Best mice and trackpads 2020: Wireless and wired options

If you have a computer, you need a mouse or trackpad. Of course, your desktop PC will almost certainly come with one, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best one. Do you need extra buttons? Would you prefer a more upright model to help with the ergonomics of it all? […]

If you have a computer, you need a mouse or trackpad. Of course, your desktop PC will almost certainly come with one, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best one. Do you need extra buttons? Would you prefer a more upright model to help with the ergonomics of it all? Is yours the wrong shape because you’re left- or right-handed?

Though standalone trackpads are relatively new, most laptops have them just below the keyboard. Even so, many people prefer the feel of a separate mouse or the comfort of a trackpad that can sit alongside the laptop to the left or right, rather than nestle next to your wrists.  

Most mice and trackpads are wireless, except the ones designed for gamers, where a wired connection is seen to offer a fraction of a second advantage over wireless, which could be the difference between in-game life and death.  

There are two ways to connect a wireless mouse or trackpad: Bluetooth, or through a system where the mouse connects wirelessly to a tiny dongle that fits into a USB socket on the computer.

Both are good, though some believe the version with the dongle is more reliable and less susceptible to signal interference – though it does take up a USB socket you might want for something else.

The accuracy of a mouse is measured in dots per inch (dpi) and as monitors and screens become more high-resolution, the need for more accurate mice grows. 

Trackpads can reduce repetitive strain and allow your hand to rest in a more natural position.

We tested for ease of set-up, battery life, effectiveness of buttons, extra features and elegance of design.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Apple magic trackpad 2

Wired or wireless? Wireless

Mouse or trackpad? Trackpad

Left- or right-handed: Ambidextrous

Battery: Rechargeable, lasts several months  

However big your laptop trackpad is, it is unlikely it’ll match the size of Apple’s magic trackpad, which is now in its second version. Like a Mac laptop, it has a feature called “force touch” which means that if you press harder, different things happen. For instance, a forcible click on a word in a web browser brings up a panel with a dictionary and thesaurus that reveals more about the word you’ve just clicked on. You can also use gestures (pinch four fingers apart to reveal the desktop under your open windows, for instance) which are useful. When you press on the magic trackpad 2, thanks to haptic feedback, it feels like it’s moving but in fact, it doesn’t move. You recharge the trackpad by plugging the supplied lightning cable into your iMac or other charging port. It’s available in its original white finish and a cool space grey version, though you pay £20 extra for this.  

Buy now £109, John Lewis & Partners

The verdict: Mice and trackpads 

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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