Simple Test Confirms Magic Mouse Not So Magical When it Comes to Power

It’s not exactly the most scientific test ever conducted, but a very practical experiment conducted by Softpedia’s Filip Truta reveals that the new Apple (s aapl) Magic Mouse pales next to its predecessor in at least one significant way. That area of weakness is power management, and the new slick interface device could be as much as 40 percent less efficient than the clumsy old Mighty Mouse.

Reports have been flooding in that the new mouse is a power-hungry little guy, both internally among staff here at TheAppleBlog and over at the Apple Discussion boards. At least one discussion thread deals with the problem that the Magic Mouse has when working in conjunction with the Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard. Apparently, using both together will result in significant battery drain in the latter.

On its own, the Magic Mouse is no energy superstar either. Many users report a much shorter battery life than they got with the Bluetooth Mighty Mouse. Truta was finding the same thing with his new pointing device, and so went about testing his theory to see what he found. Rather than timing the life of the batteries during regular continuous usage, as a lab might, Truta came up with an easy to perform exercise that you can try for yourself, too, so long as you’re in possession of both models of Apple mice.

The trick is to use a fresh set of batteries in the Magic Mouse until they run out of steam. Apple’s redesigned the mouse preferences pane to tell you when you need to change them, and even provides instructions on how to do so in case you can’t figure it out for yourself. Once the batteries are depleted, all you have to do is switch them back into your old Mighty Mouse.

Using this very simple method, Truta discovered that while the Magic Mouse saw the batteries as devoid of anymore usable energy, the Mighty Mouse would in fact report that the batteries weren’t even close to empty. In fact, his tests show that under the Bluetooth devices menu it would report as much as 41 percent battery remaining in the supposedly dead batteries. That’s not an insignificant margin by any count.

Battery issues aside, I sill love my Magic Mouse. I should qualify that by noting that I use it as the primary means of control for my home theater Mac mini, which means that I use it quite sparingly. I’m still using the same batteries I put in when I got it, which was almost immediately following its release. And my keyboard doesn’t seem to be running down with any unusual speed, either. But again, I almost never use them really, except to set up a movie or TV show or start a playlist in iTunes. I’m still planning on testing out Filip Truta method when the batteries do eventually run down, though. What are your experiences?