Of all of the new “Magic” devices in Apple’s lineup, perhaps no device is more deserving of the moniker than the Magic Trackpad 2. It’s the only device, out of the three new peripherals that Apple recently launched, that truly brings new functionality to the table.
While the Magic Mouse 2 and the Magic Keyboard are legitimate upgrades over the products they replace, the Magic Trackpad 2 is the most justifiable upgrade from a pure features standpoint, and Apple’s pricing for it says as much.
At $129.00, this isn’t exactly a knee-jerk purchase to be made on a whim. And if you already own the old Magic Trackpad, an impulse buy is lessened even more.
I’ve been testing out the new Magic Trackpad 2 for several days now, and it’s taken me a while to put my thoughts down in writing. This device takes significantly more time to get to know than either the Magic Mouse 2 or the Magic Keyboard. That’s because the Magic Trackpad offers the most diverse functionality of the trio.
With all of that said, is the Magic Trackpad 2 worth upgrading to if you already own the previous Magic Trackpad? Watch our video review, and read my full analysis for the details.
As I’ve echoed in my other two Magic-device reviews, if you’re simply looking to get away from having to replace or swap out batteries, then the Magic Trackpad 2 is a no-brainer upgrade. Like the keyboard and the mouse, the Magic Trackpad 2 comes with a built in battery, and a Lightning cable for recharging said battery.
Design-wise, the Magic Trackpad 2 is significantly different than the original Magic Trackpad. It features a lower profile, 29% more surface area for multi-touch gestures, and a wider stance. It’s a much more sleek and unassuming design than the outgoing trackpad, and matches the design language of the new Magic Keyboard.
The flagship feature for the new Magic Trackpad 2 is, of course, the inclusion of Force Touch. Force Touch, first introduced in Apple’s desktops via the 2015 MacBook, is a technology that allows you to press deeply on the trackpad to take advantage of both OS-level shortcuts and in-app shortcuts.
For example, I can Force Click on a word to bring up that word’s definition. I can Force Click on a file to bring up a preview of the file, or I can Force Click a file name to go directly into file renaming mode. In an app like QuickTime, for instance, I can Force Click on the fast-forward and rewind buttons to accelerate using varying degrees of pressure. There are many other use-cases for Force Touch, but those are just a few that I could think of off the top of my head.
If you’ve never used one of Apple’s Force Touch capable trackpads, then it does take a little time to get used to it. As you’ve heard, you aren’t actually clicking on the trackpad, as the clicking feeling and sound is all simulated using haptic feedback. Interestingly, the haptic feedback can be adjusted via the Trackpad section of System Preferences. You can also outright disable Force Clicking if it’s not something you’d like to use.
Use preferences to configure the Magic Trackpad 2 to your liking
And that brings me to this juncture of the review—is Force Touch a game changer? On the iPhone, the comparative 3D Touch seems more like a game changing feature that’s reason enough alone to consider buying the hardware. That’s mainly because the sense of touch is enhanced because you’re directly manipulating things on the screen. With the Magic Trackpad 2, Force Touch seems a bit disconnected, and rightfully so—you’re not actually touching an item on screen, you’re touching a trackpad.
I’ve also found that while the shortcuts that Force Touch makes possible are certainly nice, they won’t fundamentally change my workflow. The Mac has so many input options and customization options already, that it doesn’t feel like nearly as big of a shortcut as the comparative feature does on iOS. I don’t want to downplay the coolness of Force Touch, and the technology that makes it all possible, but I don’t feel that it’s reason enough alone to drop $130 on a trackpad, especially if you already own the original Magic Trackpad.
Collectively, however, it all adds up to an appealing package. When you consider that the device has way more surface area for gestures, features a much more appealing design, a rechargeable battery, and sports Force Touch, it becomes a tougher judgement call. For many, the most appealing thing about the upgrade is the inclusion of the rechargeable battery. As I’ve stated before, that alone is enough to make it worth strongly considering an upgrade.
If the Magic Trackpad 2 was the same price, or even $10-$30 more expensive than the device it replaces, I’d say upgrade without hesitation. But this device is almost double the price of the outgoing model, and that makes the decision a lot tougher. Just know that you’re in no way getting a revolutionary device if you decide to jump in. You’re getting a much-improved device, though, and for many of you, that may be all it takes to convince you to pull the trigger.