First of all, let’s get this straight – neither of these devices is magic. Quite frankly, I have a hard time understanding the magical properties that Apple envisioned when they named these products. But, if you are a Macbook user like me, you have probably considered buying an external pointing device. If you have decided to go with an Apple product in order to have it look good with your Macbook and you want a wireless device, then your choice comes down to either the Apple Magic Mouse or the Apple Magic Trackpad. So which is better?
For me, it comes down to one simple question – do you want to bring your pointing device along with you and use it in multiple locations or will it be staying on a desk in your home or office? If the answer to that question is that you are going to keep your device in one location, then I would highly recommend the Apple Magic Trackpad. It is far easier to use in several regards. First, it is easier to execute a right click on it (you simply click with two fingers instead of one). On the Magic Mouse, you can execute a right click by clicking on the right side of the mouse, but I find that less reliable. Second, the Magic Trackpad has a lot more “special” controls available, such as pinching to zoom and swiping to go “back” in a browser. Once you learn these special controls, they are extremely useful. The Magic Mouse probably has some of these available but they are not intuitive and I have not figured out how to use them. Which leads to my final and perhaps most important reason that I prefer the Magic Trackpad. Scrolling on the Magic Trackpad is extremely easy. By contrast, I find that while I can scroll on the Magic Mouse, the results are often unpredictable. Sometimes it seems to scroll out of control and other times it barely moves. So, in short, the Magic Trackpad is a far better device as long as you are sitting in one location.
The only reason I would consider buying the Apple Magic Mouse instead of the Apple Magic Trackpad is if I wanted to be able to throw the device in my backpack and take it with me everywhere. For this use case, the Magic Mouse has two benefits that are important. First, it is smaller and fits nicely in most backpack pockets, whereas the Magic Trackpad is a bit oddly shaped and larger. Second, the Magic Mouse seems to have better battery life, so you are less likely to be out and about only to have the batteries suddenly run out.
So bottom line, the Magic Trackpad is a far better device and I would recommend it over the Magic Mouse unless you just have to have your pointing device with you at all times. And really, what is wrong with the trackpad on your Macbook when you are away from your desk?