It may seem odd for me to review a piece of hardware meant for something I don’t love (I’m far too attached to my Magic Trackpad to really love the Magic Mouse), but I’m writing for those folks who do love their Magic Mice and might be considering the Magic Charger, an attractive rechargeable-battery solution for the Magic Mouse. My first impression of it was overwhelmingly positive. Several online reviews mentioned fast, effortless charging. Other reviewers praised both its form and its function. Goodness knows that the Magic Mouse has a large enough appetite for batteries that a rechargeable solution is absolutely welcome.
In fact, I was coming to the same conclusions as other reviewers when I first put the charger to use with a brand-new Magic Mouse. This is one of those accessories that are so clever you might wonder why Apple didn’t just design the thing itself. With the Magic Charger, you might end up wishing that Apple actually had made it; it likely would have shown in the build quality and design choices.
At first, it seems like completely straightforward. Just set aside the battery cover and AA’s that came with the Magic Mouse, replace with a battery pack designed to fill that space, and you’re ready to get your double-click on. Once your battery level gets too low, rest your mouse on the Magic Charger’s pad overnight and let the wireless inductive charging fill it back up. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, right?
It would be great if it were all that simple. I ran into issues from the very beginning with the battery pack. It had a tendency to slip out just a little, rather than clicking firmly into place like Apple’s own battery cover for the Magic Mouse. Something else to keep in mind is that rechargeable batteries are 1.25 volts instead 1.5 volts like a AA battery, so the battery indicator in System Preferences is always going to be inaccurate.
One other shortcoming I found with the Magic Charger is that the only charging connection Mobee offers is USB. If you leave your Mac on all the time, that’s no problem. But if you’re “green” enough to want rechargeable batteries in the first place, you’re probably also saving energy by powering down your Mac when you’re done with it. This cuts power to the Magic Charger and defeats its whole purpose. I have a wall adapter that offers multiple open USB ports, so I plugged into one of them. It would just be much more convenient if Mobee provided or sold an AC power cord. That said, the charger is less than half an inch thick, and weighs just under 2 ounces, so it’s easy to slip into pretty much any compartment or pocket in a laptop bag for travel use.
I’d really like to see Mobee rethink a few things about the Magic Charger, because it has real potential to be an amazing product instead of one that’s just “good” with a few glaring flaws. For instance, offer 2 charging packs instead of one, and include an AC power source. This would eliminate charging downtime, as well as leaving a USB port free that the current design “steals”.
My final quibble is the price. $50 buys some fancy inductive charging (which didn’t charge very fast for me); that same amount would get you a great wall charger and 3 sets of AA batteries, with enough left over for lunch.
Bottom line, if you’re okay with no AC power and a possibly fiddly battery-pack fit, the Magic Charger beats the heck out of coughing up for an endless pile of AA batteries.