perform the same function whether pressed separately or together; we wish they were each individually configurable.
The Mighty Mouse worked well on our Panther and Tiger Macs, and even with our Windows XP test system. With a 400dpi optical engine, we experienced no cursor lags or jumps, even when mousing on a metallic surface, which gives many mice trouble. Though all of the buttons worked flawlessly on our Tiger machine and with Microsoft Word and Excel for Mac, we had some problems when we tried it out with Mozilla's Firefox. We could scroll vertically with success, but when we scrolled horizontally, the browser treated it as page-forward and page-back commands. When we used the Mighty Mouse with our Windows XP laptop, we could use the scroll ball only to scroll vertically, and the side buttons, which aren't programmable with Windows, defaulted to back buttons.
Apple covers the Mighty Mouse with an industry-standard one-year warranty. Free phone support is available for the first 90 days after purchase, and Apple's support Web site offers troubleshooting advice, FAQs, and a searchable users' forum.