Five of the best mice for Mac

Tired of your MacBook's trackpad? Maybe it's time for a mouse. Here's a roundup of my favorites

I use a Retina MacBook Pro. Most of the time I'm content to use the trackpad, when I'm taking it out and about especially. But when I'm at my desk I like to tether the laptop to a big screen and put it on a stand, so I can't use the trackpad comfortably. That's when it comes in handy to have a mouse to use instead. Of course, if you have a Mac mini, iMac, or Mac Pro, and Magic Trackpads aren't your thing, you'll need a mouse all the time.

Here's a roundup of five of my favorites. Most of them are wireless, and three of them are general purpose. Two are there for gamers. Hopefully you'll find one to fit the bill for what you're looking for. One note: All prices listed here are the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Your mileage may vary.

Apple Magic Mouse

Apple Magic Mouse

Apple's Magic Mouse sports a beautiful, ambidextrous design, works elegantly using Apple's built-in drivers and looks great with your Macintosh.

Looking at it superficially, the Magic Mouse seems to have a "no button" design, but that belies some really clever electronics that recognize distinct left-button right-button key presses as well as scrolling and gestures.

Apple's Mouse system preference lets you thoroughly customize how the mouse works, from scroll direction to activating Mission Control or swiping between full-screen apps. And the system also shows you using little videos how to actually perform those gestures.

At $69, the Magic Mouse costs more than some of the other mice on this list, but if you're going for seamless system compatibility and elegant use, it's hard to go wrong with this one.

Razer Ouroborous Elite

Razer Ouroborous

Razer has distinguished itself as one of the finest purveyors of PC gaming products on the market, and they take special pride in their mice, made especially for gamers. If you're looking for a mouse that will give you an edge in the games that you play, check out the Ouroborous.

It sports an aggressive ambidextrous design that glows toxic green, a really mean looking piece of equipment. An adjustable arch lets you more easily rest your palm, and it's been designed to accommodate a wide range of mouse-grip styles, like claw grip, palm grip or finger grip. There are a total of 11 programmable buttons, and yes, Mac driver software is available.

Inside is a hair trigger-sensitive 8200 DPI sensor. It's wireless, communicating with a USB dock/receiver which recharges it when you attach the mouse to it. The Ouroborous works for about 12 hours per charge using a single AA NiMH battery (included).

Razer DeathAdder

Razer DeathAdder

If the Ouroborous is total overkill for you but you're still looking for a solid gaming mouse, I'd recommend having a look at Razer's DeathAdder instead. It's a wired mouse that sports five programmable buttons, rubber sides for improved grip and a 6400 DPI optical sensor. Razer makes a left-handed version for the sinister folks out there.

The DeathAdder just feels good in my hand. The slope of the mouse, the click of the buttons. Paired with the Razer Synapse driver software, the DeathAdder also works like gangbusters. The driver software paired with some sophisticated on-board electronics makes the DeathAdder a great choice for gamers looking for something that can be set up to spring like a bear trap or move a bit slower if necessary — eminently customizable.

Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse

Microsoft Sculpt Touch

Yes, believe it or not, Microsoft makes mice that work with the Mac. What's more, Microsoft's Sculpt Touch offering is one of the less expensive options on my list. It's got a nice feel to it, an ambidextrous design that makes it good regardless of which hand you favor, and supports Bluetooth, so it's wireless and without any sort of USB port-blocking receiver.

The optical sensor works on just about any surface, and it runs for nine months on a single pair of AA batteries. In place of the traditional scroll wheel is a touch sensor that works a little bit like the scroll gesture of the Magic Mouse.

Logitech M705 Marathon Mouse

Logitech M705

If you're not averse to a wireless mouse that uses a (tiny) USB receiver, Logitech's M705 is great (provided you're a righty). It has an elegant shape that feels great in the hand, sports eight buttons and a scroll wheel.

The Marathon gets its name from its power-sipping circuitry, which Logitech claims works for up to three years on a single pair of AA batteries. At 1000 DPI this isn't a mouse that's likely to appeal to gamers, but it's a solid performer that's built well and designed to last a while. Logitech offers up Mac-compatible Control Center software to manage the mouse, and its unified receiver works with other Logitech peripherals.

Your favorite mouse for Mac?

Mice are a bit like shoes — they fit each person differently, and what you want and need out of your mouse may be entirely different than what I'm looking for. To that end, I won't be surprised if you think my choices are garbage and yours is much better. So I want to hear from you — what mouse do you like the most? Let me know in the comments.