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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
Large surface area
Long battery life
Complements iOS and macOS apps
The Apple Magic Trackpad 2 is the ideal pointing device for iPads. Customizable settings and an ergonomic design make this trackpad intuitive for all users.
We purchased the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 is giving iPad mice a run for their money. This trackpad is bigger than its predecessor and boasts a longer battery life. Intuitive Multi-Touch gestures make the trackpad easy and comfortable to use. Best of all, it’s compatible with iPads running iPadOS 13.4 and up. I spent 15 hours putting these features to the test.
It’s difficult to imagine a more stereotypical Apple design than the Magic Trackpad 2. It is a huge, white rectangle with a Lightning port on the back. To be exact, it’s a 6.3 x 4.5-inch rectangle. It is constructed with a slight angle, 0.43 inches at the thickest point and 0.19 inches at the thinnest.
The Trackpad weighs half a pound—just like the Magic Keyboard—so it’s light enough to be portable. When I take both of those along with my iPad Air, the whole setup weighs less than a Chromebook.
The Magic Trackpad 2 has an edge-to-edge glass surface that is almost soft to touch. The Trackpad uses force sensors instead of mechanical buttons or switches within the device, so the surface is uniformly receptive to touch. Altogether this product is well-built with a beautiful, minimalist design.
Using the Magic Trackpad to navigate my iPad was surprisingly easy. The cursor snaps into place when it moves over icons, so I didn’t need to be too precise. The shape of the cursor changes depending on the context, so it’s easy to tell what I’m interacting with and what the result will be. Two seconds after I lift my hand from the Trackpad, the cursor disappears. This feature can be changed in Settings, along with others like cursor size and contrast.
The Magic Trackpad 2 had no problem differentiating between the various inputs, like two-finger scrolling and three-finger swipes. The slight amount of pressure required for a Force Click was enough to keep me from absentmindedly clicking.
Pressing harder engages the secondary click or right-click. I had trouble moderating the pressure of my touch, though, so I opted for the “two-finger secondary click.” The gestures look a little complicated when written out, but they’re easy to learn. A little practice made them stick.
I can drop my cursor right into the middle of a word or sentence, write what I need, and get back to work.
One of my biggest headaches while writing is getting my cursor into the right spot using the iPad’s touch interface. Using the arrow keys for that is possible but tedious, especially for someone with a one-track mind. The Magic Trackpad is much faster and more precise. I can drop my cursor right into the middle of a word or sentence, write what I need, and get back to work.
This is one case where the result depends on the app, though. Scrivener and iA Writer both have great trackpad support; Google Docs, not so much. Of course, the Magic Trackpad still works, but that level of control isn’t there yet.
With the Magic Trackpad 2, Apple is stepping away from the outdated computer mouse and into the future.
Multi-touch gestures are key to the Magic Trackpad’s viability as an alternative to a computer mouse. Many of the gestures are similar to the ones used with the iPad. For example, in the App Switcher, dismissing apps is as simple as clicking and then flicking them away.
Using a trackpad with the iPad feels more natural than a mouse since the trackpad is an extension of the iPad’s touch interface. With the Magic Trackpad 2, Apple is stepping away from the outdated computer mouse and into the future.
With the entire surface of the Magic Trackpad receptive to touch and clicks, finding a comfortable way to use it was easy. When I was writing, I tucked the trackpad out of the way and reached for it when I needed to change apps. I began keeping my iPad on a Lamicall S stand at eye level since I didn’t need to touch the display anymore. Keeping my iPad in a more ergonomic position let me work much longer than before without neck strain.
When I used my iPad on the couch, I just tossed the Magic Trackpad 2 down beside me. Using the trackpad any way at all is what makes it so comfortable. Unlike a mouse, the trackpad doesn’t require your hand to be in an unnatural, stationary position. Using a trackpad engages the entire hand in natural positions.
When I was writing, I tucked the trackpad out of the way and reached for it when I needed to change apps.
More importantly, the trackpad doesn’t need to move. Moving a computer mouse engages the arm all the way through the shoulder. It’s what I’m used to, but I didn’t realize how uncomfortable it was until I tried another option. The Magic Trackpad is more comfortable than any computer mouse I’ve ever used.
The Magic Trackpad 2 costs up to $150. Choosing silver instead of space gray knocks $20 off the price, but it’s an expensive accessory in either case. It’s a little more expensive than comparable devices like the Magic Mouse 2 or the Logitech MX Master 3, but they’re still in the same ballpark. The Magic Trackpad 2 performs just as well, if not better. It’s worth every cent.
If any trackpad can convert skeptics, it’s the Magic Trackpad 2. That said, it’s not exactly budget-friendly. Considering the Magic Mouse 2 costs as little as half the price, it’s worth comparing the two.
The Magic Mouse 2 has up to two months of battery life, twice as long as the Magic Trackpad 2. On the other hand, the charging port is on the bottom, so it can’t be charged during use; the Magic Trackpad can. The mouse has a low-profile build that isn’t ergonomic. It’s not going to cause any serious strain, but it’s not as comfortable to use all day as a trackpad. Both products have great app support.
What does the extra money buy, then? Comfort. If you’re willing to pay more, the Magic Trackpad 2 is a better choice for iPads. If ergonomics aren’t a concern, save some money by getting a Magic Mouse 2 for as little as $80.
The Magic Trackpad 2 is an investment that pays off with comfort and performance. Robust app support makes this trackpad out-compete any mouse.
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