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Apple Magic Trackpad 2 review: Solid performer doesn't feel essential

Susie Ochs | Oct. 21, 2015
Force Touch just isn't fully baked on the Mac yet.

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The Magic Trackpad 2 is shockingly large and blindingly white. It looks kind of a like a futuristic thing you’d find in a high-tech kitchen, like a smart scale or a wireless charging station or a heating pad that keeps your coffee at the perfect temperature for hours. But this Cheeto-unfriendly slab is really a giant, standalone version of the Force Touch trackpad in this spring’s 12-inch MacBook, along with the later MacBook Air refresh.

The Magic Trackpad 2 brings Force Touch to the desktop: It’s an option with the new iMacs (or you could choose the Magic Mouse 2), and available on its own for $129. With plenty of room to take advantage of Apple’s entire repertoire of gestures, it’s a fun trackpad to use. But until its marquee feature—Force Touch—is utiliized a little more widely, it’s not a must-have for most people.

It’s my trackpad, I’ll Force Click if I want to

Pairing the Magic Trackpad to my Mac with Bluetooth was a snap. It charges with an included Lightning cable—which means, first of all, that you have another Lightning cable for charging your phone. Hooray! Beyond that, plugging the trackpad into a Mac with the Lightning cable pairs it automatically, in case Bluetooth ever decides to be a jerk about pairing.

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Another Lightning cable!  Credit: Roman Loyola

But once I started using it, I ran into a learning curve. I kept absentmindedly resting my palm or pinkie finger on the trackpad, making my tap-clicks act like right-clicks. That’s probably just bad posture on my part, something I could (and probably should) train myself to improve over time.

The other problem is the errant Force Clicks. When trying to click-and-drag text, images, or files, I kept accidentally pressing too hard, Force-Clicking when I wanted to just click. I’m trying to select text, and instead I’m getting the definition of a word like “the.” There are a few ways to get around this. In System Preferences > Trackpad, I could uncheck “Force Click and haptic feedback,” but that turns off all current and future Force Click features. On the same preferences pane, I could uncheck “Look up & data detectors” or click the downward-facing arrow to change it from “Force Click with one finger” to “Tap with three fingers,” which is how it works on trackpads without Force Touch.

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One way to avoid errant Force Clicks is to change this setting back to three-finger tap.

 

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