Hands-on with Manhattan Stealth Touch Mouse: Magic Mouse’s evil cousin

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If Apple’s Magic Mouse, the touch-based, clickless, wireless mouse had a darker twin cousin, it would be the Manhattan Stealth Touch Mouse. The all-black matte mouse has similar design functionalities as Apple’s original gadget, featuring a pressure-sensitive body that recognizes controls without the click of any button. With technology embracing touchscreen interface, it’s no surprise that even the simplest of gadgets are getting a revamp. But is the buttonless mouse as good as it sounds?

Look and feel

hands on with manhattan stealth touch mouse magic mouses evil cousinThe Manhattan Stealth Touch Mouse has a pebble-like design that fits snugly in a palms of one’s hand. Compared to the average mouse, Stealth is definitely a tiny device, measuring just about 2 x 3.5 inches. The sleek matte overlay helps to keep the grease off the mouse, making it perfect for prolonged use, provided you supply it with one functional AAA battery. On the underside of the mouse, you’ll find a USB connector that pops out and connects to your computer.

Setting up, however, proved to be a bit of an issue. When I tried hooking the Stealth Touch Mouse to my 2007 MacBook Pro, the computer attempted to install a new drive. The mouse’s setup instruction advised me to close this window and use the mouse as normal, but the devices seemed to be disconnected. I attempted to test the mouse on my colleague’s 2010 Sony VAIO running Windows 7 and that didn’t work either. It was only until I used it one last time on a 2012 MacBook Air that the mouse linked with no installation prompt, leading me to believe it may be incompatible with older devices. This note was nowhere to be found on the mouse’s user manual.

Utility

Since the Stealth Touch Mouse is wireless, it can be used as a regular mouse for your computer or held upright as a presentation clicker. This allows you to use swiping motions to turn pages, or up and down strokes to scroll. While you’re doing so, you can hear an artificial scrolling noise if you happen to miss the wheel that comes with most traditional mice.

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I tested the device mostly as a computer mouse, and I have to admit I was slightly underwhelmed. Perhaps I’m personally light when it comes to touch, but it took some harsh tapping to get Stealth to recognize the clicks. Right click was even more difficult to achieve, as I would click to get the menu to show up and it would almost immediately disappear. If you are resting your fingers on the area of the mouse where the device should recognize touch, you also have to lift and hit the area again to register that click. This takes a lot of getting used to, but would probably be easier to adjust if the clicks registered more seamlessly.

If you’re using a MacBook Air like myself, you might also be better off sticking with the built-in touchpad on your laptop. Most modern computers are incorporating various touch-based gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom, or two-finger page sweeps. This feature is sadly missing on the Stealth Touch Mouse, which is unfortunate when you consider its $70 price tag.

In presentation mode, however, the Stealth Touch Mouse is much more appropriate. Perhaps it’s the act of simple scrolls that register better, but it did felt more natural to use the device to control pages than a whole computer. It’s also got decent range at 2.4GHz, so you can walk around a conference room and still be able to control your presentation screen.

Bottom Line

The Manhattan Stealth Touch Mouse is one gorgeous piece of accessory, but it’s fairly overpriced for what it should be capable of doing. It’s not updated with complex gestures to fit the modern computers, and is incapable of syncing with older models. This feels like a lose-lose, and a frustrating act of programming. As nicely as it works as a presentation controller, it still does little to deserve a price tag that high.

If you use your mouse to just scroll, the Stealth Touch Mouse is great. If you want to use it for every other function a mouse should be capable of performing, you’ll probably want to stick with traditional, click-based mice. I want to embrace this new technology, but the lack of security that comes with physical clicks is still something I want if it means actual functionality. So who knows, maybe it’s just me.

Manhattan Stealth Touch Mouse is available now at a retail value of $70, but is currently on sale at Best Buy for $50.

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